Here is another edition, albeit a brief one of Monday Musings. BDN takes a look at Kyrie Irving, the Amile Jefferson recruitment, Matt Daniels and more.
Amile Jefferson Decision
It's taken Philly product Amile Jefferson, a consensus top 35 prospect a long time to decide where he will play his college basketball but a decision will be made tomorrow at his high school. As of now, three hats will be in place, those being Duke, Kentucky and N.C. State but some still say Villanova is alive as well. Jefferson has played this one really close to the vest and its rare nothing has leaked out in today's recruiting environment. Duke has had good feedback but the delay in a decision has effected them as well as the other schools. Kentucky has made a strong late run and they've already pulled one kid high on academics in Alex Poythress. On paper, Duke is a good fit for Jefferson on and off the court with his educational acumen but it is N.C. State that seems to be a late favorite. Those who cover Wolfpack recruiting have been supremely confident on this one for a good while and here is a tweet from the Wolfpacker this morning, "We'll have some Amile Jefferson stories lined up Tuesday, and then coverage of the press conference live at the school." Sound like they;re pretty confident and it would not surprise me if his decision leaks soon if he is indeed Raleigh bound. Jefferson is the last prospect on the table for Duke in the 2013 season.
Kyrie Irving set to be NBA Rookie of the Year
Kyrie Irving is the real deal and the whole world knows that now. The number one pick in last seasons rookie class and is set to be named NBA Rookie of the Year. And to Duke fans credit, you do not hear a lot of "what could have been." like comments, but one has to wonder what kind of season he would have had past a few games. Austin Rivers will join Irving as a first round pick in this years NBA Draft and that will keep Duke in the limelight. Irving averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 51 games.
Duke LAX success
What a great weekend for Duke LAX as the men and women took care of business. The Blue Devils Men defeated Syracuse 12-9 and the Duke Women ousted Virginia 11-9. Both teams move to the next round of the NCAA Tournament. And it's the last day to vote for C.J. Constabile, so go here and support his career efforts Vote here
Coach K will host his annual Coach K Academy at the end of this month and then it is off to training camp for Team USA. Krzyzewski has logged quite a bit of frequent flier miles and has rarely been in Durham. Coach is currently in Dallas and was recently on the road for ten days after the Nike EYBL Boo Williams event. Press conferences will start any day now and BDN will as always support Team USA efforts.
Matt Daniels nabbed by the Rams
Former Duke Safety Matt Daniels has signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams and he's earned a lot of praise as a player who is most likely to latch on from undrafted player. He is the infamous Gil Brandt from NFL.com on Daniels in this link. BDN will follow Daniels as he tries to fulfill his dreams.
There is a lot to talk about in this weeks Monday Musings column with concern to Duke Basketball, especially on the recruiting front. As you already know, Duke made an offer to 6-10 forward Austin Nichols and that kicks off the AAU season.
Speaking of the AAU season, Blue Devil Nation Recruiting Analyst, Andrew Slater covered the Nike EYBL and showed his prowess on the beat. Slaters' twitter site blew up this weekend with premium like information as it happened. Our premium members know that Slater is the best at what he does and now the secret is out that Team BDN is as good as it gets. My side kick is a protege of the infamous Tom Knochalski, a legend and pioneer on prospect evaluation and his in depth interviews and analysis on the front is unmatched.
Slater will unveil an interview with Marcus Lee who plays for California Supreme, a prospect who caught the Blue Devils staff eyes this past weekend. BDN tipped the nation off last night that there is a new kid firmly on the radar. But Slater also spoke with Jabari Parker and a dozen more true Duke prospects, so BDN Premium is the place to be this week, so join today and see just how awesome our AAU coverage is. You will love the value and knowledge we bring to the table, I guarantee it.
Is today the day Tony Parker decides? Well, if it is, it will put an end to one of the more bizarre recruitment's of the season. Parker has frustrated some national recruiting analyst to the point where they will not even give him the time of day with coverage. This talented young man would fit well with Duke next season but whether the golden opportunity dawns on him before his 4:00 scheduled decision remains to be seen. Parker has had a bit too much fun with the media and there will be a collective and anxiously awaited sigh from the schools still in the running for him in that the roller coaster will finally come to a halt.
