We just posted our latest team and recruiting update on the Blue Devil Nation Premium message board which is a members only forum. For accurate and timely updates, BDN will always be a go to site. There is movement on the recruiting front and we break that down for you and let you know what to expect. We'll also tell you which players we've been positive on for almost a year while others are just jumping on the bandwagon. Our staff has background on Amile Jefferson with information you will only find here and we were on prospects like Tyus Jones before many realized the Blue Devils interest on him. Whether you're a former member or one on the fence, don't wonder what you are missing, join today. We have had a monthly option for a while now, but the yearly deal is by far the best value.
(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.
Next up - Recruiting Update
The Holiday tournaments are in full swing from now until the new year and Blue Devil Nation Premium is representing. While I was covering the Blue Devils win over UNC-Greensboro laast evening, our newest deep south correspondent, Travis Boyd, was in Florida for the City of Plams event. We were simaltanously tweeting for BDN loves being in two places at once and on the scene of all things Duke.
Most of the information goes to BDN Premium, like our latest interview with Ricardo Gathers but here is a breakdown of last evenings action in the sunshine state -
Two of Duke's primary targets for 2012 and 2013 went off for big games tonight. Both played with a chip on their shoulder and were competitive with each other from the opening tip. Shabazz Muhammad faced off againat Julius Randle as Prestonwood took on Bishop Gorman. The entire Kentucky staff was in attendance for the game as were assistants from UConn, Michigan., Ohio State and Georgetown.
Randle was in aggressive mode hollering "all day" and "get off me" every time he would make a move to the basket. Muhammad woke up in the 2nd half, 4th quarter especially. He finished the game with 42 points and 5 rebounds and scored in every way imaginable, be it put-backs, big time dunks, jumpers, floaters, and hook shots. There is nothing Muhammad can't do on the offensive end.
Randle had an all around solid game with 26pts 10rbs and 5ast. Randle showed a much imporoved handle in this game and is developing a scary good jump shot off an at times dizzying crossover. As he displayed Saturday also, his ability to pass is far beyond other bigs in high school. He wowed the crowd by running the fast break a few times. Simply said, these prospects can play at another level that most.
In the end, Prestonwood scorec a big 72-63 win. The action continues today and live updates will be on the BDN Premium Members Message Board as they happen. Also coming are more interviews with key Duke prospects and talk of the national scene. Worth noting is the fact that another prospect, Jabari Parker went for a school record 40 points and 15 rebounds last evening.
So take advantage of our 20% off on a yearly rate which is our lowest price ever through Christmas and stay informed! At 80 bucks for the entire year and full site access, we are talking 22 cents a day here for some of the best information available and as always it's way ahead of the curve. Team BDN has assembled a very talented and in the know staff and we're ready to take you into the new year with us, so get off the fence and join today!
The Holiday season is upon us and that means Duke Basketball plays just a couple of December games, but make no mistake, it is still a busy time. The Duke Men's Basketball staff will put in their frequent flyer miles and burn a little rubber as they hit the recruiting trail and BDN Premium brings you an update on the latest news.
Coach Krzyzewski and assistant coach Jeff Capel will be in Dallas, Texas today to watch Julius Randle, the nations #2 ranked player in the class of 2012. Duke will also see (1271 word update ahead for BDN Premium members) [private] Matt Jones, the shooting guard who just pledged to the Blue Devils. There is no mistaking the fact that Duke hopes Jones will help recruit the banging horse, Randle. And Rasheed Sulaimon may help there as well. As I have said in past updates, the Blue Devils covet Randle and think they can get him and Jabari Parker and that would be just magical for the fan base.
Speaking of Jabari Parker, the top rated player in his class that is now being compared to Kobe Bryant by some, the staff will watch him in Fayetteville this weekend. I have long maintained that I feel Duke is in incredibly good shape here and that they were in on Parker very early and have developed great relationships with the family. Duke will also take in the Beach Ball Classis in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where they'll see him again at the end of this month. Parker will have his parents in tow this weekend and probably Myrtle Beach as well.
And speaking of the the Beach Ball Classic, one of two top recruits left for this season at this time, Tony Parker will be there. Duke continues to get good vibes from his camp, especially his parents who I have said for a long time now favor Duke. Parker is a stressful prospect for Duke fans in that the Blue Devils really need him and or have a place for him. I was the first to tell you that the December date was sketchy and that you cannot really go on what Parker says he'll do. And that means the old line, don't listen to what he says, but watch what he does. Parker is enjoying the process, a bit too much for most Duke fans taste for it makes little sense he would choose any situation but Duke for numerous reasons. Of course, they have on royal blue glasses as well but even the objective observer sees the best spot for him is in Durham. I still think he will end upo taking this until summer - late summer, so try and keep your composure and not go bad mouthing him in forums which could possibly damage the teams efforts.
