Sunday, December 18, 2011

UNC 97, Appalachian State 82: The look back

CHAPEL HILL - No. 5 North Carolina defeated Appalachian State 97-82 here at the Smith Center on Saturday night. It was an easy win, but one that didn’t come as smoothly as Tar Heels coach Roy Williams would have preferred.

A look back at UNC’s victory against the Mountaineers:

Why the Tar Heels won: North Carolina dominated the middle portion of the game. The Heels led 34-30 with 4:32 to play in the first half. Over the next 14 minutes and 17 seconds, UNC outscored the Mountaineers 42-17. That was pretty much the game right there. The Tar Heels were sloppy when they allowed Appalachian State back in the game in the middle of the first half. And UNC was sloppy again in the final 10:15, when Appalachian outscored Carolina by 14 points. But the Tar Heels were so dominant in the middle it didn’t matter.

The good: UNC converted a high number of its chances. The Heels were just 2-for-10 from 3-point range but they still managed to shoot 54.5 percent overall. So, obviously, they converted a high rate of their shots inside the 3-point line. The Tar Heels should have dominated in the paint and they did, outscoring the Mountaineers 54-24 there. Tyler Zeller finished with 31 points - one short of tying his career high - and 10 rebounds.

The bad: Twice it appeared that UNC was going to completely blow out Appalachian State, and both times the Tar Heels failed to close the deal. They led by 12 in the first half before allowing Appalachian State to go on a 15-7 run to make it a 4-point game. Then UNC built a 29-point lead and took the foot off the gas coming down the stretch. This was an easy win - make no mistake about it - but still: Williams was frustrated by how his team played at times. The Mountaineers shot well from the perimeter, where they made 9 of their 20 3-point attempts, and they also took advantage of some of the Tar Heels’ sloppiness.

Key stat: That one’s easy this game. The Tar Heels’ dominance in the paint, where they outscored Appalachian by 30 points, was the obvious difference.

Key stat II: The Tar Heels went 6:35 without a field goal during one stretch of the second half. This was after they’d built that 29-point lead. Think Williams will be emphasizing the mistakes of that drought in an upcoming film session? Me too.

UNC player of the game: Zeller. Williams didn’t agree afterward that this was Zeller’s best game of the season. Still, he played well and finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Quotable: "OK, it was a W. It’s Christmas time. I’m not going to be Scrooge, by any means. We were really good for about the last four minutes of the first half and the first four or five minutes of the second half. And then we went brain dead there for a while." - UNC coach Roy Williams

-- Andrew Carter

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vanderbilt visits Davidson

The Davidson Wildcats get a visit from the SEC's Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. today in Belk Arena (ESPN3).

The Wildcats (6-1) have been getting solid play from forward Jake Cohen, who scored 26 points and had five rebounds against Wofford last week, then scored 16 and had seven rebounds against Furman. He shot 75 percent in those two Southern Conference victories and was named the league's player of the week.

The Commodores (5-3) might have star center Festus Ezeli back in the lineup for the game. Ezeli hurt his knee in the preseason and has missed all eight games so far. But he has been practicing this week and, according to the Associated Press, coach Kevin Stallings is debating about whether to give him some minutes tonight.

Vanderbilt has been ranked as high as seventh nationally, but has lost two straight and fallen out of the Top 25 with those defeats against Xavier and Louisville. -- David Scott

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Duke's defense gets exposed by Buckeyes

Duke’s Austin Rivers, a shoot-first guard, doesn’t play like his father, now-Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

But here’s a trait they share: Both have a blunt, analytical way of dissecting a loss.

Freshman Austin used the word “embarrassing’’ frequently in describing an 85-63 loss to Ohio State Tuesday night. To Rivers, the Blue Devils didn’t just lose their first game, they lost their identity.

“Duke is all about defense, but we played individual. We didn’t play as a team’’ Rivers said. “The offense was fine. But we were awful defensively.’’

The 7-0 start was good for Duke’s confidence, but it might have created a false sense that a young team had already arrived.. As Mason Plumlee put it, “It kind of opened our eyes to reality.’’

Plumlee had primary responsibility for guarding Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger, who finished with 21 points and eight rebounds. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Plumlee didn’t play badly, and that seems fair when you consider what a load Sullinger is.

He’s the most dangerous low-post scorer in college basketball, so it was inevitable the Blue Devils would have to give Plumlee help guarding him. They did, and the Buckeyes had a far too easy time exploiting those double-teams. Ohio State’s 8-of-14 accuracy from 3-point range was a direct result of how well the Buckeyes found the open man and how poorly the Blue Devils rotated.

Duke won’t play a team of Ohio State’s skill and talent every night. But to effectively play man-to-man defense the way Krzyzewski expects, this group has to do a much better job of doubling, then recovering, if it expects a Final Four season.

Unlike college football, one early-season loss in basketball doesn’t derail a season. It might demonstrate what Duke must do to get where it expects to be.

-- Rick Bonnell

Monday, November 28, 2011

Harrison Barnes in doubt for Wisconsin-UNC game

CHAPEL HILL -- Harrison Barnes is suffering from a sprained ankle and his status is in doubt for North Carolina's game here on Wednesday night against Wisconsin, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said on Monday during his weekly radio show.

Barnes, the sophomore forward, sustained the injury on Saturday night during UNC's 90-80 defeat against UNLV. He left the game with 6:13 to play in the first half but returned about three minutes later and finished with 15 points in 30 minutes.

"If we had a game today he would not have played," Williams said during his radio show.

He said he hopes Barnes will be able to play against No. 9 Wisconsin, which will visit the Smith Center as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Through six games, Barnes has led UNC with an average of 17.3 points per game.

If Barnes is unable to play on Wednesday night, Williams said sophomore guard Reggie Bullock and freshman guard P.J. Hairston would receive more playing time. Hairston has averaged 9.7 points per game and Bullock 7.8.

Barnes seemed to be affected by the injury on Saturday night, when he made 6 of his 16 field goal attempts and struggled to find an offensive rhythm during the second half. After the loss against UNLV, the Tar Heels dropped from No. 1 to No. 5 in the latest Associated Press top 25.

-- Andrew Carter

Monday, November 14, 2011

Krzyzewski: Penn State scandal 'the worst thing'

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said today that he believes the Penn State sex abuse scandal was “the worst thing,” and that those who question coach Joe Paterno’s failure to act should remember that how social issues are handled has changed dramatically in Paterno’s lifetime.

