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BDN's Cheerleader of the Week

Watzone’s Monday Musings – Coach Krzyzewski, Duke Hoops, Cheerleader of the Week

BDN's Cheerleader of the Week

It’s another Monday morning and that means a new edition of Watzone’s Monday Musings.  I’m a little upset that I will not make it to New York tomorrow night in that I have been there for most of Coach Mike Krzzyzewski’s milestone wins and this is the biggest one of all!  We will have Andrew Slater there, so rest easy knowing BDN is always represented.  I mean, is there anything else more news worthy than Coach becoming the NCAA’s All Time Wins Leader?  Still, we’ll try to talk a little about other happenings, so here we go -

K – R – Z -Y -Z – E -W – S – K – I

Coach K has become a brand name and for good reason.  The man is an ambassador for all of basketball, Team USA’s lead man and so much more.  But his name is Mike Krzyzewski and he deserves the respect of people spelling out his name instead of taking the easy way out with Coach, the 11th letter of the alphabet.  To this day I watch as media members still fumble with his name.  After 902 wins, you would think they would have it down pat, huh?  If you are around mid day or just after 12:30 or so, follow me on out twitter page for I will be tweeting his press conference comments as they happen.

The Michigan State game

The stage is set in New York City in the famed Madison Square Garden for Duke to win one for their coach and the world to acknowledge his incredible accomplishments.  But this game will be a test of a young teams mettle.  The Blue Devils hung on for a win over a tough Belmont team but showed when the game gets tight, to some extent, so do they.  This is something that happens to a young team that has not established a go-to guy yet and they could face a similar situation in New York.  It will be interesting to see if the immense pressure of winning this game for their coach will make them push too hard or be so emotional that they are spent early on.  Oh!  That’s right!  Duke has Coach Krzyzewski, so all will likely work out.

Mason Plumlee

Mase is having a good start to the season averaging 15.5 ppg, 11.0 rebounds per game and an even more impressive 4.0 assists per contest.  Duke will need for Plum 2 to remain consistent for success this season and Mason seems ready for the challenge.  The physically gifted junior is coming into his own and he can do things athletically few can down low.  It seems like yesterday when I was hanging with Mason at the North Carolina State High School Basketball Championships.  As they say, time flies!

Brother Miles

Masons older brother, Miles, had a really nice outing against Presbyterian where he pout up a double-double of 13 points and 11 boards.  But he struggled in the opener and Duke needs the senior captain to bring his “A” game every night.  Like Mason, Miles can do some incredible things with his uncanny athleticism and once he realizes few can stop him when he wants to take it home, he can become a beast in the paint.

Curry seeks consistency

Seth Curry was one of the more hyped players coming into the season and made All ACC First Team.  Curry scored 10 points in each of the first two games and while that is consistent, Duke needs him to take it up a notch.  No reason to think this won’t happen and there would be no better time for it than in New York tomorrow evening.

Tyler Thornton has been a steadying influence

Thornton brings a calm to the floor when he is out there in that he plays with maturity.  Thornton had a great opener where is production was more than many felt they might see.  While his numbers fell in the last win, he is getting 20 minutes of burn a game.  Thornton will play a key role on this team and will be depended on as the young freshman develop.

Freshman development

This is an on going process but Austin Rivers is the only one of the bunch playing a major role thus far in the 2011-12 season.  Rivers is just scratching the surface and trust me when I say this kid has shown you nothing yet despite playing well and scoring at a 15.5 ppg clip without taking a ton of shots.  Alex Murphy has been saddled in a precautionary manner after suffering a fall, so it is hard to see what he might bring to the table.  Quinn Cook has showed flashes of brilliance but is getting use to the pace of the college game and how sneaky defenders can be.  Michael Gbinije has played a few minutes but has yet to really find his way as well.  The bottom line is the freshman are just that but Duke needs them to adjust their games quickly for at least one of them besides Rivers will need to be counted on in a key reserve role.

Football team banged up

The Duke Football team fell to 3-7 on the season with a 31-21 loss at Virginia and several players were banged up.  Duke is now playing for the future and will attempt to set the tone for next season when almost everybody returns.  An upset win over Georgia Tech in their last home game this week or the following week at North Carolina but injuries might make this a tall task.  Duke never really got a break through victory this season, so fans can hope one will come.

