SDBB – 2017-18 Duke Associate Head Coach, Jeff Capel

By Bermuda Bob

Felton Jeffrey “Jeff” Capel III  is in his 7th season on the Duke staff, and 4th as Associate Head Coach.  Jeff was a Head Coach at VCU.  He then Oklahoma, lead them to 3 Big Dance appearances, and an Elite 8 appearance in 2008.  Overall, his coaching career is as follows:

  • 2000-2001 – Assistant Coach at Old Dominion …
  • 2001-2002 – Assistant Coach at Virginia Commonwealth …
  • 2002-2006 – Head Coach at Virginia Commonwealth …
  • 2006-2011 – Head Coach at Oklahoma …
  • 2011-Prsent – Associate Head Coach at Duke ...

Jeff has been instrumental to some degree of the recruiting of just about every player coming to Duke since he came back to Duke.  Then, once they are in a Duke uniform, Jeff would become integral to their players development.   Since he took over the reigns of Associate Head Coach to Coach K, he has seen Duke earn:

2015 National Championship

2017 ACC Tournament Championship

Capel graduated from Duke in 1997 with a B.A. in History.  In 2003, he married fellow Duke alumna, Kanika Réale Blue.  Their daughters are Cameron and Sydney.  Their son is Elijah.

Editor’s Note:

Capel’s wife is the daughter of Daniel T. Blue Jr., a Democratic member of the North Carolina Senate, representing the state’s 14th Senate District, and is the Senate Minority Leader.   He is also on Duke University’s Board of Trustees, and was elected chairman in 2009.   He was the first African American to chair Duke’s board.

Personal Trivia Note: 

Jeff and I share our birthday with Abraham Lincoln.

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Gary Trent, Jr

By Bill Wheeler

Gary is a 6’6″ 209 lb. Guard from Columbus, Ohio via Prolific Prep in California. He will wear #2 at Duke.   He was ranked the #1 Shooting Guard and #7 player over in the 2017 class by ESPN.  He was ranked #17 overall by Rivals and the #3 Shooting Guard and #20 overall player by Scout.

Gary played USA Basketball, accomplishing the following:

  • 2015 FIBA Americas U-16 Championship – Gold Medal, averaging 12.7 PPG & 3.9 RPG
  • 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship – Gold Medal, averaging 16.8 PPG & 2.8 RPG
  • Most Valuable Player, 2016 FIBA U-17 Team …
  • Recognized as Gatorade Minnesota Player of the Year, and USA Today Minnesota Player of the Year as a Junior …

Gary stated at his official commitment announcement that said everything about Duke is top of the line and that  “Coach K wants me to come in as who I am and with my ego.”

He is a prolific shooter with a tendency to favor driving to his right before shooting.  Sometimes he fakes a step into his defender before going up for a shot. Gary is expected to  fill a void of scoring left by Jason Tatum.  He may play in a 3 Guard Line Up with Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval.  The question is how well he can defend bigger players if he is at the #3 spot.

Gary is the son of retired NBA Journeyman Gary Trent, Sr., who had his jersey retired at Ohio University, and was drafted 11th in the 1995 NBA Draft.  He played 9 seasons for various teams, then in Europe.  Gary sez he is thankful for the impact his father has had on his life.

Gary has 3 brothers, Garyson, Grayson and Graydon.

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Jordan Goldwire

By Bill Wheeler

Jordan is a 6’2″ 172 lb Guard who will wear #14 this year for Duke.

This young man is an interesting recruit for Duke, who was not highly ranked.  He has impressive highlights of with play-making skills, such as being able to penetrate the arc and passing the ball back, out, or underneath.  He has a good shot from all points on the floor and has defensive skills.  By his Junior or Senior year, Jordan may impress the Cameron fans with his solid ball handling skills.

Duke “… didn’t promise me anything, they said they needed another ball handler who would be able to run the second group. It’s a great opportunity for me. I would like to thank Coack K for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime … and continuing my academic career.”

Jordan landed offers from UNLV, Towson, Hofstra, Coastal Carolina, & Eastern Kentucky until Nate James and Jeff Capel came calling.  It didn’t take long for him to commit !!!

Jordan is the son of Courtney and Connie Goldwire.  He has a sister, Jaylen.  College Basketball run deep in this family with his cousins playing in college as well.  They are Devin Mitchell, who plays at Georgia State, and Jalen Mitchell who plays at Clark Atlanta University.

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SDBB – After Sleeping On It – The Wake Forest Game

SDBB - Duke ZZZ's

Saturday’s Wake Forest game was not broadcast everywhere, so Bermuda Bob didn’t get to see it, but Bill Wheeler got lucky and was able to see the game … After Sleeping on It, Bill gives us his impressions, while Bermuda Bob comments on what he gleaned just from the Box Score …

Bill:    Frank Jackson is already a good Point Guard, but he has a tendency to favour passing to the right side of the Arc.  Sooner or later, teams are going to pick up on this.

Bermuda Bob:     Once again, Frank was subverted to Bench.  He HAS to be the Point Guard for this team to establish some sort of continuity …

Bill:     Wake was disrupted by Duke breaking out of their traditional man-to-man defense in favour of a Zone and trapping.

