DURHAM, N.C. -Duke freshman Josh Hairston is starting to adjust to college life and the rigors of non stop basketball. Hairston has joined fellow freshman Kyrie Irving and Tyler Thornton and their team is on display at the N.C Pro Am. Hairston struggled in his first game out of the gate going against the likes of Josh Powell of the L.A. Lakers but he regrouped and bounced back with an 18 point effort in his last outing. BDN caught up to Hairtson to get his thoughts -
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DURHAM, N.C. - On the first night of the N.C. Pro Am incoming Duke freshman Tyler Thornton laced up his sneakers only to find himself on a team of 18 players. The coach didn't know who Thornton was, so he sat there on the bench for the whole first half. When I slipped word his way, Thornton played in the following half and was very effective in his brief minutes.
Thornton's playing time has increased since that first evening and most fans who've watched him play come away impressed. Thornton is the kind of player simply does what it takes for his team to compete.
He has showed the ability to be a good defender always hustling on defense and it is quite obvious that he has worked on his outside shot this off season. BDN caught up to Thornton after a recent game and got his thoughts on what it is like to finally be on the Duke campus.
DURHAM, N.C. - On a steamy summer night the N.C. Pro Am continued but no shows from North Carolina and N.C. State disappointed some for anticipated match ups would not take place. Well, that is if you are a Heel or Pack faithful for the Blue Devils turned out in force. On a night when the defense mirrored the NBA All Star game seven Blue Devils were in action and three of them scored 20 plus points. And two of the Devils would go head to head in the evenings most entertaining game
Kyrie Irving wasted little time in wowing the crowd by daring the defenders to stay with him using cross over dribbles and stutter steps to free up his shot or set up a dish to a teammate. Irving hung in the air for one showboat assist which brought the crowd to their feet, but it was a catch while hanging in mid air and a tomahawk dunk that really had the place rocking. Irving ended the evening with 22 points and 7 assists. Irving was scheduled to go against N.C. State freshman Ryan Harrow who failed to show due to prior obligations.
While Tyler Thornton did not score a point, he played solid on ball defense and his shadowing frustrated opponents into mistakes or an uninvited elbow push off. Thornton dished 3 assists and played a solid overall game.
But the third Team Hendricks Dukie, Josh Hairston impressed as well where he scored 18 points, his tournament high. Four of his baskets came off either Irving or Thornton assists and he was comfortable in the paint while floating out to hit turnaround jumpers.
Hendrick's won the game by a 110-96 margin and they will play again this coming Tuesday.
In the night cap Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry put on a show. The two teammates traded baskets early on, smiling at each other as if to say top that as the game progressed.
"I came out and hit my first couple of shots and then a three from the corner and I was really feeling it after that," said Dawkins who would end the game with a dazzling 36 point effort.
"I see him do it every day, so it's no surprise for me," said Curry who sat out last season after transferring from Liberty.
Curry nailed a trio of three point shots to start the game setting the bar high but Andre was the first to draw blood with a three of his own.
"He hit the first one and said, "What are you going to do,?" it was fun and good competition. With two great shooters it was fun to go back and forth, stated Curry.
"Yeah, we were keeping tabs the whole game to see who had more points but he is playing the distributor for his team and didn't put up as many shots as I did playing the two spot for my team," said Dawkins who for a while could not miss.
Curry replied by saying, "He got the points but I got the win." He continued, "Last year we were on each others team in practice a lot so we got to know each others game and we try to make each other better."
If last night was any indication of the future, when Curry and Dawkins are both on a roll it will bode quite well for the Blue Devils.
BDN Sidebar -Ryan Kelly chipped in 9 points and played a solid overall game but with former Wolfpack and current Los Angeles Laker Josh Powell [31 points] joining Team Jamison his D-One team fell 101-95 which evened things up after Kelly led them to a win with 31 last week.
Miles Plumlee added 10 points to the victors and had a vicious behind the head dunk. He was also on the end of Dawkins best assist of the night where he caught a behind the back pass for a dunk on the break.
Rodney Rodgers got a warm reception as he took to mid court in a wheel chair after his tragic accident. The former Durham Hillside and Wake Forest star spoke of his foundation.
The games will continue next Tuesday with tip off of the first contest scheduled for around 6:00. Be prepared to walk a distance due to parking issues and keep in mind that the doors will be shut down upon capacity. Admission is free.
