Technically, Big Duke Balls isn’t moving up, it’s just moving over. You can now find Big Duke Balls HERE.
Starting tonight, this site bigdukeballs.wordpress.com is no more. I am officially dropping the .wordpress from the domain name.
I’m officially joining the Fantasy Sports Venture. In terms of content and what I’ll be writing, nothing changes. Like I said, the only change will be the domain name. We are dropping .wordpress.com from the name and from this day forward, we’ll just be BigDukeBalls.com.
Come on over!
As everyone already knows, Carrick Felix, Coach K’s first ever Juco transfer has decided to back out of his commitment and open up his recruitment.
I’m disappointed. While I certainly didn’t expect an All-American to emerge from Idaho, I was looking forward to seeing his athleticism off the bench this fall. He was a kid who would be in Durham for three years and we’d all get to watch him grow as a basketball player. Not anymore.
Now Felix says he’s leaving for personal reasons and Singler’s return had nothing to do with his decisions. I’d like to believe him (I have no reason not to), however, I have to believe that if Kyle went to the NBA and Felix was the only SF on the roster, he would have somehow convinced himself to stay.
Either way, I’m sure the decision was not an easy one. These kids have one shot to make it to the pros. They’re only young once. Picking the right opportunity for themselves is the most important decision they might make in their entire lives. I couldn’t imagine having to make it myself when I was that young.
The fact is, Carrick had to see an opportunity to start right away when he committed, but as soon as Kyle said no-no to the pros, Felix was on the bench. Yet, I’m going to argue that Singler’s decision was only one of two reasons that caused this reversal. The other…Michael Gbinije.
The second Gbinije picked Duke, any fan could go right ahead and pencil him in as the starter at small forward in 2011. If Felix was going to wrestle that starting spot away from the incoming freshman, he was going to need a year as a starter under his belt. As soon as Kyle came back, Felix was suddenly looking at about 8-10 minutes per game in the ACC…at best.
Anyhow, we wish him the best, where ever he ends up.
So what’s this do for Duke?
The bench certainly will take a hit. Felix was the only option at SF on the pine. Potentially, his athleticism was going to make him a defensive force. The kind of guy you throw on Harrison Barnes and dare him to score. Now Duke has two options when Singler needs a blow.
First…go small. The one thing Duke will have plenty of this season is guards. Irving, Curry, Smith and Dawkins are all capable starters, but there are only two guard spots. When Kyle needs a break, you throw three guards out there and run like the wind (until we meet again).
Second…go big. Ryan Kelly and Josh Hairston are the only option off the bench to back up the Plumlee brothers. Yet, both are not traditional “big men.” Both like to play facing the basket. Kelly likes to shoot the long ball, while Hairston’s natural position (if he ever goes pro) will be at the small forward spot. Either player can come in and give Singler a break. The only issue will be, can they handle some of the quicker small forwards out there.
In reality, I would suspect that Singler simply won’t see a lot of minutes on the pine. Look for him to continue to play 33-35 minutes per game, barring injury or foul trouble.
Filed under: College Basketball | Tags: ACC Basketball, Big 10 Expansion, Big East, SEC Expansion
As everyone already knows, all the talk this spring has been about BIG 10 expansion. Just about every school north of Puerto Rico, east of Sarah Palin’s front porch (the one you can see Russia from) and west of the Canary Islands has been mentioned as possible targets. In turn, the SEC is now talking about expanding and the Big 12 & PAC 10 are thinking getting into bed together for some spooning time.
Every possible rumor is flying. Texas to the Big 10 and the SEC, Maryland to the Big 10, Arkansas to the Big 12, Boise State to the Pac 10…hell, there’s talk about UCF joining the Big 12. Yes, Central Florida, located in Orlando, Florida.
Of course all this talk has the Atlantic Coast Conference, the original conferences poachers, running scared.
So what the hell does all this mean for the ACC?
While I have no personal knowledge of what’s going to happen in the Big 10 (which is really 11 teams), they will be the conference that will get this “expansion” ball rolling down the slippery slope (too many clichés?).
Now you would think that they actually have a good thing going. The Big 10 is one of the few conferences that has powerhouses in both football and basketball, so why mess with a good thing? Easy….cash…and lots of it.
The Big 10 already has their own network. While the average folks like me can’t see it, the best way to get the Big 10 Network on all cable boxes is by adding more teams (thus widening its coverage).
So far the rumor has it they’ll go for either a 14 or 16-team mega-conference. The obvious team to join would be Notre Dame. The problem is, why would the Irish want to share money with 13 or 14 other teams? The fact is, they have their own freaking network.
Outside of South Bend, the other teams rumored to have received offers are, (from the Big 12) Nebraska and Missouri, and (from the Big East) Rutgers and maybe Pittsburgh.
Now as an average fan, these teams don’t make too much sense. I wish college conferences were more like the pros, where regions mattered (unless you’re the Dallas Cowboys who somehow play in the NFC East. ou explain that one to me).
If the Big 10 wants to expand, I’ll accept that, but in reality if they want to add three more teams, then they should take Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Iowa State.
Now I know those aren’t all sexy names (like ‘Dick Longwood’), but my reasoning is, these three teams already sit in Big 10 country. Notre Dame already plays half of the Big 10 teams and I’d pay to see some Cincinnati vs. Ohio State games (in both basketball & football). It just makes sense.
