Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Curry emerges as leading guard for Duke

One of the goals of Duke’s four-game exhibition trip to China and Dubai earlier this month was to figure out which players could establish themselves in leading roles after the departures of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving.

Junior Seth Curry, a Charlotte Christian graduate who has taken over the point guard duties for Smith and Irving, stepped forward into one of those roles.

Curry averaged 13.5 points per game as Duke won three games against the Chinese Olympic Team and a fourth over the United Arab Emirates National Team.

“Seth’s good,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said this afternoon during his post-tour media briefing. “He’s just really good. I think he’ll be one of the better point guards in the country, especially if he learns to be the leader and not just a scorer. And I think he can do that.”

Junior forward and former Ravenscroft player Ryan Kelly also emerged in a much bigger role, averaging 15 points per game and improving his ability to score as a driver and in the low post. Krzyzewski said Kelly has the ability to make his teammates better.

“Ryan, that’s a good position for us, because that second big, matchup wise, when you can do the things he does, creates some really good situations for us in spacing, in mismatches,” Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski entered the trip uncertain of what to expect from the team because the three leaders from last season – Smith, Singler and No. 1 draft choice Irving – are gone. During the trip, which ended last week, Duke a six-player foundation separated itself from the pack.

Kelly, senior Miles Plumlee and junior Mason Plumlee demonstrated that they can be a strength of the team as they share minutes at the two forward positions. Curry, junior Andre Dawkins and freshman Austin Rivers solidified positions as the top players in the backcourt.

As was the case last season, scoring appears to be a strength of this team, according to Krzyzewski. He said the perimeter shooting ability of those top six players helps spread the floor and leave the big guys open in the post.

“We can really score the ball,” Krzyzewski said. “With the group that was starting, or if Mason’s in there, you can score from all five positions.”

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ACC schedule shows milestone set for New York

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's first attempt at breaking Bob Knight's Division I men's basketball career wins record is likely to take place against Michigan State in New York City, according to the ACC basketball schedule released this afternoon.

Krzyzewski has 900 wins and needs three more to pass his mentor, Knight, as Division I's winningest coach. Duke opens with games against Belmont and Presbyterian before meeting Michigan State on Nov. 15 in an event called the "Champions Classic."

North Carolina, which is expected to be the nation's No. 1 team when the preseason polls come out, also has a high-profile game scheduled against Michigan State in the Tar Heels' opener. The teams will meet Nov. 11 on the deck of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson in San Diego.

The always highly anticipated meetings between Duke and North Carolina will occur Feb. 8 at North Carolina and March 3 at Duke.

New N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried will get his first taste of rival North Carolina in games Jan. 26 in Chapel Hill and Feb. 21 in Raleigh. Gottfried's debut with the Wolfpack will come Nov. 11 against UNC Asheville. The Wolfpack's nonconference games will include a Dec. 4 visit to Stanford and a Dec. 17 meeting with Syracuse at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

VIDEO: Vols women's basketball coach Pat Summitt talks about her dementia diagnosis

Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt talks about her diagnosis of early onset dementia.

Vols coach Summitt has early onset dementia

Legendary Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia,  Alzheimer's type, she says.

Summitt, 59, plans to try to coach this season for the Volunteers. She has 1,071 career victories and eight national championships at Tennessee.

"There's not going to be any pity party and I'’ll make sure of that,"Summitt told the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kelly shines as Duke completes sweep in China

Junior Ryan Kelly scored a team-high 20 points for the second straight game, and Seth Curry added 16 points to lead Duke to a 93-78 win over the Chinese Olympic Team Monday.

Miles Plumlee dropped in 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds - eight of them offensive - and Mason Plumlee added 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting to help the Blue Devils sweep the three-game series with China.

Austin Rivers chipped in with 11 points and Andre Dawkins had 10 points to give Duke six double-figure scorers in the contest.