Bermuda Bob:   While is was disrupting, it still didn’t cause double digit TurnOvers, but it apparently DID disrupt their shooting outside the Arc as Wake shot 6 of 20 for only 30% !!!

Bill:     Antonio got 6 minutes and made the most of them, nailing a dunk and hoofing it to the other side of the Floor for a stop.  I’m glad he was praised by Coach Capel.  This is not the first time this year or last year when Antonio has done something like this …

Bermuda Bob:     We have both been begging for more Floor time for Antonio.  When you consider that Giles played 18 minutes and did little more than contribute 6 Points, 4 Fouls, and a TurnOver with Antonio, it proves my idea of RedShirting him would not have hurt this team …

Bill:
Tatum took several untimely shots.  A couple were just bad shots he took, hoping they’d go in to boost his stature, not necessarily the team’s.  Once he fouled out, Duke became a different team.

Bermuda Bob:      I hate to say things like this, but I told you so … Tatum stole 21 minuted from another player who would be more productive and less harmful.

Bill:     Grayson Allen has become a lightening rod for opposing teams.  I think he needs to be benched.  He got knocked down once on a drive to the basket and immediately began to mouth off, which drew a “T” !!!

Bermuda Bob:    I don’t get it.  I love a player with verve, but he might not have tripped anyone for a while, but his overly-fiery conduct is something to be concerned about.  I think he needs a shrink PLUS the threat of being benched !!!   As I’ve said before, what if he does something down the road in the Big Dance that adversely affects the team, and/or even the outcome of a game ???

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Bermuda Bob:     I watched the Virginia/Villanova game yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it because it was played at a fast pace where both teams excelled on both sides of the Court …  Last week I also saw ‘Nova beaten by WoJo’s Marquette’s team.  Duke would get slaughtered by all 3 of these teams !!!

Duke plays Notre Dame tonight, a very good team with discipline, talent, and huge scoring abilities.  Duke NEEDS to win this game, or winning against Wake means nothing !!!

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SDBB: Point/CounterPoint – 7 Questions After 7 ACC Games – Part #2

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After 7 ACC games that leaves Duke with a paltry 3-4 ACC Record, instead of asking:

What the Hell is Going On at Out There ???” 

We’d like to continue to introduce our newest contributor, Bill Wheeler, and give our readers a chance to get to know him via his thoughts on 7 Questions, all designed to ask the question we all struggle with:  

“What the Hell is Going On at Duke ???”

Tonight, we tackle the last 4 Questions …

Point #4:

Has Coach K forsaken the idea of  “team” and given in to the individualism inherent to the “one-and-done” recruit ???

Bill:

“You develop a team to accomplish what one person alone cannot” comes from Coach K’s discussion of fist in his book, “Leading with The Heart.”   He goes on to define the meaning of the five fingers.  The fist is an iconic symbol he uses in every game.

More interesting facts about this term are found in “100 Things Duke Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” by Johnny Moore.  A closed fist is on the side of the 2001 National Championship ring, and a sculpture in Coach K’s office.

Should we define individualism by national awards, public criticism, looks, or draft picks, etc. ???  Seven (7) players have won National Player of the Year under Coach K, the last being JJ Reddick in 2006.

In my memory, the ire of the public has been at it’s highest with the Grayson Allen’s tripping incidents recently, versus Christian Laettner’s stomping on Kentucky’s Timberlake chest in 1992.  Facial hair and hairstyles were discussed in Point #3.

From the 2015 team, Freshmen Tyus Jones, Okafor and Winslow being drafted into the NBA was a Duke basketball record.

In my opinion, Coach K has not forsaken the idea of team.

Bermuda Bob:        

I will respectfully disagree.  Since Coach K first dipped his toe into the Rubicon of the “one-and-done” with Kyrie Irving, he has routinely subverted his teams to an individual player.

  1. Kyrie Irving should never have been allowed to return to that Duke team, who had completely re-tooled their chemistry to win the ACC for a #1 Seed.   From the first game of that Big Dance, Duke was a goner because Irving was inserted, presumably to seal his #1 NBA Draft stock.  My question is: “What about the rest of the team ???”
  1. Next came Austin “Da Black Hole” Rivers, who was one of the most un-Duke-like players ever to be given a Duke jersey.  He was nothing more than a ball hog, a “gunner” or a“jock” in my day.   If you passed it to him, it never came back.  His mouth arrived on campus before he did, and Coach K subverted that entire team to him, resulting in an embarrassing exit of the Big Dance to a #15 Seed.  The kid didn’t even accompany the team back to Durham, instead going home.  I’ll never forget the picture in the Philadelphia newspapers when Duke played Temple.  Rivers had been, once again, knocked down and all 4 players were walking away from him back to the Bench, not one  looking back !!!   Mike “Silent G” Gbinije, the first of what would be successively 3 more players, left Duke as he had been subverted by Rivers.
  1. Then there was Jabari Parker, whose season was chronicled in the infamous Sports Illustrated article where it was revealed that his parents had carte blanche to contact the Coaching Staff any time they wished to question how their son was being played.
  1. Along with Parker was Rodney Hood, whom Coach K had promised a significant position on the team when he signed him after Hood had left Mississippi State.  Hood was so incredibly left-hand dominant that defenders obviously left his right wide open.  He rarely took advantage.  Alex Murphy would be the 2nd player to leave Duke after being subverted to Hood …

Oh by the way, Parker & Hood saw Duke blown out in the 1st Round of the Big Dance by a #14 Seed !!!

