Swoosh! That was the sound of the nets heard during the Carolina Challenge as Theo Pinson showed off his three point range knocking down three straight in the first game. And that was a good sign for many analyst have questioned Pinson and his outside shot. But Pinson is more than that and it was clear by the end of the Challenge that he was clearly in the top tier of players, many feeling he was the best prospect at the event. No matter how you cut it, he would have made the all tournament team had one been named. BDN caught up to Pinson and we first share this video interview with members and will later follow up with another interview and have experts break down his game. Our Carolina Challenge coverage is just getting started, so enjoy this video and check back in for much more. [private]
(We have now made this a public video) I had the pleasure of talking with ESPN's Jason Jordan about Duke Basketball Recruting during the recent Holiday Invitational in Raleigh. I got Jordan's thoughts on Julius Randle, the latest on Tony Parker, Theo Pinson, Jaquell Richmond and Tyus Jones and more in this exclusive BDN Video for our premium members.
One of the more well known recruiting evaluators, Brick Oettinger took time to talk with BDN Premium about Duke prospects Theo Pinson and Jaquel Richmond. Oettinger is the long time recruiting columnist for the ACC Sports Journal, formerly known as the Poop Sheet and he is the evaluator for Prep Stars as well. If you are looking for meticulous notes, he's your man. Pinson and Richmond, super sophs, combined for 34 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists nd 8 steals leading their Wesleyan to a 69-54 win. Here is the video with Brick, an exclusive for BDN Premium [private] members -
Since last we profiled Chicago's Jabari Parker, he has led the United States to a Gold Medal at the FIBA Americas 16U Championship in Mexico, where the 6'8" wing was named the MVP of the tournament. Over the past month, Parker stood out against the nation's best at the LeBron James Skills Academy and helped take his relatively young Mac Irvin AAU squad deep into several tournaments including the Peach Jam, Fab 48, and, most recently, into the finals at the Desert Duel.
Recently, Jabari spoke with us about a variety of issues, including his USA Basketball experience, his recent profile in Sports Illustrated, and a scouting report on some of his recent teammates, who also have received recruiting interest from Duke.
What schools are you considering? Kansas, Washington, Duke, Illinois, and Michigan State.
What’s going to influence your decision when you choose a school? The best program where I can fit in, a program where I can develop as an individual, both in basketball and character-wise.
[private] (Other site) Chicago basketball, is that the best basketball in the country or what? I would say in the country because, as a public school, we don’t have the ability to recruit as the other schools do, so I always consider us one of the best high school programs in the country.
What did you learn about yourself at the academies? I learned that these guys are just as good as me, so I have to work hard, I have to make myself stand out through hard work.
What do you feel you need to work on? Not just being an individual, but being able to have your teammates play around you and it’s not about one person...Just getting to loose balls and playing better defense, too, cause you know I can lag on that. And getting my jump shot improved, too.
What’s it like playing in front of college coaches? Not a lot of pressure, but, you know, I’m kind of used to it, but it’s good because you know… Do you find it makes you play or act differently? Do you find it motivates, excites, or even makes you a little nervous? It makes me kind of motivated because I can show them what I’m not good at and show what I’ve improved on and lacking in skills.
Do you feel you've improved as a shooter over the past few months? I’ve gotten better, but it needs some work. You know, I’m just getting in the gym and getting shots up. I’m not thinking about it too much, but just.. Getting comfortable with your range? Yeah.
What was the USA Basketball experience like? It was very good. It was very aggressive. It’s kind of different from the States because they called a whole lot of ticky-tack fouls. In the national game, they let you be more physical where hand-checking is allowed.
How long does it take you to get used to the rules, etc.? Well, it took me about a week. We practiced in Colorado Springs, so they had us learn the rules.
What about winning the MVP? It must have been exciting. It was good. I was actually surprised because you know Aaron? Yeah, Aaron Gordon.. He played well and just my teammates..they were just as good as me, so when I got it, I felt honored.
What were the highlights of the trip? The highlight was obviously winning the gold medal, but other than that, I meant… Yeah, but off the court, we went to Chichen Itza. It was one of the Aztec pyramids or something like that we got to see. It was like another wonder of the world. We got to see that up close.