Support the seniors and show up for the last home game

While Duke has struggled to find wins this season, the senior class, as small as it is, has given fans some ACC wins and a few years ago, the Blue Devils had nada.  We’ll talk more about them later in the week but I do want to mention Matt Daniels, a vicious hitter who has been a main stay on the defense.  If Duke ca find players with his resolve and spirit all will be fine and coaches are hoping that other players step up late as he passes the torch.  Daniels has been rock solid for Duke and you should single him out and watch him pop in the last two games.

Until next week, Go Duke and congrats to Coach Mike Krzyzewski for he will soon be the King of the Hill and kounting.

 

BDN’s Duke Basketball Notebook – the season is upon us

It’s time for this season fourth edition of BDN’s Duke Basketball notebook as the Blue Devils are set for tip off.  On to the yapping -

Duke has a tough opener vs Belmont, Maui Invitational bits

It’s been a long time since Duke opened with an opponent as dangerous as Belmont, who they play Friday at 9:00 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  You have to go back to the 2001-02 season when Duke came away with a 1 point victory over Seton Hall.  Normally, teams schedule a walk through game in their opener but not Coach Kryzewski, at least not this season.  Belmont returns everybody of significance from a 30 win team a season ago and they have veterans at key positions.  Meanwhile Duke is young, really young and they will have their hands full in that Belmont is much better than the opponents they faced in their two exhibition wins.  This game is actually a part of the Maui Invitational, an event the Blue Devils have never lost a game in, but Duke will advance win or lose, while Belmont then plays at Memphis, a team the Duke could meet if they defeat Tennessee which is  expected in the opening round.  Former Wake Forest Coach David Odom set up these games and Duke could have probably backed out but Krzyzewski knew this game would offer a chance to prepare his team for the likes of Kansas, Memphis, Michigan or UCLA, all top rated teams in the Maui Invitational.  Duke will see a well drilled team in fundamentals in Belmont and while I think the Blue Devils will win, the game could be a lot closer than people think.

Duke turns around to play in mere hours against Presbyterian on Saturday

Duke will turn around after some time for sleep and face Presbyterian at home.  This game will be a walk through and a test for the young Blue Devils legs.  They will need to bounce back quickly in Maui so this game too is somewhat by design.  The reason I say somewhat is that Duke thought this would be a 7:00 game but instead it is a 9:05 tip off.  Interestingly, the 4:30 tip off on Saturday will be about the time the first half is ending for the football team who travels to Virginia for a 3:00 start.

The word is Defense

In talking to the players on media day, the word all of them mentioned is a Duke staple, that being “defense.” Be it Seth Curry or Austin Rivers, all the Blue Devils said that what they were working on after the two exhibition games was getting it together on the defensive end of the court.  Duke and defense … so what’s new?  Speaking of Seth Curry, we’ll have a video interview with him up in shor

Krzyzewski approaches all time wins mark and there is lots of media attention

If you are not behind the scenes covering Duke, you may not realize how much media pull Krzyzewski has been handling.  Everybody, every outlet from here to Asia wants a piece of Coach who is approaching the all time wins mark.  If Duke wins their two home openers, he can break the record at Madison Square Garden in New York versus Michigan State.  If the Blue Devils slip, that home ticket against Davidson will likely triple in value.  Regardless, Krzyzewski will be honored upon his return.  There are a bevy of specials on, starting tomorrow on ESPNU and speaking of ESPNU, both of the Blue Devils home opener will be televised by that network.  Mike Breen and Doris Burke will be doing the opener, no word on the following evening but likely the same team.  Anyhow, back to the demand on Coach K’s time … there will be several newspaper specials and shows in the works and we’ll keep you posted on them either here or through one of our social network outlets.

BDN Social Networks, join now!

Speaking of our social networks, we have a new Facebook group, called Blue Devil Nation and it is an open group, meaning all can participate.  Just follow the link to your right and I will approve you in short time.  There you will find some great photo galleries from the games as well as off beat fun pics.  And you definitely want to follow us on our popular and informative twitter site.

Duke-UNC Alumni Game Update

The promoters had little time to assemble the Duke-UNC Alumni game and as we mentioned on twitter, the game has been postponed.  They are still trying to bring it together but if the NBA and players reach an agreement, it will be a pipe dream.  None of these events which you are hearing of around the nation are sanctioned by the NBA, so players take the risk of injury.  That fact has kept the event from being held at Cameron Indoor Stadium or the Dean Dome in that they want no part of possible injuries.  Of course, players want to play and earn a little coin during the lockout, so it may very well happen yet and it will be at N.C. Central University and it does, don’t be shocked if there are two games, you heard that here first.