The Blue Devils dominated early, making their first four 3-point attempts and running out to leads of 13-2 and 28-6. Curry got off to a fast start, scoring eight of his 10 first half points in the first three minutes with a pair of three-point shots and a 20-foot jump shot. Miles Plumlee added six points during the run and finished the first half with 10 points and seven rebounds. . Duke led 49-40 at the half, on the strengh of 19-35 shooting, its best shooting half of the three games in China.

Kelly took over early in the second half to thwart a spirited charge by China. After China cut Duke's lead to 50-47, the 6-foot-11 junior poured in 14 points during a decisive 18-3 run. Rivers came up with a couple of key steals and chipped in five points in the quarter, helping Duke enter the final period with a 70-59 lead.

Mason Plumlee took control midway through the fourth quarter, scoring on a layup, a short turnaround jump hook, and a pair of dunks to lead the Blue Devils on a 12-1 run that put the game out of reach.

Chinese basketball icon Yao Ming attended the game and was presented with a Duke jersey at halftime by head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Ming also had lunch with Krzyzewski and the rest of the Duke staff earlier in the day.

Duke wraps up its foreign tour Thursday in Dubai against the United Arab Emirates national team.

- Duke Sports Information release

Duke finishes China trip with third win

Duke closed out its men's basketball tour of China with a 93-78 victory over the Chinese national team in Beijing Monday. Read more about the game at the website of Duke's student newspaper, the Chronicle.

The Blue Devils finished 3-0 in China, and will play a game in Dubai Thursday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kelly steps forward for Duke in China

Duke junior forward Ryan Kelly has enjoyed bartering in the market and cruising down the Huang Pu River in the seemingly endless city of Shanghai, whose population numbers about 23 million.

On the Blue Devils’ exhibition trip to China, Kelly also has established himself as one of the most improved players on the team in wins over the Chinese Olympic team.

Kelly scored 14 points with 13 rebounds Wednesday in Kunshan and led Duke with 20 points and added eight rebounds Thursday in Shanghai.

“I think that’s the big thing is playing with confidence,” Kelly said in a teleconference with reporters from North Carolina newspapers this morning. “I’ve had a long summer to work on a lot of areas of my game, and I’ve really taken advantage of the opportunity to be at Duke all summer.”

A returning starter, Kelly averaged 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for Duke last season. The former Ravenscroft player has improved his game to fill a void for the Blue Devils, who have lost senior stalwarts Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler plus No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Kyrie Irving.

The focus for Kelly this summer has been improving his jump shot, quickness and lateral movement so he could create more shots for himself and others. That has paid off to the tune of 15-for-20 shooting from the field over Duke’s first two exhibition games.

“I knew I had to grow as a knock-down shooter and become more confident in my jump shot,” Kelly said, “and with that also make more plays off the dribble and not only create for myself and other players on the court.”

After playing games on back-to-back days, Duke is preparing to leave Saturday for Beijing. The Blue Devils will go to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City on Sunday and play the Chinese Olympic Team on Monday.

Duke will visit the Great Wall of China on Tuesday.

“Seeing the different cultures is a great experience,” Kelly said, “but we’re also here to play basketball.”

The trip has had its challenges for Duke. The charter flight that was supposed to leave from Raleigh-Durham International Airport was delayed by a day. In two games, the Chinese Olympic Team has shot 72 free throws to 25 for Duke.

But the Blue Devils have persevered, and they’ve avoided the controversy that surrounded another U.S. college team, Georgetown, in China. On Thursday, a brawl broke out between Georgetown and a Chinese team in an exhibition, causing an immediate end to the game in the fourth quarter.

“Obviously it’s an unfortunate situation, and when tempers are flaring you never know what’s going to happen,” Kelly said. “We’re certainly hoping nothing like that would happen to us.”

So far, only good things have happened to Kelly on this trip. He said the exhibition games have been helpful to the team, too, as the Duke coaching staff tries to figure out what roles players will be ready to assume on a team with significant personnel losses.