  1. Then there was the 2014-15 National Championship team.  No one was specifically subverted, but Semi Ojeleye realized that Coach K recruited behind his position, and by mid-season, he left for SMU, where he is a star !!!   It was also this season where Coach K told Sean Obi “We need you …” and so he left Rice for what must seem like an eternity on the Bench.
  1. Semi left because he would get no more playing time once Brandon Ingram showed up and starred, but also Chase Jeter showed up and was a dud.  Semi never got the chance Jeter did. Derryck Thornton looked over his shoulder and saw Coach K recruit behind him at the Point, and left at mid-season.  Duke was resoundingly beaten by Oregon in the Sweet 16 of the Big Dance.

It had become a seasonal wonder of mine who will be the next player to be subverted and leave to star somewhere else.  So, yes, I believe that Coach K, having been sucked into the “one-and-done” vortex, no longer worries about his whole team.  He allows too many players to languish on the Bench in favour of overworking his Starters and the additional players he plays.   I wonder if all of these player’s parents are given the Cell Phone numbers of the Coaching Staff and allowed the freedom to call any time if they wondering why their son gets more time pulling splinters than on the Court !!!

Point #5:

In every year in the past 4 years, a Duke player has left and starred at the school he landed at.  “Silent G” at Syracuse, Alex Murphy at Northeastern, Semi at SMU, and then Derryck Thornton in the middle of last year all left, all because they discovered that Coach K recruited a player who would surely subvert them in the next year. 

Do you think this is faire ???

Bill: 

Coach K has built an echelon program for which he can almost choose who comes to Duke.  Over the past 8 seasons, 8 or 9 athletes have averaged 10 or more minutes playing time.  After the 2015 National Championship, he stated “Eight is Enough.”  What about the “other” players on the team ???

It appears Coach K has subverted these players regardless of their skill, or the number of years they have been at Duke.  Playing time been given to the “one and done” Freshmen.  Duke defensive strength has diminished.  The team concept has been pushed aside for 1 or 2 “me” players each year.  The appreciation of the “other” players is non-existent.  I don’t think this is fair to those players nor the Duke fans.

Bermuda Bob:        

You have encapsulated the “wrongmindedness” that prevails at Coach K’s Duke these days. I seriously doubt that he recruits players to be “practice players” so each guy comes to Duke expecting to contribute.

College Basketball Icon, Dick Vitale noted last year (again) during a Duke game that Duke had so many guys who never get the chance to play.  He noted that if a player had been recruited and earned a uniform, then he deserved to be given the chance to contribute.  I could not agree more with him !!!

Since Coach K began the “wrongminded” practice of recruiting kids who have no intention of matriculating, he has made those kid(s) his primary emphasis to the detriment of other players who are upperclassmen.  Now, I agree that the 2015 Championship team was an exception, so let’s get that out of the way.  In every other season, Coach K allowed players who were at Duke to play and matriculate to be subverted to kids who were openly using Duke as a single season stepping stone to the NBA.

My best example of this is this year.  3 of the 6 Frosh this year ended up injured and essentially missed the non-conference season.  Considering the fact that Harry Giles has not played in a ridiculous amount of time due to his knee problems, I called for him to be RedShirted because he never had a chance to learn the Duke system.  Also, there were plenty of guys already on the team who could fill his roster spot.  That would give him another year to build himself and absorb the Duke system, but as one Twitter contributor asked me:

“How do you RedShirt a “one-and-done” ???”

Is one exclusive unto the other ???  I don’t think so.   The guy came to Duke, promptly blew out his knee again, but he still considered a “one-and-done” ???  He had not played a competitive minute in something like 22 months.  Yet, he’s given floor time to the exception of the guys who were here before him.   How is that moral or ethical ??? 

I think it reflects the “wrongmindedness” at Duke because Harry Giles has produced very little that is positive that other players on the Bench could not have surpassed.

When Jason Tatum came off the injured list, he immediately began to be given many minutes, and while he scores, he is a “ball hog” and has caused a diminution of Grayson’s & Luke’s scoring.  He has also been responsible for some unfortunate TurnOvers, the most recent being at the end of the North Carolina State game, when, instead of passing or simply getting to the Basket and maybe drawing a Foul, he employed some razzle dazzle, lost the ball, and the game was lost !!!

I have to wonder what Coach K sez to “The Admiral” – who attends every game – when the “one-and-done” kids play ahead of his son  His son, who has accommodated each and every thing Coach asked of him, but still sits, and sits, and sits.

Point #6:

Doesn’t this year prove that Coach K has become too dependent on Frosh ??? 

