Wednesday's pick up games featured some tired Blue Devil players. The staff has recently implemented a tough conditioning program. The freshman seem the most bothered by the
drills. You could see the fatigue in some of our guys eyes. Today's matchups were team a- CC, Matt, Shane, JD and Caldbeck versus team b- Michael, Casey, Nate, Jason and
Buckner. Carlos Boozer watched from the side lines, as did Nick Horvath. Nick has had problems with his
The guys started slow today, as several passes went astray, and their shooting touch was a bit off. The
intensity picked up as the games went on. Shane and Nate were a bit off their offensive game. I once again noticed Nate does not seem to be getting the ball where he is most
effective. Hopefully, his teammates will do a better job with this as the season approaches. Shane played a good floor game, but did not shoot well today. He is still this teams most
complete player, and certainly is a leader. Chris hustled--what's new? He twice deflected passes by Nate, turning both into baskets at the other end. He has
definitely shown his
leadership, and should have a great season for Duke. I asked him about his free throw shooting--he said it was coming along fine. I have really been impressed by his ability to handle
the ball, and feel comfortable with him bringing it up the court some this year. I talked with a friend (who is an NBA scout)--he ranks Chris a sure first round pick, stating he liked his
size for several positions, and the fact that he can guard both tall and short players.
Matt Christensen has shown he will finish strong when open. He made two reverse dunks
today--once schooling young Casey. Matt is playing physical, and is not afraid to fling an elbow or two. He is much better facing the basket than with his back to it. The vet players
got together before the fourth game. They went to Matt twice in a row testing CS defense. Casey will get banged around this year--but big guys will have a hard time keeping up with
Casey finishes strong when open--but needs work when facing players about five feet and in. Sanders had a few dunks today. He has no real jump shot, and could benefit
from using the offensive glass more on some of his shots.
Jason Williams was a tired pup, but he still played well. He showed good range on his threes. He had a one handed save and
pass to Casey for a slam. Jason once threaded the needle to Michael Dunleavey for the two. Jason is the real deal. He is a classy young man, and turns it when needed. His game is
solid in all areas--needing only a bit of fine tuning.
Michael Dunleavy again had an off glass pass to Casey for a dunk. Michael has been a
pleasant surprise. He has a good
head for the game--he throws the outlet pass well, and has NBA range on his jump shot. He finishes well too, and will log some major minutes with his versatility. He is IMHO better
than advertised. He is very slender, but may be 6-8 now. Shane and Michael were side by side--no height difference--and yes, that is counting the
The staff and Coach K
ate with the players after practice. For those curious ones--the team is fed during the season by caterers who grill on the Cameron lawn (uh!, cement now). It is a pretty impressive
spread. It is nice seeing this teams togetherness. The chemistry is still there for a winner and a contender. A lot of teams would like to be in the Devils shoes--rebuilding with pretty
darn good talent.
This team may not make it to the Final Four, but they will challenge everybody. The core of this team will return in 2001, but 2000 should prove to be exciting and interesting.
I feel certain that fans will like watching these kids grow within the Duke system. They all seem to have very good character, and they will benefit from playing in a Championship
atmosphere that Duke and Cameron provide. Tickets are still available for Midnight whatever, and are just five bucks. The proceeds will go to a good cause--Coaches versus
Cancer. I urge all fans to turn out and welcome the Devils on October 15th. Duke will be
entertaining two stellar recruits in Jeffries and Boone--two players who would fit very well in
the Duke system. Other notes of interest--Chris Carrawell shares the cover of Lindys Preview Basketball Magazine, with Ed Cota...it is the same picture of CC that Athlon used on
its cover. My sources claim Lindy's will produce a publication on just UNC and Duke basketball in the near future. Cameron has also been recarpeted in the lobby and concession