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…)
First of all, I could never be Kyle Singler. If you’ve ever seen my jump shot, you’d know what I’m talking about. I also could never imagine being in his shoes right now, forced to make a life-changing decision…to go or not to go?
Having said that, I’m certainly going to try to be Kyle Singler…for at least one post.
Would I go pro or would I come back for one more year of college?
For me, the answer is…I’d go, although I wouldn’t say it is an easy answer.
First, I’ve accomplished what I’ve wanted to accomplish in college. I won a national championship. I did it playing my best ball, winning MVP of the Final Four. I went head-to-head against other pro prospects (West Virginia’s Butler and Butler’s Hayward) and I was the better player on the court each time.
Sure I could get better as a player with another year of college. Just look how I did this past year. I struggled early at a new position, but by the end of the season, I was one of the most productive players in the nation. I earned All-ACC First team.
However, even if I improve my ball-handling skills some and get my three-pt shooting above 40%, the one big strike against me, my athleticism, will still be a concern next year. As great as Coach Kryzewski is, he’s never going to make me run faster or jump higher. What’s the old saying, “you can’t teach speed?” It’s true.
If I turned pro this year (which seems to be the popular thing to do), I’m projected to go anywhere between 17-30. Of course there is a big difference it terms of cash betwen #17 and #30. At #17, I’m going to average about 1.2-million over three years. If I’m #30, I’m looking at just under 900k per season.
In reality though, I would be shocked if I fell into the 20′s, which would land me about 1.1-million per for three years. More importantly, that’s just one more year less before I can become a free agent. (more…)
Filed under: Around the ACC | Tags: 2010-2011 ACC Rankings, 2010-2011 All-ACC, ACC Players
Al-Farouq Aminu gone. Ed Davis gone. Malcolm Delaney gone (maybe). Derrick Favors gone. Gani Lawal gone. Sylven Landesberg gone.
Those are the ACC’s early entries to the NBA. Compared to the rest of college basketball, the ACC doesn’t have too much to complain about. Hell, Kentucky is losing five players all by themselves. Yet, when you mix in the announced early entries with those who still might go, plus thrown in the departing seniors, man this conference is losing some talent.
Other possible early entries are Kyle Singler, Chris Singleton and Solomon Alabi.
As for the big name seniors who have played their final ACC game, you’re looking at Jon Scheyer, Greivis Vasquez, Trevor Booker, Deon Thompson, Ishmael Smith, Landon Milbourne, Dwayne Collins, Chas McFarland, Eric Hayes, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas.
That’s a lot of stats leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference (assuming Singler, Alabi, Singleton and Delaney all go).
SCORING: Seven of the top nine scorers would be gone, 13 of the top 20.
REBOUNDING: Six of the top seven rebounders will be gone, 12 of the top 20.
ASSISTS: Four of the top six assists leaders.
THREE-PT SHOOTING: Six of the top nine three-point shooters are out of here.
BLOCKS: Six of the top eight shot blockers.
Thank God they put names on the jersey, because you might need them to know who’s playing for who.
So who will be the stars of the ACC in 2010-2011?
If I had to do a “way-too-soon” All-ACC First, Second and Third team…here’s how I would lay it out (again, this assumes Kyle, Alabi, Singleton and Delaney are gone). (more…)
THE ACC COACHING CAROUSEL
1. AL SKINNER DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE…
I’ll be honest, I was a little shocked to see Skinner go, but according to Bob Ryan of the Globe, maybe I shouldn’t have been. It appears Al was a lazy son-of-a-bitch, who let his assistants do just about everything. Still, the man was the winningest coach in B.C. history, taking the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament seven times in nine years.
Although there were rumors that former Duke player Tommy Amaker was being considered for the job, Boston College went elsewhere in the Ivy League and pulled out Cornell’s Steve Donahue. I’m sure most Ivy League Coaches are happy to see him go, since Cornell has owned the league the last three years (winning the conference title in each of the last three years).
However, let’s not forget, Donahue has been at Cornell since the 2000-2001 season. It took him seven years to turn the Big Red into a winning program and eight seasons to win the conference title (earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament).
He’s going to have to do things a little quicker at Boston College if he plans on sticking around. I don’t think B.C. is going to allow an eight-year plan. Luckily for him, he will be taking over the most experienced team in the ACC next year.
The Eagles lose only one player. Of the eleven remaining players, six will be seniors, five will be juniors. Of their top-six returning scorers, five will be seniors next year. I’m not going to predict that BC will compete for the ACC Crown, but I would not be shocked to see them back in the NCAA Tournament.
2. CLEMSON, A STEPPING STONE TO DEPAUL?
It’s almost sad, isn’t it. The Clemson Tigers were once one of the premier programs in the ACC. Now…they are just a stepping stone to other places. First, after four uneventful years at Clemson, Rick Barnes ran off to Texas. Now leaving Clemson to go to Texas is one thing. They’re an elite school. They’re the No 1 attraction in the biggest state in the Union. No one can really blame Barnes for heading west.