Bill:

My heart pounded as I stood and yelled “… REBOUND … REBOUND …” within an arm’s length of the TV.  The final horn sounded … my stomach felt empty as I mentally replayed the last minute.  Connecticut had just beaten Duke by 3 points to win the 1999 NCAA Championship.  Duke finished that season with an incredible 37 wins and 2 losses.  In another few weeks the team suffered another huge loss when freshmen Corey Maggette and William Avery, along with Sophomore Elton Brand decided to leave for the NBA. Coach K was quoted:

 When they all decided to leave, it hurt my feelings a little bit. I was sorry to see them go because you can’t establish as strong of a relationship in 1 or 2 years as you can in 4 …”

That may have been the ‘unofficial’ beginning of “one and done” Freshmen at Duke.  Unofficial, because the NBA didn’t change its rule about high school player’s eligibility until 2006.  Other Freshmen who have left after one season are Deng, Irving, Rivers, Parker, Tyus Jones, Okafor, Winslow and Ingram.  If the hype is right, 3 more freshmen could leave after this year.

Steve Fortosis’s October 2014 article “Does the One-and-Done Phenomenon Produce NCAA Winners or Not” points out Coach K ‘felt he’d be insane not to welcome this one and done talent.’  It also points out that Duke lost in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament in two 2011 and 2013.

http://dukereport.com/duke-basketball/one-done-phenomenon-produce-ncaa-winners-sfortosis/

Duke has not won the ACC regular season or tournament since 2011.  In 2015, Duke claimed a magnificent 5th National Championship with 4 Freshmen, 3 who left early and one who had pulled splinters most of the season.  2015-2016 looked like another possible repeat until Jefferson went out for rest of the season.  Duke finished tied for 5th in the conference and a 25-11 overall record.   This year Duke is 3-4 in conference and 15-5 overall.

UVA and UNC have won 4 of the last 5 regular season titles. I think Duke became too dependent on the “one and done” in 2014-15, leaving few players to develop over the next 3 years.

Bermuda Bob:        

You’ve made some excellent points, Bill.  Let me start with your final comment.  If Grayson goes, as per what seemed like his master plan, and the 3 Frosh go as they originally envisioned, next year’s Senior on the team will be Sean Obi.  A guy who has only seen stolen moments and has not even suited up this year.  Saying nothing against Obi, but that’s ridiculous.

Behind Obi among scholarship upperclassmen, will be Luke, Antonio, and Jeter.  Does that make any sense ???  Luke is the only player to see big minutes, while Jeter spends an increasing number of minutes joining Antonio on the Bench.  Where’s the inherent leadership being developed ???  The natural instinct would be to see Luke as he Captain, but doesn’t that simply slap Obi in the face one more time ???

Back to your narrative, all I would point out is that Maggette was forced to leave once his violations were revealed.  I honestly have wiped him my consciousness at Duke because he was there via lies.  Also, Deng claimed financial hardships for he and his family, something we honestly don’t have any place to comment on.

I want to thank you sincerely for finding that Coach K comment. It surely proves that he can certainly turn a phrase.  I say this in consideration of his comment regarding his 2015 losses to the NBA, calling the NBA Draft a “job offer” and also a “business opportunity” or sort.   Now, I’ll admit that those guys had nothing left to prove, but, while it certainly attracted many more “one-and-done” kids for future years, it squarely slaps education and matriculation in the face.  This from the guy who resoundingly disliked the “one-and-done” recruit, then all of a sudden, like a thief in the night, he recruits a “one-and-done” kid.  That kid openly lied about wanting to come back, even sporting the next year’s bumper sticker, only to see Coach K capitulate and deeply damage that squad.

Point #7:

What is the solution for this year’s team after an abysmal start to the ACC Season ???

Bill: 

Before I point out some possible solutions, I want to mention what the “fist” represents:

Communication, Trust,

Collective Responsibility,

Caring, and Pride.

This year’s team does not play with “fire” nor pride.

Solutions:

  • Turn to Matt Jones and Grayson Allen to bring fire on the Court.
  • Depend on 1 or 2 players to be Point Guard – Frank Jackson is my suggestion.  Do not use Allen as the Point.
  • When the 3 Freshmen are on the Court, use a Zone Defense.
  • Give more playing time to the Bench players who have height and length to challenge passing lanes and improve rebounds like Robinson and Vrankovic.
  • Play the Freshmen and other players who will not leave after this year to develop skills for next year. 

Bermuda Bob:        

I agree with each and every one of your points, and add some more …

  • Play a rotation of each and every player, giving them more than a minute here or there.  I understand giving a star player a few extra minutes at the end of the half for an extended “blow” but giving a guy less than a minute is ridiculous.  In this last game, Javin DeLaurier, a player with a ton of potential, got 1 minute, which is not enough time to even work up a sweat.
  • Get back to the idea that whomever excels in Practice plays … Even if it means Tatum, Giles, and Bolden might – heaven forbid – not get enough Floor time to prove they should be drafted this year to the NBA.  From the body language of these kids, they do not have the singular mindset devoted to Duke winning.  They often seem detached and obsessed with themselves, especially Tatum.
  • Coach Capel either possesses the same Gary Williams sweat glands, or is tremendously nervous that he might be blowing his audition as Coach K’s successor.  My suggestion is that he stop trying to wear a suit that he will sweat thru, in favour of something that doesn’t look so bad when sweat thru.  Wearing a suit, then tearing it apart (ala John Chaney) is not something you learned from Coach K !!!
  • Once again this year, the average fan has no way of interacting with the Coaching Staff via Pressers. The Beat Reporters, as I mentioned last year, cow-tow to the idea that they don’t ask awkward questions, presumably that it will be the last time they are called on.  I’d ask questions like these:
  1. Why don’t you play your upperclassmen Bench Players, namely, Antonio and Justin ???
  2. Why don’t you play your Frosh Bench Players, namely, Jack and Javin ???
  3. Why hasn’t Sean Obi suited up, and do you think he ever will ???
  4. What’s going on with Jeter ???
  5. Do you think Duke got snookered by his high recruiting stock ranking, compared to his actual abilities ???