“One thing you have to understand is that Coach Paterno is 84 years old,” Krzyzewski said. “I’m not saying that for an excuse or whatever. The cultures that he’s been involved in both football wise and socially have been [through] immense changes. And how social issues are handled in those generations are quite different. Quite different. And I think that has something to do with the situation.”

Paterno was fired last week after allegations of sexual abuse of young boys were brought against one of Penn State’s longtime former assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky. According to reports, Paterno was told about an incident regarding Sandusky and reported it to his superiors at Penn State but didn’t contact police.

In June, before news of the scandal surfaced, Krzyzewski appeared with Paterno in a forum on coaching, ethics and other issues that was taped and later broadcast on ESPN. Krzyzewski was asked about Paterno today at a news conference today scheduled to discuss Duke’s game Tuesday with Michigan State as Krzyzewski needs one win to break Bob Knight’s Division I career record of 902.

Paterno is “a great man, and it’s a horrific situation,” Krzyzewski said. Social issues, Krzyzewski said, are handled differently now than in the past.

“Thank goodness,” Krzyzewski said. “Thank goodness. But as we judge, remember that there’s just a lot there.”

Krzyzewski said he doesn’t know how the sexual abuse case ultimately will affect Paterno’s legacy.

“You don’t have control, except through your actions, on how people report those actions,” Krzyzewski said. “I don’t know how it will all turn out, but that’s part of being at a high level. Especially when you’re involved in an educational institution, you’re going to be judged differently than you would be if you were a pro coach or whatever. It’s just different. And really it’s the way it should be.”

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Briscoe: Off-the-bench scoring punch?

Noting the 49ers:

-- Men's basketball coach Alan Major doesn't want to divulge his starting lineup for Friday's season opener against N.C. Central, but don't expect it to be different from last week's group that started against Belmont Abbey in a preseason exhibition.

That means that freshman Pierria Henry will again start at point guard ahead of junior Jamar Briscoe, last season's starter.

Major said there are so many potential combinations in the backcourt that it might mean Briscoe ends up playing more minutes that Henry (Henry played 18 minutes against the Crusaders, Briscoe 17).

"It's like football players like Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush," said Major. "They can do so many things that it's hard to keep them off the field. I think that's what (Briscoe) can create for himself. He's got these great instincts, and an ability I love that he can come off the bench with some real scoring punch."

Briscoe was the nation's second-leading freshman scorer three years ago at N.C. Central.

The 49ers, incidentally, are practicing in the mornings this season (from 7:45 a.m. to around 10) to accommodate players' class schedules.

-- 49ers forward Jennifer Hailey has missed recent practice time due to a concussion, but women's basketball coach Cara Consuegra is hopeful she'll be able to play in the 49ers' season opener Friday against Presbyterian. Hailey has been cleared to practice.

-- Charlotte's men's soccer team is in the enviable position of not needing to win this week's Atlantic 10 tournament in St. Louis to gain a berth in the NCAA tournament. The third-seed 49ers (13-3-2), who play defending champ Xavier on Thursday, have an RPI of 9, which should already guarantee them a spot, no matter what happens in St. Louis. The 49ers are also ranked 12th in this week's Soccer America poll.

Blue Devils working on defense

DURHAM – In both of Duke’s preseason exhibition games, the Blue Devils had stretches when they struggled to stop their opponents on the perimeter.

Bellarmine made eight 3-pointers, including five in the first half. Shaw got excellent penetration from its guards and shot 50 percent from the field in the first half.

It should be no surprise, then, that No. 6-ranked Duke has spent a lot of time working on its defense in recent days as Friday’s 9 p.m. opener against Belmont approaches.

Junior Seth Curry said the Blue Devils guards are working on pressuring the ball and preventing dribble penetration.

“You’ve got to do both,” Curry said during a media availability Tuesday afternoon. “It’s tough.”

Other players said the Blue Devils have had a tendency to watch the ball too often and haven’t been quick enough to react in help side defense when a guard gets beaten off the dribble.

Defending the 3-point arc will be the most urgent objective against a strong season-opening opponent. Belmont ranked third in the nation last season with 9.3 3-pointers per game and returns four players who started in last season’s NCAA tournament loss to Wisconsin.

Belmont finished 30-5 last season.

“We know they’re good,” Curry said, “so we’re preparing like it’s an ACC game or whatever. It’s great to play a game right out of the gate that we have to be prepared for.”

Schedule a challenge. Duke’s early schedule should be a significant challenge for a team with just one scholarship senior that lost standouts Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving from last season.

The opener should be difficult, even though Belmont doesn’t have a big name. The Blue Devils will play Michigan State and Ohio State from the Big Ten, and neither game will be at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In the Maui Invitational, Duke will meet Tennessee, Michigan or Memphis and then probably a third strong opponent.

All this will take place before the end of November and should test the Blue Devils’ youth immediately.

“I think that was kind of the mind set in making the schedule like that,” said junior guard Andre Dawkins. “But at the same time, I think it will bring the best out of our guys.”

Milestone approaches. With coach Mike Krzyzewski nearing the Division I career victories record, Duke’s players are facing inevitable questions about what it will be like to be a part of the team that helps the coach reach a milestone.

Krzyzewski has 900 wins and needs three more to surpass his mentor, Bob Knight. The record could fall as early as Nov. 15, when the Blue Devils meet Michigan State at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Players say it will mean a lot to be part of the celebration, but said Krzyzewski doesn’t talk about the record or focus on it.

“He never brings it up,” said freshman guard Austin Rivers. “. . .All he cares about is winning. The number never comes up.”

Ken Tysiac

Friday, November 4, 2011

VIDEO: College basketball's top tradition

The top fan tradition in college basketball is not at Duke, or Charlotte, or any other Carolinas school. And you have to see the video to believe it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UNC overwhelming choice to win ACC

CHARLOTTENorth Carolina received 57 of a possible 59 first-place votes to finish atop the ACC media poll released Wednesday at the conference’s Operation Basketball media event.

The Tar Heels return all five starters, including preseason ACC player of the year selection Harrison Barnes, from a team that finished 29-8, reached an NCAA regional final and won first place in the ACC with a 14-2 conference record last season.

