Tag Archives: Rasheed Sulaimon

BDN Premium – Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

Rasheed Sulaimon played "Horse" while visiting Duke. Maybe that helped him win the three point shooting contest at the McDonald's All American game? BDN presents another loaded team and recruiting update article for premium members.

Well, it’s that time of year again when AAU ball cranks up and for BDN that means we’ll be hitting several big events. Austin Rivers decision to sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft wasn’t that big of a surprise to us and we all wish him luck. Rivers decision is the first thing that will set the future into motion as the staff will be hot on the recruiting trail.  While many Duke fans hate to see Rivers lead, he can help the program at the next level and they will show that shot against UNC several times early on in his pro career.  He joins Kyrie Irving as players kids will really identify with.

I expect Mason Plumlee will (you must be a BDN Premium member to read the 2000 plus word update, so join today!) [private] enter his name into the draft to get feedback as to his draft status which must be done by April 3rd. Plumlee from all accounts is torn about his decision but the departure of Austin Rivers could help. Had Rivers returned the offense would have been run through him and the Blue Devils would have been his team. His high school coach David Gaines said that he was weighing his options and that one thing he would want is more touches or to be used in a more prominent role, It seems part of Plumlee wants to return and finish what he started and play with his brother Marshall for a year. Marshall could surely use his tutoring and Duke could surely use his presence in the paint. But an equal part of Mason wants to go pro and it may come down to where he is projected in a deep draft. It’s probably even odds right now but that could change.  If I were to guess, I think Mase will probably want to go through his senior season and be a more focal point for the team but I am not majorly confident with the info I have received to date and it is worth noting that I have not talked this  over with some of my usual sources.

Should Plumlee head to the league with Rivers, Duke will be in major need of a big or two. There are two options, one being Tony Parker and the other Alex Oriakhi, the Connecticut transfer. Should Plumlee go, it would be a match made in heaven with Oriakhi. As for Tony Parker, he announced that he would be making a decision on April 11th and I can tell you now that Duke is a definite player. Coach K locked in on his parents early on and there is a very solid relationship and trust between them. While Parker has seemingly bought into all of the anti Duke recruiting rhetoric and squirmed away at the mention of Duke, he may finally be seeing the light and the opportunity he has stepping right into playing time at Duke. Parker showed signs of getting a bit out of shape at the McDonald’s All American drills but who knows the circumstances or that he didn’t have something going on? Anyhow, he has trimmed his list to Duke, Kansas and UCLA. IMO, Los Angeles is too far from home unless all his pals go there and that means it is likely down to two, Kansas and Duke. I think the Blue Devils have proximity in their favor as well and may pull this one out. Their odds are much better than they were a month ago at this time and Parker knows he would plug right in. Parker’s decision may also effect the aforementioned Oriakhi.

Shabazz Muhammad won the dunk contest and he will choose a school on April 11th as well on an ESPN special. His decision likely has bearing on Trey Zeigler, a recent visitor and I expect nothing will happen with him until Bazz pulls the trigger due to available slots. Duke can now show Muhammad that he can be there next one and done freshman and that may be enough to pull him in. Zeigler offers maturity and the ability to guard certain types of players on defense. It will be interesting to see how all plays out, but I feel one will be on the roster at this time. And there is still the shadow of an NCAA investigation over Bazz and this could effect him going to what many felt the leader has been for months, Kentucky.

The Duke coaches will assault the AAU circuit full throttle before July for that is when Coach K will be heading up Team USA and he’ll take assistants Collins and Wojo with him. That means April is an important month and the staff will take in both Nike EYBL sessions and other events I will share at a later date. Jeff Capel, Nate James and Chris Spatola will fill in while the staff builds the team they hope wins gold.

Several Duke Assistants have been considered for other jobs but the info coming in is somewhat shaky so I will not share the rumors. The Illinois job supposed linked three Duke types, Johnny Dawkins who led Stanford to the NIT title game, Steve Wojciechowski and of course Chris Collins. It looks like the job has been filled and Collins was like the next one or two choices had the job remained open. Nothing official while I am typing this though … It is looking more and more like a mid major stepping stone job may be the ticket for some. Back to Dawkins, he would probably like to go somewhere it is easier to recruit but his Stanford team will compete for the PAC 10 the next two season should he stay put and I expect him to do so.

