Deviled Eggs 8/31/09

Every Monday morning, Crazie Talk culls Duke basketball news, articles, and videos into a half dozen of the best “Deviled Eggs” on the interwebs.

Here are this week’s best:

Demarcus

Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com

1. DeMarcus Nelson to Italy

DeMarcus Nelson, the former Duke guard who previously played with the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls, will head to Europe to play for Air Avellino in the Italian Professional League. In bocca al lupo, DeMarcus!

2. Harrison Barnes Is Incredibly Motivated

Like we didn’t know that already…but it’s still good to know. Get ready, Crazies. The one and only HB will be on campus October 23rd for the season opener against Pfeiffer!

3.  Kyrie Irving: A Surprise Superstar?

Seriously, we can’t get enough of Kyrie. He’ll be on campus September 25th for Homecoming weekend. All in all, a great interview.

4. Jordan Davidson looks to provide a spark

The fifth-year senior and former walk-on redshirted last season, but could prove to be valuable veteran off the bench this year.

5. GP3 named as one of four Syracuse Co-Captains

Can this get any more outrageous? Paulus has now been a co-captain for two Division I teams – in different sports. Congrats, Greg.

6. Nolan, Kyle, and Casey decide to visit the freshmen on East Campus…

This is great. Awesome work, DBP.

A Recruiting Whirlwind

Over the past few years,  Blue Devil fans bemoaned the near-misses and shocking twists that came to characterize Duke recruiting. But this was not always the case.

As many fans can recall, Duke enjoyed a recruiting “renaissance” in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s that resulted in five consecutive (1997-2001) and six overall ACC Regular Season Titles, five consecutive ACC Tournament Championships (1999-2003), four consecutive seasons ranked No. 1 in the  final AP poll (1999-2002), three Final Fours (1999, 2001, 2004), and the 2001 National Championship.

But the mighty did finally fall, even if what Duke has achieved in the past few years outranks a vast majority of Division I programs. One can mark the genesis of the recruiting struggles in 2004 – with the three man recruiting class of Shaun Livingston, Demarcus Nelson, and David McClure. Livingston was a prep phenomenon—many called him the prototype point guard of basketball’s next generation. Boasting a height of 6’7”, a fantastic passing game, and innate leadership skills, Livingston was the next great Duke floor general. That is, until he declared for the NBA Draft, and left a loaded Duke team weakened at the most important position. Livingston would later suffer a devastating knee injury, derailing what looked to be a promising professional career.

Since then, many highly-touted recruits have either spurned Duke (despite previously praising us) or not panned out (despite high expectations and rankings). Greg Monroe broke hearts by attending Georgetown (although he floundered in Cameron this past year) and Kenny Boynton decided to stay in his home state of Florida. Former Tar Heel Brandan Wright seriously considered Duke (after Kentucky, of course) before crossing over to the light blue side (It should be noted that since leaving after his freshman campaign, he has played in only 77 games in two years in the NBA). Meanwhile, Greg Echenique declined to follow fellow Garden State native Lance Thomas’ path to Durham, electing to attend Rutgers instead (?!).  To be certain, Duke has known pain on the recruiting trail for several years now—and fans have rationally theorized that the sub par recruiting has led to lackluster performance in March. Actually, it guarantees fewer wins and disappointment in the postseason (see: Josh McRoberts). It’s a natural law, like Bernoulli’s principle or whatever.

In that murky light, the revamped recruiting efforts of the last 6 months have quickened the heart rates of Blue Devils nationwide. Instead of targeting a select few recruits and praying for their commitments, Coach K and the coaching staff have adopted the tried and true “wide net” strategy. The practice is simple: get in touch with several elite players at each needed position. When a relationship is firmly established, and said player understands that he may need to compete for minutes in the rotation, extend an offer of scholarship. At worst, the player loses interest and chooses another school. At best, the group of players develops camaraderie and appreciates the competitive nature of their recruitment. They get excited at the team’s potential. Several of them commit and compose a highly talented and touted class. Championships ensue, and benches are set ablaze on the West Campus quad.

So what are the fruits of this labor? Duke landed Andre Dawkins in June 2008, with Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton following a few months later. Dawkins, a Duke fan since childhood, has already added to his legend by enrolling early and strengthening this year’s guard core. Hairston and Thornton are eager to join him in two seasons. Moreover, Duke has a reasonably high chance of landing both Harrison Barnes (who plans to visit canpus on October 23rd) and Kyrie Irving (September 18th), two top-10 players in 2010, as well as Baltimore-area prospect Roscoe Smith. We have also been in contact with three other top point guards: Brandon Knight, Ray McCallum Jr., and Joe Jackson. Although it’s improbable and/or impossible to land all of these players, the new strategy instills hope in our upcoming classes, rather than anxiety at what they may lack.