A salute to the military on Veterans Day

In recognition of Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, Duke Athletics will show its support of our servicemen and servicewomen by inviting over 250 armed forces personnel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to attend the Duke Men’s Basketball season opener against Belmont at 9 p.m.  The soldiers from the Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point, Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point Single Marine Outing, Camp Johnson and Camp Lejeune will attend the game free of charge and standing amongst the Cameron Crazies in the student section on Friday night.  If you know somebody that fought for oyur country, thank them on this day. Prior to the game, there will also be a moment of silence as we remember all those who have been lost while defending our freedom.

Clash In Cameron, there will be both boo birds and cheers

Now that Mitch McGary has singed with Michigan, the boo birds will likely be out in Cameron on December 17th during the Clash in Cameron which features the nations top high school players.  McGary and his Brewster Academy will play the 7:00 game, while the nations top rated player and major Duke prospect, Jabari Parker will take to the court at 9:00.  Stay tuned foe more details.

Rasheed Sulaimon is a Duke Blue Devil

Rasheed Sulaimon put pen to paper on signing date and he is now an official Duke Blue Devil.  Welcome to Duke, Rasheed!  In case you are wondering the early signing period began on November the 9th and runs until the 16th.  The next signing period will be from April 11th to May 16th.

BDN will be on the scene all season long

BDN coverage will be top notch again this season.  We are scheduled to be at every game with the exception of #2 ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge,at Georgia Tech,  at Clemson.  That’s all but three games that we’ll be at live and in person via our wonderful staff.  Terry Rains will be in Maui reporting for us and we look forward to that and Andrew Slater will be in New York when Coach K hopefully sets the all time wins mark.  And as always, the original press row tweets from Cameron will continue all season long.  It all started in the national championship season when we were right their in the middle of it all be it on the court for the celebration or in the locker rooms.  BDN gets out there to bring you the best possible coverage we can and that’s why this is the most Duke-centric no official site out there!  We can’t wait for the season to start!

Monday Musings looks at the Duke Men’s Basketball Team

In this weeks addition of Monday Musings, we take a look at each player on the men’s basketball team and share our thoughts on their performances during Countdown to Craziness.  We are more than aware it is hard to tell much from a partial Blue-White game but having watched the Blue Devils as much as we do, there are some trends developingWe are working on BDN highlight videos, so look for those today and a photo gallery as well.  As for the Cheerleader of the week, it will return in the next edition of Monday Musings.

Miles Plumlee – Miles looked like the senior leader we are all hoping for scoring 15 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the game.  Miles is a great run jump athlete and he seems to have found the groove of bringing that athleticism in a consistent manner.  He is a clear starter for this seasons team and the guy Duke can turn to for toughness.

Mason Plumlee – Mason dropped in 9 points and grabbed  5 rebounds in an underwhelming performance but he played well down the stretch for the Blue team.  I have such high hopes for Mason that I hold him to a different level of expectations.  His numbers still translated to around 15 points and 9 rebounds if he had played a full game.  Mason is in the rotation of the top six Duke players and a likely starter.

Seth Curry - I told everybody that would listen over the summer that Seth Curry would take a tremendous leap in his junior season and he made me look like a prophet scoring a game high 28 points with his smooth style of play and he led the team in assists with 4.  We called  your attention early on that we felt he would get a look at the PG spot and folks, he is the starter there which Coach K said in a clear manner with his post game comments.  I will vote for Curry to be first team All ACC on Wednesday at ACC Operation Basketball, something I told other sports writer friends who paused at the notion when first mentioned.  I will bet he has their vote now.

Austin Rivers – Rivers had his Cameron debut after walking out to Frank Sinatra’s “My way,” scoring 14 points and pulling down 5 rebounds from the wing guard spot.  I was the first to get to him in the locker room and the entire herd soon followed my lead.  Such is the nature of things when you are one of the most hyped players in the country.  Rivers six turnovers to a single assist was a bit disturbing but fans will need to wait it out a bit to see his best.  I see Rivers going down a road similar to Harrison Barnes last season where he gets better and suddenly the light goes off.  Coach K warned of lofty expectations with concern to Rivers, saying comparing him to Kyrie Irving would be a mistake in that the PG spot is easier to step into.  As usual, I agree with Coach.

Ryan Kelly – There was much talk abut the off season improvement of the bearded one known as  Ryan Kelly,  His numbers of 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks are numbers  I feel he will put up on a consistent basis,  Kelly simply plays withing the teams framework and I think he will be one of the top for scorers for Duke this season.