We cannot leave out the top rated player in this seasons class, Shabazz Muhammad who will also be in Myrtle Beach. UCLA, once considered a strong leader is now third in my opinion and as I said a bit back, it will come down to Duke and Kentucky. His decision could hinge on Austin Rivers decision to go pro or stay at Duke, so this one as I have said all along will go to the podium the last day or so of the signing period in late summer. And it doesn't hurt to dream and think that both Parker and Bazz might choose Duke taking all of the build up stress away and making us all five years younger in the process. Muhammad could really flourish in the Duke system where I feel he would be more of a go-to guy than he would be at Kentucky.
Another Chicago are kid has caught the Blue Devils eye as well. Jalhill Okafor is a bruising type in the class of 2014 and stands 6-10 and weighs in at 280. Duke has mad in roads with him and they'll see him this weekend along with Jabari Parker. I am looking forward to reporting on his game as I focus in on him solely for the first time. He plays AAU ball for the Mac Irwin Fire and they at times have so many good players, that it is hard to focus in on one early in the circuit season.
Two players that will play at the former Glaxo event in Raleigh will be Rasheed Sulaimon, already signed with Duke and young Theo Pinson. Sulaimon will thrill the crowd for sure with his water bug like movement. He glides around the court with high energy and his on ball defense is much improved, making me think he can be a stopper at Duke. Our diary session kind of imploded due to his schedule, but he has said he will pick it up soon. Pinson is another 2014 kid that liked Duke growing up. He is an interesting wing that still seems to be growing at 6-5 and will likely be a small forward type in college, but he has good guard skills as well and like all Duke prospects, he has great character. Okay, I know what you are thinking about that statement, but be nice as I said up top, LOL.
The City of Palms, Texas, Vegas .... the Blue Devils staff will be seeing a lot of kids this month. Some of those will be individual visits to the likes of Tyus Jones and Austin Nichols. The Blue Devils fell in love with Jones last year and I had already been there in that he always stood out to me. During my last interview with Jones, I came away very impressed at his grounded maturity which is far ahead of his years. And that kind of maturity is what you seek in a point guard. Duke will be on this kid hard as will everybody else int he nation, but early returns are that he likes Coach K and Duke a lot. Austin Nichols is a 6-8 slender forward approaching 200 pounds that the Devils staff will check out individually. A lot of SEC schools are on the Tennessee native and a few from the Big East along with Butler. Nichols caught the Blue Devils eye but it is early on this one, so we'll call it an on going evaluation.
On the team front, Coach K is very pleased with the 9-1 start to the season and the staff will take measures to try an assure there is no burnout from the added stress of the China trip. There are a few nagging injuries (nothing major) but I only speak of them when announced and the team rarely does this. The staff will be watching a lot of film, so expect a few new wrinkles as the new year moves in. As I said, the plan is to redshirt Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee and this will be a good thing down the road for these will be seasoned and mature freshman. And yes, I played a bit of a game in mentioning lineup changes the other week and many got a chuckle out of other sites running with it in public. It pays to know Duke Basketball, wink-wink and to be a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium. Thanks for being a member guys and let's go Duke!
Talk about this article on the Blue Devil Nation Premium Message Board, a part of your membership package and please do not share, copy and past this information per user agreement. There will be more news to follow in an addendum I will add to this update and we'll be on prospect hard. This is where you will get an idea of what Blue Devil Nation Premium is all about. [/private]
It's getting down to crunch time for one of the nations top senior prospects in the 6-9, 280 pound Tony Paker. The big man with the soft hands and solid post moves visited the Duke campus this past weekend where he took in the Blue Devils exhibition game. Parker was accompanied by his parents and arrived on Friday and spent close to 48 hours with the Duke players and staff. Blue Devil Nation Premium caught up with Tony Parker who gave us all the latest skinny including his thoughts on his visit to Duke where he used the word "great," numerous times. It's a great time to join and gain full site access and then discuss the latest with members on our private message board.
We talked during the AAU circuit and beyond and each time you said that you would be making a decision before your high school season. Is that your plan?
Yes sir. Our season starts November 10th but we're already practicing.
What kind of team do you guys have this season and will you be playing in some of the national made for T.V. games?
We should have a pretty good team, real experienced. We have four games all of them will be on ESPN. [private]
And which programs that have recruited you are still on your list? [private]
It's Duke, Ohio State, Memphis, Georgetown and UCLA.
Have you visited all of those schools to date?
