Category: Duke University

What’s Next For Duke?

Duke has been Duke for 30 years now. While that is a big boost dealt from Coach K’s success and the program he’s built over that time, I do have my doubts about the success of recruiting in the future with the team under Jon Scheyer starting in 2022-2023. This time will test the strength of the brotherhood. The brand Duke has sold to recruits over the Coach K era. His departure not only marks a new time for the program, but all of college basketball. 

Coach K’s Olympic experience brought legendary connections. Sure those same connections can pass down to his staff but not the stripes, the stories, or the love so many NBA players have developed for the long-time coach.

Duke’s switched its formula for developing talent over 3 or 4 years to a top tier 1 and done school. The list starts with Jabari Parker in 2013 and continues to grow as long as a Walgreens receipt. Their latest class hosts guys who sniffed 2022 mock draft boards before their high school graduation. 

Paolo Banchero, the number 2 recruit in the 2021 class, is a near-lock for the draft even with a below average season. AJ Griffin’s in a similar boat thanks to translatable measurements and a top 10 billing. Their final 5 star signing Trevor Keels has the makings of an NBA bucket getter when you factor in his frame and knowledge of where his game produces best though it may take him a season or two longer to leave than the latter two. 

With the addition of 4 star Jaylen Blakes, we’re looking at the number 4 recruiting class in the nation. This group will conclude an almost 10 year run of top 5 classes under Coach K, which includes 4 top 3 classes and 3 number 1s. Scheyer was the lead recruiter on several of their top classes including Zion Williamson’s 2018 group and the program’s most recent star studded class.

The current coaching staff has been there for the ride. Scheyer’s joined in 2013, Chris Carrawell in 2018, and Nolan Smith in 2016. They’ve made connections with younger classes yet there are no crystal balls slated for the Blue Devils in the top 30 of the class. According to 247Sports, the guys in Durham have only offered two scholarships. One to Dariq Whitehead, who 247Sports is predicting Florida State as the leader, and who I believe would be successful in a professional option. The other offeree is 7’1” Dereck Lively II out of Westtown School in Pennsylvania.

Duke’s known to hold its offers late. The prestige of the program, the draw of Coach K, and for some a dream of playing at the school is enough to make all other schools’ efforts mute. However, the 2022 class is so loaded with talented players looking for professional options or a stage to call their own it may be harder than ever to pull them away from starting their biggest goal making a living playing a game they love.

Scheyer’s got his work cut out for him. Because Coach K’s farewell tour may be the biggest media circus we’ve ever seen for a coach, they’ll continue to have visibility. What the coming interviews, montages, and staging media outlets can do to tell the story of the winningest coach in college basketball history is limitless. The benefits that come next will unfold in front of us as Scheyer’s tenure begins.

The Search for The Next Great Kobe Disciple

Allen Pettigrew Jr.     11/8/2018     Twitter: @AP_The_Great

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, this season of “The Next Great” which will focus on none other than the Hall of Fame Laker, Kobe “Bean” Bryant. Since Kobe’s retirement he’s mentored several NBA superstars including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Jayson Tatum, all in hopes that they would unlock their mamba mentality. On this show, we will scour the basketball world to find whose game would elevate to new levels after an offseason with the Black Mamba. There are no requirements for this season’s show so you will see professional and college players on this list.

Donovan Mitchell
Why Donovan: Mentality

Image result for donovan mitchellUSA Today:  Russ Isabella

Mitchell is quite possibly the most fierce competitor of the listed bunch. We all know his NBA story; he hit the ground running leading his team to a second-round run and becoming Twitter’s choice for Rookie Of The Year. The fire he showed all season to get his team to that position is why he’s the perfect candidate to work with Kobe.

At 6-3 with a 6-10 wingspan, he has the size and strength to take most guards in the post. His length combined with his vertical leap will allow him to get the separation needed to pull off Kobe’s patented Jordan like moves. A few weeks of drilling footwork and breaking down the angles of the game should give Mitchell more than just the will to be better than the man in front of him.

With the Kobe work in his bag, it’ll be hard to stop a young player who’s more than proficient at every level of the game. Becoming a Kobe disciple will only bolster his offensive creativity, solidifying his hold as the West’s premiere young guard. Just imagine Mitchell catching the ball in the post leaning back to feel the defender, taking two quick dribbles, faking left then turning over his right shoulder for a fadeaway as we all yell, “KOBE”!

Zach Lavine
Why Zach: Athleticism

Image result for zach lavine jump shotNBA

Lavine is the Chicago Bull’s high-flying star and primary scorer. He’s putting up all-star numbers to start the season and is showing he’s just as explosive as he’s always been. He’s also averaging at least two “mama there goes that man” highlights a night powered by incredible dunks.

Zach’s game relies heavily on his speed, quickness, and of course slam dunk contest winning bounce. Under the tutelage of Kobe, he can turn all those tools into one of the deadliest tool sheds in the league. Zach already has the ability to find holes in the defense by using his lightning quick first step. Being able to see how the defense will unfold without using his speed will only help him as he gets further into his career.

Those same tools can be just as deadly when Zach decides to go into the post. He’ll have the quickness to use Kobe’s footwork in a way that will throw defenders’ equilibriums in a blender. If defenders can somehow stick with him after the fancy footwork he’ll definitely lose them once he turns over his should for Kobe’s signature turnaround jumper. Just imagine Lavine catching the ball in the post leaning back to feel the defender, taking two quick dribbles, faking left then turning over his right shoulder for a fadeaway as we all yell, “KOBE”!