There is still no word on when Philly product Amile Jefferson will decide but many feel it is down to Duke and N.C. State. I would think his choice would come this week, so lot's going on this week beyond the pending NFL Draft. Yep! Basketball recruiting is in bloom and Duke fans anxiously await the Jefferson decision to see if he will be added to the roster next season.
Congratulations to the Duke Men's LAX team for downing arch rival North Carolina to win the ACC Championship. The boys in royal blue scored 10 second half goals in a furious comeback for the victory and now it is on to the NCAA's.
Now that the Andre Dawkins news forced it's way out, there should be no more happenings around the team in that manner. I didn't say there would not be rumors, but hopefully people will learn to follow those sources with long time proven track records and not some poster who tells you he's the man and he said, she said the neighbors dog groomer, cuts Skippys' coat and Skip belongs to the guy that runs the cleaners where a player goes and a player told that player that another player said that so and so was unhappy at Duke . Silly, isn't it? Still, many would fall for it hook, line and sinker in the steadily growing and unstable world of web based reporting.
In ending, again, consider joining BDN Premium and see for yourself what you are missing. Duke will be on the trail this weekend at two events and we'll be out there just like this past weekend. And be sure to follow Andrew Slater on his twitter site and our resident football analyst Patrick Cacchio here and then there is of course my BDN site here.
Have a good week Blue Devil Nation and visit often for there will be a lot to talk about in the coming days.
It's been a while since I threw out an edition of Monday Musings so let's try an abbreviated version to hold you over -
Next stop for Rasheed Sulaimon ... Duke University
As you know already we covered the Nike Jordan Brand All Star game this past weekend and Sulaimon showed well for the Dukies earning praise along the way from many recruiting types. Sulaimon will be on the Duke campus in early July which is just over two months away and he will take the time in between to reflect on all that has happened to date and continue his workouts. Having seen Sulaimon play in person over 20 times now, I can tell you that Duke fans will love his ability to play good defense and his first step is as good as it gets. While not a total speed demon, Sulaimon has a way of being all over the place as an active player.
We hardly knew you ...
Word started to leak out yesterday that Michael Gbinije would transfer and this has long been floating around the rumor mill. Well, it is all but a formality at this point and we should hear official word from the Duke Sports Information Department any time now. Gbinije has a history of transferring from schools, several stops in high school and seems to be having trouble finding the right fit. We wish Gbinije the best and it looks as if he will take a long look at Big East and Virginia are schools. He is a talented young man and a great student, so he will do well. Normally, the school handles official announcements but the rush for a scoop caused a lot of issues. The sad truth is any kid transferring is not newsworthy enough to have been handled in the way it was and bordered on being meddlesome but that is simply one mans opinion.
Amile Jefferson come on down ...
Duke still has a shot at Amile Jefferson who is still deciding between several schools making hard, late runs for his services. I expect we'll know what the deal is as early as this week. The general consensus is that he is the last prospect Duke has a shot at in 2012.
Unless, Tony Parker comes around at the midnight hour. Sources have told Blue Devil Nation that he will make his selection known at his high school on Friday of this week. Parker was rumored heavily to be UCLA bound this weekend, but he has been the center of many rumors and many national analyst washed their hands with him once he started being all over the place with his comments. Parker shows little respect for most of the media and is a young kid funning about with the process. In the end, do not be shocked if he stays in state and goes to Georgia, His recruitment has frustrated many fans, especially those of Duke for there is a glaring obviousness that he has a spot at Duke where he would play. I am think the parents who strongly favored Duke will settle for him staying near home. Parker is a good kid with a nice skill set but looking back on his decision will be interesting. Who knows, maybe he will have another last minute change of heart but I would not wager the house on it at this point.
Nike EYBL kicks off this week
The Nilke EYBL gets underway at Minneapolis, Minnesota this week and Duke will have a bevy of prospects there. The coaches will be out in full force this week during an earlier open period than years past. The bigger names they will watch are Jabari Parker and Julius Randle but several others are on the radar which members of the Blue Devil Nation know about. For more on the recruiting front, join BDN Premium as we start our unmatched AAU coverage which has now become a site tradition.
