Tag Archives: Josh Smith

High School Hoops Edition No. 5

[private]It is the time of year for Hoilday Tournaments with the City of Palms Classic and the Chick-fil-A Classic both involving players committed to or being pursued by Duke.

At the City of Palms, John Wall scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out nine assists as Word of God defeated American Heritage 63-61. Wall also had two blocks and three steals. On Saturday afternoon, Word of God will face off against St. Patrick's and UNC commitment Dexter Strickland.

On Saturday afternoon, at the Chick-fil-A, the much awaited Ravenscroft and Christ School game will take place.  Both schools feature a player who has signed with Duke: Ryan Kelly for Ravenscroft and Mason Plumlee for Christ School.  The winner of this game has a potential second round game against Miller School which is led by Marshawn Powell and Mychal Parker.  Of course, Miller School has to take care of business and win their first game.  Here is the tournament bracket.

In other games earlier this week:

On Tuesday night, Christ School scored 31 unanswered points including the last 21 points of the first half in a 96-52 win over Asheville Christian. Mason Plumlee scored 14 points in the game. Plumlee scored 13 points on Thursday as the Greenies defeated Greenville SC High School 88-41. This game featured a 25 point Christ School run including the last 16 points of the first half.

Brandon Knight scored 40 points as Pine Crest defeated North Broward Prep 84-52.  Knight made five three point baskets and dished out 10 assists in the game.

Harrison Barnes scored 19 points, all in the first half, as Ames defeated Cedar Falls 77-40.

Josh Smith dropped 30 points on Jefferson as Kentwood won 66-43.

Andre Dawkins scored 17 points as Atlantic Shores pummeled Green Run 78-41.[/private]

High School Hoops Edition No. 4

[private]This week's theme is marquee match-ups: Ravenscroft versus Greensboro Day, Pine Crest versus American Heritage, and Gonzaga versus Bishop O'Connell. These games involved Duke commits Ryan Kelly and Tyler Thornton, and Duke recruiting target Brandon Knight; plus Florida commit Kenny Boynton and Carolina commit Kendall Marshall.

Ryan Kelly helped Ravenscroft improve to 8 – 0 with a 29 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots, and four steals performance against Greensboro Day. Ravenscroft won 56 - 42 and is headed toward a showdown with Christ School on December 20, 2008, in Columbia, SC. It will be exciting to see Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee go head-to-head.

Brandon Knight out dueled Kenny Boynton once again and Pine Crest defeated American Heritage 74 - 72 on Friday night. Knight outscored Boynton 35 - 32 in the individual match-up. Knight and Pine Crest have defeated Boynton and American Heritage in four of their last five meetings.

Tyler Thornton scored 23 points in the game but his Gonzaga team came up short, 65 – 60, against Kendall Marshall and Bishop O’Connell. Marshall scored 15 points for O’Connell. In his latest game, on Friday night, Thornton scored 16 points in a 66 - 55 Gonzaga victory over Mount St. Joseph.

Mason Plumlee was the leading scorer in three Christ School victories this week. He scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked four shots, and tallied four assists, on Monday as Christ School defeated Carolina Day 77 – 41. On Tuesday, Mason scored 18 points in a 90 – 35 rout of Shannon Forest. The Greenies are now 9 – 0 on the season.  On Saturday, he scored 21 points in a 81 - 30 blowout of Providence Day.

Andre Dawkins continues to be impressive for Atlantic Shores Christian School. Last Saturday, in the ASCS Tip-Off Championship Game, Dawkins and Steven Pledger executed a pick and roll that resulted in Dawkins draining an 18 foot buzzer beating jump shot giving Atlantic Shores a 56 – 54 victory over Miller School. Miller School was paced by Marshawn Powell and Mychal Parker who both scored 19 points. Steven Pledger, who has signed a Letter of Intent to play for Coach Jeff Capel at Oklahoma, scored 34 points and was named the tournament MVP. Dawkins finished the game with 15 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Josh Smith scored 21 points on Thursday as Kentwood went on the road and defeated Auburn Riverside 65 – 62 to improve to 2 – 1 on the year. Earlier in the week, Kentwood lost to Federal Way, the number one ranked team in Washington State, 61 – 53. Josh Smith scored 19 points in the loss. The 6’9” 280 Junior is averaging 24 points per game so far this season.  Smith is the third leading scorer in the South Puget Sound League 4A Conference.[/private]