For more Pro Am thoughts check out the BDN Premium message board where we report live and be sure to sign up for our twitter page for the best updates available. Be sure to check out our live updates from the recruiting trail where BDN's Andre Slater is in Las Vegas checking out all the action as Coach K, Collins and James scout the nations top prospects.
Durham, N.C. - Fans from all across the Triangle packed North Carolina Central University's gym on Tuesday night, as a record-breaking crowd was on hand to see some of the ACC's best young incoming talent on display. Four Blue Devils took to the floor in Tuesday's round of games, including the much anticipated debut of incoming freshman point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving played in the first game where he scored a team high 36 points while dazzling the crowd with his ball handling and crafty finishes around the basket. While his 36-point debut was quite an impressive performance, it came up a little short for Irving as his team fell to Team Navy by 4 points. In the second match-up of the night, Seth Curry teamed up with Miles Plumlee and incoming freshman forward Josh Hairston for a balanced attack to defeat Team 212/Trianglegi.com. Curry led the way with 22 points, shooting 8-16 FG and 3-8 3pt. Curry showed off his array of scoring abilities, dialing in from NBA range while also taking the ball strong to the hoop for several solid finishes around the rim. Miles Plumlee used his athleticism and size around the rim to throw down 2 or 3 rim-rocking dunks, sending the crowd into frenzy on more than one occasion. He finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Hairston played good defense out on the perimeter and showed some touch on his turn-around jump shot. He finished the game 5-10 from the field for 10 points while also grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds. In the most anticipated match up of the night, the incoming Tar Heel freshmen alongside John Henson, Justin Watts and PJ Hairston took on the incoming freshmen from Raleigh, as it was an old fashioned UNC vs. NCST rivalry game. The game was heated from the beginning, with Harrison Barnes and CJ Leslie going head to head both making plays on both sides of the court. While Barnes led the team with a game-high 26 points, the real story of the game was UNC freshman Reggie Bullock. Bullock used his size and athleticism to consistently drive and shoot over Lorenzo Brown from NCST. The UNC freshmen took home the 10 point win.
As for the Duke players, many were excited to see their future point guard in action for the first time, and he did not disappoint. Coming into the game with virtually no warm up, Kyrie quietly began to assert himself in the first quarter before taking off before the end of the half. He missed on his first few 3-point attempts, however quickly recovered with a few fast break points and a huge one handed alley-oop on the fast break. Irving really shined with the ball in his hands as he used his amazing shift of pace to slice through the heart of the defense either finishing at the rim or dishing off to an open teammate. Irving draws many comparisons to former Wake Forest great Chris Paul, and they are not far off. If Tuesday night was any indication of the type of impact Irving could have at Duke, then Duke fans should buckle up, for it's going to be a fun season. Truly an elite level point guard who will have the ball in his hands early.
Seth Curry's feel for the game is so clear when watching him play. You can tell that he comes from a basketball family and that he knows how to play the game the right way. While a deadeye shooter from 3, Curry has no problem going into attack mode and getting to the rim. He will have no problem playing some point for Duke this season, as his ball handling and decision-making are superb. He showed off his array of scoring tools, getting points from virtually every spot on the floor. He will be a dangerous weapon to put on the floor along side players like Irving, Smith and Singler.
Miles Plumlee has completely reshaped his body and looks to be in the best shape of his life. He is extremely cut and moves as well as any big man you will see at his size. His lift off the floor is much quicker than it was in his previous two seasons as he has turned much of his bulk into pure solid muscle. He showed nice touch with a right handed hook shot and wowed the crowed with his thunderous dunks. While his shot was somewhat off tonight, he showed glimpses last season of hitting the mid range jumper. Rebounding will be a key area of focus for the Plumlee brothers this upcoming season as they look to replace key seniors Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas.
Incoming freshman forward Josh Hairston blended in well with Curry and Plumlee, quietly doing the little things to help his team. Hairston possesses an athletic frame that will be able to defend out on the perimeter very similar to the way Lance did last season. Hairston showed good form and touch from the outside, hitting two turn-around jumpers on the baseline.