More recently (especially within the past two weeks), Duke has been involved with standout athletes from the junior and sophomore high school classes. 2011 power forwards Quincy Miller and Marshall Plumlee (yes, the youngest brother of Miles and Mason) have been offered scholarships, and Class of 2012 standout J.P. Tokoto received a scholarship offer on Tuesday, August 25th after separating himself from the pack at the High Performance Camp this past weekend. Duke has also contacted several other elite recruits in the 2011 class, including shooting guard Bradley Beal, point guard Quinn Cook, and power forward James McAdoo. Each player on Duke’s list is a major national prospect, armed with offers from elite programs. Duke fits firmly in that category—there is no reason to settle for less than the best recruits.

Coach K and the coaching staff have sent a clear message: the proverbial “eggs” will no longer be in only a select few baskets. By actively recruiting a surplus of prospects, Duke is acting confidently and adapting to changes in prep basketball. This aggressive approach should allow Duke to once again redefine the upper echelon of college basketball in the near future.

The recruiting lilt of the past 5 years directly correlates with our relative slip over the past 5 years. It’s time for that tide to turn.

Deviled Eggs 8/24/09

Well, the boys are officially back in town. Today is a very special day – the first day of classes  (FDOC, if you will) at Duke. And we’re already counting the days until basketball season (fifty-four, to be exact). That said, let’s get back to culling Duke basketball news, articles, and videos into a half dozen of the best “Deviled Eggs” on the interwebs.

Here are this week’s best:

mason1

Photo Courtesy: DukeBluePlanet.com

1. Duke Blue Planet goes one-on-one with Mason Plumlee

Finally, the most pressing question of the offseason (for me, at least)  is answered. What will Miles and Mason put on the backs of their uniforms?! Just kidding. But all in all, a great interview.

2. Seth Curry wants to make “his own name”

The more I read about him, the more I think he’s going to be a champ. On another note, he was spotted on campus along with brother Stephen and father Dell in front of Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday afternoon.

3. 2010 Targets Barnes, Irving, and Smith shine at Boost Mobile Elite 24 Classic

Former Tennessee-commit Josh Selby (recruited heavily by Calipari and Co.) may have garnered more attention, but three of Duke’s main targets in the Class of 2010 turned in three impressive performances against some elite competition.

4. Greg Paulus named Syracuse’s starting QB

This has been well documented, but it still has to be on this list. Outrageous.

5. NCAA clears Elliot Williams to play at Memphis in 2009-2010

It’s great to see that he’ll be in action next year. He’ll be a force for Memphis this year. Best of luck, Elliot.

6. 2010 Targets Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving both list Duke in their Top Six…

Saved the best for last. Coach K and the staff are facing some serious competition in landing these two future stars, but we’re still very much in the game. For more on Harrison and Kyrie, check out Crazie Talk’s Official Recruiting Guide.

P.S. –

A very special Happy Birthday to Jon Scheyer from all of us here at Crazie Talk!

Happy Birthday Jon!


Deviled Eggs 8/17/09

John Scheyer: tired of the hating.

Jon Scheyer: unfazed by haters. (Photo by C. Ko)

Every Monday morning, Crazie Talk culls Duke basketball news, articles, and videos into a half dozen of the best “Deviled Eggs” on the interwebs.

Here are this week’s best:

1.  Jon Scheyer wants to be the next “Most Hated Dukie”

Scheyerface talks to SI’s Luke Winn about playing point guard, Maryland fans, and Luther Vandross. What a guy.

2.Kyrie Irving is a Man with a Plan

2010 target Kyrie Irving, one of the top point guard prospects in the nation, is seriously considering Duke; moreover, he plans to study journalism in college. We have a pretty solid track record with journalists (the President of CBS Newsthe Chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC and Senior Contributor on the Wall Street Journaland the late founding editor of New York Magazine, to name a few) as we do with professional basketball players (tops in the NCAA with 14-current alums playing in the NBA, not to mention 11 Top-10 NBA Draft picks). Here’s to hoping Kyrie gets to join both of those illustrious lists.

3. Former Duke great Jason Williams looks to revive career…

In the Chinese pro league. We all still love you down here, J-Will. Best of luck.

4. Coach K, USA Basketball moving to new levels

Coach K continues to showcase why he’s at the helm of USA Basketball. He also looks to be the first coach to win multiple gold medals since Hank Iba in 1968.

