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Josh Hairston talks recruiting and an upcoming unofficial visit to … find out by joining BDN Premium

Hi Josh! This is Mark Watson with Sports Nation Network and I was wondering if I could chat with you about the recruiting process and where you stand?

Yes sir! No problem.
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Let’s start with your list! Is it the same or have other teams been added?

It’s Georgetown, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Memphis and Clemson.

Clemson? They’ve kind of come in a little late … I guess Oliver Purnell made a pretty good impression?

Yes sir. He went to a couple of my games in Vegas. They’ve always had somebody at the games of late which is impressive.

I’m going to go down your list so you can give me some comments on each one …
We’ll start with the Virginia schools. Virginia. What are your thoughts on the Wahoos?

Virginia was one of those schools that recruited me early. I’m very close to Coach Leito and Coach Courtney. I’ve been down there for three or four game so far. I’m comfortable there.

Now, Virginia Tech. Correct me I’m wrong. Isn’t your Mom an alum?

Yes. They were one of those schools who came in after UVA. When they came in they made a huge impression. We went down there for a football game. You know the campus is beautiful. The fans are crazy and Coach Greenberg is a unique coach who I talk to all the time. He’s a great guy … his staff is great and I had a good time down there.

Okay! We’ll stay in the ACC. Tell me about Duke.

Aw Man, um. Duke, was um. Duke is just Duke. They came in when I went down there and I fell in love. They’ve got a beautiful campus and some top notch guys. I know some guys … I know Andre Dawkins who is going there. I talk to him all the time. Duke is … when I went down to Duke I definitely felt at home. I’ve got family who are close to Duke. My grandparents live a couple of hours away in Martinsville, Virginia.

Martinsville is pretty close to all of the ACC schools … or Virginia, Virginia Teach and Duke. You seem to like Duke. What do you think about Coach K and what he did in the Olympics recently?

I actually talked to him yesterday. I get out of school at 2:20 and he called at 2:21. Coach K is probably one of the best there has ever been. He’s very professional. He takes everything very seriously but not to where he is yelling and stuff all the time. He’s a great guy when he laughs and jokes with everybody. What he did with the Olympic team … that was phenomenal with Jason Kidd and LeBron. What he did making them play together was amazing.

What about Georgetown?

Georgetown was the first to recruit me. I’m very close to Coach Thompson and Coach Burke. You know they are 45 minutes away from my house, very close to home, but um, I’ve been there several, several times with my AAU team or just making visits up there. I like it.

How about Memphis?

Memphis was one of those schools who didn’t show up until recently. I’ve got an offer but I really don’t know too much about them. We were going to try to make a trip out there but I’m not sure if that is going to happen. There a new school.

Do you have any unofficial visits planned to these schools?

Um, right now I’m looking at the September 13th to head down to Duke. I talked to Coach K about it and my family, we are going to work things out. I don’t have anything else right now, but I’m going to get there. Did I mention Ohio State?

No, you didn’t.

They’re definitely one of my top schools. Sorry about that.

That’s okay. Tell me about the Buckeyes?

I went up there when they played Michigan State in football and it was crazy up there. They love Ohio State. I got a chance to sit down with Coach Matta and Coach Miller. I really do like Ohio State and I’m very close to Jared Sullinger. You know, we talk almost every other day. They’re definitely in my top.<

What is the timeline for your decision?

I definitely want to have it done at the beginning of basketball season or no later than the end because I don’t want to go into my senior year thinking about where I want to go. I definitely want to get it out of the way this year and just be happy with my decision and just relax and play basketball.

You said you talked with Coach K. Have you talked to any other coaches of late?

Yes. I talked to Coach Greenberg and Coach Matta.

Will you stay with your same AAU team or will you cross that before summer starts?

Yes sir! I will stay with DC Assault. I’ve grown so close to them … I call them all my brothers and we all talk. During high school season we separate. Some as far as Maine … during AAU season we are definitely close because we win so many tournaments.

Have you thought about what you might take in school?

I really haven’t thought about it yet.

Let me make I got this … you have no other officials set up?

Not at this time but we’re still looking at September 13th down at Duke.

You mentioned friends … do they try to sway you to go to there school?