The coaches will be meeting with players to tell them what to work on for the coming season and what role they envision them taking on.  And you have heard a lot of transfer rumors by now and I fully expect some movement.  It’s hard for me to share too much on that front in that it is a sensitive and private issue for the program, but the most rumored kid to leave Michael Gbinije seems prepared to returned and told his AAU coach he knew Coach K knew what he was doing.  It has also come out that Seth Curry can or will graduate and that he entertained going overseas but no firm decision has been made.  It was odd that Austin Rivers seemed to slip and say he was gone in the locker room after the tournament loss, but there was a lot of emotion going on.

I can tell you that there will be a shake up and Duke will try to get back to playing better defense and I expect all players will be challenged and have to earn their time next season.  The coaches, like us. have to let all shake out and each player or prospect move will effect one another with concern to the players/prospects in play.

The Carolina Classic has concluded and we’ll add some late scouting reports and get the thoughts of others before weeks end.  I would say Theo Pinson is the only prospect firmly on the radar and while there are other good players, none of them are past the evaluation mode.  For those new to BDN Premium, the evaluation mode consists of players they are putting feelers out on.  Many kids, like prospect Tyrone Outlaw will get a look and he will visit in an unofficial manner, but it is common for local star prospects to drop by campus.  Jeff Capel is the lead guy for Outlaw but I’m not sure he would make the final cut.  However he does add toughness to the team he will play for and he can guard bigger players.  Outlaw will have to improve his perimeter game to become a real candidate.  Duke has showed some interest in Jaquel Richmond as well but something tells me they may not pursue him as hard as some other names.

Another name which has popped up is Christian Harrison of Greensboro Day.  Harrison grew up a Duke fan and of course says he would accept an offer on the spot.  He’s a nice late bloomer in the rankings but has very thin shoulder width which needs a lot of added muscle.  He can finish very well and is a smooth player but hangs outside a bit too much for my tastes.  His second game was his worst and his defense was awful at times in that game.  He wasn’t playing help D or using his length a lot.  His third game would have one drooling and he played much better after motivational speeches.  I would have to get more views on him to get a real feel.  We will have an interview up soon with him.

The Nike Jordan-Brand Classic is on my agenda where I will see Rasheed Sulaimon play and hopefully one or two more future Blue Devils.  The even on April 14th will allow us to know where Tony Parker and Shabazz Muhammad are going.  There are a slew of UNC and N.C. State guys playing in the event, a game of local North Carolina ballers and an International game.  continues to work Duke prospects as does his future teammate Matt Jones.

The Nike EYBL season starts in April as well and it gets underway with session I  in Minnesota on April 20-22 and then session II in Hampton, Virginia the following weekend.  The event is loaded with Duke prospects and among them are Chicago studs, Jabari Parker, the top rated player in the class of 2013 and Jahill Okafor, the paint eater and key Blue Devil target as well.  Both will suit up for the Mac Irwin Fire again and Parker has been the Blue Devils top target for a long time and as I have said for a year or so now, I feel Duke is in great shape with  him.  Then there is the Texas Titan duo of Matt Jones a shooting guard who has already pledged to Duke and his teammate, the bullish post man, Julius Randle.  If Duke misses on bigs this year, their need for Randle will be dire.  Duke is in good shape and will surely make his final cut and he is right there with Jabari Parker as the most important prospects they will work before Olympic duties.  But rest easy for Duke Assistant Jeff Capel is the lead recruiter for him and that bodes well.    Then there are the two PG prospects, Anthony Barber 2013 and Tyus Jones 2014.    Long time members know I rave when speaking of Jones and I will finally get more views of Barber.  Both are legitimate standouts but Jones to me is special and a winner.  But Jones has the nation after him and he will be a tough get.  Duke will also have their eyes open for other players and by the end of April we should have some new names popping up.  Other names to watch are big man Bee Jay Anya and Theo Pinson to name a few.