5. Paulus earning his keep at Syracuse

Somehow I still can’t believe this is actually happening…but it is. Preseason workouts are in full swing at Syracuse, and Greg Paulus is garnering plenty of media attention.

6. Harrison Barnes For President

Top 2010 prospect Harrison Barnes talks about his monster game  against Serbia (46 pts, 14 reb, 4 stl) at the Nike Global Challenge last weekend.

BONUS:

He also wants to tear the rim off.


Breaking News: It's Official!

Andre Dawkins (Atlantic Shores Christian, Virginia Beach, VA) is set to receive his high school diploma Friday, and will attend freshman orientation at Duke University beginning Monday, August 18th.

Andre Dawkins - BDN Photo

He's ready to go. (Photo courtesy of http://www.bluedevilnation.net)

According to ESPN’s Paul Biancardi and The Virginian-Pilot, the erstwhile rising senior will forgo his final year of high school and join the team this season along with freshmen Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly.

The addition of Andre, a five-star recruit ranked third among shooting guards and 16th overall by Rivals.com will undoubtedly give Coach K more depth in the backcourt – a weakness that has been well documented this offseason.

For more on Andre and what impact we might see from him this year, check out our closer look at Andre Dawkins.

2010: On the Horizon

This is the third installment of Crazie Talk’s official recruiting guide. Here are the first and second.

Duke’s Class of 2010 has verbal commitments from two rising high school seniors, Joshua Hairston and Tyler Thornton. In addition, 2010 will be the first year transfer Seth Curry will be eligible to play. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at three top 2010 prospects – the cream of the crop – that the coaching staff is targeting.

Harrison Barnes

6’6’’-206 lbs. G/F. Rated 5-Stars by Scout.com (#1 overall). Rated 5-Stars by Rivals.com (#2 overall).

On June 24th, yours truly (along with Crazie Talk colleague Amogh) was shocked to see Harrison Barnes and his family dining at the Loop, a popular West Campus eatery, with several Duke assistant coaches. The unexpected sighting made certain one thing: Duke is very much in the running for Barnes, one of the most promising high school prospects in many years. Although Barnes isn’t as hyped as Lebron James or Kobe Bryant were as prepsters, he has created a formidable buzz among basketball enthusiasts. Whichever fortunate school receives Barnes’ commitment will be happy to know that he is a modern basketball aberration—an outstanding player who actively shuns the idea of being “one and done.” On that note, Barnes is serious about receiving a college education while preparing to play in the NBA, and his academic acumen backs him up. His 12th grade schedule consists entirely of Advanced Placement courses, and one of his main criteria for his college choice is a solid economics and business program. An articulate, grounded, and humble young man, Barnes is able to handle the hype (unlike, let’s say, Josh McRoberts) of being one of the nation’s top prospects.

Barnes hails from the small town of Ames, Iowa (pop. 56,510) in the Midwest, whose greatest claim to fame is this New York Times bestseller. Other than Duke, he is being wooed by such programs as North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky. Even the strong academics of Stanford, whose basketball program (led by Duke great Johnny Dawkins) has a ways to go to entice Barnes. Although recruited by some of the top programs in the country, Barnes is in no rush to make a decision. He says he will cut his list down to five schools in the fall.

Barnes would be the most talented wing Duke has had since Grant Hill. He excels at attacking the basket and can finish strong at the rim as well as get to the free throw line. His midrange and outside shooting are works in progress, but he is a willing listener with impeccable work ethic. His athleticism, while not world-class, is very good. He makes good decisions on the court and most importantly, Barnes has a good idea of what he can do and what needs to be improved. Although it will be several months before Barnes makes a final choice, he will be worth the wait. Harrison Barnes is a born leader, and if he chooses Duke, it would set the tone for another decade of greatness.


Kyrie Irving

6’2’’-175 lbs. PG. Rated 5-Stars by Scout.com (#7 overall). Rated 5-Stars by Rivals.com (#14 overall).

New Jersey has produced many college basketball stars, including Bobby Hurley and Jason Williams, the two point guards who ran the show for Duke’s three NCAA championship teams. Yet Kevin Boyle, Kyrie Irving’s high school coach, believes Irving, one of the top point guards in the class of 2010, “will arguably be as good as any guard who’s played in New Jersey.” Now that’s hype. Irving has everything you want in a point guard. He can get to the rim and finish, has good shooting range that extends to 22 feet, and possesses a decent mid-range game that is all-too-rare in point guards today. While he is an adept scorer, Irving also runs an offense with poise. He makes great decisions and shows the ability to read defenses in the half-court as well as in transition. Like most high schoolers, Irving will need to put on weight to adjust to the college game, but that should never sacrifice his excellent quickness and athleticism.