Duke was picked second in the poll, followed by Florida State, Virginia, Miami, Virginia Tech and Clemson. N.C. State was selected to finish eighth, with Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College closing out the poll.

Barnes and teammates John Henson and Tyler Zeller were voted to the preseason All-ACC team, with Barnes as the only unanimous selection. Miami’s Malcolm Grant also was selected, and Duke’s Seth Curry tied Virginia’s Mike Scott for the final spot on the team. Barnes received 57 of a possible 59 first-place votes, with Henson getting the other two.

Duke freshman Austin Rivers was voted ACC rookie of the year, also receiving 57 votes. North Carolina’s James McAdoo and Maryland’s Nick Faust each received one vote for rookie of the year.

Here are the poll results:
ACC standings, with first-place votes in parentheses and total points:
  1. North Carolina (57) 706
  2. Duke (2) 649
  3. Florida State 560
  4. Virginia 463
  5. Miami 455
  6. Virginia Tech 411
  7. Clemson 403
  8. N.C. State 316
  9. Maryland 264
  10. Georgia Tech 176
  11. Wake Forest 109
  12. Boston College 90

Harrison Barnes, UNC, 59 (unanimous); John Henson, UNC, 47; Tyler Zeller, UNC, 46; Malcolm Grant, Miami, 32; Seth Curry, Duke, 20; Mike Scott, Virginia, 20

Player of the Year
Harrison Barnes, UNC, 57; John Henson, UNC, 2

Rookie of the Year
Austin Rivers, Duke, 57; James McAdoo, UNC, 1; Nick Faust, Maryland, 1

Ken Tysiac

Duke preaches defense, rebounding

CHARLOTTE - Duke loses senior first-team All-ACC players Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler plus No. 1 NBA draft pick Kyrie Irving off the 2010-11 team.

So how are the Blue Devils going to win this season with just two returning starters? At the ACC’s Operation Basketball event today, junior co-captain Ryan Kelly said defense and rebounding will be Duke’s staples.

“At any time we can put five guys on the floor that can score the basketball,” Kelly said, “but our first and most important thing is going to be defense.”

Kelly said this season’s team will be built like the 2009-10 NCAA championship team, which used bruising big men Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas to dominate defensively and on the boards.

This season’s defense will be built from the inside out with Kelly, junior Mason Plumlee and senior co-captain Miles Plumlee.

“In our program, the big guys have been the backbone of the defense,” Miles Plumlee said, “and having experience there is going to be huge.”

Kelly said Miles Plumlee – who had six offensive rebounds in the Blue-White game Friday – has been a force on the boards in practice. But the team’s best defender, Kelly said, is sophomore guard Tyler Thornton, who has disruptive throughout preseason practice.

“He’s just a pest,” Kelly said, “on the ball and off of it.”

Ken Tysiac

Friday, October 14, 2011

Curry shows leadership for Devils

DURHAM – Duke’s Blue-White scrimmage Friday night was an opportunity for a player to show he wants to lead the team.

Junior point guard Seth Curry did that in spectacular fashion.

Curry scored 16 of his 28 points in the second half and accounted for half the Blue team’s scoring in a 56-53 win at the preseason-opening “Countdown to Craziness” event.

He shot 8-for-13 from the field, and made nine of 10 free throws, rallying his team from a 13-point halftime deficit. After committing a backcourt turnover with 19 seconds remaining and the Blue nursing a one-point lead, Curry stole the ball from Ryan Kelly and made both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity.

“Obviously Seth was fantastic,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “Very efficient 28 points. I thought he took really good shots, hit all his free throws, and he made two unbelievable steals. He made two great steals. And I thought he was the difference.”

Krzyzewski has said Curry is quiet by nature and is trying to get him to be more of a vocal leader.

“I just tried to do that tonight,” Curry said. “Our team kind of struggled at first, so we just had to pull out of that hole, and I was trying to be the guy to get that going.”

Miles of improvement. Senior co-captain Miles Plumlee appeared to be a much-improved player over last season.

He led the White team with 15 points and led all players with eight rebounds. He also won the dunk contest with a leap over younger brother Marshall in the finals.

“Miles is playing great,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s so powerful and he’s in such a good place. He’s talking out there. I’m really happy for him. He’s put a lot of work in.”

Krzyzewski said offensive rebounding could be a huge factor for the Blue Devils with Miles and Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly banging on the boards in a three-player rotation for two positions.

Miles Plumlee had six offensive rebounds, and Mason Plumlee and Kelly had three apiece.

“Our big guys are good,” Krzyzewski said. “The two Plumlees and Ryan, they’re very good basketball players.”

Freshmen make impact. All five players in Duke’s highly regarded freshman class made their presence felt in the scrimmage.

As expected, wing Austin Rivers was the leader of his class, as he scored 13 of his 14 points in the first half.

Point guard Quinn Cook scored seven points, shot 3-for-4 from the field and handed out two assists.

“They can all help us,” Krzyzewski said. “There’s no question about that. We’re going to need them to.”

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Krzyzewski despises 'pod' idea for ACC

DURHAM – Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski came out in favor of more ACC expansion Wednesday but cautioned against splitting up an expanded ACC too much.
“It seems to me that if you’re going to go to 14 [schools], you should go to 16,” Krzyzewski said at his preseason-opening news conference. “And anytime I hear the word ‘pod,’ it makes me vomit.”

Last month the ACC announced it is adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East, although their date of entry has not yet been declared. That would bring conference membership to 14 schools.

ACC commissioner John Swofford hasn’t ruled out the idea of expanding to 16 schools, and Notre Dame, Texas, Connecticut and Rutgers all have been mentioned in reports as possibilities.

One of the formats that’s been the subject of speculation for a 16-school conference is a split of four mini-divisions or “pods” of four schools each. Schools in each pod would play one another once each football season, plus home and away during basketball season.

That would allow the North Carolina “Big Four” schools of Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest to strengthen their rivalries. Krzyzewski doesn’t like that idea.

He said it wouldn’t help national recruiting.

“The pods, I think that’s one of the worst business models there could possibly be,” Krzyzewski said. “I just break out in a rash when I hear it. You’ve got to be kidding me. A pod.

“ ‘Well, what did you this year?’

“ ‘We won our pod.’

“What’s the trophy for that?”

Krzyzewski advocates a split into two divisions. He said that would create scheduling formats for basketball that would expand from the current 16 ACC games to 19 in the case of a 14-team conference, and 18 ACC games for a 16-team conference.