Yes sir! I’m friends with Nolan Smith who actually goes to Duke. We talk. Every time I seem him he tries to get me to come to Duke. A lot of my teammates are being recruited by the same schools. I do think about that because these are guys who I know how they play.

Is it important for your parents that you play somewhere they can pretty much get to in a short time?

Oh! Yes sir. Definitely, my parents are my biggest fans. I don’t want to go somewhere like UCLA all the way on the west coast where they could never see me play. I definitely want my parents to be able to come to the games. I so use to looking on the sidelines and seeing them?

Does Mom ever give you a nudge and say so you have to go to Virginia Tech?

She does real good. My mom is very open. The coaches… she tells them what they’ve got to do to get me. But in the end, it’s my decision. She will sometimes push if a school is too far. She is very open.

I’ve heard your Dad grow up a UNC fan? What would he do if you went to Duke or Virginia?

Oh man, we’ve had that talk before (laughing). I told him he was just going to have to change. We grew up watching UNC basketball, but I don’t think he’ll be too involved in that rivalry if I go to Duke.

What are the most important factors that will go into your collegiate decision? Is there like one, two, four things?

Yes sir, definitely academics. I don’t play around with my grades. I take them very seriously. I look for family because I’m a big family kid. I love my parents, I love my little sister. And I just want to see who the colleges are trying to bring in. You know, I’m not trying to be that top notch guy that has to do everything. I want to out on the floor with four other good players. If I have their back, I want them to have my back. I would take a national championship over a player of the year award any day.

Suppose somebody had never seen you play. Describe your game in your own words …
I like to get out an run on the fast break. Those who evaluate me say I’m a very good kid who runs the floor well. I like to rebound. I can shoot the twelve to eighteen footer …I can do most anything.

Well, I certainly got what I needed and enjoyed talking with you. Good luck with school and your coming basketball season.

Thank you very much.[/private]

Gold Medal Winning Coach Mike Krzyzewski Returns Home

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Just minutes after placing his feet on American soil, Mike Krzyzewski addressed a throng of media members and adoring fans at RDU International Airport. Coach K is still immersing himself in the Olympic experience and will continue to do so as the media requests are sure to come in from well, everywhere.

That’s the life of the legendary college coach who melded together NBA stars into a cohesive unit which of course made all things golden. While the Chinese media gravitated towards players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant making them darlings, Coach K is sure to get lots of love in the coming days.

Coach K was flanked by family, in both blood and Duke Blue brotherhood. As he took to the podium, assistant coaches Steve Wojciechowski, Chris Collins and head of basketball operations Chris Spatola stood at attention behind their captain with the American flag as the backdrop. His wife Mickie, daughters and their children were just to his right.

In typical Krzyzewski style, he first commented about the players. “The players were amazing, both on the court and off. They represented us so very well.” He then gave props to Spain for a competitive game. At that point chants of USA, USA, USA, USA could be heard ringing in the corridors of the airport.

He didn’t stop with his praise and commended China on being a good host before joking, “If they had elections there which they don’t, and Kobe was a write in, Kobe might win.” This brought laughter from the crowd and allowed his staff to crack a smile in the background. He continued on Kobe, “Thank goodness he took over at the end of the game.”

He then showed graciousness towards his staff, including new Stanford coach Johhny Dawkins saying they worked tirelessly with no recognition. You can bet that the work proved worthy for each and will look fabulous on their resumes. “It’s definitely the best basketball experience I’ve been involved with,” said Duke assistant Chris Collins.

Knowing Coach K, he was probably already mapping out recruiting plans on the flight. He was quick to quip with a smile, ” It’s so good now to just be the Duke Coach,” which brought about applause from Iron Duke Members and fans alike. He then said, “It’s really good being the Duke coach having won the Olympics.”

“You don’t realize how proud you are to be an American until you are in those settings and you’re representing your country, said Kryzyzewski. He then reflected on the awesome accomplishment of winning the Gold Medal, ” During the National Anthem before the Gold Medal game, we are all standing there just mouthing the words and all of a sudden you get emotional. You start crying and say “Boy,” I wish my Mom and Dad were here … and how the heck are you this lucky to be representing the greatest country in the world in this fantastic sport.”