Like Barnes, Irving says academics will play a role in his decision. An aspiring journalist, Irving puts Indiana University as a leader because of IU’s strong journalism program. (It should noted that Duke has produced several great sports journalists without a specific major, including Al Featherston and Jay Bilas) Never one to be outworked, Coach K spoke to Irving on the phone in late May before the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, which was co-hosted at Cameron Indoor. Most recently, Coach K and his staff were at the AAU Nationals in Orlando on July 31st to watch Irving play. If he matriculates to Durham, Irving could push incumbent Nolan Smith for the starting spot a year from now, or team with Smith in a quick backcourt. In any event, Irving and Tyler Thornton would be an excellent 1-2 tandem to run Duke’s 2011-12 squad. Irving plans to cut down his list of schools in late August after the Elite 24 event at Rucker Park, but he has recently stated that he will certainly take official visits to Duke and Indiana. This begs the question: will Kyrie Irving be the next great Duke point guard from the Garden State?

Roscoe Smith

6’8’’-190 lbs. SF. Rated 4-Stars by Scout.com (#31 overall). Rated 5-Stars by Rivals.com (#24 overall).

Prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy has produced countless college basketball players, including our very own Nolan Smith. The Oak Hill pipeline is responsible for Duke’s final major target for 2010—small forward Roscoe Smith. Although Smith isn’t as complete a player as Barnes or Irving, his pure scoring ability will make him a solid college player. His length and touch give him unlimited shooting range. His shot selection is sometimes questionable, but when he is on, he can fill up the basket in a hurry. His body type and scoring ability are comparable to Tracy McGrady. Smith can get to the rim, but his thin frame detracts from his finishing and rebounding prowess. Once Smith’s body catches up to his game, he will be a star.

Smith believes the college coach is a very important factor for recruits. As a result, Duke has only recently emerged as a frontrunner in his recruiting because of Coach K. Smith has the potential to become an excellent defender because of his length, and he is committed to improving that part of his game. Coach K was recently in attendance at the AAU Nationals in Las Vegas in late July to watch Smith play for his Baltimore Assault AAU team. Duke will have to beat out Connecticut, Louisville and Maryland, among others, for him. Coupling Smith and 2010 commit Hairston would stabilize Duke’s forward position for years to come.

The Bottom Line

Coach K is looking for a dynamite class to dispel the notion that his recruiting (Greg Monroe?) has suffered since he signed on with Team USA. Getting all three of these guys would be an absolute coup for him and would easily make the 2010 group our best recruiting class this decade. I think, however, Duke fans should temper our expectations and still be ecstatic if one or two of the three come to Duke.

Deviled Eggs 8/10/09

Every Monday morning, Crazie Talk culls Duke basketball news, articles, and videos into a half dozen of the best “Deviled Eggs” on the interwebs.

Here are this week’s best:

Photo by John Sheng for Crazie Talk

"You got two eyes I got one! I can't see baby!" (Photo: Crazie Talk)

1. Pointless Preseason Polls: Duke #5 in Dickie V’s rankings, #10 according to Andy Katz.

One’s too high, the other too low. Can we get some middle ground here please?

2. Harrison Barnes’ eyewitness account of LeBron and ‘Dunkgate’

Here’s what Barnes had to say: “I would just say LeBron should have been a better sport and just let it get out.” Maybe Harrison should advise King James, instead of World Wide Wes.

3. Boost Mobile Elite 24 2009 Roster Announced

Three of Duke’s top targets for the class of 2010—Harrison Barnes, Kyrie Irving, and Roscoe Smith—will headline the prestigious event at the one and only Rucker Park in New York, New York (the city so nice they named it after a walled wool trading metropolis in England).

4. Boozer Does It For The (Alaskan) Kids

Duke alum and gold-medalist Carlos Boozer leaves male pattern baldness and the fleeting hope of playing with D-Wade behind for a few days by running a basketball camp in his hometown of Juneau, Alaska (not exactly South Beach).

5. Barnes, Irving explode at Nike Global Challenge

His team down 8 at half to Serbia, Harrison Barnes scored 36 points in the second period to lead the USA Midwest team to an overtime victory. (Final line: 46 points on 14-29 shooting, 14 rebounds, 4 steals).

Kyrie Irving also performed well for USA East against Brazil in the semifinals, coming off the bench to score 17 points, dish out 5 assists, and take 3 cookies (steals).

6. Duke Athletics leads ACC in Academics

The Duke athletic program had 418 ACC academic honor roll selections, 26 more than second place Boston College. Men’s basketball had 7, the tops in the conference as well. This is a point of pride for Duke fans everywhere.