Video: Austin Rivers vs. Milton

Future Duke phenom Austin Rivers and his Winter Park (Fl.) team faced off against the nationally ranked Milton (Ga.) Eagles in the Hoops in OverDrive Shootout. Milton boasts tons of Division 1 talent in their senior class: Dai-Jon Parker (committed to Vanderbilt), Julian Royal (Georgia Tech), and Shannon Scott (Ohio State). They also have 2012 wingman Evan Nolte, who is currently ranked #50 in his class by ESPNU, and Shaquille Johnson, who recently lost to Plumlee #3 in the City of Palms dunk contest. There has been some noise surrounding Duke recruiting Nolte, but only time will tell how his recruitment will play out. Milton won the game 75-60 in front of a packed house, beating Winter Park for the 2nd time in a week and a half. Simply put, Rivers got little support from his teammates, as he contributed over half his squad’s points (31 of 60).

Rivers didn’t exactly have the start everyone might have been expecting in the first half. He only had 6 points and didn’t seem to get into an offensive groove—although he did have a nice block on Parker on a fast break. His team trailed 37-25 at the break. In the second half, however, Rivers came to life and showed why he deserves his high ranking. He scored 25 points in the final 2 quarters, raining threes from distance. He had several nice drives to the basket, where he would either finish himself with a variety of moves or pass out to a teammate. Unfortunately, the rest of Winter Park was stifled by Milton’s defense and failed to capitalize on Austin’s dishes.

Conversely, Milton was ready to go on both ends of the floor. They were simply too athletic for Winter Park and dominated from start to finish. The Wildcats pulled close in the 2nd half due to Austin’s amazing play, but his effort was not enough to complete the comeback. Check out the highlights above (part of the ever-growing Austin Rivers mixtape collection), and you’ll see why we’re thrilled to have one more year to watch games in Cameron as Duke undergrads.

Happy New Year from all of us at Crazie Talk! 2010 was a great year for Duke basketball, and we only hope it continues into 2011. Thanks so much for following us the past year, and as always, let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions (crazietalk@gmail.com or on our Twitter)

Breaking: Quinn Cook to Duke!

Quinn Cook, shown here on Coach K Court. We can get used to this. (Photo Property of C-T)

Quinn Cook has announced his decision to attend Duke University and become the Devils’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2011.  He joins a class that was already considered to be one of Duke’s strongest in recent memory. He’ll team up with Austin Rivers and Michael Gbinije in the backcourt next year, the mere thought of which makes me want to do this.

Scout.com lists Cook—who also considered playing for UCLA—as a five-star player and the 4th best PG of his class. Over the summer, Crazie-Talk’s Arun had a chance to watch Quinn play at the Tournament of Champions. In his review of the event, Arun had a feeling that Duke would not be a major player in his recruitment.  Good thing his feelings have nothing to do with the staff’s recruiting decisions.

Cook’s recruitment got interesting over the past week. ScoutHoops reported he had added UNC to his list a few hours before ZagsBlog announced Quinn would pick between Duke and UCLA in a matter of days and would abstain from visiting UNC altogether. Whirlwind!

Recruitniks were further mystified by top-flight PG Myck Kabongo’s long-rumored de-commitment from Texas earlier this week. Kabongo said that he wanted to take a further look at Syracuse, UNC, Kentucky, and Duke, along with the Longhorns. Just this morning though, Dave Telep of ESPN.com reported that Myck has decided to re-commit to Rick Barnes and the Texas program. Best of luck to Myck in the future!  We’re just glad he didn’t land over in Chapel Hill.

With Cook now on board for 2011, Duke is poised to field the nation’s best backcourt for two years running. Enjoy the show!

Thanks again, Nolan.

For the umpteenth time in his tenure at Duke, Nolan Smith is to thank for something great happening for Duke Men’s Basketball.

It has been well reported that Quinn and Nolan are godbrothers. Dan Wiederer of The Fayetteville Observer recently wrote a wonderful and inspirational piece on their friendship. If you’re not familiar with this story, spend a few minutes reading that article. Caution: tears alert.

Though they won’t ever play together in college, Quinn’s relationship with Nolan will make the transition from Oak Hill to Duke butter smooth. It will also inform Quinn’s career as Duke’s point guard—the difficulties and triumphs of which Nolan knows well.