Oh, that must've been a great experience. Forgive me, but what’s the latest in your recruitment? Missouri just offered me, Tennessee just offered me, and UConn, too.
Who’s been after you hardest since that June 15th deadline? Illinois and DePaul. DePaul has sent me a lot of things. They kind of get under you because they’re the local school.
Have you enjoyed playing with Jahlil Okafor? He said he looked up to you. What’s your relationship like with him? Oh, that’s like a little brother to me. Jahlil’s very good. He’s a really big person down-low that you can throw the ball down to. He’s looking to be like me- one of the top players in his class. He’s very dominant.
He had mentioned how you had slimmed down on your body and how he was going to try to do the same. Yeah, with me and him, it’s all about our bodies are different. Growing up, it’s about eating the right food. You can’t get away with taking a lot of days off.
Can you give the audience a scouting report on Theo Pinson? Oh, Theo’s very good. You know, without the ball, he can run the lanes very well. He’s very athletic. He’s just good for his age. He can do so much that other kids can’t do at his age. He’s a very natural player. Yeah, he’s very natural.
What was the experience at LeBron like? It went well. We did a lot of skill development, getting coaching from all different levels- from the NBA down to high school. You know, it just brings different views.
What sort of things did you learn? Footwork, just different footwork… and skills as far as reverse pivots and face-up game.
Speaking about those five or six schools that you mentioned before, can you mention something about each of them? Well, they each have great coaches, they have a long history, they’ve been able to win, you can also develop as a person too with them and you can trust them. I just like that the coaches there are all good. I think I can fit into their systems well.
What makes you think that you can fit into their systems? Because it’s versatile. I’ve been scouting throughout the players they had and I’m similar to some of those players..the ones that are able to post inside and out and play the small forward position.
How likely is it that your schools are likely to change from here on out? It’s able to change, there are a lot of schools trying to come in, but you know, things can change, I guess. I just like those schools.
I guess I was just curious, but do you have a friendly rivalry with Julius Randle? Well, you know, he’s a very good player. You know, me and him are a rival on the courts, but me and him get along very well and we talk. We share words and we talk about schools. I just like being around him. I know you guys are often associated on a national level. Yeah, yeah.
In terms of visits, have you taken any recently? Do you have any upcoming? I don’t have any visits planned because, you know, I’ll be busy. In August, I really don’t know.
Who are some coaches that you’ve enjoyed talking to? It was surprising to see Jim Calhoun, you know he just won the National Championship..and his interest in me being very high. He’s always won national championships and he plays in the Big East.
Have you spoken with Durant and what advice did he give you? I met Durant in Chicago and… I remember you really looked up to him, I remember that he was one of your favorite players. I’m glad that you had the opportunity to meet him. Yeah, he’s a very good guy. He was always involved with us. He also worked with us individually as well. He also told us that we need to work hard and told me not to let my talent be wasted by not working hard.
Did you get to play against him at all? Yeah, I got to play against him. How did you do? I did okay. He didn’t really play to his full effort, but…
How far along do you feel you are in terms of your recruitment? I think it’s getting there. I think it’ll be before my senior year. I’ll be able to decide one day. Only time will tell.
(Kentucky site reporter) You mentioned Kentucky. You've gotten a little interest from Kentucky. Have they called you since June 15th. Yeah, they called my parents and they didn't really give me any insight into what was said. They just said that they were very interested in me.
(Kentucky site reporter) Do you feel like you have an offer from them? Not really, because I think that they're interested in other kids from the 2012 class. But Coach Orlando, he contacts my mom sometimes. (Kentucky site reporter) What would be your interest level if they did come through with an offer? It would be so-so.
Have you visited all five of them? I have visited all but Kansas. I haven't visited Kansas yet. I've been away and at the camps. I haven't visited them yet.
Is that something you want to do or thought about? Yeah.
Since we're getting near the end of the season, how do you feel you and your team are playing right now? I think we're playing well, you know. We're playing well as a team. This spring, you remember we were struggling a little bit, when we were trying to get used to each other and our surroundings. Right now, we're starting every game strong and everybody is playing well with each other.
What is the importance for you and your teammates of going out with a bang…ending the summer on a high note? I've been playing pretty well this summer. You know getting a lot of hard work in, between the Nike Skills Academies and the LeBron James Camp… and I've just tried to grow from there.