Let’s see Duke take a page out of what our new President’s Press Secretary has done.  Let’s include “outside people” via Skype or some other portal.  Give the fans a chance to ask what they REALLY want to know !!!   I’d be first in line !!!

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SDBB: After 4 Significant Losses, What’s Wrong at Duke ???

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Duke has lost games they were never in contention to win. Tonight, Bermuda Bob offers some insight and maybe even a few constructive ideas …

Amile:

The best leader on this team has once again been hurt. Another wonderful season has been interrupted.  While I have always suspected that the Nike shoes have some culpability.

There does not seem to be another leader stepping up to replace his voice and performance.  Duke does not have anyone to fill his position. Chase Jeter is having another milquetoast season.  Harry Giles should have been Red Shirted and proves my point each time out. Marquis Bolden has not returned to the player I saw early on.  Javin DeLaurier has gotten a few minutes here and there, but not enough to prove his mettle. Antonio Vrankovic, Jack White and Justin Robinson languish on the Bench, not even being given a chance to contribute.

Grayson:

If you were to listen or read some of the things Grayson has been accused of, you’d think Grayson was the reincarnation of Rasputin.  In reality, he is a guy who over-hustles, over-competes, and over-exerts.  I won’t postulate on his predilection to trip opponents.  I would suggest that it has it’s roots in playground basketball and could be “fixed” with responsible psycho-analysis, but that should have been done “like yesterday” …

Unfortunately, now, anytime that Grayson gets involved in something overly physical, he will be branded the aggressor.  I’d petition the Refs to consider that they are there to call the game fairly, not in consideration of his press clippings.

Lastly, I think that the experiment of Grayson being at the Point is not working.  It does not allow his best side to shine thru. It also subverts him to Jayson Tatum’s selfishness.

Luke

Luke showed plenty of promise last year, but he was inconsistent.  This year, he returned looking more like he had spent the summer with JJ Reddick.  Many portals opined on if Luke might become a contender for the ACC MVP.  He was consistent from anywhere on the floor, and he played both sides of the Court.  Then Jayson Tatum returned to the line-up, and Luke’s performance slacked off.  Oh, he still put up nice numbers, but nice doesn’t win games.

Matt

I nicknamed Matt “Cazzie” after Cazzie Russell of the Knicks I grew up with because his shot follow-thru resembled him so much.  Matt is now the only Captain and Senior on the Floor.  He needs to be more like Amile. He needs to lead.

Matt has become more like Tyler Thornton on Defense, and has lost a bit of his touch from outside the Arc, hitting only 34%. His 41% from the Floor is not up to snuff either.  He has played almost as many minutes as Luke, and leads the team in Steals.  His offense and leadership is coveted.

The Frosh:

If Coach K was looking for another triumvirate like he enjoyed in 2014-15, then he was kidding himself.  Those guys WANTED to play together, and flourished when they were all at full strength.  These Frosh – Tatum, Giles, & Bolden – seem to be more of the “Me-My-and-Iverson” mindset.

Tatum is often out of sync and downright selfish, making me recall Austin “Da Black Hole” Rivers, who was a ball hog, hence the nickname.   Want proof ???   In the losses against FSU & Louisville, he logged in ZERO Assists, and only 2 Assists in the loss to VaTech !!!  Tatum also shares the same predisposition to histrionically complain when things don’t go his way.  He is a very talented player, but ought to be playing for a team that needs a single star, not a team who has historically played “team” basketball.

Giles has not returned to any semblance of his reputation and should have never been played in favour of a Red Shirt.   He seems to be getting minutes on his supposed reputation from when his knees allowed him to play.  I recall someone asking me how a “one-and-done” player could be given a Red Shirt. Giles playing this year is as ridiculous as that question. Giles has said that:  “It takes time, especially with a knee. It’s a long process. It getting used to the physicality, the speed of the game.”  By his own words, he makes me point.  He has no business playing this year, so he should have been Red Shirted from the start.  After all, the kid has not played at any level in over 2 years.  Why does Coach K feel it incumbent to use a player, who, by his own admission, honestly agrees with me ???

Bolden is a huge question mark for me.  I originally was so very pleased with what I saw in him.  He boxed-out, he denied the Base Line, and he played both sides of the Court.  Since the mysterious cramping he awoke with, he has been nothing of the player I saw and was so impressed with.  Since nobody in the Press Corps has the guts to ask for an explanation, I doubt if we will ever know what REALLY happened.

Frank Jackson seems to be trying hard and consistently improving, but his time has been cut due to the return of Jayson Tatum.  Frank ought to be given the Point like Derryck Thompson was last year, but then Thornton left because he realized Coach K had recruited someone behind him, and bolted like 3 others in the same situation ahead of him.

