BDN caught up to Austin Rivers during the N.C. Pro Am this past Thursday. Rivers seems relaxed in the spotlight and has been working with former Duke great Jay Williams. After the game he was surrounded by his family who came our to see him play and the aforementioned Williams. You will also see an appearance from Kyrie Irving sporting his Cleveland Cavaliers brim.
The North Carolina Pro Am has become a most popular event each summer in Durham and the main reason for that is fans get an early look at incoming freshman. If you showed up for the event the first night Michael Gbinije played, you may have come away thinking he needed more work.
If you came away from the event after his last game, you would be singing his praises for he dropped 28 points on his opponent. The problem is that in an All Star like atmosphere he sometimes defers in that Gbinije is the consummate team player.
"I wasn't happy with my performance last time out. My performance was not up to par, so I came in motivated tonight looking for more opportunities to show off my game," said Gbinije.
Those who've followed Gbinije on the AAU circuit where he suited up for Team Takeover know that Gbinije does not seek out attention. He is a quiet kid, hard to read at first but once comfortable he let's go with a warm smile that shows another side of him.
Gbinije has the potential to be a coaches dream in that he is a low maintenance type of player. That basically means he does not have to be coddled and he shows no signs of a bad attitude and beams in to what he is being told by the staff.
If there was ever a player on an even keel, it is Gbinije. He is quiet not only on the court but off the court. In fact, he is downright shy and that is something he is working on but his last outing produced a "loud game."
"The coaches want me to be more vocal out there, so I am working on that," said Gbinije. Those same sentiments were made by a coach as well during a recent AAU event.
While Gbinije deferred in his first game at the Pro Am, he was more than aggressive the last time out and he showed off what he can do. Gbinije is a steady player that does everything well and he showed that he can score the ball.
Gbinije is a good position defender as well and fits in nicely when on the court. He is not a power guy but he is an effective rebounder when he does hit the boards and is comfortable in transition.
The Virginia native said that practice had been intense. Duke, of course, gets ten full practice before taking off for China and Dubai in August. A source close to the situation told BDN that Gbinije was looking good in practice and that he was a quick learner.
Don't expect Gbinije to knock down 28 points in an ACC game this season for the competition is much tougher and the matador defense which is prevalent at the Pro Am will no longer be in effect. But Duke fans will probably be pleasantly surprised when they see his game this coming season.
"I just wanted to show what I could do," said Gbinije as he warmed to the questions. Make no mistake, Gbinije has been told to play at Duke, he must be a better communicator on the court. Master that and the young man from Virginia should earn some valuable minutes as a true freshman.
BDN updates live from the N.C. Pro Am via our @BlueDevilNation twitter site and for members of BDN Premium on the message board.
DURHAM - Rising Duke junior Andre Dawkins took time to catch up with BDN this past week while at the N.C. Pro Am on the campus of N.C. Central. Here is a brief chat I had with Dawkins who is prepared to take to the practice court tomorrow. Duke is allowed ten full practices before the China-Dubai trip.
There is always a lot going on if you cover Duke Athletics and as a busy summer around here gives way to September, Duke Football hits the field. In fact, they hold their first practice this evening where Coach David Cutcliffe will continue to work on getting the Blue Devils to a bowl game.
Duke is picked fifth by the ACC media in their division which features in my opinion, the four best teams. In fact all of the teams ahead of Duke are ranked in the season's first Top 25 poll. Before Duke worries about Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami, they will focus on the business at hand which is the opener against Elon.
They will then turn their attention to an early season ACC battle on the road at Wake Forest before coming home to face the nation's number one team in Alabama who returns a ton of talent including last years Heisman Tropy winner Mark Ingram.
BDN will attend practices to bring you our usual coverage, so if you are a football fan be sure to bookmark the Blue Devil Nation.
John Wall and company fall to Wheel Chair All Stars
Where else can one find the NBA's number one draft pick, John Wall playing hoops in a wheel chair? The answer is at the N.C. Pro Am, an event that wrapped up another strong season this past Sunday
Wall was unable to participate in a real game due to contractual obligations with the Washington Wizards but he told BDN that he wanted to see what it was like to play without the use of his legs to give him a better understanding of the plight some must go through.