By all accounts, Ryan Kelly is healing nicely and he should have plenty of time to have his game together before the season starts.  Duke players had a lot of nagging injuries by seasons end but the Blue Devils do not broadcast them until later and maybe no even then.  Coach Krzyzewski has never been one to share too much in the past.  But it was certainly evident that the loss of Kelly effected the team concept and in hindsight, Kelly added a lot of value to the team.

The take on Amile Jefferson in interesting.  Talk to the NCSU types and they are majorly confident he comes.  Their spin is he is waiting to see what C.J Leslie does, well, I will tell you that he is going pro.  Jefferson has a great relationship with the Wolfpack staff but I feel his heart is with Duke.  I though his decision may be tied in with the McDonald’s game but it seems he will watch what happens with team rosters as well as others now.  Jefferson is a nice young man who is likely having trouble telling certain teams no.  Villanova continues to make the hometown push and they are still hovering about but it is down to the ACC schools and I still feel Duke is in the best shape to get his services.  But it’s recruiting, so who knows 100% sure what might happen.

So, we are all waiting to watch the McDonald’s All American game this evening and to see how things shake out for Duke Basketball.  You have heard me say the following on numerous occasions but it applies more than ever to current situations.  Let it play out.  Freaking out and over speculation is a waste of ones energy.  Watch what prospects do and not what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.

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Rasheed Sulaimon talks of his McDonald’s All American game experience

The Duke Blue Devils fan base is excited about Rasheed Sulaimon coming to Duke this coming season and he is excited as well.  BDN Premium caught up to Sulaimon yesterday, hot off his 18 point performance where he keyed the West squad to a win in the famed McDonald’s All American game.  Sulaimon, of course, won the three point shooting contest as well.  We discussed a myriad of subjects which included his play and the staff and fans reaction to his play and what he will work on now that he is back home.  Sulaimon touches on recruiting where Duke is in hot pursuit of Amile Jefferson, Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker and his relationship with them.  He also talks of getting a challenge from Duke assistant coach Chris Collins after he won the three point shooting contest and what Coach K has him working on in another in depth interview from BDN.

Congratulations on winning the three point shot contest at the McDonald’s All American Game, that was awesome. What are your thought and what was going through your mind as you were competing?

I was nervous to begin with but once the buzzer rang I just started to focus and found a rhythm and kept shooting and they were just going in. After the first round I knew there was a really good chance I could win it and my confidence was high and I felt like I was the best shooter going into the competition.

Your family had to be really happy for you. What was their reaction?

My parents were very excited that I won and that my hard work payed off.

Have you been able to talk with any of the Duke coaches since that happened? Did anybody like text you and say congratulations or that kind of thing?

Yes, yes. I talked with all the coaches and they [private]  just told me congratulations and Coach Collins sent me a text message talking a little trash because he was the first Duke guy to win the contest. So, he congratulated me, but he said I still had a ways to go before I could reach him.

He does talk a little smack, I’ll tell you he’s still got a nice outside shot. The coaches will go at it with the managers and walk ons during the season. You’ll see that they get out there and ball. But you represented Duke well and then there is the McDonald’s game itself where you scored 18 points, knocked down four treys. What was it like to play against the best of the best?

You know, it was just a great day having the elite talent in the nation come there and compete and it was very special. And then there was Chicago and the arena itself where Michael Jordan use to play and such a big crowd. It was kind of nerve racking at first, but like I said after I started to get in the flow and everything like that, I just got back in the flow and played basketball.

It looks like you had all kinds of fun, participating in the Duke-UNC-NCSU smack down and all kinds of things. Which guys did you kind of hit it off with out there?

I hit it off with a lot of guys and I knew almost everybody that was there, But a couple of the guys I kind of really hit it off with was me, Shabazz (Muhammad) and Amile Jefferson, we were all pretty cool. And Kyle Anderson and Yogi Ferrell as well, so I had a good relationship with a lot of guys on the team just to name a few.

I have to ask this, Duke is hotly pursuing Amile Jefferson and Shabazz Muhammad. I’m assuming per our past conversations that you were in their ear a little bit.