The other Frosh – Javin DeLaurier and Jack White have not yet seen any substantive minutes as they join upperclassmen Antonio Vrankovic, Justin Robinson, and Sean Obi on the Bench.

In Conclusion

I have always questioned why Coach K recruits so much potential, but never uses it.  I know he needs competent players for practice time, but when he was recruiting them, did he make the fact known to them that they weren’t going to see game time minutes ???   Damn, I’d love to know the answer to that question !!!

Unfortunately, Coach K, and now Coach Capel favour players who struggle each time out and allows others to languish on the Bench.  He subverts upperclassmen to Frosh, who, this year, do not have the maturity to win.

Coach Capel unfortunately claimed that: “They’re still not up to speed. When you miss that much time, especially Harry.  I’m not sure he’ll be up to speed for us this year and so it’s just trying to get him better each day.  Same thing for Bolden. Bolden was out for a while and so look, we need those guys. We need everyone on our team to play their butts off every day.”  I could not agree more, Coach, so why aren’t you playing the ENTIRE team … you know, those other guys who have not been injured, but you recruited to wear the Duke uniform ???

If you read my previous article, you get my biggest complaint.  The Duke Basketball that I formerly knew did not put so much credence in unproven players.  This year proves categorically that waiting, hoping, and wishing for the Frosh to mature into the same caliber as Duke has enjoyed in the past is a failed mindset.

Sure, Coach K looks great to future recruits when they see Frosh playing, but if they are not winning … causing losses … subverting upperclassmen, and spurning the development of upperclassmen into tomorrow’s leaders, then you’ve reduced a storied programme into nothing more than a crap-shoot in a casino.

I have never liked the “one-and-done” … and never will. I find it immoral, unethical, and unfaire to any kid recruited who also expected to fully matriculate.   This year’s crop of supposed super-stars got injured and have been ineffective. Jayson Tatum, in particular, seems to be playing only to prove his NBA worth, while Harry Giles can’t fill Amile’s shoes. Marquis Bolden remains a question mark. Frank Jackson will stay and develop into a fine player if given the chance, and does not have to look over his shoulder.

In the re-make of the movie classic “Oceans Eleven” the main characters spend an appreciable amount of time filling slots of members of the team to fulfill each need.  One has to wonder if Coach K and Coach Capel do the same thing, or if they simply go after high profile players to boost their team on paper, hoping for the chemistry the 2014-2015 and other previous National Champions had.

Unfortunately, the game is played, by dedicated players, on a Court of wood over half a year.

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Thanks for the Read …

Please tell us what you think either here or on our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

 

Watch for our next installment this week on what ills Duke …

Best Wishes to Coach K & Coach Capel

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As we have just received the word that Coach K’s operation to his back went very well, we want to wish him a steady, speedy, and successful recovery !!!

Meanwhile …

We wish Coach Capel a successful run over the next 4 weeks …

You have our full support !!!

Rock On, Gentlemen !!!

Bermuda Bob

SDBB: An Inside Look at the “Countdown to Craziness” Weekend

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 22: Cameron Crazies and fans of the Duke Blue Devils cheer during Countdown To Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

Thanks to a friend of Simply Duke Basketball, we have a rare opportunity to see what this year’s “Countdown to Craziness” weekend was like …

Bill Wheeler, a Fuqua School of Business graduate, and his lovely wife, Marcy made a weekend of the event. We thank them for this very special insight …

Around 9PM, Friday night, my wife and I drove to the Washington Duke Inn and ate at the Bull Durham bar.  As we approached the turn in to the hotel, we could not help notice a new multilevel parking deck near completion on Cameron Boulevard.   The bar was filled, yet we found two barstools in the corner.  We talked to a Waitress and Manager about the number of patrons.  They thought there was a Lacrosse reunion, and that “Countdown to Craziness” brought in the late evening patrons.

As we left the bar, we could not help notice 2 towering men standing in the foyer. It was Jeff Capel and Nate James.  I got my wife to follow me a few feet down the hallway, and told her who the men were.   Of course, I wanted to ask them some questions, but I realized they need their own relaxation, so we drove back to our off campus motel.

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Saturday morning, we visited the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and at Marcy’s suggestion, we took in an afternoon horseback trail ride in Hillsboro.

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As we drove onto campus and turned right on Towerview Drive next to the Sanford School, we could not help but notice another new building with open glass, the Health and Wellness Center.  We parked and walked towards “K’ville” around 4:30 pm.  “K’ville” was alive with inflatable bouncing machines, a DJ, face painting and a gathering of Cameron Crazies.

We stopped to talk to a Security Guard and she gave us a brief tour, describing changes to the outside of Cameron.  As we waited to enter the front of Cameron, one fan voiced their displeasure of the new Cameron look. Yes, I agree the nostalgia is gone.

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The wooden arches just below the stone portico are gone and wooden doors are now enclosed.  Just after the second set of doors is a separate set of stairs to enter a new Iron Duke’s Champions Club.  My finances left me short to contribute the minimum annual for that club.