Quinn was also a member of the DC Assault AAU program, the same team that has produced literally dozens of current and former NCAA stars, including Michael Beasley, Austin Freeman, Jeff Green…and Nolan Smith. (Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston also played for the Assault. Can you say pipeline?)

Quinn will bring an excellent skill set to Durham when he enrolls in the fall of 2011.  He has great handles and has no issues getting to the basket in traffic. As Arun reported, “there really wasn’t anyone on the opposing team who could contain [Cook.]”

His ability to create both for himself and for his teammates is remarkable.  At the FIBA U17 World Championship, Cook led all players in assists with an impressive 7.4 apg.  Those kinds of stats are certainly welcome in Durham. We love assists.

This year, after transferring from DeMatha Catholic, Cook is playing for Coach Steve Smith at Oak Hill Academy, the most storied high school basketball team of the modern era. The Warriors’ unbelievable list of alumni includes Jerry Stackhouse, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings…and high school/NCAA national champion NOLAN SMITH.

(Aside:  Oak Hill also produced Makhtar N’diaye, who some might recall held up a certain sign at the 2009 title game.  Here’s what Crazie-Talk countered with in Indy this past year. Alright, enough snarkiness.)

Cook has made a big impression thus far at Oak Hill. He had 16 points and 7 assists against the Italian Junior National Team and followed with 14 and 15 against Princeton Day three days later. These stats, particularly the assists, indicate Quinn’s ability to recognize the talent around him at Oak Hill. The same concept will apply manifold at Duke, where the talent level is reaching heights unseen since the late 90s.

For this season, Cook will have the opportunity to play with and learn from perhaps the best coach high school basketball has to offer.  And when that’s done, it’ll be off to Duke to learn from the best coach the college game has to offer.

As much as I’d like to give Coach K all the credit for reeling in another amazing guard or give kudos to Mike G or Rivers for starting the domino effect, I’ve got to throw it back to the one, the only, the @ndotsmitty. I can’t wait for more Smith/Cook videos to come out—this time with both of them head to toe in Duke gear.

UPDATE: Here is the video from ESPNU of Quinn’s announcement.

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Here are some highlights that show what Cook will bring to Duke, from our friends over at HardwoodElite.

Scott and Jake contributed to this impassioned piece of expository writing.

Hungry, Humble and Happy

The Duke basketball program has a lot to discuss with recruits.

The world conqueror is back in Durham, and we're ready to put our championship pedigree to its regular litmus test. (Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

Duke has four national titles in the modern era of basketball, a legendary coach whose teams can’t stop winning championships, one of the best academic acumens in the world…and on, and on, and on.

So the Blue Devil coaching staff has a lot of positives to throw out to recruits (and as Andy Katz reported recently, Wojo and Co. didn’t miss a beat while K and Collins were abroad). We have no reason to resort to negative recruiting, the underhanded and illegal tactics that are souring the world of high school sports and obliterating the “ethics” of coaching. That fact is not pompous, it’s not something that will necessarily last forever. For now, it’s just how things are.

But let’s be real–not everyone has the benefits that Duke fans (and really, UNC fans as well) tote to the high ground. Look at Bruce Pearl. How could a man who hops around half naked at a Lady Vols game imitating the Truffle Shuffle also be a base hoops villain with no respect for fundamental rules?

I know that the NCAA is a bass ackwards organization whose only saving grace is the Big Dance, but really, Bruce. I feel kind of sorry for you. That tan? Yikes. Being perpetually in the shadow of your football program? Tough life.

(Well, Billy Donovan made it work, but he also has Nerf guns.)

It must be difficult for Pearl to have his recruits constantly dipping out on him and his players having frequent run-ins with the law. And after being banned from off campus recruiting for two years, things are just going to get worse and worse at Thompson Boiling Arena. Pat Summit has always worn the pants in this relationship and good lord, man, she always will.

I’m thrilled to be a Duke student for the halcyon days that we have now firmly entered. Our recruiting, unlike Pearl’s, is going along swimmingly. Our targets, unlike John Calipari’s, did not play profe$$ionally in Europe or have their transcripts overhauled to be admitted to “school” (…reportedly). Our prized players, unlike poor Dana Altman’s at Oregon, aren’t jumping ship overseas (check those consecutive ocean metaphors!).