High School Hoops Edition No. 3

[private]Harrison Barnes and the Ames High School Little Cyclones have their sights set on the State Tournament this year. They took the first step in their journey with a 66 - 34 defeat of Urbandale. Barnes scored 16 points in the game including nine in the first quarter as the Little Cyclones opened up the game with an 18 - 2 run. The Des Moines Register has very nice Harrison Barnes overview and picture gallery posted.

Barnes scored a game high 19 points on Friday night as Ames improved to 2 – 0 with a 61 - 31 victory over Roosevelt.

Brandon Knight is filling up the box score for Pine Crest on a routine basis. This past week he scored 29 and 43 points in two Panther victories. His 43 points in a 70 – 67 win over Choice Academy included seven three point shots, while he sank four three pointers and dished out seven assists in his 29 point performance in the 66 – 29 win over Coral Springs Charter.

Andre Dawkins scored 28 points as Atlantic Shores defeated Cox 93 – 68 in the opening round of the ASCS Tip-off on Thursday evening. He followed up with a 23 point performance on Friday as Atlantic Shores defeated Tallwood 69 - 66.

Ryan Kelly continues to put up extraordinary numbers. On Wednesday, he had a triple-double of 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 blocked shots in a 76 – 64 defeat of Riverside. On Friday night, Kelly scored 19 points in a 59 – 42 win at Providence Day. Ravenscroft is now 5 – 0 for the season.

Mason Plumlee scored 21 points to pace Christ School to an easy 77-45 victory over Spartanburg Day School. Plumlee made two three point shots in the contest. Mason’s younger brother, Marshall, contributed 10 points and three blocked shots. On Friday night, Plumlee scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and blocked eight shots in a 79 – 54 road win at Forsyth Country Day. The Greenies desire to go 38 – 0 and win a state championship this season. Christ School will match up against Ravenscroft on December 20, 2008, in Columbia, S.C.

The Washington Post has an enjoyable Tyler Thornton video posted. Gonzaga College High School has opened their season with a pair of wins. On Thursday night, Thornton scored 11 points in a 79 – 44 win over St. Albans. In their season opener, Thornton scored six points in a 69 – 40 decision over Sidwell Friends. Unfortunately, the box scores do not include assists as Thornton is a pass first point guard and his assists to turnover ratio is the key statistic for Duke Basketball fans.

Finally, Josh Smith and Kentwood High School played their first game of the season on Friday night.  Smith scored 32 points in the 68 - 47 victory over Kent-Meridian.  The Seattle Times ranks Kentwood as the number five team in the state.[/private]

General Basketball Recruiting Update is up

John Wall played in Cameron during the Gibbons TOC
John Wall played in Cameron during the Gibbons TOC

The undercurrent of information has been a little quiet of late, mainly due to the flurry of November and early December games.  But some tidbits are starting to trickle back in and December will allow us to cover the likes of John Wall and current commitments in person as their seasons are now in full swing.  Here is an update on Duke targets -



[private] Harrison Barnes is set to begin his high school basketball season.  You can follow his team by going to this LINK.  Duke is in weekly touch with Barnes and they feel as if there is a solid relationship foundation which they will build upon.