Yes. No, I haven't been to Georgetown.
With a decision looming in a few weeks will you be going there soon?
Tony, you just came off a visit to Duke this past weekend -- how did that go?
It went great, I really enjoyed it. I really had a great time and I had a great time at the game and really appreciate the fans and it was an all around great visit.
When you say you appreciated the fans, can you elaborate on that a bit more?
The Cameron Crazies are a great fan base and they recognize you. They made a sign or poster which I thought was pretty cool. I could hear them cheering my name and one time they were chanting for me to come sit with them and I thought that was great.
Now the lead assistant for Duke is ...
Jeff Capel. It was Nate James and I was able to talk to him too. He just talked to me about where i would fit in and play. They said they would use me as a scorer and give me the ball a lot kind of like they did Elton brand and Carlos Boozer. They showed me film of those guys.
What do you think about Coach K and can you share a little bit of what he said?
He basically said the same thing and he talked to me a lot throughout the weekend making sure I was okay and I think he is a great coach. He's doing a lot of good things with Duke Basketball and he just talked to me about basketball in a straight up way and that meant a lot.
How did you get along with the players while there?
Really well. I talked with pretty much all of them and Quinn Cook showed me around just like the staff did. I saw a lot of the facilities. I got to see Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith and people like that and they sat behind me and my parents at the game. I didn't play any pick up because they had a game you know.
What was your favorite part about the visit?
Going to the game and seeing how they play. They just played a good game and really got after it. It was great and I thought they really played well.
Are any teams standing out?
No, not really. We are still discussing it. My parents will help me with my decision the most.
What did they think about this past weekends visit?
They really liked the visit. They love Duke. My parents have always loved Duke, it's there favorite school.
How do you see yourself at the college level? A center, a power forward?
I think the power forward, I like coming off the blocks and that would be my main position in college.
And how tall are you now Tony?
6-9, 280 pounds.
If there was a game on the line, would you rather have the winning block or a score?
The winning block. I like to play defense.
How is everything else going Tony, like school and such?
School is school. It's my senor year so it's going by real fast. School is all well.
Do you fell like you are living the dream? I mean do you ever step back and think all these good programs are recruiting me and humble yourself?
Yes, all the time.
What are the words you live by or the outlook you have on life?
I would have to say just work hard at whatever you want to do and have a goal and a dream set in life. I want to play basketball so I work hard at it and basketball is my dream. Basically, just work hard and achieve your dreams.
Thank you for your time Tony and good with the recruiting process.
Yes sir, thank you.
Synopsis - Despite the paranoia surrounding his recruitment by much of the fan base, it is worth noting that Parker has kept Duke at the top of his list. While his comments can be all over the place at times, his recruitment is at the point where you can take what he says to the bank. Parker's voice lit up when he spoke of his visit to Duke and it was genuine. While he said he will visit Georgetown, I have my doubts with the season so near but if it happens, it will be the coming weekend. Count how many times he used the word "great," in the interview which I think points to Duke being a most serious player. There is no doubt in my mind that young Parker felt the love from everywhere, be it the crazies, team or staff. He knows there is time for him at Duke and in my opinion, I now feel Duke is the leader for his services. Go back to where his parents will be most influential in helping him with his decision and how they have loved Duke all along and I will once again tell you, family is just that, family. And that family clearly wants him in the Duke family. I think the stars are aligning on this one. Of course this is recruiting so there are no guarantees. [/private]
It's time for the second edition of my Duke Basketball Notebook which will recap the latest happenings around the program. And as always, we'll sprinkle a bit of inside information in as well to add a little spice. Okay, we are seeking a new name for our weekly column, so send in your suggestions via one of the social networks. We feel fans make up the Blue Devil Nation! Now, on to the tantalizing tidbits -
During last week's Monday Musings article I was not clear when I mentioned that Mason and Miles Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry and Austin Rivers were the Blue Devils five best players. Instead, my wording made some think I said they would start. Well, Coach K himself quickly said that this would not happen moments into his post game press conference after the Blue Devils defeated Bellarmine in their exhibition opener. "I'm not that good of a coach to figure out how to start them all at the same time," said Krzyzewski. And if you think there was a clear picture established coming away from the opener with concern to the rotation, think again. Duke started true freshman Alex Murphy alongside the Plumlee brothers, Curry and Rivers. But Murphy struggled in the role and would not come off the bench in the second half. Kryzewski inserted Tyler Thornton into the lineup and the Blue Devils outscored last seasons Division II National champions by a twenty point margin. Raise your hand if you didn't think Ryan Kelly, named a co captain on this seasons team would start after his play in China? Well, not to worry for anybody trying to figure out what Krzzyewski will do this season may be fooled. The bottom line is you will see a bevy of players in the fifth spot this year and it will all depend on the opposition according to the HOF coach.