Oh yes, of course. I was in their ear constantly in that we (Duke) are recruiting both of them. I’m trying to get them to come to Durham with me next year and I think we have a good chance if we keep recruiting them hard and stay on their tails, then I think we’ve got a good chance to get both.

It looks like it will come down to the last minute as there is a lot of transition going on, Duke is worried about losing Mason Plumlee, so a lot is going on. What about Tony Parker? Was there anything going on there?

Oh yeah. I talked with Tony a little bit and I told him or got in his ear a little bit but I think he is still reviewing the schools that is left. I’m not too sure where he’s at with his decision making, but he still says Duke is in it.

That’s interesting. So what do you do now that you are back home after being in all the hullabaloo of the All American event? Where does Rasheed go from here?

Back to the gym. I have to go get better, get stronger and get faster and work on parts of my game and just get ready for the Nike Hoops Summit and the Jordan-Brand Classic and then getting ready for Durham.

You’ll be in around July 1st or so?

Yes sir.

Obviously what you have been working on has been good for you are putting the ball on the floor better, your perimeter game is tight. Have the coaches told you to work on any particular thing? Your game is really coming together.

Thank you (with humbled emphasis)

Oh, you’re welcome. Everybody that saw the game and objective media thought you were one of the three best players in the game and there is a lot of talk of you. So, it has to feel good to get the compliments.

Yes sir. Some of the things the coaches want me to work on are key in on just staying in the gym everyday and get better polishing my skill set and everything like that. A couple of things they really focused on though, was for me to continue to get stronger each and every day and continue to tighten my ball handling in that I will need it next year. I have a good handle now but it wouldn’t hurt to make it better and become quicker and faster.

Have they talked to you at all about possibly testing you at the PG position?

Yes, they have. We’ve talked about possibilities of me playing the PG in certain situations and the off guard. It looks like I will be used in a combo of both this coming season.

You move your feet really well. Therefore you have the chance to become a really good on ball defender, the kind they really didn’t have at Duke last year. Is this something they have spoken to you about as well?

Oh yeah. Definitely, definably. I have always taken pride in my defense and want to take the best perimeter player on that end but they challenged me with the expectation of me coming in and playing great defense and I’m ready for that challenge. I’m going to step up and do whatever I can and play as hard as I can to meet Coach K’s challenges.

Do you still converse back and forth with some of the players on the team?

Oh yeah. I keep in touch with a lot of them, like Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton. Josh Hairston and Alex Murphy. I keep in touch with a number of players on the team and I have good chemistry with them.

That’s great! You’ve been blessed.

Yes sir. I can’t complain about anything, I’ve been blessed my whole life.

That’s great. Everything is coming full circle for you. Coach K saw something in you and offered early on and you have continued to improve and climb the rankings since that time. The Duke fan base is very excited about you coming to Durham and our message boards are buzzing and blowing up with how giddy fans are.

Thank you so much, I appreciate the call and interview.

Best of luck the rest of the summer and you’re welcome, Rasheed.

Have a good one! [/private]

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Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

BDN Photo

The Duke Blue Devils entertained two key prospect this past weekend when Shabazz Muhammad and Amile Jefferson came to town for the Duke-North Carolina game.  Jefferson will make a decision this coming week and we discuss the latest on both the recruiting trail and team in our latest update for Blue Devil Nation Premium Members.  Patrick Cacchio has been talking to key football prospects as well and you can read those articles as well but becoming a member.  And with AAU season coming up this is the perfect time to become a paying member where you will get all the inside scoop from the most active staff on the grass roots circuit.

The Final Courtship of Bazz

Duke's #1 Target, Shabazz Muhammad, Photo by David Becker/Getty for Adidas

Players dream of going out on top. In his final high school game, 6’6″ Shabazz “Bazz” Muhammad finished in dominating fashion, making thirteen of his fifteen shots to finish with thirty-six points in the Nevada state title game for the Gaels of Bishop Gorman last Friday night. The chiseled Las Vegas native won three state titles in his four years, averaged thirty points, ten rebounds, and three assists this season, and will go down as the greatest high school basketball player in Nevada history.

