Duke Basketball

Not to be in Cameron North vs St. Johns

Yesterdays game at Madison Square Garden (Cameron North) is usually Duke’s home away from home. Not so Sunday afternoon. In what is the pure definition of a “trap game” St. John’s not only beat Duke but blew them out as the game wasn’t even as close as the 93-78 score indicated. Duke did shoot and defend terrible but lets give credit where its due. St. John’s came to play.

 I was in The Garden an hour before tip and the crowd was already electric. I had on my Cameron North Tee  I had made upfor the game, which i didnt even get to enjoy.  There was about 40 percent Duke fans but we never got a chance to be excited. From the tip the Johnnies controlled the game and simply outhustled Duke. The crowd was into it and St. John’s played with the passion you’d expect Duke to bring every night. With the high ranking that Duke has and the name they have across their chest they have to bring it every game. Sunday they just never seemed to get going. 

Duke’s cold three point shooting as of late finally caught up to them. They shot a dismal 5-26 behind the arc. Which brings me to a point I always try to make. When not hitting three’s I think you have to go inside and start some sort of post up game or be blown out like they did. Or at least drive to the hoop as only Nolan Smith seemed to. He was the one bright spot for the Dukies with his 32 points.

Overall a poor performance for Duke who never matched St. John’s intensity. I have hope for this season but Duke is going to have to pick it up quickly as it doesn’t get any easier. They go on the road Wednesday where the play Maryland then two home games against NC State and UNC. Duke better figure it out quick and play with that passion I have come to known or be blown out once again.

One bright spot of the day was after the game the Duke players showed great class in defeat as they still took the time to sign for the fans outside waiting. Still gracious and still heads up high knowing there is still business to take care of.

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Category: Duke Basketball

Curry Keys Blue Devils Victory

Seth Curry returned to the starting lineup for the Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night and the results were successful. The Blue Devils took care of business against the visiting Boston College Eagles with an easy 84-68 victory. Online betting cappers saw Curry be reinserted into the starting lineup for the first time since they were upset against Florida State and he finished with 20 on six-of-nine shooting while playing a total of 33 minutes.

The Blue Devils were never really challenged as they were up by nine at halftime and clearly extended that lead in the second half. The game was billed as a matchup of the ACC’s top two leading scorers but only one of them came to play. Boston College’s Reggie Jackson, who is second in the ACC in scoring right behind Nolan Smith, was shut down for all intents and purposes while Smith finished with a game-high 28. Jackson was clearly the focal point of the Blue Devils defense and they didn’t let him have many clean looks. He finished with just seven points on three-of-11 shooting in 32 minutes of action. His seven points was roughly 13 points off his per game average this season.

While Smith led the way on the scoreboard, Curry was clearly the star of the night. The 20 points scored by Curry represented the most he’s tallied as a Blue Devil and he hit a season-high five three-pointers. Smith’s night wasn’t too shabby either. Along with his 28 points, he dished out eight assists and is still aiming to become the first player in ACC history to lead the conference in both categories.

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

2012 Mens Basketball Recruiting

Once again Duke has begun to look to reload. Always the staple of Duke’s success has been their ability to recruit the nations top players. Here is a look at the recruiting list for 2012. Looks rather impressive once again:

Offered with national rating first:

1. Andre Drummond Oakdale CT 6’9″ 251 lbs Center

3. Shabazz Muhammed Las Vegas NV 6″5″ 190 lbs Guard

11. Alex Murphy South Borough MA 6’8″ 185 lbs Forward

21. Rasheed Sulaiman Houston TX 6’4″ 180 lbs Guard

40. J.P. Tokoto Menomonee Falls WI 6″5″ 190 lbs Forward

64. Tony Parker Lithonia GA 6′ 9″ 250 lbs Center

Also showing interest but no offer:

26. Torian Graham Durham NC 6’4″ 173 lbs Guard

28. L J Rose Houston TX 6’3″ 175 lbs Guard

30. Amile Jefferson Philadelphia PA 6’7″ 185 lbs Forward

31. Twymond Howard Pearl MS 6’5″ 200 lbs Forward

33. Robert Carter Thomasville GA 6’8″ 245 lbs Forward

59. Evan Nolte Alpharetta GA 6’8″ 200lbs Forward

70. T J Warren Raleigh NC 6’7″ 200 lbs Forward

91. Anthony Bennett Henderson NV 6’6″ 200 lbs Forward

Once again looks like a lot of top players could be showing up in Durham soon. That means more excitement and more banners to be raised soon

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Recruiting

Hot shooting Duke beats NC State

I wasn’t able to put my full attention to the game last night as our daughter is the hospital but I was able to watch most of the first half and parts of the second half. I came away pretty impressed with how the Blue Devils shot the ball, but there is still plenty of work that needs to be done especially on the defensive side in my opinion.