There are a lot of questions concerning John Wall, but one must first understand that his camp is in no hurry to amp up his recruitment.  Much like Boynton's recruitment, this one will go on for awhile, so you may as well relax until Spring.  Duke is in constant touch with his camp and the two have been trying to work out an on campus visit.  With the Blue Devils playing in season, they must keep their concentration on the business at hand while continuing their get to know Wall efforts.  Coach K is the lead in this one, but he will be assisted by his entire staff.  Most recently, Coach K and Nate James visited a Church of God game to check out Wall.  They will cover his games when they can throughout his entire season.  Wall has a handler named Brian Clifton.  Handlers are always under scrutiny in recruiting circles for many of them have been known to sink their claws in for eventual favors.  There is no reason to believe that this is the case with concerns to John in that they stepped in when he needed some guidance.  In short, one never knows for sure.  Wall is likely a one and done player and he could go many ways with his eventual choice.  He would be in a really high profile situation at Duke, which works to both parties advantage.  He could go to other schools and coast through while being the man.  The Blue Devil Nation will keep close tabs on this situation which is in it's infancy at this time.

Our most recent interview was with Josh Smith who has the Devils on his list.  Duke will not back out, but they are looking for and or paying attention to how his family handles the recruitment.   The Smith's have not ruled out an early commitment and if that happens you can bet it's going to be on the West Coast.  This one will not get real serious until March or April.  It remains to be seen if Smith pays his own way for a Triangle visit.  If this happens, he will likely visit Duke and UNC.  

Duke talks to Brandon Knight in one way or another weekly.  A lot of rumors have said he is Florida bound, but he hasn't told the Devils this.  As you can see rumors are a dime a dozen in that he got out of a recent UF visit while not committing.  While Boynton is at UF, this duo has to breakup at some point and time and college may be that time.  Knight was a confessed UConn fan growing up and certainly has ties in his home state.  UF has been managing to keep their own in state of late and common sense tells you that it can sometimes be a better "family" choice than an individual one.  Knight knows Duke wants him, but Wall is at the forefront until he makes his selection.

Duke will not settle on other 2010 prospects until the picture clears with current prospects.  You can bet that they will be out and about as soon as the AAU season opens looking for kids that fit.

While it has been a slow period for recruiting news, it's on the verge of picking up.  We'll be covering John Wall and others at the upcoming Glaxo Invitational just after Christmas.  We are also preparing for the use of video come AAU season and some almost real time ways of reporting.

As many long time members know, there are slow periods and then it opens up like a severe storm without warning.  We are carrying most of our in season current player interviews to premium starting at the end of this week.  This is coverage that cannot be found at Scout or some other sites.

We've been stretched a little thin of late, but I expect to finally make some long awaited additions in the coming days.  We will hopefully have photo galleries back soon.  As usual, thanks for being a part of the Blue Devil Nation. [/private]

Big Josh Smith talks recruiting with BDN-Premium

Josh Smith (6-9, 280, Kentwood HS, Seattle Rotary AAU) is one of the nation's most coveted players in the class of 2010.  Duke is but one of many schools in the chase for the talented front court prospects services.   We caught up with Josh and got his thoughts on the recruiting process, timeline of his decision and the schools that are in the race.  Blue Devil Members can continue to read about the latest with one of Duke's ... [private]

Josh dunked for the first time as a 6-4 seventh grader and he hasn't stopped since that time.  In fact, he had so many blocked shots, that his league changed the rules to keep him from eating up the paint.  His Dad, Josh Senior prefers to be called  "Big Josh," but he stands at just 6-3 as his son equaled his height by 12 years old.

I approached this interview as Sports Nation Network which I own, seeking honest answers instead of one slanted for the home team. 

The List - Arizona, Duke, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA,  USC, Washington and a couple of others.

Has your high school season started yet?

Yes, it started Monday.  Our first game will be December 5th.  We have one starter back other than myself.

Can you tell me which schools have been the most aggressive in their recruitment of you?

I'd say Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA and Ohio State.

There has been a lot of talk in the past that UCLA was in the drivers seat for your services or that they might lead.  Is there any truth to that?

I would say no.

Suppose somebody had never seen your game - how would you describe it to them?

Over powering, tough in the low post and aggressive.

What are some of the key factors when you think about your pending collegiate choice?