Andre Dawkins – Dawkins did not shoot the ball well and ended the game with 7 points and 1 board.  Still, I know Coach K wants him to keep shooting.  Dawkins is currently in the top six players rotation and there is no reason to think this will change.

Josh Hairston – Hairston put up 6 points and pulled down 5 rebounds showing that he can produce at the forward spot.  It’ll be interesting to watch his development this season and see if he can crack the rotation.

Quinn Cook – Cook dropped in 7 points, grabbed  2 rebounds and dished 2 assists in 17 minutes of play.  I heard some say, he’s better than they thought he would be.  Look folks, Cook has a lot of potential and he simply needs to make a grab at the leadership reigns by getting his teammates involved.  I liked Quinn Cook the first time I saw him and he does have the ability to develop into a leader with more confidence on the court.  There is no shortage of confidence off the court as he admits in our recent video interview with him.

Alex Murphy - During the Blue teams rally to win, Murphy played a key role down the stretch.  He took a baseline drive with authority with the game on the line, was fouled and sank both free throws.  That was his only 2 points to go with a rebound, 2 key steals at crunch time and a team high and pleasantly surprising 3 blocks.   Murphy is getting adjusted to the speed of the game and the physicality but he is a smart basketball player that coach K praised.

Tyler Thornton -  “We’ve got another good guard,” stated Mike Krzzyzewski when questioned about the play of Quinn Cook and he is talking about Tyler Thornton a steady performer with good on ball defensive skills.  Thornton has played and can play with the ACC’s best point guards for he did so all through high school.  Nice depth at the guard spot for Duke this season.  Thornton had 3 rebounds from the guard spoit to go with a bucket and an assist.

Michael Gbinije – Silent G scored 3 points grabbed  1 rebound and had 1 assist as the first man off then bench.  He will need to be more aggressive to earn minutes but he does a lot fo things that doesn’t  show up in the box scores and has potential to leap into the top ten quickly.

Marshall Plumlee - Having followed Marshall for several years on the AAU circuit, I can say that he gets bigger and better each time I see him.  The third Plumlee plays with a revved up motor and enthusiasm and that over time will translate into him being a factor.

Cameron Crazies - Leading up to the game, I will give them an A-, during the game a grade of C is at hand for they were very average.  Okay, it’s early and some tradition needs to be learned.  The Crazies went silent when the game started with disjointed cheers.  Part of that is understandable, but that performance  was in no way acceptable behavior if a game was at hand.  I feel certain they’ll improve their game just like the team will in that we are all connected here in some way,.

The event itself – It’s always a feel good time and that will nevr change.  There is a genuine love affair between Duke and their fans, both being faithful to each other.  May the Countdown to Craziness event live forever.

 

 

Countdown to Craziness is Upon Us

You never know what you will see at CTC - Nolan Smith and his hot pants Johnny Dawkins wore pictured

DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s basketball team tips off the 2011-12 season on Friday, Oct. 14 with the third annual Countdown to Craziness. For the third consecutive year, ESPNU will be on hand to cover the events as part of its four-hour Midnight Madness Special. GoDuke.com and ESPN3.com will carry the event in its entirety.

 

“Countdown to Craziness has been highly successful the last two years and we are excited to start this season with another terrific event,” said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “The start of the basketball season is always special, and surely, Friday will be a great experience for our players, staff and fans alike. We are looking forward to taking the floor in Cameron and getting the 2011-12 season underway in an exciting fashion.”

 

Countdown to Craziness will feature live music, inflatable games, highlight videos honoring past champions and the Duke basketball tradition, videos by Duke University Improv, live performances and on-court contests as well as the annual Blue-White scrimmage and a dunk contest.

 

Broadcast legend Bill Raftery along with Lou Canellis will be on site for Countdown to Craziness as part of ESPNU’s coverage of the opening weekend of college basketball.

 

Countdown to Craziness Schedule of Events

5:30 p.m. – Inflatable Games, Live DJ, Face Painting

7:30 p.m. – Doors to Cameron Indoor Stadium Open

7:30 p.m. – On-Court Promotions and Student Performances Begin

8:30 p.m. – 2011-12 Duke Blue Devil Player Introductions

8:55 p.m. – Blue-White Scrimmage (Two 12-Minute Halves With a Five Minute Halftime)

9:45 p.m. – Dunk Contest