He also was asked about negative comments his friend, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, made about joining the ACC. Boeheim predicted that the ACC tournament would stay mostly in the South but also would occasionally be held in New York City, where the Big East tournament currently is played annually.

“It’s a great place for a tournament,” Boeheim told an audience in Birmingham, Ala. “Where would you want to go to a tournament for five days? Let’s see: Greensboro, North Carolina, or New York City? Jeez. Let me think about that one and get back to you.”

Krzyzewski said Boeheim was reacting to a big change for his program, but said Syracuse officials are happy to be in the ACC.

“He just needs his coffee early in the morning,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s all right. He’s not a glass-half-full guy

Ken Tysiac

Bigs to play major role for Duke

DURHAM For the last several seasons under coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke has used a perimeter-first formula to build an elite basketball program.

But personnel losses from last season leave Duke with 6-foot-11 junior Ryan Kelly and 6-10 junior Mason Plumlee as two of its three returning starters from a team that went 32-5 and lost in the West Regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

The Blue Devils lone senior is 6-10 Miles Plumlee, one of three Plumlee brothers on the team. So for the first time in recent memory, Dukes focus is shifting away from the perimeter and toward veterans who play closer to the basket.

Our big guys can be very good,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Wednesday at the team’s preseason media availability. “And they should be. They’re ready to be. And a lot of success that we’ll have this season will be dependent on their play.”

Krzyzewski said Duke’s coaches learned during their August exhibition trip to China and Dubai that the two eldest Plumlees and Kelly are much improved players.
The trip was a chance for players to impress the coaches because standout seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are gone from last season’s team, along with No. 1 NBA draft pick Kyrie Irving.

Kelly led the team in scoring in China, averaging 15.0 points per game. Miles Plumlee averaged 9.8 rebounds per game, and Mason Plumlee shot 18-for-22 from the field to average 10.3 points.

Miles Plumlee and Kelly were named team captains in September.

“Coach definitely told us over the summer when we saw him that we can be a central focus of our team,” Kelly said. “It’s been a little bit different. The talent level of our bigs has increased a ton, and guys have gotten better.”

Duke still faces a lot of questions as it prepares for the Countdown to Craziness festivities Friday night that will begin preseason practice. The departures of Smith, Singler and Irving leave a team that Krzyzewski said will be balanced but doesn’t have players who are used to leading roles.

The team’s only major threat to create a shot off the dribble is guard Austin Rivers, who won many national player of the year awards as a high school senior but still is just a freshman.

So when the Blue Devils need a big basket down the stretch, it’s unclear who will take it.

We dont necessarily have to have Nolan taking the last shot, Mason Plumlee said, although that was nice.

Instead, Duke may have different options each game and will rely more heavily on big men than in the past. In particular, the Plumlees and Kelly will quarterback the defense.

Krzyzewski said the coaches will figure out how to take advantage of the bigs’ ability to block shots and take charges. All around, for a team that has relied on Smith and Jon Scheyer and J.J. Redick for the past several years, the Blue Devils appear destined for a major change as the post players get more involved.

How we incorporate our bigs in what we’re doing both offensively and defensively is a change from the last couple of years,” Krzyzewski said. So there are some habits to break as far as how we score, how we defend. So we incorporate our big guys more. And we’re going to do that.

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Devils to open practice with 'Craziness'

For the third straight season, Duke’s men’s basketball team will begin practice with its Countdown to Craziness event at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Doors at Cameron will open at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 14, and the Blue-White Scrimmage will start at 8:55 p.m.

The event will feature live music, inflatable games, highlight videos, live performances and on court contests. Veteran analyst Bill Raftery will be on site as ESPNU will cover the event as part of its four-hour Midnight Madness special.

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jordan Brand Classic returning to Charlotte

James Michael McAdoo
The Jordan Brand Classic high school basketball all-star game will return to Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena on April 14, 2012, game officials announced today.

The game, featuring many of the top high school seniors in the country, will be televised live by ESPN.  The day also includes an international all-star game and a regional game featuring players from the Carolinas.

Tickets are on sale at

The event moved to Charlotte from New York City in 2011, and North Carolina freshman James Michael McAdoo and Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis were named co-most outstanding player.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

North Carolina headlines 2012 Maui field

The Maui Invitational has officially announced its field for 2012, headlined by North Carolina.

The tournament, hosted by Chaminade, is scheduled for Maui's Lahaina Civic Center, also includes Butler, Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, Texas and Southern Cal.

The 2011 tournament, held over the Thanksgiving weekend, features Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA and Chaminade.

Monday, July 18, 2011

N.C. State basketball recruit headed to Oak Hill

Forsyth Country Day point guard Tyler Lewis (12), a rising senior, already has committed to N.C. State. DIEDRA LAIRD -

N.C. State basketball recruit Tyler Lewis is taking a step up in competition. Lewis, one of the top point guard prospects in the country, will finish his prep career at Oak Hill Academy.

Lewis, who will be a high school senior, averaged 27.2 points and 7.4 assists last season for Forsyth Country Day in Lewisville.

Lewis, who started as an eighth-grader at Forsyth Country Day, dominated the private-school league and leaves as the school's career leading scorer with 1,927 points.

He joins the perennial prep power in Mouth of Wilson, Va., which counts ACC guards Nolan Smith (Duke), Ty Lawson (UNC), Steve Blake (Maryland) among its litany of stars in the past 25 years.

"You want to play against the best competition," Lewis said. "I think it's the best thing for me to get ready for N.C. State."

ESPN's Dave Telep rates Lewis, a 5-11 point guard, as the 73rd-best prospect in the class of 2012. He joins top prospects Jarnell Stokes (ranked No. 18 by ESPN), D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (32) and A.J. Hammons (63) in the Oak Hill lineup.

Lewis, who committed to State last October, was one of the best players at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in Raleigh in May and has seen his stock rise on the recruiting circuit with a strong spring and summer.

"He will go down as arguably the greatest basketball player in [school] history and his efforts on the court will be hard to duplicate," Forsyth coach Craig Dawson said.

-- J.P. Giglio

Thursday, July 14, 2011

McKillop Receives NABC Honor

Davidson's Brendan McKillop has been named to the Honors Court by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, a recognition of his academic performance during his senior season.