Obviously, the Blue Devil program has had problems in the past. If I had a nickel for every time a rival fan (read: Kentucky) mentioned Corey Maggette and Myron Piggie, and literally snorted like a pig in imitation, I could buy season tickets next to Ashley Judd. And there is no guaranteeing that, in the post-Coach K era, Duke will always attract top talent to Durham or run a squeaky clean program. We can hope, but we can’t count on it.

But for now, let’s enjoy the fruits of success. Coach K is stacking so much paper to the ceiling and slanging so many gold medals that Duke will probably have top 5 recruiting classes until he retires.

The founders of this blog have at least two more years at Duke and in Cameron. With this roster, a coach who has his own holiday, and the Durham community, we’re hoping to ride the wave to Houston.

Crazie Notes featuring Quinn Cook

Duke has offered 2011 standout point guard Quinn Cook, Jason Jordan on DIME Magazine reported yesterday. Thanks for taking our post-Felix advice, guys. Once Cook recovers from his knee injury, he’ll be an absolute star for Steve Smith at Oak Hill. I hope (and kind of anticipate) that Quinn joins Duke and helps fill the hole left by his god-brother Nolan Smith. With Gbinije, Adams and Plum3 already committed (and Austin Rivers possibly on the way), we may be looking a recruiting class to sort of rival 1999. Maybe.

Cook’s highlights from a solid summer are below.

Find more videos like this on BALL IS LIFE

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Thanks for all your support of Crazie-Talk, folks. Please leave your comments, thoughts and criticisms in the comments section. You can even tweet and Facebook this article if you want. I love the 21st century.

Video: Duke at the Pro-Am (7/20)

Crazie-Talk’s Arun and Peter were on the scene again over at NC Central for the NC Pro-Am Summer league. We managed to catch some good action on the court tonight, and the Blue Devils were certainly out in full force.

In our first game of the night, Seth Curry was the lone Devil on his squad. Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston teamed up in the second game of the night, and they did not fail to impress. Kyrie in particular showed a dazzling display of moves both on and off the ball, and as usual, was very comfortable with the ball in his hands. We continue to be amazed by his ability to squeeze through the smallest openings in the lane and finish with either hand or find an open teammate for an easy bucket. His 3 point range was also on display, as you can see from our highlight reel.

The third game of the night was a real treat for all the Duke fans in the building. A handful of Duke’s youngest stars, including Ryan Kelly, Tyler Thornton, Andre Dawkins, Mason Plumlee, and Marshall Plumlee all saw action in this game, and all five were occasionally on the court at the same time. Ryan Kelly continued his solid summer season at the NC Pro-Am and showed off his varied offensive repertoire of drives to the basket, shots beyond the arc, and midrange jumpers. In one spectacular move (which we luckily managed to capture), Kelly used multiple crossovers to get around his defender (Marshall Plumlee) and finished with a smooth up and under move.

Not to be overshadowed by his fellow freshman point-guard, Tyler Thornton showed Duke fans his deceptive quickness, improved range on his jumpshot, and consistent defense.  Andre Dawkins played to his strengths and buried a number of long range jumpers. Mason Plumlee used his athleticism to his advantage by throwing down some thunderous dunks, and he also showed some surprisingly tight handles on multiple unassisted drives to the hoop. Marshall Plumlee, the youngest of the three brothers, teamed up with his older brother to form an imposing frontline for the opposition. Although his game is quite raw at this point, we noticed much of the same athleticism that his older brothers are blessed with. At this point, Marshall seems to be more comfortable closer to the basket in a traditional center role, where he can use his seven foot frame and length to his advantage.

We’ll continue to go to the Pro-Am as time permits, but until then, check out our other videos on Crazie-Talk TV, our official YouTube channel.

Marshall Plumlee Commits to Duke

Last night, Marshall Plumlee, the younger brother of Miles and Mason and Scout.com’s 5th-ranked center for 2011, announced his decision to follow his brothers and play for Coach K.

He is the third commitment Duke has nabbed in the Class of 2011, joining Michael Gbinije and Tyler Adams, and if Miles and Mason stay for their senior and junior years, it would be the first time in Duke’s history (and maybe college basketball history?) that three brothers would be on the same roster.  Like both of his brothers, Marshall has a great basketball IQ.  He is a 7-ft 215-lb center who will bring a slightly different game to Duke than his brothers did.  He uses his height to take on a more traditional center’s role, using a number of back-to-the-basket moves in the low post.  He has great hands and footwork for a player of his size.  However, he’ll need to bulk up and become more physical if he wants to have a big impact in the ACC.  He has a large 7 foot frame to fill, and he’ll no doubt use his senior year of high school to work on that.  If he can build muscle, he has the chance to excel on offense and defense, much like Brian Zoubek did this past season.