It translates also back to AAU ball. Yes, it does. It really started from USA camp. We worked very hard from there and coaches there just said, you know, to play as hard today in practice as you will tomorrow in the games. We all tried to take that to heart, you know.
Speaking of USA Basketball, what was it like playing with Tyus Jones? How did he mesh with the team as your point guard? Oh, yeah, it was really good group and Tyus was one of the best guards at passing. He really facilitated more than he scored for our team, but, you know, he could score anytime that he wanted.
In terms of watching tapes or games of older players, which ones have you enjoyed watching most? I've actually enjoyed watching a lot, but recently I was watching the Boston Celtics against the Houston Rockets. I just loved to watch Larry Bird move around the floor and seeing how he stayed active and involved. Then, I've also been watching the Portland Trailblazers against the Nets or I mean the 76ers back when they had Doctor J and just trying to take from that and how they played hard and how they would try to get their baskets.
I saw you yesterday trying to incorporate the bank shot, which is sadly missing in a lot of the younger guys' games. Oh, yeah, definitely.
What did you think of the recent SI article? Yeah, it was real good. You know I appreciate it. The guy interviewed me and he thought I was a very good guy. Yeah, well, you are. Thanks, you know I'm just glad with the way it turned out and I appreciated his time. I'm just so glad that I had an opportunity to have an article on me and I never want to take it for granted.
How do you account for the improvement in your explosiveness? When you're dunking the ball, how much does the thought of igniting the crowd play into what you're going to do? You know I just started to get a little more bounce. Sure. Yeah, and you know the weight going down has helped me a lot as far as being lighter and helping me stay in the air a little longer.
What about your match-up with (Kuran) Iverson? He's got a lot of tools too and he's around your size, age, and athleticism. Yeah, I've got to say that he brought the best out in me. He made me play harder and not so sluggish. In the beginning, I thought he got the best of me and so I needed to come out strong for my team in the second half.
Thank you very much. It was great to see you, Jabari. It was great to see you.[/private]
The Duke Men's Basketball staff will be hitting the recruiting trail starting July 6th and we'll know much more about new targets at that time. In our latest recruiting update we speak of Tony Parker, Rodney Purvis, Theo Pinson, Jabari Parker and other prospects, breaking down the latest skinny for our members. We also update you on the current team and tip you in on what to look for with concerns to the 2011-12 race for captain. Join BDN Premium for full site accss and be in the know. BDN Premium Duke Basketball Recruiting Update
This update is a part of the Blue Devil Nation Message Board which requires an active subscription to view.
After a brief hiatus Monday Musings is back and we have plenty of stuff to talk about. The reason the article went MIA was due to an overload of Blue Devil Nation Premium articles which simply dominated the site last week. One thing BDN followers can depend on is the flat out best recruiting circuit coverage available.
The NBA Draft is still fresh in many fans minds and the Blue Devils added three more players to the league. Kyrie Irving became the second Blue Devil to be the first overall pick, joining Elton Brand as the two Blue Devils holding that honor. Irving looked rather suave as he hit the podium fulfilling his dream. While some Duke fans feel a void in that they saw him play just eleven games in the royal blue, there are benefits to his quick departure. Irving will represent Duke well and he's already had good things to say about Coach K and the program. Having an alum in the spotlight will only bring more talk of the program and rising prospects really like seeing the hot rookies which stay fresh in their minds. Duke adds Austin Rivers this year and trend is developing of great guards coming through Durham on a yearly basis. Here is Irving and Tristan Thompson being introduced to Cleveland Cavalier fans.
How cool was it to hear, "And with the 21st overall pick in the NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select Nolan Smith of Duke?" Maybe Kyle can give Nolan some tips as he rolls to home state to Oregon with a guaranteed contract in tow. Smith worked hard at Duke and had both up's and downs but he stuck it out and he is now in the NBA. FWIW, I jumped out of my chair and cheered as if it were a Duke buzzer beater when his name was called. Here is the latest article on NDotSmitty.