McKillop graduated in May with a 3.29 cumulative grade point average and a degree in sociology. He started all 32 games he played in and
averaged 9.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a senior. His 216
career 3-pointers made ranks fourth in school history and his 254 career
assists ranks 16th.

McKillop finished his career with 831 points, 254 assists, 215 rebounds and 70 steals in 117 games.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wake's Tabb, Walker suspended

Wake Forest's quest to improve on a disappointing 2010-11 basketball season ran into an obstacle Monday with the announcement that Melvin Tabb and Ty Walker were suspended indefinitely for unspecified violations of athletic department rules.

Walker, a 7-foot senior center, played in 32 games with nine starts last season. He averaged 3.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game.

As a freshman last season, Tabb played in 14 games and averaged 1.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thom Becomes Davidson Hoops Director Of Operations

Billy Thom is the new director of operations for Davidson basketball, head coach Bob McKillop announced Wednesday.

Thom graduated from Davidson in May and has been a part of the Wildcats' basketball program since his freshman year. A native of Cold Spring, N.Y., Thom began as a student manager and became student director of basketball operations as a junior and senior. He worked as video coordinator for the Wildcats and helped with travel and scouting.

"Billy came to Davidson with aspirations of becoming a basketball coach as his father is a prominent high school coach in New York," said McKillop.
"He knows our system inside and out, carries Davidson basketball in his heart and is one of our own. I¹m very pleased he has joined our staff."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nix Joins Wake Forest Basketball Staff

Wake Forest basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik has tapped into his long-time NBA connections to land Jeff Nix as the Deacons' new director of men's basketball operations.

Nix spent 15 years in the New York Knicks organization with responsibilities ranging from assistant coach to assistant general manager and director of scouting.

“We hit a home run in the hiring of Jeff Nix as our director of basketball operations,” said Bzdelik in a statement. “His loyalty, integrity, knowledge and experience takes a backseat to no one. He will be a great asset to our basketball program and the entire Wake Forest University community.”

Bzdelik and Nix worked together for one season with the Knicks in 1994-95 under Pat Riley.

Nix was a member of the Knicks’ coaching staff for the organization’s Eastern Conference Championship teams in both 1994 and 1999. Nix served as an assistant under three Knicks head coaches, including Pat Riley (1992-95), Don Nelson (1995-96) and Jeff Van Gundy (1996-2000).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Duke mourns ex-basketball captain Emma

Thomas Emma, a Duke basketball team captain in 1982-83 who ushered the Blue Devils through a difficult transition after coach Mike Krzyzewski took over for Bill Foster, is dead of an apparent suicide.

Emma was 49. Police say he plunged from the 12th floor of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. His body was found at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on a second-floor landing of the building on Central Park South.

Former teammates reacted with shock.

“This one’s especially tough,” said Jay Bilas, a freshman on the 1982-83 team, “because I didn’t know he was that bad off.”

Emma (No. 22, above, in January 1983) was drafted by the Chicago Bulls but never played in the NBA. He was a high-scoring high school standout in Manhasset on Long Island and enrolled at Duke in 1979, before Foster’s final season.

A 6-foot-2 guard, Emma started three seasons under Krzyzewski, scored 784 career points and made perhaps his most lasting contribution to the program as a captain during his senior season.

In 1982-83, Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, David Henderson and Bilas arrived and immediately took over starting roles as one of the most anticipated freshman classes in school history in Krzyzewski’s third season.

The captain and lone senior starter, Emma prevented discord by accepting a less prominent role as Dawkins and Alarie, respectively, were Duke’s top two scorers.

“He did not play as much as he should have because. . .the players who were considered the future of Duke basketball were going to be given playing time,” Alarie said. “He was unbelievably gracious in accepting that role of captain and also, I call it ‘transition facilitator.’ ”

Bilas said Emma had a great sense of humor and kept everything light while he displayed extreme tenacity on the court. One day before practice Emma gathered the team to say that day’s session would be especially grueling and that a fight might break out if they didn’t keep their cool.

Emma cautioned his teammates to remain calm, but a fight did break out. Emma was right in the middle, and his teammates teased him about it afterward.

“Tom had a pretty good feel for the fact that with us coming in with all this hype and No. 1 recruiting class and all that, that there could be some tension between the older players and us,” Bilas said. “He made sure that there wasn’t.”

Emma (right) was drafted in the 10th round by the Bulls, and later became president of Power Performance, Inc., a company devoted to training young athletes.

The New York City medical examiner will determine the cause of his death.
Alarie said he kept in touch with Emma, reviewing a book he wrote called “Basketball Player's Comprehensive Guide to Strength Training," and talking about the good, old days when they were teammates at Duke.

“It’s really come as a shock to everybody,” Alarie said. “No inkling that there was a problem with depression or any issues like that. So it’s really a shocker.

“He just had a never-say-die, never-give-up attitude when he was on the floor, and we all respected him and admired him for that, and that’s why he was a captain, because he had that attitude, that kind of fight and competitiveness in him. He was a great teammate.”

The Associated Press contributed.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Krzyzewski prefers 16-game ACC schedule

DURHAM – Mike Krzyzewski knows little about what kind of system Duke will run next basketball season.

Instead, the Blue Devils’ coach will wait until after the team’s trip to play exhibition games in China and Dubai in August to form a rotation and a system of play after losing first-team All-ACC seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler from last season’s team.

“We have so many new guys,” Krzyzewski said Wednesday during a media opportunity at the beginning of his yearly K Academy fantasy camp.

Krzyzewski has a firm opinion, though, on the ACC’s great scheduling debate. After the ACC got just four of its 12 teams into the NCAA tournament last season, school and conference officials discussed in April the idea of increasing the conference schedule from 16 to 18 games beginning in 2013-14.

The Big East, Big Ten and Pac-10 all play 18-game conference schedules. Krzyzewski doesn’t want the ACC to follow their lead. He would prefer the ACC schedule to remain at 16 games to allow teams to continue playing high-profile opponents from outside the conference without making the schedule too strong.

Krzyzewski would like ACC teams as a group to schedule stronger outside the conference while keeping the 16-game league schedule. According to, the ACC had just the sixth-best schedule strength among the nation’s conference last season.

Just two teams in the ACC – Duke and North Carolina – played a top-25 schedule.