Andrew Wiggins
Why Wiggins: To complete his destiny

Image result for andrew wiggins shotAssociated Press: Stacy Bengs

This contestant was the highest touted prospect coming out of high school that this list has to offer. Maple Jordan, Wiggins nickname out of high school, has been entertaining crowds with his athleticism since the height of the basketball mixtape era. He was compared to some of the games greatest including Kobe, but has yet to reach for that ceiling. Wiggins has been coasting on his athleticism and who can blame he’s reached borderline all-star status off raw athleticism alone. It’s tempting to rely on just that when you’re still able to compete against the best but just think of what could happen if he spent an offseason with Kobe.

The real reason Wiggins is a contestant for this chance of a lifetime is the Jimmy Butler debacle. What made Kobe “Kobe” wasn’t the jump shot, it’s not even the rings, it’s his mentality. Of all the players on this list, Wiggins could use the mamba mentality the most. He’s been judged as aloof and not engaged his entire career in spite of that think about Kobe being able to get him to finally flip the switch. An engaged Wiggins could unlock the defensive potential we saw in him on draft night. He has more physical tools Kobe Bryant ever had so there is no telling what he could become. 

Wiggins was built to take on Kobe’s skill set. The ball fakes, the post-game, shooting off the dribble are all things that would enhance his game. Learning to create space without relying on his athleticism would make Wiggins a nightmare. He’d see plays steps before they happen and it would be nothing a defender could do besides swat at the dust cloud he’d leave behind. Just imagine Wiggins catching the ball in the post leaning back to feel the defender, taking two quick dribbles, faking left then turning over his right shoulder for a fadeaway as we all yell, “KOBE”!

RJ Barret:
Why Barrett: Build

USA Today: Dan Hamilton

Barrett is the youngest competitor in our search for the Kobe Disciple but is one of the most accomplished. Training this young man should be like looking in a mirror for Kobe. We’re looking at a 6-7 competitor whose drive for winning helped him push a less talented Canadian squad over what seemed to be a powerhouse USA FIBA U19 team with two 2019 projected lottery picks and three guys selected in the 2018 draft.

Seemingly more polished than an 18-year-old Kobe, Barrett will show us what made him the consensus high school player of the year at Duke. After the debut performance he had at Duke and well, it becomes even more enticing for Kobe to get in his ear. Establishing yourself as a proven commodity is useful when working with Kobe. His youngest trainee without the last name Bryant is Jayson Tatum, who blossomed into a go-to scorer in last year’s playoffs. 

Barrett already has a scorer’s mentality partnered with a win at all costs mindset but picking Kobe’s mind would make him one of the most dangerous prospects we’ve seen in years. A literal student of the game working with a master of his craft could turn one lucky franchise’s fortune for the next seven years. We could truly see the second coming of Kobe with a Barrett-Bryant mentorship. Just imagine Barrett catching the ball in the post leaning back to feel the defender, taking two quick dribbles, faking left then turning over his right shoulder for a fadeaway as we all yell, “KOBE”!

3 of College Basketball’s Most Exciting Player This Season

Calvin McGowan   |   Twitter:@Cmcgowanii   |   10/19/2018

The NBA season has begun, and college and high school ball start in November. Basketball is back stateside ladies and gentlemen! And with that, all the hot takes, pontificating, and general nonsense that entails. I come to you today to only contribute to one of these things.
Today, I come to talk about college basketball. More specifically, I come to talk about a few of college basketball’s most exciting players. Do you only watch basketball to see dudes get put on posters? Do you look for defenders to be embarrassed night in and night out? Do YOU, dear reader, want, desperately, to see the type of ball handling that puts defenders on skates? Well… two out of three ain’t bad. Here (in no particular order) are four college basketballs most exciting players this upcoming season.

Mike Daum 6’9: 235 F Sr South Dakota St

mike D(Dec. 4, 2017 – Source: Peter Aiken/Getty Images North America)

This bucket getting big man was one of only 4 players last season to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. If you ever feel compelled to ask what he’s doing on the basketball court, the answer is always whatever he wants. He has a solid post game and stopping from getting to the hoop is a bit like trying to stop a train. He may not be getting to the hoop fast, but you’re certainly not about to stop him. Couple that with the fact that he’s a very good shooter knocking down 42% of his shots from beyond the arc, and you have one of the most fascinating, and unstoppable offensive forces in college basketball today.

Zion Williamson 6-7 285 F Fr Duke

Zion W(Photo: Jeff Blake, USA TODAY Sports Images)

If you like basketball and haven’t been living under a rock, you know about Mr. Williamson here. And if you know about him you, you know about him for one reason, and one reason only.


Yes, Zion Williamson is a highlight reel waiting to happen. Athletically, this young man is an anomaly. He’s 285 lbs. with next level body control and can jump out of the gym. Make no mistake, though, for all the of his athleticism and skill, Williamson isn’t what you would call “a shooter”. If your life depended on somebody hitting a 3, you don’t want that person to be him. Fortunately for us though that means that his athleticism and tenacity guarantee that he’ll be spending the season making highlight reels and putting people on posters.

Kerwin Roach, II 6’4″ 180 G Sr Texas

Kerwin RAndrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

This young man is a tough defender averaging 1.5 steals a game and is respectable from three shooting 36% from deep. One of my favorite players in college basketball, he’s a competitor that consistently finds ways to contribute. Roach was also responsible for some of the best dunks in college basketball last season. He’s a surprising explosive athlete given his wiry frame. He put people on posters as often as anyone in college basketball last year. The problem was inconsistency. Roach played like one of the best players, and the Longhorns one of the best teams, in college basketball about as often as not. Here’s to hoping for more consistent play, and more posters.