6'6" Shabazz Muhammad, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

Muhammad, a born scorer who plays with the relentless effort that coaches dream about and opponents fear, has been the number one target for Duke in the 2012 class for the past three years and first visited Duke for the Carolina game in Duke’s 2010 Championship season. He came back to visit unofficially again for the Virginia game last season with Chicago’s Jabari Parker. On Saturday night, Shabazz will use his final official visit to fly to Duke University to catch them play their arch-rival UNC Tar Heels. He’ll be joined by his dad, Ron, a former high-flyer from USC in the mid-80s, and fellow McDonald’s All-Americans, Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson, his Adidas Nations teammate.

Last month, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski brought coaches Jeff Capel and Steve “Wojo” Wojciechowski to join him at the HoopHall Classic in front of a packed house in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the left-handed Shabazz Muhammad displayed his full arsenal of offensive weapons, unleashing everything from a windmill dunk to a step-back three pointer. Muhammad finished with thirty-seven points that night in a win against a very solid DeMatha team featuring multiple high-major caliber players.  In December, Coach K headed down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to watch Bazz play eighteen minutes and score twenty-two points in a blowout win against Lakota East at the Beach Ball Classic.

Shabazz Muhammad, Ron Holmes, & Rashad Muhammad, Photo by BDN

Throughout the AAU season, Duke coaches were a consistent presence at Shabazz’ DreamVision games, including not missing a single game of his Super 64 run to close out the summer on his Vegas home turf. The prior summer, Duke coaches watched Shabazz as a rising junior and Muhammad, a die-hard Kobe Bryant fan, watched Coach K work with his Team USA Basketball hopefuls at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Duke Coaches Mike Krzyzewski, Steve Wojciechowski, and Jeff Capel, Stanford Coach Johnny Dawkins, and Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

After an AAU season where Shabazz led DreamVision to three tournament titles and a HS season where he led Bishop Gorman to a 28-4 record, competing from Florida to California in big national showcases, and a third state title, Bazz Muhammad will spend forty-eight hours starting Friday in the Gothic Wonderland in Durham, NC on Duke’s campus. For the Duke coaches, this will be the culmination of their three-year courtship of this high-scoring power wing with a team-first mentality. For the Cameron Crazies, it will be their last shot to convince Shabazz Muhammad, the statuesque young man with a movie star smile and a violent dunking streak, to choose to spend his college year in the mecca of college basketball.

 

Duke Basketball Friday Notebook

Here are a few more notes on Duke Basketball for your Friday –

Next up, Maryland

Nobody is ready to let go of the Duke_UNC game just yet including me as you will see as you read on below.  But Duke has to put that game behind them and prepare to defend the home turf.  Duke should handle Maryland in that they have but so much fire power but overlook any team beyond the bottom dwellers and an upset can occur.  The Terps feature the leading scorer in the ACC in Terrell  Stoglin, but they’re thin up front.  With a much improved N.C. State coming in next week, getting this game into the win column is a must to remain atop the conference and in the ACC race.

Has Duke found their go to guy?

The last question asked in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s press conference was about Austin Rivers and his ability to step up.  I know because I posed the question and I’d been seeing signs of young Rivers starting to get the college game.  Coach Krzyzewski basically said he needed his juniors and senior to step up but in the back of his mind, I am certain he saw exactly what I had.  Well, everybody saw it when he drilled a three point shot over Zeller as time ran out securing a win over arch rival North Carolina.  What you saw offensively is exactly what Rivers did on a regular basis on the AAU level but now he had one of those patented performances on the biggest stage possible.  Duke has found their go to guy and you can bet that the ball will be in his hands a lot as the season wears on.  The bottom line is that Austin Rivers blew up last night showing the kind of confidence that cannot be taught.  If Seth Curry and Rivers get on the same page, Duke will be much improved and last night was a good start towards that mix.   The key here is that Rivers wants to step up and he’s become tougher each game out.  Much like I mentioned early on this season, at some point the light would go off for Rivers and that’s exactly what happened against North Carolina.   Check out Duke Blue Planet’s Comeback Video by clicking this link.