“Part of our problem is that as a conference, we have not scheduled nonconference wise hard enough to promote a good enough RPI which would benefit everyone,” Krzyzewski said. “If we could still keep 16 games and each team takes it upon itself to schedule stronger, I think we need that.”

Krzyzewski also is pushing for the ACC and its television partners to develop regular slots for nationally televised games to entice audiences to develop consistent ACC basketball viewing habits.

He suggested slots on Wednesday night and Saturday afternoons.

“Our conference has been built on people turning radios on, in little towns and big cities throughout the mid-Atlantic region,” Krzyzewsk said. “And they knew at a certain time there was going to be an ACC basketball game on, and things like that, where we as a conference need to do that.”

Last week, ACC commissioner John Swofford said he was impressed with the way the basketball coaches conducted themselves with the league’s best interests at heart at the conference’s yearly spring meetings.

Just four of the ACC’s basketball coaches have been working in the conference for more than two seasons. Swofford sounded encouraged with the way the coaches interacted.

“They’re very bright, very engaged, very knowledgeable and appreciative of our conference’s history and tradition in basketball and are proud to be part of it,” Swofford said.

Krzyzewski echoed those comments.

“The group of coaches we have in here are really smart,” he said, “and I think they look at it as a conference. I think for a little, the last few years, I think sometimes we’ve gotten too territorial about individual programs and not looked collectively on what the conference needs to do.”

Regarding his own team, Krzyzewski said it will take time to figure out how to play in 2011-12. Duke has just one senior, Miles Plumlee, next season and loses 52.8 percent of its scoring off a 2010-11 team that finished 32-5.

He will keep things simple on the trip to China and watch to see which players emerge as contributors and leaders before making any decisions.

“We have very good talent, and we’ll have good depth,” Krzyzewski said. “But we don’t have anybody coming back who for a whole year, you knew he was that [key] guy. So the China trip, we’ll keep it simple. We’ll get to know our guys.”

Ken Tysiac

N.C. State picks up preferred walk-on

Broughton grad to walk on at N.C. State: Staats Battle, a 6-foot-5 basketball standout at Broughton, is going to N.C. State as a preferred walk-on. Battle, who averaged 13.7 points last season for the Caps (22-6), will graduate this spring and enroll at N.C. State in the fall.

He made a school-record 61 three-pointers during his senior season at the Raleigh high school.

“He is a tremendous three-point shooter,” said Broughton coach Jeff Ferrell. “I think he is going to do a great job at State. He plays well with other people, and he plays within his capabilities. He is very much a team player. Staats is a person of great character.”

Ferrell also coached former State player Will Roach, who went to State as a walk-on and played for four years.

“Will and Staats are different in their physical characteristics, but as far as the way they play with a team and with being people of great character, they are similar,” Ferrell said. “They are both just very good people.”

-- Tim Stevens

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

VIDEO: Kyle Singler trick shots video

Everybody has one, so why not Kyle Singler? Here's his trick-shot video from YouTube:

Monday, May 23, 2011

N.C. State boosts backcourt with Bakersfield transfer

Alex Johnson's Twitter handle is "supermanjohnson" but the point guard is looking to help N.C. State's basketball team, not save them.

Johnson, who averaged 13.3 points per game last season for Cal State Bakersfield, said Monday he is going to transfer to N.C. State for his final college season. Johnson said he will graduate in June and pursue a masters degree at State, which means he will be eligible for the upcoming season.

The Wolfpack, which lost point guards Javier Gonzalez and Ryan Harrow, needs guard help for coach Mark Gottfried's first team. Sophomore Lorenzo Brown is the only ball-handler on the roster.

"It's a great opportunity," said Johnson, who's 5-10 and 170 pounds. "I'm excited about it. I think it's a great situation for me."

Johnson, who is from Toronto, averaged 93. points in three seasons for the Roadrunners, a Division I independent. He took a medical redshirt before his junior season at Bakersfield after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He returned in 2010-11 to average 13.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game with 26 starts.

He was prolific from 3-point range with 228 attempts (and made 79), which would have ranked second in the ACC in attempts and was 56 more than State's leader in the category (Scott Wood).

Johnson doesn't anticipate taking that many 3s for the Wolfpack.

"It all depends on what the coaches want me to do," Johnson said. "I'll go with the flow and do what the team needs."

The addition of Johnson and Belgian power forward Thomas de Thaey likely ends Gottfried's recruiting search for the class of '11. The Pack is bringing in four new players with wing Tyler Harris and guard Jaqwan Raymond, who committed under former coach Sidney Lowe.

Neither Harris nor Raymond play the point, though, which makes Johnson's addition important for the Pack, which went 15-16 last season.

Johnson said he thinks he'll fit into Gottfried's style of play.

"He wants to play up tempo," Johnson said. "I think I can help them push the ball and get guys open shots and knock down some shots."

Johnson's the second post-graduate transfer in the Triangle in as many years. North Carolina added forward Justin Knox last summer after he graduated from Alabama.

-- J.P. Giglio

Sampson Joins ASU Staff

Kellen Sampson has joined the Appalachian State men's basketball coaching staff, signing on as an assistant under head coach Jason Capel.

Sampson was an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin last year where the Lumberjacks led the nation in scoring defense and three-point percentage defense. Prior to his time at Stephen F. Austin, Sampson spent two years on the coaching staff at Oklahoma, his alma mater.

“I’m very excited about adding Coach Kellen Sampson,” Capel said in a press release. “He brings great energy, love for the game and a passion to help our student-athletes on and off the court.

"I’ve known Kellen for some time now from afar and have had a chance to watch him work and see the relationships he’s been able to build, not just with players and developing their skill sets and helping them mature as individuals, but also on the recruiting circuit with parents. He’ll be a great asset to our program, a great ambassador for Appalachian State and a young man that’s going to help this program continue to grow to a championship level. We are very happy to have Kellen Sampson.”

Sampson replaces Rick Scruggs, who left the staff after the end of the 2010-11 season to pursue head coaching opportunities.

-- Ron Green Jr.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pairings set for expanded ACC/Big Ten Challenge

The ACC will win the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the 11th time.

Or the newly expanded Big Ten will make it three straight, after losing the first 10 years. Or there'll be a tie.

For the first time, the made-for-ESPN basketball series has been scheduled for an even number of games. (The Big Ten actually has 12 teams with the addition of Nebraska.)