Now that’s 14-teams, which I think works out great for football. So on top of that, for basketball, I would add two schools that don’t play Division I football. I’d add Depaul and Marquette, which would give the Big 10 a 16-team basketball conference. Perfect, right? Which means it will never happen.
Of course, I’m not in charge and this process isn’t about what’s right. This is about dollars. By bringing in more “local” teams that would actually create great rivalries, you won’t be expanding your coverage. That’s why teams like Missouri and Rutgers (located in New Jersey, although living in NYC now, I don’t know a single Rutgers fan) are potential top targets.
Just like that the Big 10 represents just under half the nation. Of course my question is, when am I suppose to start to care about Missouri vs. Rutgers?
Let’s go back to the beginning. (more…)
It seems so long ago, but it was only a year ago…the North Carolina Tar Heels were on top of the world.
They had officially reclaimed their spot on top of college basketball thanks to a second title in five years. Afterwards, the Tar Heels swooped in and stole Coach K’s prom date when Harrison Barnes picked UNC over Duke.
I remember that moment well. Coach Roy Williams and the entire Carolina basketball team on Skype, celebrating Barnes’ decision. Everything was coming up Roy. He knew it. You could see it on his smug face on Skype that day.
Now a year later, oh how things have changed. First, we watched the Tar Heels go from National Champion to N.I.T. runner up. When it was over, their best remaining player (Ed Davis) bolted for the NBA.
Today though, we all learned that the Wear Twins are both transferring out of Chapel Hill. Hell, they didn’t just transfer, they got the hell out of Dodge without saying a word. Even teammate, Jon Henson, was shocked, as was Ed Davis, who also was surprised.
Word is, the twins took their last Spring semester final and bolted, leaving it up to their father to tell Coach Williams the bad news. So far, we have no reasons. In fact, I’m struggling to find one. While the twins were not going to be starters this year, they certainly would have gotten plenty of minutes since they were the only big men off the bench.
So how does this effect North Carolina and more importantly how does this effect Duke (let’s be honest, that’s all we really care about)? (more…)
2010′s Incoming freshman have yet to step on campus, but that hasn’t stopped the Duke coaching staff from charging full-steam ahead into 2011′s class and that certainly hasn’t stop us Duke fans from speculating about the future. You’d think we’d sit back and enjoy the championship for a little while. Nah.
MICHAEL GBINIJE (SG/SF)
Mr. Gbinije, pronounced Ga-bin-gee, I think (I was way off, it’s pronounced ben-uhh-jay) is a 6’6 wing man, rated the 4th best SF (according to Rivals). The only word that should come to mind when you’re talking about Gbinije is STUD. The kid can shoot from the outside or take it to the hole like a point guard. He’s just that talented. In fact, despite standing 6’6, he often plays the primary ball handler in high school.
While I wouldn’t call him a “freak” of an athlete (like I would Gerald Henderson), Gbinije is plenty athletic and can create his own shot without the need for a screen. Most importantly, he’s already working on his mid-range game (a crucial shot most incoming freshmen lack). Also, the kid is not afraid to get dirty inside and has a knack for grabbing defensive rebounds where he can push the fast break without breaking a sweat.
Conclusion? Be excited. Be really excited. The kid can ball, but what role will he play in 2011?
With his height, you’d love to see him at the two-guard, where he could abuse smaller shooting guards, but with Singler out after 2010, I suspect Gbinije has the goods to slide into Kyle’s spot at small forward (with Felix remaining the No 1 option off the bench).
Here’s what I’m thinking…the Brother Plumlees will continue to hold up the middle. If Irving is as good as advertised, he will probably be a one-and-done (although I’m certainly hoping he sticks around). This will allow Curry to take over the point, while Dawkins takes over SG, unless…Doc Rivers’ kid decides to head to Cameron, then I have no clue. (more…)
Since the National Championship game, I said Kyle Singler would turn pro. I repeated it over and over again. Not only did I predict he would go, I said he should go. Yet here we are again, me…wrong.
You’d think I’d get tired of being wrong so often, but I’m not. Especially when being wrong means that my favorite college basketball team will be the favorites to repeat as champions.
As you’ve already figure out (or heard), Kyle Singler is returning for his senior season.
I have no idea if the decision was a right one or a wrong one. We won’t know that until next year’s draft. I can appreciate the kid for taking his time though, watching the basketball landscape, doing his research and making his decision.
With so many players heading to the pros, my guess is Singler was slipping down the draft boards. He would have more than likely stayed in the first-round, but it would have been late.
SO WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR DUKE?
Obviously I’m going to let the news settle in and I’ll do a more detail review of next year’s Blue Devils later, but clearly Duke is the No 1 team heading into the 2010-2011 season, which is only odd because the team is losing three very important starters.
How many teams can win the championship, lose three senior starters and walk back into the next season as favorites? That’s the modern day landscape of college basketball in a nutshell.
Think about this though, there is a good reason why only two teams in the past 30 years have repeated and the trick to those teams was the fact that they both basically had their entire starting lineup back the following year.
Of course, let’s not pretend Duke is walking away with the title next year. It’s not like they were the most dominating team this past year. Also, along with adding three new starters, the coaches will need to fit three new players (coming off the bench) into the rotation. The challenge for this team will be to find chemistry. Not everyone can be a superstar? Who’s going to step up and do the dirty work?
Having said all that, while next year’s Duke team will lose experience and leadership, they’ll be gaining the one thing Duke fans have been craving for…athleticism. The fact is, Kyle Singler will probably be the least “athletic” player in the regular rotation. That’s saying something. (more…)