Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Taylor Bowen Talks Recruiting

The John Wall Holiday Invitational has a rich tradition of bringing some of the nation's top prospects to the Triangle area. I headed over to check out two prospects Duke has offered in Matas Buzelis and 6-8 Taylor Bol Bowen where both play for Brester Academy out of New England.

Bowen put up numbers of 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and 3 of 4 from the three-point stripe. He also added 2 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. And he is consistently putting up steady numbers across the board in three games at the event.

The budding star caught my eye on night one in that he makes his team better when he is on the court. He is unselfish, has a nose for the ball, and is long and lean allowing him to alter the game defensively.

I like that Bowen plays intelligently and within his game. In other words, he rarely forces things to happen that lead to turnovers. He can go up to flush a dunk, get in passing lanes and moves the ball quickly to teammates when the ball is in his hands.

He has been improving steadily and will likely start to creep up in the rankings with his versatility and stat-stuffing game. His outside shot has been questioned by some but he nailed three of tour three-pointers today. And he has worked on his ball-handling showing pride in that as he answers the questions below.

It is easy to see why Duke coach to be Jon Scheyer extended an offer to Bowen. He seems to be a solid young man, focused and the right combination of being humble and confident at the same time.

I can see how he'd fit in any college system. Every team needs an unselfish player who could become a disruptive force with continued work. I saw enough in my two vies of him to see him as a late bloomer that may soon shed the label of being a little raw. From my vantage, his versatility makes him one of the best players in the class.

Which schools are most involved in your recruitment of late?

As of right now, I am hearing from schools like Duke, UCLA, Georgetown and Providence a lot. There has been a lot of teams from a lot of conferences but right now my focus is on getting better.

What are you looking for in a school?

I am just looking for a school that will give me an opportunity to play my game and be me really. You know, just a second home. I am not going to ask for playing time or minutes I just want to come in and earn it with work.

What have you been working on of late with concern to your game?

I have been working on a lot of my guard skills and I think it showed up here. I know I need to work on my shot but I am really just trying to put together a good game and focus on what I do best.

You mentioned Duke earlier. What kind of relationship do you have with Jon Scheyer?

Coach Scheyer is a great coach for sure. He was one of the first to reach out to me on June 15th and I really appreciate that. Obviously, I have been a big fan of Duke and what they have going on there. (Note - He is speaking of the open period and when coaches can make contact with prospects.)

Has he spoken to you about how they might use you in the system yet or is it a little early for that?

Definitely a little bit but I will give you an idea of what was said. He just wants me to come in and use my length and athletics and versatility.

Now, you reclassified... is that still on as planned?

Absolutely, yes, as a freshman I went to St. Georges and I really appreciated that opportunity when I had it but I will graduate next year [2023] for sure.

I know you are close to your brothers and have a home gym with them?

Yeah, yeah.

Are they a part of your inner circle and who will help you make your college decision?

It is going to be me and my close coaches and trainer. It is really a tight-knit circle with my family and coaches. That is really it, there is no outside noise and I just want to continue to focus on my game.

I have seen a lot of guys play over the years and your play of late has you poised to move up in the rankings. Your game has improved to the point where everyone is noticing. How will you stay grounded if that kind of thing starts to happen?

Well for me I know I am not number one and I am not the best I know that there are guys out there ahead of me and that drives me every day. I want to kill that guy who is in front of me every time.

Are Academics big for you?

Yes, most definitely. My mom instilled a work ethic through discipline and education was a part of that.

I read in another interview that if you didn't make it to the NBA, you would possibly seek work in basketball in front offices, etc...

I really want to get my degree for sure and my mom always said if you are not going to play basketball you have got to get your degree. Even if I make it she says I still have to get my degree from a good school so that is high on my list as well. No chance I would never be okay with the NBA not working out. If that doesn't work out I am going overseas for I want to play until old age But once I am done with the game I still want to be a part of it in that there are so many different things you can do.... so many different levels all the way up to the pros. I just love the game and love being around it.

What advice do your brothers give you?

My brother just give me advice to just be me and play hard. My brother Deng is one of the hardest workers if not a harder worker than me and I feel like if he was 6-7 or whatever he would have been one of the best players in the nation. But he worked hard and walked on at UVM.

For the Matis Buzelis interview, you must be a member of Blue Devil Nation.

Matas Buzelis Talks Recruitment -Scouting, Notes Too

Brewster Academy lost their opening game of the John Wall Holiday Invitational but they have two more games in Raleigh to prepare them for their conference season.

As a boarding school, they have just come back together as a team after an extended lay off and they showed a bit of rust as they adjusted to different rules as well. They will play again this evening at the JWH Invitational and on 1:30 the following day.

Brewster HC Jason Smith on Matas -

He is a really good kid and someone I enjoy being around on a daily basis. He is engaged in the classroom and off-campus activities. Matas is hearing basically from everybody in the country.

Matas Buzelis on being recruited by Duke and what is his relationship like with Jon Scheyer?

It's great just to talk to these types of coaches and get that attention.

Do you have a visit set up with Duke?

No, I haven't, actually.