I love the fact that Nolan Smith has stepped up so much since Kyrie Irving went down with the toe injury. You can tell that Nolan has a ton of confidence right now and he pretty much has the green light to shoot whenever he has the ball. Once again Smith led the Blue Devils in scoring with 22 points.

Fellow Senior, Kyle Singler continues to score buckets right behind Nolan as he chipped in with 18 of his own. Singler moved into seventh on Duke’s all-time scoring list with 2,086. He’s 50 points behind Mike Alarie.

Finally, the Plumlee brothers and Ryan Kelly stepped up down low. They grabbed the boards, they blocked shots, and they made the baskets that they should make on a consistent basis. With the guards shooting the ball like they are, the big guys need to play well down low to give the opposing defenders fits just like they did at NC State.

Overall it was a good win for the Duke as they moved to 4-1 in the conference. Anytime you can pick up a road win in the conference it is huge. Up next is an afternoon game on Saturday against Wake Forest. The Deamon Deacons are down this year, so I expect Duke to put up 80+ points and win by 12-15.

Cliff – @justduke.com

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Live and die by the 3 ball (Observations of last nights loss to FLorida State)

In light of Dukes minor set back last night some observations:

     Major lack of intensity. Duke is a very good team right now but are not a great team. They arent good enough to “dog” it for 20 minutes during a 40 minute game.  I believe during this time where the team isn’t communicating and playing tired someone needs to step up and be the leader. I dont mean step and make points but step up and be the vocal leader. I saw a lot of bad shots last night and playing out of control and no one seemed to step up to put an end to that.  Nolan Smith has done a very good job of becoming the leader of this years Duke team but someone else needs to get the team motivated when Nolan is having an “off” game.

     Lack of an inside game. During a game when the shots aren’t falling, especially from 3 point land, how long do you let it go before you tell the team to get it inside? The team shot a dismal 11 for 35 from 3 point land last night. This creates a one dimensional team. Duke becomes a little too easy to predict and teams will guard the 3 point line.  They were many times I was wondering when the team was going to work on getting it inside this year and simply work on the paint. Duke played a few less than spectacular teams where I believe they could of worked on that a little more. If we think back to last years National Championship team I think the “X” factor was the rise of Brian Zoubek. The last 10 games or so he did all the little things, rebounding, dishing it back out and creating second chance points, and giving Duke that inside game they desperately need right now. Miles and Mason Plumlee have to step up as well as Kyle Singler inside and the team needs to get the ball into them if Duke is to have another magical run. 

     But lets give credit where it’s due. Florida State played a heck of a game and they seem to have the uncanny ability to play Duke very well as the number 1 team in the nation on their home court.  In 2002 and 2006 Florida State knocked off Duke as the number 1 team in the land. Last night history repeated. Florida State came out right from the start of the game more hungry, with more emotion and more intensity to get the “W”.  They fought for the loose balls and outrebounded Duke in crucial times of the game. Simply played with more passion last night.

     Not to worry just yet  for the Duke Nation. You can rest assured that Coach K was the first in the office this morning at the drawing board coming up with a strategy to get Duke to bounce back. In my opinion there is not a better team after a loss than Duke. History has proven itself time and time again as Duke comes out refocused and with more passion after a let down. Its this that has made Duke number 1 so many times. I expect to see the team to come out fighting on Saturday and with a new energy.  I expect to see the sort of win that has made Duke the team to beat for so many years.

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Category: Duke Basketball

Duke suffers first loss of the season

Playing in Tallahassee  is no easy chore for the Duke Blue Devils. Once again the Seminoles knocked off Duke on their home court to give the Blue Devils their first loss of the season. The 66-61 setback dropped Duke’s record to 15-1 on the year and 2-1 in the conference. Sure wasn’t the way Coack K and the team wanted to perform in their “true” road game where they would have to deal with an opposing student section and home crowd.