As we entered Cameron, some fans next to us said they did not like the new look of the Cameron entrance.  Yes, we agreed …

As we walked through the doors, security gates and staff greeted each fan.  It reminded me of entering a local Court building, yet with today’s threats we had some sense of comfort.

Congrats to the Duke staff for this improvement !!!

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 22: Duke student and Chinese yo-yo specialist Felix Kung performs during Countdown To Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

The pre-team entertainment ranged from Felix Kung “The Yo-Yo Guy”, who is actually a Duke student … 30 seconds to make 4 baskets for $10K … Pizza box throws from the 4 corners of the gym floor, to the JC Devils doing a modern dance, etc.

As the Duke Navy ROTC entered the gym with the American flag, all the Duke “A- Cappella” singers gathered on the opposite side of Mid-Court and did a great job of singing the National Anthem.  It was a special moment with the blue horn lights shining and all the fans standing.  Thank goodness I didn’t see any “Kolin ‘dis-respectfuls.'” !!!

The gym floor was used as a projector screen for video and laser introductions of the team and players.  This was similar to last year and each player got great appreciation from the crowd.

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From there the scrimmage felt a little anti-climatic.  The audio sound may have been changed for the player intros and it was not readjusted making it difficult to hear announcements for the rest of the evening.

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 22: Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils moves the ball against Marques Bolden #20 during Countdown To Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

The Blue and White teams played 2 – 10 minute periods.  Freshman Jayson Tatum showed great slashing and scoring ability.  To my surprise, Chase Jeter seemed to have the upper hand in guarding Marques Bolden for 15 of the 20 minutes.  Amile Jefferson appeared to be hungry and scrapped for every loose ball.  At one moment towards the end of the scrimmage, a hush came over the entire crowd as Grayson Allen ended up spread-eagle to block a pass and collided with Amile’s legs near mid court sideline.  Fortunately, Amile was able to walk off without injury.

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 22: Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on during Countdown To Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

Sean Obi and Harry Giles did not make it to the floor   We know about Harry’s continued knee problems, and later discovered that Obi had had knee surgery this summer.

In past years, the star player for either the Blue or White would have been swapped to the other team for the 2nd Period.  That was not done this year, leaving this fan with the need to see more games before determining the real caliber of this 2016-17 basketball team.

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Bill Wheeler has a wonderful story about his connection to Duke Basketball.  

Look forward to our Bio on him sometime soon !!!

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Thanks for joining us for this very special report …

Please, as always, feel free to comment on our thoughts, either here, or at out Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

Who is Best to Succeed Coach K ??? Installment #5

SDBB - Collage - Mike, Bobby, & Jeff

 This final grouping is made up of guys who have demonstrated that they have what it takes to assume the reigns of a programme like Duke.  

They are accomplished recruiters, great on sidelines, and well respected by everyone. They are also the odds-on favourites on just about everyone’s list.

Here are our Final 3 candidates:

 

SDBB - Collage - Mike Brey Mike Brey

Bermuda Bob:

Keeping the conversation within the ranks of guys who has sat beside Coach K, his undeniably most successful is Mike Brey, who is currently the Notre Dame Head Coach.  Mike never played under Coach K.  He has been a trendsetter with his mock turtleneck shirts (which I liked a lot), to his ability to win with teams that ought not to on paper.  Now, we all know college basketball games are not won on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, nor yellow legals pads, or even in the Cloud.  It is won on the Hard Court, both home and away.

Mike sat next to Coach K from 1987 until 1995 when he was hired to coach Delaware.  There he won two (2) American Conference Championships and was awarded two (2) Big Dance berths.  In 2000, when Matt Doherty was inexplicably hired to coach North Carolina, Mike was hired away from Delaware (at Notre Dame).  He has been to the Big Dance 9 times, and NIT 4 times while Notre Dame was in the Big East.  He led squads that went undefeated at home in back-to-back seasons, which earned him Coach of the Year honours in the Big East and nationally.  In the ACC, Notre Dame won the ACC Tournament in their 2nd year.  They finished last year with a nail biting loss in the Elite 8.

Mike’s contract has been extended until 2022.  While he may not be one of the top best paid Head Coaches in America, he does almost double his salary in bonuses and other income.  He is one of only a few coaches whose school ardently self-enforces academics.

Some might believe that Duke could call him “home,” but I think that after 15 very successful years, he is probably as ensconced as Digger Phelps was.  I think he will surpass Digger’s 20 years … I do not think he will make a move.

Rowan:

Mike Brey runs a successful program at Notre Dame. No other candidates we discussed on here has had the success that Brey has. That is his selling point.

Why wouldn’t he want to take on the challenge of following Coach K at Duke ??? They are in the same conference but at 56, Coach Brey is at the right age to take on the such a task. How long can he put up with being stuck at a school that he brings national attention to, but has to take a backseat to football ???

At some point he will have to decide to either shirk the wings of complacency and security for riches and fame. A job like Duke would decide if he is in Digger Phelps’ league (no championship) or Dean Smith’s.

SDBB - Collage - Jeff Capel

Jeff Capel

Bermuda Bob:

When Jeff was a Starter for all of his 4 years at Duke, no one knew what type of future he might have after graduation.   After a lackluster try as a professional, he joined his father at Old Dominion for a year, then Virginia Commonwealth for a year before becoming Head coach there.  That made him the youngest Head Coach in Division I history at 27 years old.  After a .658 record in 4 years, he was hired by Oklahoma, succeeding Kelvin Sampson after he was scrutinized for recruiting violations.

