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Comments From The Open Practice

Ned "don't call me Flanders" Barnett has an article up on Duke's
open practice yesterday. He
was obviously impressed.
Our pal Rob Clough, who writes brilliantly
about women's basketball,
posted some notes on Duke Update.

Several of our readers posted on the board. Here are there thoughts as well.

WV Devil

I went today and tried to watch the new guys as much as my 2 year old would allow. Chris Duhon looks like the real deal in one of the early drills he was guarding Mike D and caused Mike to dribble the ball against his side and then slapped it away from Mike drawing a few ah's from the crowd. Mike has bulked up from last year, enough that when you see him you'll notice the difference.

One drill they ran showed that this team can run the floor and finish. Boozer and Sanders both had some nice dunks while they ran this drill.

Andre Sweet in my opinion seemed to be lost on some of the defensive drills. You could see his teammates telling him where to go.

Shane as always was the vocal leader. BTW, did anyone notice him stretching alittle moreand off jogging up and down the baseline by himself. It seemed to me his legs might be bothering him(hope that's just a bad observation on my part).

I saw David Faulk there. Is that normal for a pro sports agent to be at a college teams practice.

Dahntey Jones looked good also. I kept thinking it's a shame we have to wait a year to see him play.

Just a few of my observations. Any more opinions from those who attended.

BTW, I saw two I SAID NO shirts in the crowd.

The inimitable Watzone!

Firstly, the team is generally tired by Friday, thus outside shooting was a bit off. This team does finish well, although sometimes charging. I thought they ran the offense fairly well for this time of year. They were at times tenative and took a few ill advised shots. The Defense was typical and should be a strength. They went right into their routine when practice started -- a testament to thier coaching. The team was split between post and perimeter and tweeners early. Wojo is working with the big men and Johnny the guards. The early emphasis seems to be developing chemistry and defense, although this team will score in bunches. There is not one player who has not improved. Matt ran the floor much better than last year. Nick is showing much more inside game. Casey is taking the ten foot jump shot. Buckner has improved as well. MD strugled a bt with his shot (today), but is around 6-9. Shane, Nate and Jason did what was needed and Chris is only guilty of being too unselfish. Sweet does belong, and fit in well. Dahntay Jones will benefit temendously from learning the system and is athletic and a great finisher. The crowd was pretty darn good for a practice, nicely attended. Also present was Chip Engelland, former Dukie who now teaches shooting skills and former beat writer Keith Drum, who may now be a scout. Coach K looked great. He was healthy and upbeat and seems very excited about this team. He ended the practice with a talk to his team. His points were don't hesitate to run as it opens up things. He also asked them not to pace themselves and play the same regardless of lineup changes, which he shuffled during game simulation. All in all they are deep and talented - as if you don't know. Coach Collins also seems to be fitting in well. Duke clearly played better when up tempo, often creating easy baskets. Don't forget

next Friday is open too. Go Devils!

Cameron Crazie '03

I'll break it down player by player just from what I saw:

Andre Buckner (did I mention I'm going in no particular order): I love Andre. He is the scrappiest player I have ever seen. If we are blowing some of our poorer ACC opponents out (or Davidson, NC A&T, Army) I'd love to see him and Duhon run the back court. I just wish he'd take some more shots when he had the rock

Casey Sanders: Casey looked like he had really improved during the beginning and then ends of practice. Some of the people around me were questioning his stamina in the middle of practice when it looked like Nick was going after more boards than Casey. I have to admit he did look a little lethargic, but he proved us all wrong during the last half hour of practice.

Nick Horvath: I was really impressed. Nick is looking more and more comfortable inside the paint. He and Casey fought for a couple rebounds and he looks ready to assert himself as hour seventh or eighth man.

Andre Sweet: Definitely reminds me of C-well. The poster above mentioned that he looked lost on some defensive drills and that may be true (have to admit I didn't see that but there was so much to watch) but the kid has natural defensive talent. Anyone else see those two blocked shots he had? He's a tenacious rebounder as well. He should be good for the Devils next season to pick up some of the rebounding slack. But I definitely see a role for him as a defender... kind of like how C-well was used against Duncan his freshmen year.