So now that Plumlee #3 is in the bag, what does this mean looking ahead for Duke recruiting for 2011?  With our second big man locked up, Duke will likely focus much of its attention in the coming months on the smooth-shooting Austin Rivers and the speedy Quinn Cook.  Both place Duke high on their lists.  Rivers led the way alongside incoming freshmen Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston to a gold medal for the US U18 team at the FIBA Americas tournament just a little over a week ago. Cook, who is Nolan Smith’s god-brother, was the starting point guard for the US U17 team that won the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships this very morning.  No doubt that will have an impact on where the two end up.  Here’s to hoping for the best!

Finally, here’s a video showing a sneak peek of what Duke is getting in Marshall. Although the footage is about a year old, one can see glimpses of his work ethic and leadership abilities:

We figured that the 2010 National Title would pay big dividends on the recruiting trail. With several more targets in 2011—and the talented crop of 2012 prospects still wide open—look for the coaching staff to work hard to bring the top talent where it belongs: Durham, N.C.

Follow C-T on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for all the latest news and updates from the Duke Basketball universe. Go Devils.

Crazie Talk Live: FIBA Americas U18 Championship Game

The United States U-18 squad dominated Team Canada from the opening tip last night, winning handily 122-89.

In one of the more hyped match-ups of a tournament, the Maple Leaf Nation had little to no chance. Especially with Duke 2011 top target Austin Rivers going crazy and scoring 35 points—a record for this competition. Rivers was uncanny, hitting his first nine three-point shots. His sixth trey broke the USA record—in the first half. It was a Ray Allen-like performance for Austin, while his father, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, watched from the San Antonio stands.

Our 2010 commitments also played well; Irving netted 12 points and dished out seven assists. Kyrie got into the lane at will, distributing to USA’s capable forwards. Josh Hairston rebounded from a disappointing game against Argentina, posting 10 points and four rebounds. Josh did a good job of finishing around the basket, and knocked down both of his free throws.

Quincy Miller cooled off after his big game against Argentina, but he had an admirable stat line of seven points, six rebounds and five assists. Miller shows tremendous poise in the open court; he handles the ball like a guard on fast breaks, slicing into the lane and getting by his defender with a variety of quick moves, including a vicious spin cycle that leaves him alone at the rim. Quincy is perhaps the biggest talent on this team, and we are really just seeing small flashes of what he is capable of (The hilariously incompetent commentator of these games referred to Quincy’s ’16 straight threes in practice the other day’ a dozen times in the past two nights).

Amir Williams, who has been at the end of the bench for Team USA, is still getting into the flow of the game. Williams shows promise—finishing off one nice assist for a two-handed slam against the Nucks—but his hands are ’07 Lance Thomas-esque and he seems a little lost out there. Nonetheless, playing for his country will be a great experience for him, and Williams will definitely improve with time. He has gotten a lot of looks recently, and we’re sure that K and Co. will keep tabs on Amir—perhaps fellow Detroit Country Day veteran Shane Battier can give him a few pointers.

Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EST, Team USA is back in action against Brazil, who pulled away late from Argentina to secure a spot in the title game. We hope that you join us for our final live-blog of this tournament—it has been a lot of fun talking basketball with a big cast of Duke fans for the past two games. Again, you can check out the live feed of the game here.

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=43482c78e5&#8243; mce_href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=43482c78e5&#8243; >FIBA Americas – U18 Championship</a>

Crazie Talk Live: FIBA Americas U18 Championships

Howdy folks! If you’re bored or obsessed with basketball like we are, make sure you tune into our live blog of Team USA’s matchup against Argentina in the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in San Antonio this evening. Team USA’s roster is stacked (as usual), and features five Duke commits and targets in the starting lineup – Kyrie Irving, Josh Hairston, Quincy Miller, Austin Rivers, and Amir Williams.
You can take in a live feed of the game here. That said, the commentary is pretty terrible, so we’d love it if you stopped by to chat with us. The game is scheduled to start at 8:00pm EST (7:00pm CT).

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=2017bf4ab2&#8243; mce_href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=2017bf4ab2&#8243; >FIBA Americas U18 Championships</a>