Then there was Kyle Singler chosen #33 by the Detroit Pistons. Singler barely missed the first round but he fell into a good situation with the Pistons in that he was still their first selection and he will get a sure contract. The Detroit brass pointed to his leadership, work ethic and skills when they spoke of their prized rookie. I will sure miss all three of these guys but the memories from each have been great, especially Nolan and Kyle who brought a National Championship to Durham. Here is a link on the Pistons desire for character and that led them to draft KSing.
It seems like a few months ago when I was covering Duke players at the N.C. Pro Am at North Carolina Central University. Maybe it's the fact I am getting older or it could just be that coverage never ends at BDN. Regardless, BDN will be front and center with coverage for the event which starts this week. BDN was the first site to cover this event and therefore we've developed good relationships with those involved. It's a first rate event worth your summer time and a friendly atmosphere awaits. Stop by and say hello for I will once again be in the end zone with my own private desk;) A key change to note -- no high school players are allowed to participate per NCAA rules this season. That means no Pinson, Purvis and such. One other tidbit is that Duke players rarely show the first session, so look for them next week. And yes, Duke will have players participate but their time will be cut short due to the China-Dubai trip which happens in August. As we've said before, Duke is allotted ten full practices before the journey.
USA! A few key Duke Basketball recruiting prospects were missing during last weeks NBA Top 100 Camp and for good reason. Targets Jabari Parker and Theo Pinson were in the red, white and blue leading Team USA to Gold. Parker averaged 15.4 ppg and grabbed 6.4 rebounds a contest. Pinson was the fourth scorer at 11.5 ppg and added an amazing 6.2 rebounds from the wing. Team USA finished 5-0 defeating Argentina 104-64. Here are the TEAM USA U16 Stats.
Stash this in the remember where you heard it department. Harrison Barnes will be the ACC Pre season POY and maybe even the national one as well. A look at returning scorers in the conference shows that he is the top returning one in the league. And look for the Blue Devils Seth Curry to make first team while Mason Plumlee will be on the second team. UNC and Duke will be picked one, two in the league. Yes, Duke fans, Barnes pictured left would have been in the top 8 picks had he gone pro, so his return guarantees that he will be one of the most hated Heels ever.
Measurements are coming in from the Nike Skills Academies and we found out that the measurements for the brothers Plumlee. Mason Plumlee measured 6'10," 234 with 6'11" wingspan, while Miles Plumlee measured 6'11.5," 247 with a 7' wingspan. For full prospect measurements, check out the BDN Premium Message Board.
Recruiting information has been red hot of late and BDN has an incredible amount of material for you to catch up on by becoming a member. We'll be heading to the Peach Jam in July but there is much more before then. We'll keep you in a bit of suspense on that. Look for a lengthy interview with Tony Parker today, so get off the fence and join the most dedicated Duke site in the world! Be sure to go to our premium section located just under the header and take a look at what you're missing. Recent interviews include, Robert Carter, Davonta Pollard, Rodney Purvis, Troy Williams, Joel James and Nate Britt. BDN Premium brings you print and video interviews and if you haven't heard the name Andrew Slater yet then you are not paying attention to our incredibly well informed basketball recruiting analyst and his one of a kind interviews.
Duke Football Recruiting has been on a roll of late and you can find all the latest verbals by simply going to our football section. Our resident recruiting analyst, Patrick Cacchio has been on a roll of late and BDN has become the place to be for Duke Football coverage. We need more members on our football message board to discuss all the breaking news, so join up and help us make our forum the very best. We are currently seeking a football board moderator, so send me a note through our popular twitter site if you are interested. Anyhow, Coach Cutlciffe and staff are on a roll and they are beating some big schools for the latest commitments. One other note, do not miss our BDN Football Friday column which is the best weekly football article on the web. If you find a better column on Cut's team, let us know and we'll work harder.
Speaking of Duke and ACC Football, I have been writing a preview of the conference for another site. Everybody points to the Duke offense being able to move the ball due to more vets on that side of the ball. A closer look will tell you that Duke starts just two seniors and that nine of these kids will be back again the following year. I picked Florida State and Virginia Tech as division winners and the main reason is that both have a manageable schedule. The Blue Devils have the 22nd toughest schedule in the nation according to Phil Steele. By writing a preview, I have a jump on fellow media members in picking the All ACC first and second teams at the fast approaching ACC Operation Football gathering.