But I was shocked when I saw that Oliver Purnell left Clemson to go coach Depaul. Yes, Depaul. Now we all know the Blue Demons were once a good school throughout the decades. They’ve been to the Final Four twice (1943 and 1979) and in the 1980′s, they made it to the tournament nine times (until they were hit by probation).
However, since joining the Big East in 2005, things have not worked out as planned. The Blue Demons have been stuck in the Big East basement throughout, failing to sniff the NCAA Tourney since. It’s gotten so bad for Depaul, they lost to a team called Florida Gulf Coast University last year (yep, I never heard of them either, although they do have more students than Duke).
So how could Purnell abandon a ACC school for the worst Big East team? It’s not like the cupboard was completely empty. Sure Trevor Booker and David Potter are gone, but that’s it. The roster, much like Boston College’s, will be stacked with upperclassmen. However, one major problem any new coach will have to deal with will be recruiting. There is a chance the Tigers could have no incoming 2010 recruits. The only guy Purnell landed was Marcus Thornton (Mr. Basketball in Georgia) and reports are, he wants out of his commitment.
3. GOODBYE GINO
Of all the coaching changes, Wake Forest’s firing of Dino Gaudio was the most surprising. The man was only given three years? That’s cold.
While Dino had struggled to find success in the post-season, the man took over a program dealing with the death of Skip Prosser. Somehow, Gaudio was able to keep everything together (including top recruits James Johnson and Jeff Teague) and have three very productive seasons at Wake.
Most importantly, he was successful on the recruitment trail. In fact, he had the 8th ranked recruitment class coming in next season. Yet, Wake Forest thought they could do better.
It appears that man will be Jeff Bzdelik, current head coach at Colorado. I have to ask, this guy is going to do better than Dino?
Bzdelik has been a college head coach for seven years. Prior to college he was the head coach for the Denver Nuggets, where he actually had some success in 2+ seasons. He turned a 17-65 Nugget team (in 2002-2003) into a 43-39 team in 2003-2004.
In college, he began at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, followed that up with two seasons at Air Force, before heading to Colorado for the last three seasons.
In seven years of college basketball, he’s only produced two winning seasons, both at Air Force, and has been to the NCAA Tournament only once (for Air Force, losing in the first round). At Colorado, he had three losing seasons, although his 2009-2010 squad improved to 15-16 (a six-game jump from the season before).
Time will tell if Bzdelik can make Wake fans forget all about Dino, but his first job is to save that top-10 recruiting class. Dino snagged five players, including four 4-star guys. However, only one has actually signed a letter of intent. (more…)
Filed under: Duke Coaching | Tags: Chris Collins, Clemson, Steve Wojciechowski
Over at the Post and Courier, columnist Gene Sapakoff has thrown his two cents into the Clemson Tigers coaching search. Well, actually, he’s thrown two Duke assistants into the Tigers coaching search.
Sapakoff suggests that Clemson should take a look at either Steve Wojciechowski or Chris Collins.
Wojciechowski, with his signature floor-slapping enthusiasm on defense, consistently brought energy as a player. Clemson fans would love a similar approach to coaching and recruiting.
Collins comes from hoops royalty. His father Doug was a college sharpshooter who played and coached in the NBA. He is one of the best TV analysts around.
Of course the last thing I really want to see is either Wojo or Collins roaming the sidelines at Little John. There’s taking a coaching job and then there’s taking a coaching job within the conference. Has that ever happen before (at least in the modern era of basketball)?
The fact is, this is sort of new territory. I can’t recall any time when either assistant coach was considered for a head coaching job anywhere. There were rumors that Illinois State was interested in Chris Collins back in 2007, but that was just rumors based on the fact that their court is named after his father. As for Wojo, I can’t think of anything.
So why no love for Collins and Wojo? Especially when you consider how easily it was former assistants Tommy Amaker and Quinn Snyder to get solid job offers.
I think I have a reason, but remember, it’s only my opinion. I think there has been a bit of a negative stigma on Duke assistant coaches recently. (more…)
As most of you have already heard, Austin Rivers, a five-star guard from the state of Florida and son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, has officially de-committed from the Florida Gators.
“I just thought it would be best for me to officially open it up,” said Rivers, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound combo guard from Winter Park (Fla.) High School. “Florida is still an option, but this will make everything easier for everyone else.”
If you’ve been paying attention, then you are well aware that Duke is interested in Doc’s kid and that Doc’s kid is interested in Duke. If you haven’t been paying attention…then I guess you know now.
Here’s the deal, Rivers is clearly a kid who made an important decision way too early. Nobody should be picking a college when they are sophomores. While I wouldn’t count out Florida just yet, the favorites seem to be Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas and Texas.
