A Visitor From Ames
This morning, the “H” train arrived at Duke University.
Only a day after top guard prospect Kyrie Irving committed to Duke, Harrison Barnes, the number 1 high school player in the nation, is on campus for his official visit. Having taken trips to a trio of top schools (Oklahoma, UNC, Kansas), Barnes will be shown the inner workings of Cameron Indoor, the Krzyzewski Center, campus life, academics, and all the multifarious details that make Duke Basketball one of the top programs in the country.
As expected, the Cameron Crazies are well aware of Harrison’s presence on campus and the impact he would have as a member of the 2010 recruiting class. Students posted flyers with “That’s H” all over West Campus (mirroring the “That’s G” Gatorade ad campaign). Also, a group of students painted the Kilgo quad bench with a message to Harrison Barnes: “1 OF MANY BENCHES WE’LL BURN. H 40.”
Open Practice, 1:50 p.m.
On Friday afternoon, Cameron was opened up to Duke fans and students for a full practice. A similar event occurred the day after Countdown to Craziness, Duke’s inaugural “Midnight Madness” event on October 16th. Harrison looked on from the bench: first sitting with his mother and sister before moving to the bench to watch and discuss with Coach K.
Like Harrison, many students brought their folks along as this weekend is also Parent’s Weekend at Duke. The team ran through a variety of drills: full court press breaking, controlled scrimmages, and conditioning.
Just like the last open practice, Jon, Nolan and Kyle looked the freshest and most confident on the court. Jon is the clear leader of this team—directing traffic on the court and guiding the younger players in difficult drills. Nolan’s shot is much more fluid than in his first two seasons; I expect him to become a 3-point threat on every possession, especially if he starts at shooting guard with Jon at the point. Kyle was silky smooth as always. On one broken play, he scrambled for a loose ball, filled the space between himself and the defending big man, avoided contact, and finished with a pretty one handed floater. You just can’t teach that.
The Plumlees are looking more capable of performing well among the trees of the ACC. Miles’ added strength will allow him to use his considerable ballhandling skills, while Mason’s athleticism and overall talent will terrorize opponent’s lumbering bigs.
Andre’s touch is absolutely fantastic for an 18 year old. Many times in the scrimmages he found himself in the 10-15 ft. range and could knock down off-balanced jumpers in traffic. If he can bring it like this in competition, well, maybe we can lament Elliot’s departure a little bit less (maybe). As for Curry: after a year of lifting weights and learning the offense, watch out.
Lance Thomas is not in attendance . . . Curry and Dre hit back to back threes in a full court press drill . . .Nolan hooks up with Mason for an alley-oop in the full-court drill, crowd goes wild . . . Olek needs to stop taking 3s . . . Nolan with a 3 in the halfcourt drill, Singler hits one from the corner next possession . . . Ryan misses a corner jumper, Miles tip dunks the miss with one hand . . . Zoubek fights for a board and puts it back in . . .Harrison has very long arms, extend several chairs across when he leans back . . . Assistant Coach Chris Spatola is sitting with Shirley Barnes and Harrison’s sister . . How about calling Zoubek “Treebeard”? He looks like a Tolkien character with that fuzz on his face and his 7’1” frame…Can you imagine a guard core of Kyrie, Seth, Andre, Harrison, Nolan, and Thornton? Think about it.
EDIT: Lance Thomas missed the practice and the Pfeiffer game due to illness. He should be back in practice this week.
The highlight of the night? Andre alleys, Miles oops.
Crazie-Talk will be covering the Harrison Barnes visit all weekend. We agree with the Duke nation: along with Irving, Hairston, and Thornton, Harrison would complete Duke’s best recruiting class in the past 10 years.
Everyone be sure to attend the Duke-Maryland football game in Wallace Wade at 1:30 tomorrow, with the Pfeiffer exhibition game to follow. Barnes will be at both games—if you see him, show him some Duke love!