The Duke men's basketball staff has been busy of late on the recruiting trail. Today, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff are visiting Vernon Carey Jr. in Florida. The 2019 Power Forward is s sure thing prospect. For more on who Duke has visited lately and some other interesting information on Carey, join Blue Devil Nation Premium during our two for one membership special.
Two future Blue Devils will also be on display today during the Jordan Brand Classic which tips off at 5:00 on ESPN. Tre Jones and Cam Reddish will suit up for the moe squad in today's contest. Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett were scheduled to play on the same squad but will sit out the event. Williamson has his thumb in a cast for three weeks after injuring it at the McDonald's All American game. Barrett has had an extraordinarily busy schedule and will sit out the event. All of the current Duke signees have been select to play in the Nike Hoop Summit which starts next week. Blue Devil Nation expects Williamson to sit out that event as well but it is likely Barrett will play.
Duke lost Gary Trent Jr. to the NBA yesterday. We dreamed of a rekindled backcourt of Tre Jones and Trent whom played together on the AAU circuit and in high school. But Trent is a hard worker who is mature beyond his years and ready for the challenge. Duke will miss his three-point accuracy and mental toughness. He joins Marvin Bagely III and Trevon Duval as Blue Devils who will enter the draft. We should hear news from Wendell Carter Jr. soon. Carter is a projected lottery pick. All of these players gave their hearts and soul to Duke which fell just short of the Final Four as Grayson Allen's shot rimmed out. As for Allen, he is currently speaking with agents as are others.
The off-season is a busy time for Duke Basketball. All Star games are winding down while recruiting is still going on. Duke will soon start their exit interviews with players after class completes for the semester. More on that and much else on the Blue Devil Nation message board.
Three future Duke Blue Devils have been selected to the USA Basketball team that will compete in the Nike Hoop Summit. Tre Jones joins Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson in the game which takes place on April 13th in Portland, Oregon.
NEWS: USA Basketball announces roster for 2018 Nike Hoop Summit on April 13 in Portland, OR
Well, I can't tell you how many times Duke basketball has played 9:00 games in late January on the road at Winston Salem. The result was nice for the Blue Devil faithful but these games are no fun for the team due to travel and early morning classes. And with that said, lets jump into the sixth edition of 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball.
The most important thing we learned last night...
...was that the young team is learning how to handle their business on the road. Duke has now won five consecutive conference games and more importantly, three of those wins have come on the road. The team is getting better after the lessons they learned in losses to Boston College and N.C. State on the road. The resurgence has positioned the team in sole possession of 3rd place in a tough 14 team league.
Who played well and who didn't
Firstly, Grayson Allen comes to mind. He is still struggling a bit with his shot but put up a big time stat line while running the team. By his running the team, that obviously means that Trevon Duval did not have a good game. In fact, Duval had perhaps his worst game of the season. Gary Trent Jr. has been playing his best basketball of the season since the loss to N.C. State. And all Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III did was once again tallying double-doubles. And then Alex O'Connell came off the bench to play 20 minutes of good ball. As for Javin DeLaurier, he still seems to be getting back into the flow of things upon his return from injury.
No, I am not talking about the title of a Stephen King book. I am speaking to the fact that Duke has perhaps their most important home stand of the season coming up this Saturday and then Monday night. And their opponents will be #2 Virginia and conference nemesis Notre Dame. Cameron needs to be on point.
Speaking of the Virginia game
It is not often the home crowd in Cameron or anywhere else are treated to a top 5 match up. But that is what we get this Saturday and there is plenty of incentive for the Blue Devils in this contest. Lets start with the fact that Virginia is undefeated in the league and atop the standings ranked #2 in the nation. Duke Basketball can flip the script with concern to the ranking and pull within a game in the standings with a win.
The keys to a win will be ...
Well, Virginia is good on defense. And they knock down their free throws. Quite simply Duke must have great shot selection in this game for possessions need to count. When teams miss, the Cavaliers can make you pay with a slow methodical style. And Duke must limit their opponents trips to the free throw stripe. It would bode well for Duke to get a working margin or lead in this game while limiting their turnovers. Perhaps no other player thanTrevon Duval who struggled in his last outing, will be more important. He'll need to play under control and watch for the traps.
Future Dukies played well on Tuesday
After his verbal commitment to Duke, Zion Williamson went off for 37 points in Spartanburg Day’s (S.C.) 87-38 win over Oakbrook Prep. Tre Jones went for 24 points as his No. 5 Eagles beat visiting Lakeville South. Oh, and he had double figures in rebounding and assists for a triple double. Yeah, he is a Jones. BTW, Duke will not have its 76th McDonald's All American game participant this coming March in Williamson and the aforementioned 2018 class.