The Duke Blue Devils coasted past Boston College last evening setting up a huge rematch against Florida State this week and BDN Monday Musings takes a look back and ahead.
Duke too much for Boston College
After a slow start, the Blue Devils waltzed past the Boston College Eagles 75-50 and that kept them in a three way tie for first place. A tremendous 45-21 rebounding edge and pounding the offensive glass gave Duke the win but this game is less than memorable after the Blue Devils have won a couple high profile and talked about games. But Duke took care of business and returned to snow dusted Durham healthy and well. The 25 point margin was the larger in the series for Duke who holds a 14-2 edge in the series. Duke held the hapless Eagles without a field goal for a 14 minute plus stretch. Folks point to the Blue Devils defensive numbers being down this season and this game will help those numbers but has anyone taken into consideration the Blue Devils strength of schedule his season and that they haven't played the sisters of the poor? Just sayin'
If you've been paying close attention to the last few games, the Blue Devils are getting improved chemistry from it's guard tandem of Seth Curry and Austin Rivers. This is a good thing for Duke in that the two have become the top two scoring options on the team. You will continue to see Rivers with the ball in his hands at crunch time and Curry has a constant green light to shoot on the offensive end. Both will need to show up big against Florida State in Tallahassee this week.
Coach K on the Dan Patrick Show
Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski appeared on the Dan Patrick show today where he addressed "Linsanity," an this seasons team. When asked which president he'd have a drink with if he could, Krzyzewski responded that he'd like to have a glass of wine with George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, the founding fathers. Patrick asked, but what if Washington was a UNC fan tongue in cheek. Krzyzewski responded by saying, "He's not a Carolina fan or he wouldn't be after a few bottles of wine." Kyrie Irving was also on the show and spoke of keeping up with Josh Hairston and his happiness that Rivers shot beat the aforementioned rival North Carolina.
ESPN GameDay is coming to Durham for UNC-Duke Game
The GameDay crew of Reece Davis, former Duke player Jay Bilas, former coaches Digger Phelps and Bob Knight and former UNC player Hubert Davis will broadcast live from Cameron Indoor Stadium during the North Carolina at Duke game on March 3rd. Former players and guests will appear. More details to come from BDN as the event nears. In the past, some fans just come for the atmosphere and then watch the game locally. Tickets to a Duke and UNC game are next to impossible to obtain in Cameron without giving away your first born or a large section of your wallet.
Another reminder for Greensboro
The first round of the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro will feature Duke and North Carolina and tickets are still available, so go to ticketmaster and get them now and show off your royal blue colors in an effort to move the team on.
Coach K post game comments
Here are a few comments from Coach K on yesterday's game where Terry Rains represented the Nation in these two BDN Vids
No more Super Bowl day games for Duke, I say! The Blue Devils fell in overtime to Miami for their second ACC loss of the season in Cameron Indoor Stadium and their third straight loss on Super Bowl Sunday. They must now pick up the pieces for the coming media blitz and hype which is known at the Duke-Carolina game. Monday Musings takes a look at a litle bit of everything today and with that let's get the ball rolling.
In search of the right buttons
The Duke Men's staff has tried to shake up the lineup and they've tried to figure out ways to get to this years team to play together and smart. Early in the season it worked for Duke holds nice wins over Kansas and Michigan and Michigan State, but since that time the team has struggled a bit and of all places at home. The reason I say, a bit, is because they could have easily won their games against Miami and Florida State with a couple of made shots or execution. The frustration on Coach Krzyzewski's face was evident yesterday and he is trying to figure out a way to get his team to play a full 40-45 minutes of what is known as "Duke Basketball," and their year in and out lofty expectations. Just when you thought the team had reached deep and turned a corner, they fell back into some bad habits. I hate to say this, but this years team seems a bit soft at times and there were some loose balls and rebounds missed that could have turned the tide in their two ACC losses. You see, Krzyzewski wants all his teams to win the regular season, but yesterday, those hopes took a major hit and it is not acceptable by his standards.
