Here are some highlights from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and players Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and R.J. Barret before the teams trip to Canada.
Quick hits -
Marques Bolden said that the freshman are fundamentally sound and know how to do the little things already.
Bolden was asked about the transfer rumors a season ago and said it was never a true option for him.
Bolden said that much of his offseason work concentrated on his motor and eating habits.
Javin DeLaurier worked out with teammate Justin Robinson and his Dad David in the offseason where he took kickboxing lessons and also yoga while in San Antonio.
DeLaurier said his role was to lead as an upperclassman and that he joked with Bolden that they were the older guys now. He joked that the freshman came up and asked if there were practices on Saturdays in which they laughed.
The freshman are especially close and work hard and are ready to listen according to DeLaurier.
R.J. Barrett said he was excited to return home with Duke and see his friends.
Barrett said he had worked on his outside game and hoped people backed off him in games.
Barrett said that a big part of his game was to make plays and that he could run the point if needed.
Barrett said he has achieved good things while in Canada and grew up watching Andrew Wiggins and that the younger generation now looks up to him.
Barrett said Javin was one of the hardest workers he has seen.
Barrett said that Krzyzewski just allows him to play and he was one of the funniest guys he knows.
Krzyzewski said he just wanted his players to play to their strengths without position worries.
Krzyzewski glowed when he talked about Zion Williamson calling him a great player and young man on and off the court. He said his weight was proportioned to his body type and that he had good lateral quickness.
The first Mike Krzyzewski coached Duke team to take an offseason foreign trip was the 1983 group to France. Freshman at that time could not make the journey per NCAA rules, but that has now changed.
Thank goodness for said changes, in that Duke will rely heavily on freshman this season and two of them in Tre Jones and Cam Reddish will be sidelined for their upcoming Canadian trip.
It was announced earlier today, that Cam Reddish is hobbled by a groin injury and that Tre Jones had yet to recover fully from an issue with his hip. While both players will be ready to go for the season and are participating in some drills, Krzyzewski will err on the side of caution and sit his prized freshman but did call the injuries minor.
Duke has completed seven of ten allowed practices to date. "So far, I couldn't be more pleased with the chemistry that has developed and these guys have been really fun to coach," said Krzyzewski.
Krzyzewski also said they have not been pushing conditioning as of yet, stating that his team was in decent shape but the staff did not want to push them too early. "For this trip, it is impossible to put in your entire system, so we are trying to keep it simple and see how our guys play."
As for the veterans, Krzyzewski said that Javin DeLaurier has played great and not just good. And that Marques Bolden was healthy and adjusting to a new position and how he will be used.
Other notes from his press conference were that Jack White has lost ten pounds and is shooting the ball better per Krzyzewski and Alex O'Connell has been playing well.
The Duke coach also said the team would run a different offense this season with five men out and more motion. And there was a strong hint that the team would get back to playing some man to man defense.
Before Kryzewsski came out for the media, R.J. Barrett took to the podium. He was asked if there were instances where he could run the point as a lead ball handler in which he said yes. Krzyzewski would later say that as well, "Having those two guys (Jones, Reddish) out will hurt our ball handling for the trip and there will be more emphasis with R.J. being out there. Alex O'Connell will help and Zion (Williamson) will be all over the place "
Krzyzewski also said this years group would be good defensively and that they would do a lot of things differently than a season ago on offense where he expects the players to have the freedom to create.
Duke will leave for the Toronto area on Sunday where they will play three games in six days.
GAME SCHEDULE August 15, 2018, 7 p.m. ET Game 1 vs. Ryerson University Hershey Centre August 17, 2018, 6 p.m. ET Game 2 vs. University of Toronto Hershey Centre August 19, 2018, 3 p.m. ET Game 3 vs. McGill University Place Bell
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
Team Williamson was in the stands for the Duke vs Virginia game this past weekend. Zion Williamson was able to see more of the Duke campus and the facilities with members of his family. Flanked by his mom Sharonda Sampson, they sat behind the Duke bench. Be sure to check out the documentary below which is sure to get you excited while allowing you to the the character of the Blue Devil to be.
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.