A heads up
NCAA Tournament tickets are on sale at all locations and they are running some early specials. Duke basketball fans may want to consider looking into the region in Charlotte that takes place on March 16th through the 18th. Yes, that is a hint and the teams goal on where they want to play. Some key dates -
While some are caught up in next seasons recruiting class, this years team is way to fun to watch....so pay attention and beam into the present. Duke will be a major factor heading down the stretch as we enter the halfway point of the ACC season. One of the most incredible talents in the land in Marvin Bagley III is special, so enjoy him while you can. The other freshman starters are all doing their thing as well and the senior leadership of Grayson Allen and his last home game against UNC will be here before you can blink an eye.
I was asked about Virginia at Duke tickets
It generally starts, "Hey, do you know anyone..." Yes, somebody asked me if I knew of any #2 Virginia at #4 Duke tickets in Cameron Indoor Stadium. FTR, there is one ticket left on Stub Hub for five hundred bucks. The rest are going much higher than that. Vivid Seats has them from $579.00 per ticket to $789.00. FTR, face value on most Duke tickets is close to one hundred bucks. which is likely most expensive in America these days. If you have won the lottery recently, you might look into Grayson Allen's Senior Day game against North Carolina to close out the regular season.
Several columns coming
There are two columns coming to bluedevilnation.net this week. One will be on Zion Williamson to Duke and the other will be titled you heard it here first, but we cannot divulge what that will be about just yet. We are also running a special through the end of the month on Blue Devil Nation Premium where we double your membership for the usual price. For those who have recently subscribed, be sure to sign up for the message board as well for more information.
The McDonald's All American team was officially announced today and three Duke Blue Devils to be will participate in the prestigious contest.
Tre Jones, a 6-2, 180 pound point guard from St. Paul, Minnesota (Apple Valley) made the team. He follows in the footsteps of his brother, Tyus Jones who played in the game and eventually helped lead Duke to a National Championship.
Cam Reddish, a 6-8, 215 pound SF from Norristown, PA (Westin School is on the roster as well. Reddish recently scored 25 points in his teams close loss to IMG Academy. He plays center on defense and basically his high school teams PG on offense out of necessity.
RJ Barrett, a 6-7 190 pound SF from Mississauga, Canada (Montverde Academy) also made the team. Barrett and Reddish are generally considered to top ranked players in the nation in no particular order. Barrett led Team Canada to a win over Team USA and plays for the top high school team in the nation.
Also on the team is Zion Williamson, who will be making his college decision this coming Saturday, More on that and other Duke recruiting tidbits in the latest team and recruiting update for members
Duke is also still active with Moses Brown, a center prospect who blew up during the spring. The McDonalds All American game will take place on March 28th, 2018 in Philips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks.
The last time ESPN visited Apple Valley High School, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was in the stands watching Tyus Jones go up against Jahlil Okafor. The two would go on to become teammates in Durham where they led the Blue Devils to a national championship in their freshman season.
Last evening, ESPN returned to Minnesota where another soon to be Blue Devil took to the court. And that just happens to be Tyus younger brother Tre.
Tre Jones will follow in his brothers footsteps and attend Duke University next season where he will take over the point guard spot. It is widely thought that, Trevon Duval will announce his intent on going to the NBA after the season.
"He's a Jones," that is all you need to know said a long time follower of high school basketball. Tre Jones hopes he can incite more magic in Durham where he will join future teammates in highly ranked R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish.
Jones would tally 39 points last evening while dishing out a bushel of assists. He was the best player on the court, but on this evening Apple Valley fell just short of a win in a hard-fought 82-79 loss. Jones tried to lead a furious comeback but in the end his team could not overcome Minnehaha Academy led by Jalen Suggs.
I witnessed Jones AAU team, Howard Pulley, lose their opening game during the Nike EYBL season, Jones took that loss hard before his team went on a major roll to become one of the circuits powers.
There is little doubt Jones took last evening loss hard as well with his brother in attendance. But one of the reasons Tre is rated so highly is his ability to bounce back and improve.
Tre Jones’ final line for the evening was 39 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 blocked shot, You can't get much better than that.
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Tre Jones selected the Duke Blue Devils as his college destination. The Minnesota native is the top rated point guard in his class having blown up on the shoe circuit in his senior season.
"Today, it's not about me. It's about my tomorrow. And my tomorrow will be at Duke University," said Jones just minutes ago. He was flanked by his two brothers and his mom Debbie.
Having another Jones in Durham should excite the Duke fan base in that they are proven leaders and winners. Jones, brother, Tyus helped lead the Blue Devils to their fifth national championship under Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Tre Jones is considered to be more athletic than his brother and is known as an in your face defender. Jones can flash down the lane and finish with the dunk to go with his adept passing skills.
'' There is a little bit of advantage just having seen them more in depth and how they handle a season. With Tyus there I got to see it up close and personal and it was a fun year,'' said Jones earlier this AAU season when asked if his brother being at Duke helps their efforts.
When Jones was asked to describe his game, he stated, ''A leader. I bring a lot of intensity on the defensive end and hope that carries over.''