Good job Coach

Coach Krzyzewski kept his team confident and playing hard against North Carolina and they kept playing hard and the end result is the epitome of why you do so.  Krzyzewski shrewdly brought his team in without calling a timeout where he made the move to Tyler Thornton to guard Tyler Zeller.  The reason was that Zeller was the player he wanted fouled and the perceived mismatch caused North Carolina to play right into his hands.  Just before that, Roy Williams called a full timeout for strategy and his team totally came apart being outscored 10-0 down the stretch, struggling to get a shot off during the Blue Devils run.

Streaks

The Blue Devils win will keep their streak of remaining in the top ten in the polls in tact at 88 straight.  Duke also ended the Tar Heels 31 home court winning streak, the longest in their history.  Coach Krzyzewski also kept the edge over his rival 37-36  and one must remember the arly lean years when taking those numbers in when he was building his program.  Krzyzewaki is 13-9 against Coach Williams.

Rasheed Sulaimon named to McDonald’s All American Team

Coming in next season for Duke is a slick guard out of Texas, Rasheed Sulaimon and he’s made the McDonald’s All American team.  Sulaimon is potentially a lock down defender and he can slash about in a way I think you’ll like for he brings the energy.  Duke has a bevy of prospects on the team as well starting with Shabazz Muhammad, a sky walker and complete player for his age.  Tony Parker also made the squad as did Amile Jefferson, a Philly kid Duke recently offered.  Jordan Jones, the sister of Duke verbal, Matt Jones made the girls team.

Amile Jefferson nears his decision

Duke prospect and top 20 rated Amile Jefferson is about to make his collegiate choice.  Here is a recent article link.  For more on this recruitment, join Blue Devil Nation Premium and discuss the matter with other members.  BDN Premium is an extended subscription service where you get the inside scoop on all things Duke Hoops.

Duke and Carolina

Here in the Triangle, the two teams have always been referred to as Duke and Carolina and not Duke and North Carolina.  And you have to understand some of the localese pronunciations.  Duke is “Deeyewk” and Carolina is “Carelina.”  So, you add a bit of a “w” when you say Duke and lose the “r” when you say Carolina.   Also, if you’re a Blue Devil fan never use the spelling “Dook” for it is derogatory like a gangsta slurring his rivals.  And “Dookie” is a no-no, but “Dukies,” is okay.  What?

How big was Rivers shot and or where does it rank?

You see a lot of newspapers running stories on this and research is required for most, but ole Watzone was there is in person for Gene Banks shot in Cameron as well as Jeff Capel and his launched three.  I’ve seen most all of the famous shots but there is a separation point.  In this case, buzzer beaters to win games instead of great shots.  Rivers shot ranks third behind Christian Laettner’s two shots.  The first is his shot heard round the world to beat Kentucky to go to the Final Four where Duke won. The second was a Laettner shot as well, versus UConn the year before, again in the NCAA’s.  But Rivers shot will live for years to come and to me, it was the biggest shot in the lone Duke-UNC history.

BDN’s Monday Musings – Quinn Cook, Ryan Kelly, the Plums, Rasheed Sualimon, Julius Randle

Most people are adjusting back to a normal routine after the holidays, but I found myself quite busy covering two Duke Basketball games and three days worth of high school prospects.  In fact, I’ll finally make it back to the gym today, but only after another edition of Monday Musings.

17 assists, 0 turnovers

During last evening’s post game press conference with Duke Coach Mike Krzyzweski, he quipped, “Quinn Cook has 17 assists and no turnovers in his last two games.”  I tweeted that and within a few minutes noticed there were a bevy of retweets.  For those counting, Cook has played 62 minutes without a turnover.  The freshman point guard wasn’t quite the same after his injury  last season, but after surgery and rest, he’s just now getting back to form.  I’m seeing flashes of what he did before the injury when I covered him on the AAU circuit and that means you will see it as well as the season progresses.  But the true test for Cook will be how does he handle hostile environments like he will in the next two road games with Temple and the ACC opener with Georgia Tech.  Cook is the only true PG on the Blue Devils roster and if he can continue to adjust to the college game and improve his defense, he’ll get plenty of burn.  One must remember a PG eight miles down the road named Kendall Marshall burst onto the scene last year, but in his case, he had to.  Duke has a steady, calm leader in Tyler Thornton, a swing guard, who was making three point shots look like a three inch putt in his last two outings, but that is an area he needs to be consistent in to keep opposing defenses honest.  My thinking is that there will remain a combination of the two in some manner all season long