I read something today that says Duke is the favorite of the favorites (call it the post-title love bump). This has already gotten some fans worried that Roy Williams will pull another ‘Harrison Barnes’ on Coach K and steal the kid right out from under us.While I feel like Duke and Austin have a good relationship and Rivers is saying all the right things, I think it’s too early to call anyone the favorite right now and I’m certainly not worried about the Tar Heels sweeping in late and stealing Coach’s K’s prom date again.
Rivers is the top rated shooting guard in the 2011 class, he’s not going to sit and wait his turn on some team’s bench. In 2011, Carolina will already have (sophomore) Marshall, (junior) Strickland and (junior) McDonald playing shooting guard. That’s called a log-jam. (more…)
Filed under: Duke basketball, Duke Recruiting | Tags: Duke's 2010-2011, Look Ahead
It’s kind of funny…before the confetti even hit the floor of Lucas Oil Field, everyone already started asking about the big ‘R’…repeat. Click on the Duke Report and you’ll already find a dozen articles or blog posts about the subject. Of course I know you’re all asking, what does Balls think?
Can the Duke Blue Devils win the title again next year?
I’ll be honest, I’m getting out of the prediction business. If I was a gambling man, I’d have to sell my first-born just to pay off my debts. Yet, that doesn’t mean I won’t share my thoughts with you.
Looking ahead, some people already have Duke penciled in as the preseason number one. Like so many of Tim Burton’s movie remakes, I think it’s a mistake.
Do I think next year’s Duke team can win the title? Sure, why not? If the Tar Heels can almost win the N.I.T., than anything can happen. I just wouldn’t declare them the favorite.
Now I know what you’re saying, “Hey Balls, why you always down on your Devils? You said this year’s team couldn’t win the title and like most decisions you’ve made in your life, you were wrong. Now you’re giving no love to next year’s squad. Why are you such a douche bag?”
All fair questions…let’s dive right into this and start with all the things that I like about next year’s group of kids. (more…)
Filed under: 2010 NCAA Tournament | Tags: 2010 Champions, Duke vs. Butler, National Title
I never thought it would happen. I’m not going to lie. At the beginning of this season, I never thought this team was good enough. Don’t get me wrong, I knew they were good, but not national title good. Hell, just prior to the tournament I wrote a post about why Duke won’t win the championship.
I was wrong. There is no shame in admitting it. At the very least, a lot of people were too.
I’m going to be posting more on this team, the tournament and the future later this week, but for this post, I just want to focus on this game.
WHAT DID I SEE?
THAT FINAL SHOT
Could you imagine if that went in? If that ball found its way into the basket, Gordan Hayward would have been the king of college basketball folklore. You could forget all about Mario Chalmers, Keith Smart and Lorenzo Charles. Those guys would have had nothing on Heyward if he made that shot. It would have been the half-court shot that slayed the dragon.
Could you imagine? Hell, if Hollywood wrote an ending like that (with the ball going in for the win), I would have dismissed it as being too cheesy. Luckily for Blue Devil nation, it didn’t.
KYLE SINGLER PROBABLY PLAYED HIS LAST GAME…
At least it was a good one. Outside of the Baylor game, Singler has been a stud in the tournament and tonight, he was Duke’s best player. He finished with 19 points, nine boards, two assists and three blocks. Every time Duke needed a basket, he nailed it.
How clutch was he?
You know in baseball, people often gave A-Rod a hard time because he always hit his bombs when the Yankees were up big and never in the clutch? I’m not exactly sure what is the basketball equivalent to that, but let me throw some numbers at you.
Singler made seven shots tonight. In all seven shots, Duke never led by more than two points when he made the shot. In fact, Duke trailed three times when Kyle made his shot, tied once, led by one once and was up two, twice.
For the record, Singler missed six shots. Duke was never trailing when he missed those shots. They were tied once, up one once, up two twice and up four twice.
I do believe this will be Singler’s last game in a Duke uniform. I suspect he’ll declare, but won’t take an agent. But like Henderson last year, he will decide to go. With this great tournament, he has probably moved himself up to the middle of the first-round, just outside of a lottery pick.
As a Duke fan, I obviously want him back. With him, Duke is the preseason No 1 team next year. The question is, how much better is he going to get? Sure he could get moved up a few spots, but he’s never going to be a top-five pick. At the very least, if he gets drafted in the back-half of the first round, he’ll end up on a decent team, instead of a team like the Clippers.
I just think this championship seals the deal. Of course I’ve been wrong so many times before, so there’s that. As of this writing, he says he’s undecided. (more…)
No matter what happens tonight, Butler reaching the title game is a huge boost for college basketball. The reality is, now any coach on any team in any conference can say to their players, “let’s win a championship.”
Of course this is not true in college football, where the Butler’s can go undefeated and left out of any shot at the title.
This is why college basketball is great.