Location won't be a factor for me.  Style of play could be a factor.

Who do you pattern your game after?

Shaq!  I grew up pulling fo him.  Some have called me "Baby Shaq."

If you could meet any NBA player, who would you most like to meet?

Dwight Howard.  I like his powerful dunks and that he tries to make his team better.

What style of basketball do you like to play ... up and down ... structured half court, four out and one in ... ?

Four out and one in.

So you like the idea of being the go to guy in that type of offense.


So, there is no leader at this time ...


Is there a school you are more curious about than others?

I would say there is no leader at this time nor one that I have any stronger interest in more than others.

Are you likely to take all of your allotted official visits which the NCAA allows?

Yeah, I'd probably say I would.  I could make an earlier decision if the situation feels right.

What about the NBA ...

Yeah, I want to play in the NBA, but I also have a big desire to play ... play in the league.

You've mentioned a lot of really good schools, some of which have more success putting guys in the league than others.  Will that kind of thing have a bearing?

Yes, a little bit.  When I get into school my first goal is to be successful there and if I'm lucky or good enough to go to the league, I will start to think about that.

With the exception of Washington and WSU, most of the schools on your list are a good ways off.  So, it's no problem to go as far east as Kentucky, Duke or UNC?

I wouldn't have a problem going to the east or anything like that.  It's like, well in Texas I have family in Dallas and Mississippi down south, so I wouldn't have a problem to go down there and play, but I don't have a problem going anywhere.  UCLA is like a ten and a half hour drive or two and a half hour flight.

Who will play a big role in your decision?

Probably my Dad, my Mom, my family and older brother.

How do you like the recruiting process?  Is it tiring, a lot of calls ...

I do, but my Dad really handles most of the calls.  It's not really tiresome though.

Who are the last coaches to have called you?

Coach Matta at Ohio State, Coach Pitino at Louisville ... that's all I know of this past week.  I'm in a get to know process with all the schools.

What are you like off the court?

 I just like to chill with friends, go see movies and do stuff with a lot of other people, whatever is fun.

Josh Smith in three words as a person?

As a person I would say nice, smart and funny.

... three words as a player?

solid, powerful and understanding. [/private]

Basketball Recruiting Update

Blue Devil Nation Premium has the latest hoops recruiting update up for members.  Give the gift of information this Christmas to a Blue Devil fan dear to you.  [private] Not too much to report on John Wall until after he meets with Coach K in person which will take place at the earliest convenience.  My sources are saying that Duke feels that they will become seriously

Copyright BDN
Copyright BDN

involved with Wall and an offer is a mere formality at this point.   The Wall camp has been receptive to Duke getting in late and will not hold that against them.

So far, scheduling has been the culprit.  Also, there is a dead period in recruiting at this time.  Many feel Wall wants to stay near home, but there are a few things which need to play out before I'd be willing to guarantee that possibility.  In short, Duke is very serious about getting John Wall to wear the royal blue.  I will talk to Josh Smith sometime this week.  He is still on the radar and Coach Nate James has been in touch with the prospect recently.

Harrison Barnes has become a serious priority and Duke will stay on the hot prospect as much as the NCAA allows.  There is a good feeling that Duke is right there with Kansas as the leaders early on.  Barnes has become a bit tight lipped of late and will not talk of his meeting with K other than the basics.

Duke has been and still is going after Brandon Knight, possibly the best player in his class.  I have heard from his parents that he will likely take a different path than Kenny Boynton.  You know what they say though, anything can happen in recruiting.  Anything can change too.  For instance, Duke has explained to Wall that once they offer a kid they are faithful to him.  When Boynton selected Florida, Wall got the attenation and he will soon know if he doesn't already that Duke is committed to him and him alone for the final spot in the class of 2009.

Finally, Boynton was pushed to stay in state by almost everyone close to him.  I can't go into specifics, but things got a little greasy if you will.  In the long run, teams can point to Nick Calathes he would be a Gator midnight before his "We shocked the world," signing party.  Sometimes, kids will waste a colleges recruiting budget for their own game.