Area participants filled the wheel chair game earlier and Wall joined C.J. Leslie and others to take on the all stars from the first contest. Several crowd pleasing moments ensued, bringing some light moments. In the end, Wall and company shot all clankers and were handed a 15-0 loss.
Also there promoting his foundation, Rodney Rodgers, the former Wake Forest star and Durham native spoke to the crowd about his hope to walk again against all odds. Rodgers was also able to shed light on his foundation which can be found on line by a simple google search for those interested in supporting his cause.
Blue Devils solid at the Pro Am
We'll touch on the N.C. Pro Am's final day a bit here, but an article will follow. In short, all of the Blue Devils had their moments in the event and we will break down our thoughts on each player in the coming week and talk of off season improvements. BDN has covered this event since it's inception and will continue to for we feel it is a very positive and good experience for Triangle area fans.
We will focus on Duke Football recruiting more and more now that the dust has cleared on a few things we have been working on behind the scenes. Cutcliffe and company have the bulk of their allotment filled but there are some key recruits we'll keep an eye on down the stretch.
Basketball is on somewhat of a hold with Coach Krzyzewski and Chris Collins doing duty for Team USA. Of course, Duke's Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith are with them for now in New York but they will return in a week or so, yet the coaches will be gone another month or so.
As for the Austin Rivers watch, I can tell you that he will not do a thing before the Duke coaches return, so the daily watch to see what he eats for breakfast to provide a sign is fruitless. We will have an interview up shortly with Amile Jefferson to update his recruitment and will have more on other targets as well.
Vincent Rey makes his mark with the Bengals
Duke will sorely miss linebacker Vincent "Vinnie" Rey this coming season but the Devils loss could be the Bengals gain. Rey had five tackles in Cincinnati's 16-7 loss to the Cowboys in the NFL's pre season opener. BDN will keep an eye on his play as the pres season progresses.
Video coming to BDN
We wanted to refine things a bit before we moved into video and in the coming months you will get a taste of vids BDN style. We are in negotiations with three different service and will inform you when the dust clears.
In closing ...
I admittedly am not a big fan of sites like Bleacher Report where anybody off the streets can pen something good or bad on their team. Most of the time little research is done on these sites and opinion is often stated as fact, but I think Justin McTeer is the exception and he has a nice piece up on Seth Curry so check it out here.
We'd also like to encourage Duke fans to visit Duke Update and Duke Report, two solid link sites for all things Duke. Duke Update is one of the original Duke Sites on the net where Jason D'Amico works it as a labor of love not taking one dime from advertising. Duke Report is the new kid on the block, but they do a great job as well and BDN enjoys working with these two sites.
DURHAM, N.C. -Despite having to miss the playoffs due to duties with the U.S. Select Team, Nolan Smith was named the Most Outstanding Player in the 2010 North Carolina Pro Am. Smith dazzled the crowds with dizzying moves, one which appeared on ESPN which serves notice that he will be one of the best guards in the nation this coming season.
Smith's buckets came on a variety of offensive moves, be it snaking through defenders for an easy basket or nailing a three pointer. The rising Duke senior was quite the showman as well, where he would subtly play to the crowd in the games.
Blue Devil fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming season where they will go for another National Championship with a deep and talented team. With Nolan Smith returning and Kyle Singler deciding to stay as well, Duke has the best one-two senior punch in the country.
Smith is currently in New York where he is training against the national team, as is Singler and the two are expected to return to the area in a week. With Smith's continued improvement, he is sure to make many of the pre season All American teams and is a lock for All ACC.
Stay tuned to the Blue Devil Nation as we close out our 2010 N.C. Pro Am coverage.
DURHAM, N.C. - The Blue Devil Nation caught up to Duke's rising sophomore Mason Plumlee during the N.C. Pro Am last evening. We talked to Mason about his off season efforts work, his thoughts on the freshman, his brother Marshall and more.
Mason's stat line for last night - 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block,1 steal, 5 assists. Stay tuned to BDN for a full report on last evenings action and a talk with Nolan Smith who dropped 43.
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