North Carolina, which will be the favorite to win both the ACC and national titles, hosts Wisconsin on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Duke, which has won more games in the Challenge than any team, travels to Ohio State on Tuesday, Nov. 29 and N.C. State, with first-year coach Mark Gottfried, hosts Indiana on Nov. 30.

Duke beat Ohio State in '02 in the Challenge for one of its 11 wins in the Challenge. The Blue Devils only loss in the Challenge came at Wisconsin in '09. The Buckeyes, and forward Jared Sullinger, will be a test for Duke's frontcourt.

UNC's just 6-6 in the Challenge but has won six of its past eight games. It's the first time the Heels and Badgers have met in the Challenge and their first meeting since the Syracuse Regional final in the 2005 NCAA tournament. UNC beat the Badgers en route to coach Roy Williams first national title.

The Wolfpack will host an Indiana team that went 12-20 last season and has won just eight Big Ten games in three years under coach Tom Crean. The Pack got waxed by 39 points at Wisconsin last season and has lost three straight games in the Challenge with its last win in '06 at home over Michigan.

Tuesday, Nov. 29
Miami @ Purdue
Northwestern @ Georgia Tech
Illinois @ Maryland
Michigan @ Virginia
Clemson @ Iowa
Duke @ Ohio State

Wednesday, Nov. 30
Indiana @ N.C. State
Penn State @ Boston College
Florida State @ Michigan State
Virginia Tech @ Minnesota
Wake Forest @ Nebraska
Wisconsin @ UNC

-- J.P. Giglio

'Today' allegations put Wake Forest on edge

Wake Forest University is bracing for a national television interview that could cause the issue of violence against women to hit home.

A producer with NBC's "Today" show advised Wake Forest officials that it will air a segment Thursday morning concerning sexual assault on college campuses.

According to Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, who disclosed the details Tuesday in an email to the university community, the "Today" segment will include an interview with a former Wake Forest student discussing an incident that occurred "several" years ago.

Hatch offered few other details on what the "Today" show would air.

On its Facebook page, an advocacy organization known as the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes wrote that in the morning news show's segment. scheduled to air at 7:45 a.m. Thursday, a woman will talk about a sexual assault that she said involved members of the Wake Forest basketball team.

According to a Miami Police Department incident report, a female Wake Forest student accused a Wake Forest basketball player of sexual assault in an incident that occurred shortly before 5a.m. March 21, 2009, hours after the Deacons were eliminated from the NCAA tournament in an opening-round loss to Cleveland State.

She also reported the incident to Wake Forest campus police, according to Miami police.

Miami police reported that they interviewed the woman in May 2009 when they were informed of the incident. According to the incident report, the woman told Miami police that a Wake player requested that she perform a sex act on him in the bathroom of a hotel room; she said she did so, according to the report, because she was afraid not to.

The player told police that he did not force the woman to perform the sex act, according to the Miami police report.

After Miami police reviewed the case with a state attorney, charges were not filed for reasons that included the "one-on-one" nature of the allegation, the delayed report to police and the absence of physical evidence and corroborating witnesses, according to the report.

In his email to the Wake Forest community, Hatch wrote that the university will take appropriate action to respond to the matter. He also wrote that the university takes such issues seriously, has procedures to enforce its code of conduct and supports students in times of need.

"Fostering a positive and respectful living and learning environment is of paramount importance at Wake Forest University," he wrote. "... As part of our Pro Humanitate mission we strive to treat all of our students with integrity and compassion."

-- Ken Tysiac

Duke, UNC, N.C. State basketball excel in class

Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State had widely varying degrees of success on the court in men's basketball in 2009-10, but all three schools posted stellar performances in the classroom.

All three ACC men's basketball teams received public recognition awards Tuesday for performance in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate calculation for 2009-10. The only other ACC men's basketball team to receive recognition was Virginia Tech's.

The NCAA announced the awards, which are given each year to teams that finished in the top 10 percent nationally in their sport in the APR calculation, which measures classroom performance.

On the court in 2009-10, Duke won the NCAA title, North Carolina was National Invitation Tournament runner-up and N.C. State played in the NIT.

Duke led all ACC schools with 15 sports programs receiving public recognition awards. In men's sports, Duke was recognized in baseball, basketball, cross country, fencing, football, golf, soccer, swimming, indoor and outdoor track, and wrestling. The women's basketball, fencing, lacrosse and volleyball teams also were honored.

North Carolina was honored in seven sports - men's basketball and swimming, and women's fencing, golf, gymnastics, swimming and volleyball.

N.C. State's men's basketball, cross country and mixed rifle teams were honored.

Boston College finished second to Duke in the ACC with 10 public recognition awards. Wake Forest had six sports honored.

The Charlotte 49ers earned public recognition awards in men's cross country, golf, indoor track and outdoor track, and women's tennis.

The NCAA will release the complete APR data on March 24.

-- Ken Tysiac

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tudor's Take: Texas rewards Barnes' loyalty

It became something of a political football involving a basketball coach when Texas gave Rick Barnes a $200,000 raise recently.

According to the Associated Press, a few Texas state legislators objected strongly last week when the University of Texas increased a scheduled $75,000 raise to $200,000 for the veteran Longhorns coach.

The news report put Barnes' total annual income at $2.4 million, which didn't set well with some of the lawmakers. Like most school systems, Texas is facing big budget cuts.

Texas' athletic director DeLoss Dodds said a $200,000 raise, rather than the $75,000 hike in Barnes' contract, was appropriate in view of the basketball program's improvement and the school's desire to keep him.

It also may be another reason why Barnes during the past two or three seasons has shunned approaches from schools closer to his Hickory, N.C., roots.

N.C. State, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Virginia had some degree of interest in Barnes during the past three years, but Barnes displayed no desire to leave.

In 13 seasons at Texas, Barnes hasn't failed to land an NCAA Tournament bid and has a 322-123 record at the school. But his 2010-11 team, which finished 28-8, lost its second game in the tourney to Arizona.

Texas last reached a regional semifinal in 2008, but Barnes' 2003 team got to the Final Four.

-- Caulton Tudor

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vitale, coaches team up to fight kids' cancer

Less than two months ago, North Carolina's Roy Williams and Kentucky's John Calipari were battling to advance to the NCAA Final Four. May 20, they - as well as scores of other NCAA basketball coaches, pro athletes and celebrities - will come together to help kids who are battling cancer.