Is there anything in the works on that front?

I haven't really thought about it but me and my parents will be scheduling something, for sure.

What is the most important thing for you in the recruiting process?

The rest of this article, game analysis on all the Duke prospects at the event you must be a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium which allows you to view thew entirety on the message board.

Duke – On the Road Again

The Duke Blue Devils (11-1, 1-0) are coming off their last seven-day break in between games to travel to Clemson (9-4, 1-1). This will be the second true road contest for Duke and part of two consecutive games in hostile environments where Notre Dame is next. NOTE - This game may be rescheduled.

While the Blue Devils will certainly not look past a pesky Clemson team, the two-game stretch should be a teaching tool and measuring stick for the staff. The only loss of the season was at Ohio State and the team learned then that road games are a different animal.

One of the things to watch is how the team deals with what we will call holiday legs. It takes a bit to get back into game shape after relaxing with family but rest assured the staff likely had a tough workout before they head to South Carolina.

The other possible concern is the mental aspect. Players can quickly relax at home, reflect on the season to date, etc. But this staff knows all ACC teams will be ready to punch Duke in the mouth.

One of the remaining lessons to be learned is how hungry teams will be when they face Duke. Yes, we all know Duke is the only ranked team and we have all heard that the ACC is down. But this is where one must understand that Duke is the one glowing win others can put on their tournament resume.

Duke, IMHO, had a wake-up call against Virginia Tech and they took care of business. But they had the home crowd to lift them and that will not be the case in the next two outings.

As mentioned, the ACC teams will be hungry for an upset win against Duke for the mere fact they are a highly ranked team. And Clemson and Notre Dame following that contest are better than many think as are some other teams in the league.

Clemson crushed Virginia in their last outing and they hold wins over Drake, South Carolina, and Temple as well. The Tigers' losses were to road games with Rutgers and Miami and close losses to St. Bonaventure and West Virginia in early season tournaments that have them sitting at 9-4.

The one thing Duke must do is to locate their three-point shooters and push them off the stripe. Clemson is as good as anyone in the nation with their three-point shooting.

Duke should also be focused on their best player in P.J. Hall. The Tigers rebound well too where three players average at least six boards per game.

The Blue Devils have been solid to date this season, but as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski states, his team is still learning. In my last article, I mentioned phase I and that is over. Now Duke enters ACC play for the rest of the regular season but we will lump these next two games together as another learning phase on how to handle hostile environments on the road.

So, what we will hope to see in the unusual 2:00 start on Wednesday is for Duke to put together a full forty minutes on the road. They fell short of that against the Buckeyes and it showed that no matter the hype a team has coming into a game that a hungry group can and will knock you off.

Sean Stewart to Duke

Jon Scheyer and staff remain on fire as Sean Stewart committed to the Duke Blue Devils this afternoon. Stewart is a 6-8 power forward from Windermere, Florida and a top prospect in the 2024 class. He joins Caleb Foster giving the Blue Devils two early verbal commitments.

Duke Adjusts to Defeat the Hokies

The Duke Blue Devils teams of the recent past may have succumbed to an upset at the hands of Virginia Tech last evening. But this year's group found a way to battle through and in the process give fans a glimpse at a team that could adjust on the fly.

By halftime, it was clear that the Hokies came into Cameron focussed and well prepared coming off a huge win over St. Bonaventure. Even the start of the second half appeared to show a Blue Devils team wilting a bit under the pressure of ACC play.

Duke was forced to go smaller, playing Paolo Banchero at the five. And that adjustment helped the Blue Devils move to 11-1 on the season and 1-0 in the conference.

Banchero who led Duke in scoring with 23 points to go with 8 rebounds showed up when he was most needed. And the talented freshman once again became the clear go-to man as the teams' comeback and eventual eleven-point win.

The swiss army knife-like Wendell Moore Jr. was once again the Blue Devils' most steadying player. His leadership and calmness under pressure were once again both evident and vital.

This was also a game where AJ Griffin stepped up his game even more. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was quick to point out he had given Griffin more minutes to see how his conditioning was coming along and he did not disappoint.

I am on record as saying Griffin would be vital to the Blue Devils run this season at some point. But that point was last evening. Duke will continue to mix and match their lineups this season due to matchups but Griffin is starting to carve out a role with his strong play.

Despite the students being on break, the Cameron crowd did a heck of a job lifting the Blue Devils. In fact, both Banchero and Griffin mentioned that in the post-game presser.

And this was a valuable lesson for the younger players. They had already understood how tough life can be on the road with their loss at Ohio State. Now they know teams will come at them hard in Cameron too.

The Hokies solid play enabled the Blue Devils to get the push they needed to reach deep and pull off a win going into a seven-day break before traveling to Clemson.

The players are all set to return to their homes for the next three days of the Christmas and holiday break. They will do so as the nation's #2 team and more importantly, they took care of business in the ACC.

As for those who worry so and so players did not get minutes may I remind you this is a long season. Each and every one of the Duke rotation players will have their time in the spotlight. Virginia Tech was quick to react to the ball last evening and that forced the Blue Devils to go smaller than normal.