Well Coach! Duke fans get a bit emotional too. We wonder how the heck we are so lucky for you to represent the greatest program in the world and be our coach 24/7. Congratulations Coach! You’ve made us all proud.

Note – The Blue Devil Nation will have the Q & A session with Coach K up tomorrow, so please check back that and Coach Cutcliffe addressing the media for the home opener.[/private]

Game Week – Thaddeus Lewis Interview

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copyright BDN Photography

Who is your biggest fan or the one who encourages you the most during your career?

My Momma! She’s my biggest fan. So I have to give a shout out to my Mother. My big brother too. He’s kind of like my idol. My brother is nine years older than me and everything he’s done in sports, I’d like to follow.

What was it that you liked about Duke when making your collegiate choice?

Duke is somewhere you can be comfortable at. You want to be somewhere where somebody wants you. I wanted to contribute right away and there is a family atmosphere here amongst the coaches.

Some in the media are saying Zack Asack is pushing you in practice. How do you feel about that? Does it make you a better player or do you just try to be the best Thad can be?

I don’t like to read the media, but I’m glad he is. That’s the type of thing you want. God forbid anything happen, but you would want someone behind you that can lead this team if something was to happen to me. So, it’s a good thing, it makes me a better player making me compete everyday. I wouldn’t have it no other way.

What do you think of Coach Cutcliffe so far?

Coach Cutcliffe is a great man! A guy that’s going to push you to your limit. He wants the best out of you everyday and will not let you settle for less. That’s the type of man you want around.

How about Coach Roper the OC?

Coach Roper is a fun guy. He stays on you! He’s a good teacher.

I noticed during the opening day with the media that your body looked a little different than last season …

They brought in Coach Durfey as the strength and conditioning coach. He has a good weight program and works us hard. If you come into our locker room you are there to be in pursuit of excellence, so if you are not ready to work, well … It took a lot of hard work, plus the challenge that Coach told us he wanted us to drop weight and get to a certain level of body fat.

Do you have a different gel going into this season than last year? What’s your general feel?

More mature. Confident in what you can do. This is my third offense in three years, but being a leader you have to adjust. It feels kind of good in that you have a lot of players around you who have that game experience.

Tell me a little bit about being a leader for this season’s team …

I’m not a real vocal leader, but I try to show it through my actions. You do everything to the best of your abilities and let the guys see your working hard and they will follow.

I assume you have a good relationship with Eron Riley. Have you two developed …

Definitely! Since me and Eron have been connecting with each other … sometimes the two of us will come out here and throw some balls together trying to get our timing down. Just going to his house and playing games and hanging … it’s a relationship we are all in on here.

What are your goals for the coming season? Any personal goals?

No personal goals, just a team goal. Every time you hear us shout it will be “We are Duke.” We’re going to take it one game at a time and do whatever it takes to fill up that stadium out there. (interview on practice field)

Tough question here … In the recent past Duke hasn’t fared well at home. You have four consecutive to open the season starting with James Madison. What will you do to turn it around?

People want to see you win. If we go out there and get that first “W,” we know they’ll want to come back to see you. But they will want to see if we can repeat the success as well. If you give the fans what they want, you definitely are going to get that support. You’ve got to earn it.

What is Thad’s message to Duke fans going into Saturday evening’s opener with a tough JMU team?

We hope to see you there. We’re going to go out there and give it our all and try to give them a show. Our guys will always come out and give it our best and no matter the results we’ll come back hard in our pursuit of excellence. People say that winning isn’t everything, but actually it is and we want to get a win.[/private]

“Meet the Devils” Photo Gallery

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The Blue Devil Nation strives to bring the best coverage available for Duke Football and Basketball.  Here is another photo gallery which features the festivities of the Meet the Blue Devils Day (be sure to click Meet the Blue Devils to view the gallery) where fans gathered for autographs from players and coaches.  Among the pictures are Coach Cutcliffe’s SEC Western Division Champions ring and a more personal look at the new staff.