Williams and Calipari, whose teams will likely be ranked 1-2 in the polls come next fall, will be two of the guests of honor at the sixth annual Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota, Fla. The goal, again, will be to raise more than $1 million for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event - which includes 800 tickets at $1,000 apiece - has sold out; but people can donate by logging on to or calling 1800-4JIMMYV.

" We compete against each other all season, we recruit against each other, but now we also come together to do something special,'' Williams said last week. " ... And I hope this will raise a lot more money for an important cause."

Williams, who lost both his parents to cancer, has helped raise more than $1.3 million over the years for UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center with his season-opening Fast Break for Cancer Breakfast. This will also mark his third trip Vitale's gala.

"I've been there twice," Williams said, "and I'm not ashamed to say, I cried twice."

Vitale, a long-time ESPN commentator, gets choked up, as well, when he talks about his event. A board member of the V foundation, he said his passion to raise money for pediatric cancer research was ignited when his neighbors, Patrick and Holly Wright, lost their daughter Payton to cancer in 2007.

"You see these sick little kids, 5, 6, 4 [years old] and it crushes you - these kids all have brain tumors, leukemia, tumors on the spine, and it just crushes you,'' Vitale said. "You think about coaches worried about winning games, and these kids are fighting for their lives."

Tennis legend Nick Bollettieri will join Williams and Calipari as a guest of honor. (Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has been honored at the Gala in the past.) Other attendees this year include Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, Florida's Billy Donavan, Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg, recently-retired Maryland coach Gary Williams, and the three other coaches who joined Calipari in the Final Four: Connecticut's Jim Calhoun, Butler's Brad Stevens, and VCU's Shaka Smart.

The celebrity guests all pay their own expenses, and some make a personal donation.

Since 2006, Vitale's Gala has raised more than $3.65 million for The V Foundation, which was founded in 1993 by the late N.C. State coach Jim Valvano and ESPN. Another way fans can chip in to Vitale's million-dollar-plus goal is by purchasing his children's book, "Dickie Vs ABCs and 1-2-3s: A Great Start for Young Superstars," for $14.95. Vitale is donating all of his proceeds from the book to pediatric cancer research.

Williams and Vitale expect May 20 to be a memorable night.

"Both Roy and John Calipari have been good to us over the years ... and with Carolina and Kentucky being the two winningest programs, we just thought that would make the event exciting, and draw a lot of interest,'' Vitale said. "The most important thing about this is raising money, and we really appreciate the fans' support in trying to fight cancer in children."

-- Robbi Pickeral

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pack assistants get two-year appointments

Three new members of N.C. State's basketball staff each received two-year appointments, according to information provided by the school today in response to a public records request.

Bobby Lutz, the former Charlotte 49ers head coach, received the top salary among assistants on the staff at $225,000 a year. Orlando Early, who came to N.C. State from South Carolina, will make $215,000 a year. Rob Moxley, who spent last season at Middle Tennessee, will make $205,000 a year

Early and Moxley both served under Lutz at Charlotte.

The coaches join the staff of Mark Gottfried, who was hired last month to replace Sidney Lowe. After the introductory news conference for Gottfried, athletics director Debbie Yow vowed to put the money on the table to allow Gottfried to hire a "phenomenal staff" that she said would lead the Wolfpack to a national championship.

"I know as a former coach how important that really is," Yow said on April 5. "It truly is. You see somebody that’s terrific, but then you realize, I don’t have the money to hire them? So it won’t be that way. He’ll be able to hire whoever he wants in all three of the assistant coach positions."

The salaries of the new assistants do represent a boost over those of the previous staff. According to the UNC general administration salary database for 2010-11, former associate head coach Monte Towe's pay of $176,748 led Lowe's staff. His salary combined with those of lead assistants Larry Harris and Pete Strickland totaled $477,723.

The combined salaries of the three new lead assistants will be $645,000 a year.

According to the same database, North Carolina pays $277,000 to top assistant Steve Robinson, $143,500 each to assistants C.B. McGrath and Jerod Haase, and $303,00 to basketball operations director Joe Holladay.

Ken Tysiac

Maryland to name court after Williams

Maryland will name its basketball court after coach Gary Williams, school president Wallace Loh said today at a news conference to announce Williams' retirement.

Loh said Williams represents the heart and soul of the university and is a teacher who has maintained ethical standards and plays by the rules. Loh called Williams an "incredibly loyal alumnus" who displayed fierce competitiveness in 22 seasons as coach.

"You are a champion on the court and you are a champion in the community," Loh said. "Your legacy will live on forever."

Williams, 66, posted 668 career wins and a 461-252 record at Maryland with two Final Four trips and an NCAA title in 2002. He said he feels like he could still coach, but realizes there are other opportunities out there for him.

He will remain at Maryland as a special assistant to athletics director Kevin Anderson.

"Whatever he wants me to do to help, I'll help," Williams said. "I'm very confident that we can have a program we'll all be proud of in the future."

Williams had glassy eyes and a quivering lip through much of the news conference, which lasted about an hour. He said he briefly considered retiring in 2002 after Maryland won the NCAA title.

He thought about retiring again in 2010, after a team he thought was capable of making the Final Four lost a heartbreaker in the second round of the NCAA tournament to eventual national semifinalist Michigan State. But he stayed around one more season to coach a younger team last season partly because it gave him the opportunity to do something he loves to do - teach.

Now, he said, he has good people around him and good health, and he is ready to do something different.

"I've seen coaches where they just stayed too long," Williams said. "And if you leave a little early, it's better than staying too late."

One day before Williams' retirement was made public, forward Jordan Williams announced that he would stay in the NBA draft rather than return to Maryland for his junior season. Gary Williams said Jordan's departure had no impact on Gary's decision to step down as coach.

There was no mention of Williams' feud with his former boss, Debbie Yow, during the portion of the news conference televised on Maryland's official web site. Last month, Yow accused Williams of sabotaging the coaching search that Yow was leading as N.C. State's athletics director and resulted in the hiring of Mark Gottfried.

In 1989, Williams took over for Bob Wade with a team that had been crippled by scandal in a program haunted by the tragic death of Len Bias. Williams said the only thing he knew to do in that circumstance is work extremely hard.

He leaves his job proud that he took that team to the top of the college basketball world and confident that he will find something else worthwhile to do.

"Why now?" Williams asked. "It's just a gut feeling, more than anything else."

Ken Tysiac