Overall, this was one of the biggest nights in the N.C Pro Am history. With lines reaching over 200 people outside, many were turned away simply because of fire code. With the talent that is showing up, the Pro Am does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. Many suggest getting there up to an hour early in order to secure a parking spot and a comfortable seat in the house.
Will be on hand for Thursday's action and excitement. Tobacco road is showing what it's all about.
DURHAM - Sporting his Team USA attire, Quincy Miller highlighted the opening night of the NC Pro Am for Duke fans. Miller had just come back to Durham from San Antonio where the U-18 team had their way with world competition. Miller, of course, is a key Duke recruiting target in the class of 2011 and the versatile prospect showed he was unafraid to go up against the older guys scoring 14 points in a single half of play due to his late arrival.
Because he was late to the event, the promoter allowed Miller to play for one more half with another team as a fill in and he tallied 10 points in that game. Miller went up against future UNC player P.J. Hairston. In fact, his severely undermanned team faced what was essentially a Carolina All Star team that consisted of Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Jon Henson and others. But with Hairston, the battle got a bit heated. The two went head to head late in the game and despite surely being tired from jet lag, Miller outscored the offensive minded Hairston 14-13 in a single half of play, meaning, how many would Miller have scored with full two half's?
Harrison Barnes was as advertised, calm, cool and collected on the court. Barnes opened the game with two emphatic dunks as his team rolled to an early lead over what appeared to be one of the weakest teams in this years field. Barnes ended the game with 16 points while coasting in the second half.
Reggie Bullock added 10 points and Henson added 8. Also playing on the Tar Heel laden Team Stackhouse was Miller's high school and AAU teammate Deuce Bello who had a game high 18 points and showed off his athletic skill set. Team Stackhouse won easily by a 81-60 margin.
In an earlier game, the youthful prospect Rodney Purvis scored 16 points while wowing the crowd with his abilities. Purvis is just a rising sophomore in high school.
N.C. Sate fans turned out in droves as well, but Ryan Harrow and Lorenzon Brown were no-shows. C.J. Leslie did play though and he tallied 16 points to go with his teammate Tracy Smith 14.
The NBA's number one draft pick, John Wall, was also in attendance and his presence alone made some in the crowd a bit giddy. Wall was seen talking to former UNC standout Jerry Stackhouse for most of the evening.
All of the Duke players were no shows due to the break at school and or Nike skills academy camps. The Blue Devils will start to appear next week where the games are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
NOTES - There was a very solid opening night crowd despite what was a parking mess due to construction on the N.C. Central Campus. Expect a nice walk to the event if you are able to attend. Admission is a bargain in that it is free. BDN Premium has an article on Quincy Miller due shortly where we get the latest from the prospect. So, stay tuned to BDN whose history of covering the event is well known.
The North Carolina Pro Am is winding down and Mason Plumlee and Team Duhon take to the court today at 3:00 in the semi finals. While Plumlee is the last Dukie standing on a winning team, his teammates are likely to be added to rosters which is common practice in this event.
Team Duhon won last evenings nightcap 69-60 over to advance to today's semi final. Mason Plumlee led all scorers with 20 points to go with a bushel of rebounds. He was aided by South Carolina bound Lakeem Jackson who tallied 15. Jackson was his teammate at Christ School in Arden, North Carolina.
Rising high school senior and UNC bound Reggie Bullock had perhaps his best games (played twice) on Friday. Bullock looked smooth and added 14 points for the winner.
Brian Zoubek scored 16 points for the losers and his teammate Olek Czyz went for 3 points. Zoubek is averaging 15.5 in his two games played.
Miles Plumlee has gained some weight in the off season and he scored 12 points to go with 9 rebounds. His team lost and Miles had several points missed where he didn't finish or the ball rimmed out. He finished 6 of 15 from the field.
Team Navy took out Team Starkey 71-67 where a comeback effort sparked by Reggie Bullock [19 points] fell short. Duke freshman to be Ryan Kelly added 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting from the field and 4 rebounds. Jerry Stackhouse added just 6 points in the loss.
On the other side, John Wall added 15 points and looked really good coming off a sensational effort the evening before. Wall looks to be an inch taller and has put on significant muscle or added size since I last saw him play.
We'll break down the players overall play in the tournament on out message board on Monday. Also, we'll have a very nice photo gallery in the coming week. All photos of Duke players may be purchased from Rick Crank.