I went into the archives for this July interview with John Wall -

Locked  Wall is still wide open

Before I get into this interview, let me make this clear.  Kenny Boynton is the man for Duke.  If something goes south they might look at John Wall and he is still open to Duke coming in.  He is a very talented true speedy PG who slashes about the court and makes his teammates better with his abilty to get them the ball.  During this interview, I had two cameras on me for they were filming for a documentary on the process surrounding Wall.  You never know what might happen in recruiting.

The last time I talked to you was in Durham during the TOC, has anything changed since then?

Not really.  I am still wide open and trying to get schools to come in.  The schools that are coming at me the hardest are Memphis and Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky and NC State so far.  Those are the ones coming the hardest but I think other schools are going to come around.

The last time I talked with your coach he said you were not near a point where you would shut down the process.  Does that still hold true?

Yes, that's still true, but after Vegas I'm going to narrow my list down going into my senior year.  You've got to get your five ... get your business set up.

So, is there anyone that would make the top five for sure ... right now ... anyone guaranteed a visit?

No, not yet.  There's a couple of schools getting close to it.

You just scored thirty points in your last game, but your team came up short.  Did you miss Ryan Kelly?

Yeah, Kelly's a big part.  He gives us a presence in the paint and as you could see we lacked that.  We weren't playing defense and getting back.  We just didn't make our shots but we played hard.

Is the AAU season taking a toll on you?

Yeah, it gets kind of tough, but you go back home.  In between you just ice your knees and relax.  We'll go to Vegas (Reebok) next and then I can rest for a little while before preparing for my senior year.

(I then turned my attention to his coach Dwon Clifton who is always by his side)  He said -

"I think he has an idea of what he wants.  I want him to be comfortable with what he does.  He has a lot of talent and I encourage him to get better and stronger.  I mean, now that people knows who he is some of the flaws he could once get away with he will now have to develop.  Now, everyone is going to start to push him and pull him and try to get him to go against his people and get him to feel like no one can tell him anything.  This world can eat him up.  I've seen it happen to too many players, myself included. (played at Clemson).  I don't want that to be the case with him."

So, will your coach be a big part of the process?

He's like a bigger brother to me.  I don't have one like that so he fills in.  With DC ... we can go out and stuff and just have a good time.  He's trying to develop me through this process because he went through it at Clemson.  So, when I make my decision, I am going to ask him or talk to him about it.

Who are some of the toughest guys you've gone against on the circuit?

Tommy Mason here.  He's really tough.

What does John Wall need to work on for his game to get better?

I've got to get stronger, work on my jump shot, defense, lateral movement ... there's a lot of stuff I can work on.  You just can't stop when you get on top.  I have some God given ability but I need to keep working because everybody else will.

What keeps you motivated?

Playing for my Dad.  He died when I was ten years old.  My Mom, my sister .. just want to get them to a better place.

How long have you known your Coach?

I knew him from the AAU circuit when I was about 14, but he really started coming in in the last two years talking to me.  Now he's my AAU coach and gives me advice.

Of the ACC schools, you mentioned NC State.  With you playing highs school ball down the road, do they push hard?

They come and visit every game they can.  Duke came to a couple of my games this year.  Carolina came to a couple.

You've been to some of there games too, right?

Yes, I have been to a couple of Duke games and a Carolina game.

How did you like the atmosphere at those schools?

It's a good atmosphere.. crazy, people are going crazy everywhere at Duke and UNC ... all those fans.

Did Duke contact you at one time or are they in touch?

Coach Dawkins and Coach K came to a couple of my games.  They said they wanted to start recruiting me and stuff like that.  I took their advice and came to the TOC and was able to play a game in Cameron.

Have they been in touch since that time?

Uhhh .. I haven't talked to them since Coach Dawkins got the job at Stanford.


No, haven't heard from them.

Thanks for your time and I wish you luck in choosing the right school. [/private]