Dahntay Jones: WOW. This kid is DAMN good. How the hell did Rutgers end up with him? He can definitely fill in for Battier or James next year. A couple reasons for that: can you say multi-talented? He has a pretty outside shot. He plays great D and he has MAD ups. The kid got his chest above the rim on a few dunks. Wasn't he the one that blocked Casey's shot at one point? Very athletic and very skilled, he can definitely fill some gaps next year.

Chris Duhon: Everything they say he is. He has a sweet jumper and a great outside shot. He wasn't hitting it as consistently as I've seen him do before, but everyone has an off night. He definitely has some areas to work on, but going against Buckner and JWill should straighten those kinks out. What did everyone think about some of his drives to the basket? It looked like he could definitely use some work in that area.

Matt Christiansen: He's definitely improved. The Stormin Mormon's been working on his post skills and they are definitely paying off. Same good D and rebounding that we saw at the end of last season especially against St. John's. It'll be interesting to see how K juggles the Sanders, Horvath, and Christiansen roles coming off the bench.

Nate James: Nate... looked like Nate. And that's fine with me cuz he was tearin it up last year. I think with C-well gone he'll be able to tear it up a little more. He garners a silent kind of respect and leadership quite different from Shane's more vocal side. I think it'll be tough to say how James has improved or what his impact will be until after the Illinois game... mabye even the Stanford game. And when I say impact I mean will he be puttin up more points, rebounds, etc.

Boozer: Carlos has definitely improved his post skills. Big man camp was probably exceptionally helpful in that aspect. One thing that bothered me is that it looked like he still has problems holding on to some of JWill's passes. But he definitely has improved in the paint. Most notably were his rebounding and defense I thought.

Mike D: Made some nice drives and slashes to the basket. He's bulked up a bit and that's always a good thing. His D is still a little shaky. But he looked great in transition with the ball. He and Jason have this insane communication. JWill made some ridiculous passes that awed the crowd but Mike seemed to be expecting them. He just has great court vision.

JWill: So let's pretend you took last year's JWill, gave him a better shot selection, even smoother passes, and no turnovers. And then pretend that that actually happened. Cuz that's what we've got. His shot was a little off at times but that doesn't mean much. He is still making the great passes, playing much better D than even last season (he had some impressive steals this afternoon), and still drives great to the basket. I was a big fan of the Boozer-Williams fast break where Boozer fed JWill the ball.

Shane: O Captain, my Captain. He looks about the same. Still the great team D, court awareness, beyond the arc shooting. I'm still waiting for the baby hook. He'll just step up the intensity and we'll all ride the coattails. I didn't see any of his extra stretching or jogging like the last WVDevil mentioned.

I guess that's about it. I couldn't help thinking that Bobby Hurley would be great to have on the Duke bench in a few years... but don't we need a big man coach. I know Wojo went to the Newell Big Men camp but still... it would be nice.

Cameron Crazie '03 Again!

A Couple of things I forgot about:

This team is insanely deep. Like Watzone said we can run the ball up tempo very well and I'd be interested to see this team go nine or ten deep. We could definitely do it. I didn't take into account the fact that they've been practicing all week and could be tired after the first week of real practice. It'd be fun to watch these guys run suicides just because they all move well. I also agreed that Matt C moves much better than he did last year. One entertaining part of practice that I forgot to mention was after the first or second time down the court during game simulations. The shot was missed and Coach K called into everyone to stop as soon as the shot bricked. I wasn't sure what had happened but he had some choice words to pass on to some of the players and Dahntay had his left arm around Buckner's shoulders like he was resting on him. After K was done he rubbed Andre's head. It's interesting to see that kind of team love so early in the season especially between a soph. transfer and a soph. who didn't get much PT last year. Now I'm done.