Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McKillop to be special guest at Jimmy V event

Davidson's stirring run to the NCAA basketball tournament's Elite Eight last spring is still gaining the team national attention.

The school announced today that Wildcats coach Bob McKillop will be a special guest at the 2008 Jimmy V Dinner Auction, which is presented in partnership with Madison Square Garden and ESPN.

The charity event is Oct. 14 at Pier Sixty in New York City.

The special guests are traditionally the coaches of the teams that will participate in the Jimmy V Basketball Classic. Davidson was invited this year, so McKillop will be honored along with Rick Barnes of Texas, Jay Wright of Villanova and Bob Huggins of West Virginia.

The event honors the memory of the late coach Jim Valvano of N.C. State, and his brother Bob will also be featured.

Proceeds from this event will fund cancer research projects through The V Foundation. For more information about the 2008 Jimmy V Basketball Classic New York Dinner Auction, contact The V Foundation for Cancer Research at 1-800-4JimmyV or log onto www.jimmyv.org.

Davidson will play West Virginia Dec. 9 in New York's Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic.

- Stan Olson

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Davidson announces 2008-09 schedule

Davidson released its 2008-2009 basketball schedule today, and a challenging nonconference portion will force the Wildcats to start fast.

Coach Bob McKillop's team, which reached the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight last season, opens the season in the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. The Wildcats will play James Madison in the first round Nov. 17 in Norman, Okla.

The way the tournament is now aligned, Davidson will play four games no matter the outcome. The Wildcats will face either Oklahoma or Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 18, with two as-yet-to-be determined contests the following weekend.

Davidson will also meet Winthrop in its home opener at Belk Arena on Nov. 21.

The Wildcats will play host to N.C. State at Time Warner Cable Arena on Dec.
6, and will travel to New York for the Jimmy V Basketball Classic, where it will meet West Virginia in the first round on Dec. 9. The Wildcats also play in the Wooden Tradition in Indianapolis, meeting.

"The challenges of last year’s schedule were instrumental in preparing us for our magical run at the end of the season," McKillop said in a statement that coincided with the schedule's release. "Our aim in creating this year’s schedule was to present ourselves with similar challenges, and I think we have accomplished that."

The Wildcats will open Southern Conference play with a home game against Chattanooga on Dec. 13. Davidson returns 11 lettermen, including four of its top six scorers from last season.

- Stan Olson

Friday, September 5, 2008

Are tri-captains good for Duke basketball?

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski announced this morning that he has named senior Greg Paulus and juniors Jon Scheyer and Gerald Henderson as team captains for 2008-09. The move came just a year after Krzyzewski said he'd learned how using so many captains can dilute the abiility of those captains to lead.

That was the reason then lone-senior DeMarcus Nelson served as the lone team captain last season. Using multiple captains is a tough thing to make work but, this season, the coaching staff had no way around it.

Scheyer and Henderson must take charge of the 2008-09 Duke team. They made that clear after the way they played during the 2008 NCAA Tournament against Belmont and West Virginia with Nelson struggling during the postseason of his senior year.

Henderson took the ball and saved the game going coast to coast in the final seconds against Belmont. The play had Henderson's skill, athleticism and ability to complete a huge play came wrapped up in one neat package. That physical ability to seize a moment is something Duke has been missing for awhile.

Also, Scheyer, who physically faded down the stretch of a good freshman season, put together a strong, consistent sophomore season coming off the bench but playing all the hard minutes and making more than his share of heady plays.

It got sticky for the staff because Paulus is now a senior. Paulus essentially took a demotion as a junior when he wasn't named a captain after serving with Nelson and Josh McRoberts, as a sophomore.

Paulus, the team's best 3-point threat the past two seasons, deserved the gig this season on the strength of time served alone. He's also an athlete who has had that responisbility before as a longtime quarterback and point guard. At Duke, however, even with that kind of experience and a willingness to take his lumps, he hasn't always been a good fit in that role.

We'll see how it works on the court. Assuming freshman Elliot Williams lives up to his billing, sophomore Nolan Smith gets enough time on the court to get comfortable, and redshirt junior Marty Pocius actually is healthy enough to earn minutes, the Duke backcourt will again be crowded. The three captains and the three guys likely to come off the bench will have to earn what they get.