If you want to pin point one thing why the team lost, you can look at the three point shooting. 11 of 35 shooting from beyond the arc will not cut it. 35 attempts is way to many when you are playing on the road in my opinion. Overall the Blue Devils shot just 31% on 19-61 shots.

So what do you do when you aren’t scoring from three point land? Drive to the basket and get some buckets from your guys down low. Duke does not have that presence as right now the Plumlee brothers aren’t stepping up and are in more foul trouble than anything. Ryan Kelly really doesn’t play down low or have post up moves so I don’t see him being an option.

A loss early in conference play isn’t the worst thing. It will give Coack K and the guys something to learn from and know that they need to bring it every time they take the court. I would expect some hard practices and for the Plumlee brothers to take the initiative and start playing better down low.

Up next will be a game against Virginia on Saturday afternoon. Look for Coach K to have the guys fired up and for the Blue Devils to get back on track.

Cliff – @justdukecom

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

The Craziest Crazie

Who is the man that swings the towel in section 7? I seem get that question everytime I bring a new friend into historic Cameron Indoor Stadium. Everyone knows him as Crazy Towel Guy but little is known how he became an iconic fan in the Duke Nation.

I have had the pleasure of speaking to the man also known as Herb Neubauer in my travels to games at Cameron as well as talking to him on the phone in the past years. I even had the honor of obtaining one of his towels for my Duke collection that he is so infamous for. But he is so much more than that guy who swings the towel.

In 1980  he became a season ticket holder at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Ever since he has been to almost every home Duke Basketball game and is also seen at many other Duke sporting events always carrying his towel as he continues to be the most recognized Duke fan. But how did did he become Crazy Towel Guy? It all started with a blue leather Mexican hat he bought in Tijuana. Herb would wear it to every Duke game and would sweat so much he would have to take a towel to wipe the sweat off. He then started swinging it in the stands. In 1994 the student section know as “The Crazies” started chanting “Crazy Towel Guy” at their home games as he would stand up, swing his towel and pump his fists getting Cameron as loud as he possibly could. The rest is history. Any home game you may get a chance to got to you can be sure at one of the whistles you will sure to hear the chant and see the ritual that has made the Crazy Towel Guy the most popular Crazie.

Behind the legend is also a man who has so much passion, respect for Duke fans and players alike. In 1994 Herb had a fire in his house and he lost years of Duke memorabilia. Final Four tickets, collectible buttons , team signed balls from the championship years and his famed blue Mexican hat. After the fire Mike Gminski had sent him some of his Duke items. Herb politely sent them back. This was the attitude and respect he had for Duke and their players. The fire may have set his collection of Duke memorabilia back but it wouldnt take Crazy Towel Guys passion on to becoming the “Craziest Crazie”.

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Category: Duke Basketball

Duke opens up ACC play with victory over Miami

Duke opened up the 2011 ACC Conference season with a 74-63 victory over the visiting Miami Hurricanes on Sunday night. Things didn’t look good from the start as the Blue Devils were cold on the offensive end and were picking up fouls left and right on the defensive end.

Things quickly turned around however when Senior guard Nolan Smith was called for an offensive foul at mid-court that he did not think should have been a foul. Nolan showed some emotion after the whistle but calmed down quickly and then got hot from beyond the arc as he scored the teams next 13 points. Smith finished with a team high 28 points and stepped up big when the team needed him the most.

Smith got helped out by Andre Dawkins who scored 16 points and Kyle Singler who chipped in with 14 of his own. It wasn’t a hot shooting night for the Blue Devils but they did enough to secure the victory while the defense picked up the rest.

Duke got pretty lucky that Hurricane player Reggie Johnson was in foul trouble most of the game. Johnson played great with the ball as he led Miami with 22 points. Had the Canes been knocking down their three point shots (1 of 10) this game could have been much different.

It wasn’t pretty but I’ll take a conference win any way they will come by. This just assures the team that they need to come out and play with high intensity and emotion no matter who the opposing team is. Look for a better effort on Wednesday as the Blue Devils face off against UAB.

- Cliff @justdukecom on Twitter

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes


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