“Especially our freshmen have an opportunity to play against a high level talent,” Kelly said. “. . .It’s just an incredible opportunity for us to grow as individuals and as a team.”

Ken Tysiac

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ryan Kelly leads Duke to another win in China

Ryan Kelly scored 20 points, Seth Curry added 15 and Austin Rivers 12 as Duke beat the Chinese National Team 78-66 in Shanghai, China, on Thursday.

The Blue Devils are 2-0 on their trip to China for the Friendship Games.

For complete coverage, including photos, check out The Chronicle, Duke's student newspaper, which is along for the trip.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rivers makes successful Duke debut in China

KUNSHAN, China – Highly recruited freshman guard Austin Rivers didn’t disappoint in his Duke debut.
Rivers, who’s considered to be one of the top freshmen in the nation, led the Blue Devils with 18 points and five assists in a 77-64 exhibition win over the Chinese Olympic Team. He shot 8-for-15 from the field.

"I felt very comfortable from the start of the game," Rivers said.  "We got off to a little bit of a slow start but in the second half we came out and played well. We are excited about the way we played especially in the second half and looking forward to getting out there to continue to develop.”

Junior forward Ryan Kelly added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who held the home team in check with a solid defensive effort. China shot just 20-for-61 from the field and committed 19 turnovers.

Junior guards Andre Dawkins (15 points) and Seth Curry (13 points) combined for seven 3-pointers.
Duan Jiangpeng scored 19 points and made five 3-pointers for China, and Wang Zhelin scored 18 points with eight rebounds.

Duke will play the Chinese Olympic Team on Thursday in Shanghai and again Tuesday in Beijing as its exhibition tour continues.

Duke Sports Information

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aircraft problem delays Duke's trip to China

Mechanical problems with the North American Airlines charter plane that was supposed to take Duke's basketball team to Shanghai have delayed the team's trip to China and Dubai.

In a news release this morning, Duke announced that the mechanical problem developed Sunday in Miami. An inspection later at Raleigh-Durham International Airport determined that the plane was not able to depart for Anchorage, Alaska, where a refueling stop was scheduled late Sunday night.

The airline was not able to provide a backup plane until Monday morning, according to Duke officials. The team is expected to arrive in time to tour the future campus at Duke Kunshan University and play the Chinese Olympic team on Wednesday at Kunshan Stadium.

The teams will meet again Thursday in Shanghai and on Aug. 22 in Beijing.

Ken Tysiac

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Trip to China about improvement for Duke

Duke's basketball team starts a X-day, four-game trip to China on Aug. 17, and Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski told the Duke Chronicle the trip will make his team better.

“I think [the Friendship Games will] make us a better basketball team,”Krzyzewski told the Chronicle. “If we’re a better basketball team, that helps everybody at our school and makes everybody a little bit more happy.”

The Blue Devils leave for China on Sunday. 

UNC-FSU on ESPN Gameday, but not UNC-Duke?

ESPN has released the lineup for its College Basketball Gameday, and the list includes the Jan. 14 North Carolina visit to Tallahassee for a game against Florida State. It's a return trip for the Tar Heels' Harrison Barnes, who quieted the FSU crowd with a three-point dagger for the win with three seconds left.

It's also the first time the Seminoles have hosted Gameday.

Another first? A flex option on March 3, either North Carolina at Duke or Texas at Kansas. Internet vote? An ESPN wait-and-see? Top bidder? No word yet on how the Worldwide Leader will choose, but the choice will be announced on Feb. 25.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Duke, Kansas highlight Davidson schedule

 Games against four opponents that finished last season with top-30 NCAA RPIs, including two at home in Belk Arena, highlight the 2011-12 Davidson men’s basketball schedule.

“Our schedule presents many challenging opportunities for our players and many exciting opportunities for our program and fans,” said Davidson coach Bob McKillop. “There is a mix of legendary programs, teams from some of the top conferences in America and
historical Davidson rivalries. Plus, the Southern Conference continues to get better from top to bottom.”