Austin Rivers is the ACC Rookie of the Year

Rivers had trouble finishing off his moves in his last outing, but the freshman is destined to break out before seasons end.  With Duke seeking chemistry going into ACC play, he’s finding his spot and once again adjusting.  The keyword though is adjusting for he has had a huge transformation with his game since he was in high school.  His willingness to do so has proven that he is all about team first.  Rivers, provided he stays healthy is a lock for ACC Rookie of the Year and he leads the 12-1 Blue Devils in scoring as a freshman for a reason, that being he’s pretty darn good.

The Plums

There was one possession Mason past up an easy shot to dish to his brother Miles who was maybe a foot closer to the rim.  The play didn’t set well with the bench but it showed that Mason is looking to get Miles going in his senior year and how close these guys and family really are.  Next time, take the shot but don’t worry with that play too much for Mason has been a rebounding machine and a very consistent option for Duke.  He’s definitely struggling from the free throw line for sure, but he also leads the team in FG%.  And FWIW, his four blocks last evening tied his career high at Duke.  Meanwhile, Miles had solid back to back games and it seems as if the senior is finding more consistency in his last season as a Blue Devil.  And, for one, think that he will continue to improve.

Ryan Kelly getting aggressive

If you watch the videos we provided from last evenings game, you’ll hear junior forward, Ryan Kelly, state that he sought to play more aggressively.  Kelly recorded hi first double-double at Duke with 18 points and 12 rebounds and his 26 minutes played in the 85-55 blowout of Penn was tops on the team.  Kelly had struggled a little bit of late but it always seems like you can count on him to come back.  Duke will need Kelly to be a presence in upcoming road tests and the ACC season.

Covering Rasheed Sulaimon

I am as impressed as ever with Rasheed Sulaimon.  The future Blue Devil will join Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee who are both red shirting provided there are no injuries in next seasons class.  Sulaimon was flat out sick as a dog during the Holiday Invitational but he reached deep and helped his team, Strake Jesuit, win their last two games to go back to Texas 2-1.  Sulaimon visited Duke with his father and brother for the win over Western Michigan and he continues to recruit for the Blue Devils hoping to add players to his class.

Julius Randle visits

While the students were gone, Randle still got the “Julius Randle come to Duke,” chant which he smiled about.  Randle is a flat out stud in the post and a player the Blue Devils staff covets.  Randle visited UNC yesterday and then caught the entire Duke game.  It’ll be a good while before Randle, a junior in high school this season, decides, but there is already panic at every turn.  If you do not believe me take a look at the message boards.

BDN Premium

We are still offering the special rate of 80.00 bucks for one year of Blue Devil Nation Premium, which is 20% off the regular rate.  No other site covers s many AAU and high school events than do we and it’s time for you to see what you’re missing.  We’ve put together and amazing staff and correspondents that you have to see their reporting to get a feel for how timely and accurate it is.  We have two exclusive interviews up with Rasheed Sulaimon, a bevy of interviews with stud prospects from the City of Palms already waiting and wait until you see our original, yet copied Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Updates. We also spoke with Brick Oettinger of Prep Stars, a long time analyst about prospects and up next are ESPN’s Jason Jordan and Dave Telep telling our members their thoughts on the Tony Parker situation and more.  By being an independent, we can speak with many analysts and are not limited to the ones in our network and we think that is unique on to itself.  And changes are coming as well which are sure to please in 2012, so take advantage of this offer and stay connected and join in the on the discussions and see for yourself the quality we bring to the table.  A quick not on the offer, when joining select the yearly rate of 100.00 through paypal and we’ll send you 20 bucks back.  That’s pennies a day for non stop behind the scenes Duke reporting.