Growing pains for freshman
Quinn Cook came off the bench to spark Duke in a big way yesterday, but at games end he throws up an inexplicable wild runner with the outcome on the line and nobody in position to board late in the game. It was a critical mistake and one of several which changed the games outcome. But before you give up on Cook, realize that he now has an assist to turnover ratio of 3.33 to 1 which is the best of any freshman ever at Duke. And just ask the assistants on the bench or go back and look at tape on any of the former PG's in their freshman years and they all had growing pains or a lapse when the game was on the line. And the good news is the rest of the aforementioned or former freshman I alluded to all learned and helped Duke to many victories.
Duke gets all the calls ... yeah, right
You will never see the staff blame the refs for a loss, nor me for that matter. But those who think Duke gets all the calls haven't been paying attention of late. It's funny how Karl Hess is well known by the Crazies and the Blue Devils record is, well, just look it up under him. But the real crime is with the game on the line, none of the three refs were seemingly paying attention to the Duke head coach who was doing everything he could to call a timeout. In my experience, a ref is almost always near the bench in those instances or at least aware the game is on the line and paying attention. That in no way caused the loss, but it sure makes one wonder of yet another what if.
The elephant in the room for me was ...
The Cameron Crazies have been in the news more than I care to see this season and for good or maybe I should say, bad reasons. There have been so many articles on this of late that I can honestly tell you I read maybe one. But there is a problem and it is a huge one and the university itself needs to figure out a way to resolve this before the bottom tier of the stadium is dominated by average fans. The turnout yesterday was deplorable at best and I heard many reasons from the CC's which sit behind me. For the record the Crazies who come on a regular basis are great and I mean that, but what on earth is happening to where students will not come to a Duke game when it is free? I could put together a book on how they just aren't the same anymore but that just seems a waste of time when the season is in full swing. Maybe it's time the scrap everything and start fresh, I don't know, nor can I personally do more than complain that I miss the atmosphere that has made the stadium so famous through the years. Seriously, former Crazies never used the same chant for a player in a game more than once and there was a brain trust who came up with some outrageously witty and fun cheers. Coach stopped short of saying the Crazies had anything to do with the loss when asked by media members seeking yet more ammunition for articles. He instead blamed his team for the loss and he was right, but he did mention atmosphere and if you have been around as long as I have, you easily read between the lines of what was said.
Everything was off
The air was ripe for an upset in so many ways. On message boards fans wanted to fast forward to the UNC game this Wednesday evening and overlooked Miami, a team projected #5 in the ACC this season. Then the team looked flat and almost sleep walked through the first half and in the process dug a hole too deep to climb out of. And then the aforementioned worst turnout of the season by the Crazies which has caused a ton of negative media towards the program didn't help. But I can tell you this for a fact, Duke did not overlook Miami and they were not looking ahead to the UNC game. Nope, it was just one of those foul, unusual days where all alligned in a not so good way.
UNC at Duke Women
Before the men's team play this week, the women get it going this evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium. This is always a spirited and entertaining affair and tickets are cheap, so tuen out and cheer on the Blue Devils as they try to maintain their hold on first place in the ACC.
And the hype begins
There is no doubt that yesterdays upset loss to Miami tarnished the upcoming Duke at UNC game a bit for you always want to come off a win. But the hype begins today with a Coach K press conference and players talking about the game and BDN will be there and remain for the Duke vs UNC women's game, so stay tuned for a lot of coverage all the way through the game.
It's the end of the world as we know it, but not really
As usual, any Duke loss this season is met with the Chicken Little effect from many fans and it is the end of the world as we know it, but nothing is fine. Okay, that was a bad play on an old song. Duke is a few plays away from being 21-2 and there is plenty of balling left. There are some red flags for sure, but this Duke team has 19 wins against a difficult schedule. Some Duke fans need to suck it up, just like our team will do. Support your Blue Devils when they need it most. Duke was down 16 points yesterday and staged a comeback which fell short. Krzyzewski will find a way to get his kids to play together and with a collective heart and make a run when it counts in March and the lessons learned will help along the way. Remember, this team lost Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving and they are young at many key positions.