Davidson will play seven opponents that made NCAA tournament appearances last season and a total of nine that made it to the postseason.

The Wildcats will renew its long series with Duke Nov. 18 in Cameron Indoor Stadium and travels to Kansas City to meet Kansas Dec. 19. The Wildcats also host Richmond Nov. 14 and Vanderbilt on Dec. 7 in Belk Arena.

Davidson will host Lenoir-Rhyne in an exhibition Nov. 5, and open the regular season against visiting Guilford on Nov. 11.

The Wildcats will make the short trip to Mecklenburg County rival Charlotte on Saturday, Dec. 10. Their lone Southern Conference game against rival Appalachian State will be Saturday, Jan. 14 in Boone.

Davidson returns 11 lettermen and four starters from the 2010-11 team that finished 18-15 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational. Seven of the Wildcats’ top eight scorers last season were freshmen or sophomores.

2011-12 Schedule:

NOVEMBER: 5, Lenoir-Rhyne (exhibition), 7 p.m.; 11, Guilford, 8; 14, Richmond, TBA; 18, at Duke, TBA; 21, Presbyterian, TBA; 26, at UNC Wilmington, 2

DECEMBER: 1, at Wofford*, 7; 3, Furman*, 7; 7, Vanderbilt, 7; 10, at Charlotte, 7; 19, at Kansas (Kansas City), TBA; 22, at UMass, TBA; 29, Penn, 7.

JANUARY: 5, at UNC Greensboro*, 7; 7, Georgia Southern*, 7; 12 Western Carolina*, 7; 14, at Appalachian State*, 2 p.m.; 19, College of Charleston*, 7; 21, The Citadel*, 7; 26, at Chattanooga*, 7; 28, at Samford*, TBA

FEBRUARY: 1, at Furman*, 7; 4, Chattanooga*, 4; 6, Wofford*, 7; 9, at The Citadel*, 7; 11, at College of Charleston*, TBA; 15, Samford*, 7; 18, BracketBuster, TBA; 23, Elon*, 7; 25, at Georgia Southern*, TBA;

MARCH: 2-5 Southern Conference tournament in Asheville

*-Southern Conference game

Observer News Services

Davidson releases men's basketball schedule

A home game against Vanderbilt, hosting a Bracketbuster game and road games against Charlotte, Duke and Kansas highlight Davidson's men's basketball schedule, released Thursday.

Date Opponent, Time

N5 Lenoir-Rhyne (exhibition), 7 p.m.

N11 Guilford, 8 p.m.

N14 Richmond, TBA

N18 at Duke, TBA

N21 Presbyterian, TBA

N26 at UNC Wilmington, 2 p.m.

D1 at Wofford*, 7 p.m.

D3 Furman*, 7 p.m.

D7 Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

D10 at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

D19 at Kansas (Sprint Center, Kansas City), TBA

D22 at Umass, TBA

D29 Penn, 7 p.m.

J5 at UNCG*, 7 p.m.

J7 Georgia Southern*, 7 p.m.

J12 Western Carolina*, 7 p.m.

J14 at Appalachian State*, 2 p.m.

J19 College of Charleston*, 7 p.m.

J21 The Citadel*, 7 p.m.

J26 at Chattanooga*, 7 p.m.

J28 at Samford*, TBA

F1 at Furman*, 7 p.m.

F4 Chattanooga*, 4 p.m.

F6 Wofford*, 7 p.m.

F9 at The Citadel*, 7 p.m.

F11 at College of Charleston*, TBA

F15 Samford*, 7 p.m.

F18 BracketBuster (opponent TBA), TBA

F23 Elon*, 7 p.m.

F25 at Georgia Southern*, TBA

M2-5 SoCon Tournament at Asheville Civic Center,  TBA

All times Eastern (unless noted) and subject to change

* Southern Conference game