Seth Curry and talk
After the game I made my way to Seth Curry in the locker room and everybody else followed. Curry has become the silent leader of this seasons team being named caption just last week. In the post game conference, Krzzyeswki jokes with the media about getting good answers from Curry, but I told him he was better. Curry is not a natural talker on the court but in the Duke system this is a must and he's getting better. One has to think he will be one of two players who have the ball in their hands if the Blue Devils are down a deuce in the close game with a few ticks left.
Austin Rivers and his adjustment to the college game
The other player who will eventually become a go to guy will be the potential laden Austin Rivers. You heard it here at BDN first folks --- Austin Rivers is the best interview on the team. Rivers played but 19 minutes and Kryzewski hinted at mixed reviews for his opening game, but rest assured his game is being broken down and rebuilt for the better. Rivers had the ball in his hands pretty much the whole game in high school and on the AAU circuit and now he is learning to play off ball and it will be an adjustment. Rivers is the best penetrating guard on the team from my vantage and he will learn to pass off on his drives which will help the bigs finish inside. Rivers knows he's learning as well and he acknowledged that by showing Blue Devil Nation Video/ his battle scar on the game. Rivers took a hard fall and after having his head buried for a few seconds he jumped right back up and moved on. In the past Rivers may have complained to the refs or showed animation but it is clear that this has been addressed by the staff and he is already a better player from learning that lesson.
Marshall Plumlee and redshirt rules
If you are expecting to see some burn from Duke freshman Marshall Plumlee, think again. As you know we tweet live from press row in Cameron and several followers wanted to argue that he could play in an exhibition and still red shirt. Well, they isn't true from what I have gleaned and the only way Duke will waste a year of him coming in deep off the bench will be if there are injuries up front. Krzyzewski made it clear that the brothers Plumlee, Mason and Miles, Ryan Kelly and Josh Hairston would rotate in the two big spots, leaving three perimeter spots open in the process. And back to BDN tweets for a moment, ESPN Gamecast is now running our take in their roll and we appreciate that. We're pretty good at what we do and take in all things Duke so if you are not a follower, you should consider it for breaking news and unique coverage.
3 Point Shooting struggles versus Bellarmine
Duke defeated a well coached Bellarmine team by 25 points on the strength of a 49-29 second half. But the Blue Devils struggled mightily from the three point stripe, going 2 for 14. Had they hit a few more of those shots, the score gap would have widened earlier. It was midway through the second half before Tyler Thornton dropped on from the top of the key. Andre Dawkins who struggled from the field in the Blue-White game had another poor shooting night going 0-3 from the stripe and 1 of 5 overall. Dawkins is considered the Blue Devils best three point artist.
Blue Devil Nation Facebook Open Group and BDN Photos
Let me plug our Facebook site as well, in that Blue Devil Nation has a open group. We have just started to grow that end of our coverage and you will find our outstanding photo's there as well. Join the group and see our Countdown to Craziness galleries as well as fifty great shots from the win over Bellarmine. Our photographers have features Lance, now touring ESPN Game Day on a weekly basis and currently my friend Rick Crank and they are both really good at what they do. We've always been big on illustration at BDN and that will continue. While you are at it, check out our videos on You Tube under Watzone and Blue Devil Nation Video where you will see timely post game interviews and exclusive coverage.
Tony Parker Interview
Well! I posted a Tony Parker Interview for Blue Devil Nation Premium last evening but accidentally made it available for public access. Needless to say, many got a chance to read it and there were some very positive vibes. BDN Premium is our extended subscription service which takes you on the inside of the latest happenings surrounding Duke Athletics and our information is always ahead of the curve. Hey, it's what we do and we do it well! If you got a chance to read the article before we carried it back to premium, perhaps you realize how timely our coverage is. If so, join! In fact the first ten new members to sign up for a years coverage which is our best rate, will get ten bucks through paypal, making it a steal at $90.00 for the year.
Duke vs Carolina
As we hinted to you last week, there is a Duke vs UNC alumni game in the works and the powers that be are still working on a facilities. When the details are ironed out, we'll let you know more. We also broke the information on Clash in Cameron last week where Mitch McGary and Jabari Parker will show off their skills in Durham. We'll have more on that as well.
As for Monday Musings, well, it will return next week with he usual tidbits. Up next for Duke hoops is an exhibition game against the Shaw Bears on Wednesday evening and as always, BDN will be front and center to bring you the best coverage we possibly can.