A busy week lies ahead for Duke Athletics and BDN Monday Musings takes a look at the many events that will take place starting with tonight's UConn at Duke Women's game. The Blue Devils have two men's games as well one on the road and one at home and national signing day for football.
UConn at Duke - the ultimate measuring stick for the progrm on "Big Monday"
In a nationally televised game, the 5th Duke women (17-2) host the traditionally strong and 3rd ranked UConn women (19-2) led by their enigmatic coach Gino Auriemma. The Huskies lost to the top two rated teams in the country Baylor and Notre Dame before going on a monster roll, where they demolished the Blue Devils arch rival, North Carolina by a score of 86-35 and all other comers as well. The key to the game for the Blue Devils will be for their guards, Chelsea Gray and Tricia Liston to slow the Huskies backcourt of Tiffany Hayes and Bria Hartley. As we've said in a past column, Duke freshman Elizabeth Williams is as advertised and tonight she'll be on the big stage with the rest of this young Blue Devil squad. There are still a few tickets left for the game and they're very reasonably priced, so turn out tonight for this heavyweight bout and cheer the young Blue Devils to victory.
Rest for the men's team
The Duke Men's team returned to the practice courts today after taking off time to rest after their lack luster victory over St. John's. The Blue Devils will travel to Blacksburg on Thursday to take on a wounded in wait Hokies team that would love to make their season with an upset win. One of the things happening is this years squad is getting accustomed to taking other teams best shot as some of the players grow into their roles.
Speaking of roles ... who will step up?
Before the season Coach Krzyzewski said that different players would step up on different evenings on this years team. And that's what has happened to date and the Blue Devils are a not too shabby 18-3 from it. But will any of the players have that light go off down the stretch and take over their roles in a consistent manner? Mason Plumlee has pretty much been the star of this team and or the most consistent player. Austin Rivers is on a learning curve, but his numbers are decent as well. I mean, the kid will likely be named the ACC's Top Rookie. But are juniors Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins ready to break out? Duke needs more consistency from the group, but make no mistake, each of them have already played key roles in major victories as has sophomore Tyler Thornton in Maui. This is also the final go round for senior Miles Plumlee and can he become a force as the season enters it's grind? And this folks, this is why we watch the games, to see how it all will unfold.
Just a reminder ... March 16th and 18th NCAA Tournament in the 'Boro
Get your tickets for Greensboro now Blue Devil fans! Duke will almost assuredly be in Greensboro for two games and the kicker is that North Carolina will share that pod. That said, get your tickets to the event as soon as possible.
The last ten games
It's hard to believe that there are just ten regular season basketball games left this season and just five of them home games in Cameron. Breaking it down for you, there are two games each with Virginia Tech and North Carolina, Miles senior day being the last regular season and home game. Then road trips to Boston College, Florida State and Wake Forest and home games with Miami, Maryland and N.C. State. So, how do you think the Blue Devils will fare? I have heard 6-4 to 8-2 most often from those who cover the team.
National Signing Day for Football
On Wednesday, BDN will be on hand at Duke to hear the latest on the new group of Blue Devils from Coach Cutcliffe and staff. We're talking national signing day here and it is a big deal around the nation. Several prospects are taking their decision to the midnight hour and in our premium section, Patrick Cacchio talks of that and how things are shaking out with the likes of RB hopeful, Jela Duncan. Also, mark down March 31st on your calendar, for it is the date of the annual spring game where Duke returns 17 starters from a season ago.
Just do it!
I am not going to open the can of worms known at the decline in attendance for the Cameron Crazies at this time. There are five home games left and this is a team that needs the support in a big way, so no lecture or speculation from me other than this suggestion - Just do it! Sorry for the overuse of that Nike trademark, but it's what I'd tell them to do down the stretch if asked what should be done. Prove the critics wrong and show them you are not the weak bunch many think you to be. Man, was that a challenge or what? Crazies means getting crazy, so let go of yourselves, have fun and all will play out. I have faith that the many who follow this site can get it done. And for what it is worth many of the ones there are the best and if their leadership spreads, you will hear few complaints by seasons end.