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Getting to know prospect Nate Lubick Class of 2010

This seasons NBAPA Camp provided me my second opportunity to see class of 2010 prospect Nate Lubick.  He showed a solid knowledge for the game and got up and down the court with ease.  He likes to float out, but is capable of banging when necessary.  His head is always in the game.

“I like to workout.  That’s pretty much my life right now,” said Lubick when asked what he liked to do.  He went on to say that he took advantage of the summer months and AAU ball.  Lubick plays for the New England Playaz, which of course has Florida commitment Erik Murphy.  They are also teammates at Southbrough High.

He will be going to Cincinnati for the Take Five Adidas event, and Augusta, South Carolina for the Peach State Classic.  Lubick will also attend the Joe Brown Memorial in New Jersey and then head to Vegas and Los Angeles to wrap it all up.

I asked him about playing with Murphy and he said it was a good experience and that the two were friends.  “My Dad is our high school coach.  It’s a little different growing up with the program and seeing guys go to D-1 school,” said Lubick.

He still has a lot of schools he is considering and stated, “I want to get a really good feel for the schools recruiting me.  I haven’t cut my list down as of yet and everybody has been really good to me.”

One of the important things for Lubick is his comfort level with people and getting to know the coach.  “It’s just got to be a good overall fit.  Education is probably the biggest thing,” said the 2010 prospect.  He continued saying Wake Forest was the only small school looking at him and that they had just gotten involved recently.

Virginia, UCLA, Michigan and Georgetown were named as being in contact the most by Lubick.  These teams appeared to be among the leaders, he then told me that he would take his five allotted official visits.

I asked him to describe his game to those who haven’t seen him play and he said, “I’m versatile.  I play the wing more in AAU, but they have me playing down low here which is fine.”  I can do a little bit of everything and try to play harder than anybody.  I try to use a high basketball IQ and try to make the play when I can.”

I then turned his attention to the fact that his Dad was the coach and asked him if it was at times difficult.  “It was a little bit the first season, but this past year was much better.  It’s a little weird to have him screaming in my face at practice and then go home and eat dinner with him,” said Lubick.

He will try out for the USA team (2009) which travels to Europe.  He said Favors, who will go out for the 2008 Team USA was the toughest player he had played against and that named  Xavier Henry as far as the NBAPA Camp was concerned.

I then asked him of his Triangle visits and whether the Dukes and UNC’s of the world had been in contact.  “Duke is definitely in it.  They are really high up there for me,” said Nate.  While Duke has not been in constant touch of late, it didn’t bother Lubick.  “Coach K is really busy with the Olympics, but I do talk to Coach Collins a lot.”  He continued, “I talked to Wojo at first and then Coach Collins took over.  He’s a real good guy, one of the best I have dealt with.  He told me that they didn’t really look at guys until they were juniors.”

He then said, “They have said that I will be a priority in their future recruiting and that they had seen a lot of me.  Coach K came to my high school to see us play.  I did talk to him and he said I needed to solidify what position I like to play.  He sees me as a wing, but likes the stuff I do inside.”

Finally, I asked him a BDN staple question, which was to give me three words to best describe him as a person.  He said, “Smart, loyal and humble,”  I said, speaking of smart, how are your grades.  “They’re very good.  St, Mark’s is one of the hardest schools there is.  I have an A and four B’s.”

Lubick showed a baby hook during the tournament and a lot of hustle.  It was clear that he has a basketball IQ and he will only get better.  There is no doubt that the big kid with a bushel of offers might be seeking on from Duke.  Time will tell on this one and he is certainly a prospect worth keeping an eye on.

NoteBDN Premium will be covering. the Peach Jam and Peach State Classic this weekend.  There will be live reports.  You can count on interviews and solid, firsthand scouting reports on Josh Smith, Andre Dawkins, Jason Morris, Jamil Wilson and of course Lubick.

BDN Premium Members have full access to our archives, a premium only messge board to talk over the latest happenings with other Duke fans and more.  We have several interviews up with prospects right now.  To become a member, go to the paypal links at the old site, located in this link.  The paypal links are in the left in the menu.  We will then send you access codes or a member ID and password.  Those who join today, will be ready for the weekends action and the best reporting you will see.

Also, we just put up our informative General Recruiting Update which gives you the most accurate look available on the true Duke prospects.