Jeff’s greatest accomplishment at Oklahoma was recruiting Blake Griffin, who led the Sooners to 25-1 in his 2nd, and last, season.  Unfortunately, he lost an assistant to resignation due to scrutiny over improper benefits, which also triggered a loss of some recruits who would star elsewhere.  After a year of playing secondary players, but not being implicated in his assistant’s transgressions, Jeff was fired.  Coach K came a calling to rescue his former player from obscurity.

Jeff is now Coach K’s closest associate.  He runs recruiting, and has been at Coach K’s side during the Olympics as well.  Most folks believe that he might be the odds-on favourite to succeed Coach K, but I don’t.  I never thought of Jeff as a great coach, just very fortunate.  His coaching percentage is only .614 and his best years were on the back of a guy who is now an NBA All-Star.  He seems to be happily ensconced at Duke in his present position.  I say that because he has routinely turned down requests to interview elsewhere, most notably Arizona State, which went to fellow Duke alum, Bobby Hurley.  He has been rumoured to have also turned down invitations to interview with Tennessee, Illinois, Auburn, Wake Forest, and others.  He may hope he’s Coach K’s successor, but I just don’t see it happening.

Rowan:

Jeff Capel has proven that he is an elite recruiter, and guys like that will always have a job in college basketball. It is no coincidence that Duke has become a contender for the top recruits since he has come back into the fold. Everyday we hear rumours of how Duke is a lock for one or two recruits going all the way through to the 2018 class.

If Coach K was to suddenly leave these kids, their parents will want assurances that there will be a level of continuity.

If that is the case surely the best man for the job is the guy that was there from day one in the recruiting process.

SDBB - Collage - Bobby Hurley

Bobby Hurley

Bermuda Bob:

I remember every moment I could get to see of Bobby Hurley’s career as a player at Duke.  Back then, Duke was not the media darlings they presently are, and Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet because his “day-job” was to play US Senator from Tennessee.   I remember the excitement I felt the night Duke won their 2nd National Championship with Bobby being named MVP.  I also remember being moved to tears upon hearing of his near-fatal accident after a game for the Sacramento Kings.

Bobby is, of course, the son of High School coaching legend, Bob Hurley of St. Anthony’s in Jersey City, New Jersey.  As they say, ” … the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree …” and it could not be more true with Bobby.  After a stint as a Scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, Bobby joined his brother at Wagner for a couple of seasons, then Rhode Island for another.  He then was hired by Buffalo where he won their conference each of his 2 seasons, taking them to the Big Dance for the first time in school history.  After Jeff Capel turned down an interview to succeed Herb Sendek at Arizona State, they turned to Bobby and he accepted the interview, then the job.

It is apparent that Bobby is able to communicate exceptionally well with young men.  The present stage in college basketball is being occupied by Freshmen desirous of using college as a quick stepping stone to the NBA.  I believe that the stock of those coaches who can communicate with these very young men, and quickly convert them to top notch players, capable of contending for championships, will raise exponentially.  Bobby certainly looks like one of those guys.  He now has gotten himself to the “big time,” and I have every confidence in him.

Bobby will get to see fellow Duke alum Johnny Dawkins at least twice a year.   While not the toughest conference in America, he will have to hit the ground running or he might find himself on one of the “hot seat” lists Johnny seems to get himself on.  Bobby has promised to take his recruiting efforts, and build the school’s profile nationwide.  He has recruits following him, two (2) Junior College transfers coming in, and is returning four (4) Starters.  He’s assembled a challenging non-conference schedule that he sez he wouldn’t have done if he didn’t think the team could handle it.  I’d say he’s off to a great start !!!

I believe that Bobby will be successful at Arizona State, which would position him perfectly to succeed Coach K, who has now embraced that youth movement I talked about.  I predict that Bobby will come home to Duke to view his retired #11 jersey from the sidelines as their next Head Coach !!!

Rowan:

Bobby Hurley is rising very quickly, maybe too quickly. We have seen many boy wonders rise and fizzle out pretty sharply after a good start, like his fellow PAC-12 peer Andy Enfield, who is currently sitting on a very hot seat at USC.

Before Hurley can be considered for the Duke job he has to have success at Arizona State and that is easier said than done.  Now Herb Sendek didn’t exactly leave Hurley with an empty cupboard, as the Sun Devils finished sixth in the conference, however they did rely on a few players who have now graduated.

Then there is the fact that some teams that finished below ASU are trending up due to great recruiting classes. Oregon State, Washington and California have all recruited well.

Hurley will more than likely be given a pass in his first year but, by releasing Herb Sendek, Arizona State has shown that they have aspirations above just being perennial contender in the PAC-12 which means that the new coach has at least a three year window to get the program there.

Coach Hurley has shown that he can coach at Buffalo, he now needs to show that he can recruit top talent at Arizona State, and contend with the likes of Sean Miller at Arizona. 

Thanks for reading !!! 

So … Who do you think is the “Best to Succeed Coach K” ??? 

Please tell and join the discussion, either here, or at our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB