Tag Archives: Jason Williams

Who’s Your Best High School Athlete?

Over at the always-entertaining D.C. Sports Bog today, The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg (he of “Pimp My Sneaker” fame) has a post about the best high school athletes he and some of the more esteemed members of his newspaper have ever seen. On the early list: Adrian Dantley, Dwight Howard, Tiger Woods, Tedy Bruschi and Delonte West. Not too shabby.

We’d love to hear your opinion. Feel free to name the best high school athlete you’ve seen in the comments section below.

Here’s my tome of an offering, after the jump. Continue reading

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Who Will Replace Dawkins, Part III

Some minor updates since our last post about Duke’s effort to replace former associate head coach Johnny Dawkins on the sidelines:

  • Jason Williams told WRAL he was not interested in the post, opting to remain with the “freedom” of TV as a CBS analyst.
  • Nate James told WRAL that he is extremely interested in the position. “It would be a job I’m definitely hoping to get,” the former player said. “I’m passionate about Duke. I’m around the program learning and preparing myself for the next step.”
  • We’ve heard rumblings about the potential candidacy of Antonio Lang, 1994 Duke graduate and current assistant with the Melco Dolphins in Japan. He’s certainly a name to keep your eye on.

Be sure to check back daily as The Chronicle continues to cover the coaching search, which should wrap up sometime in the next two weeks. Who do you think deserves the job?

–by Ben Cohen

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D’Antoni’s Duke Connection

Phoenix Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni (or, per SI.com, former Phoenix Suns head coach) works under Mike Krzyzewski on Team USA and had a major influence on this year’s Duke team. After a summer with D’Antoni, Krzyzewski incorporated some of the NBA coach’s innovative offensive techniques to allow Duke to spread the floor and maximize the talent of its wing players, most notably Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler. As The Charlotte Observer noted yesterday, Krzyzewski learned a good deal from his Team USA assistants and should consider bringing in an outside hire to fill Johnny Dawkins’ place on the bench; we assailed that argument, writing that “Krzyzewksi isn’t looking to add Jim Boeheim, Mike D’Antoni or Nate McMillan to his staff.”

Well, if the reports are correct, then D’Antoni is available now. Would he be more attractive than Nate James, Chris Carrawell, Jason Williams, Chris Spatola or any of the other Duke-affiliated potential coaching suspects? Naturally. He’s a former NBA Coach of the Year and, as SI.com’s Jack McCallum writes, is “the man credited with reinvigorating fast-break basketball in a league gone stale.”

This is all in jest, of course. D’Antoni would never become a college assistant after being one of the best coaches in the professional ranks for years, not even for Krzyzewski. But it doesn’t hurt to aimlessly conjecture. Right?

–by Ben Cohen

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Who Will Replace Dawkins? Part II

Over at the Charlotte Observer, Ken Tysiac offers his opinion that Duke should try and replace former associate head coach Johnny Dawkins on the bench with an outsider. “Loyal though he is to his former players, Krzyzewski ought to resist the urge to hire any of them,” Tysiac writes. “He should hire somebody who doesn’t have connections to Duke.”

It doesn’t look likely that Krzyzewski will follow Tysiac’s advice, which revolves around the idea that Krzyzewski brought back different coaching philosophies from his experience with Team USA last summer, and the same could be a case with a fresh face on the sideline. Interesting concept, theoretically. An easy point of objection: Krzyzewksi isn’t looking to add Jim Boeheim, Mike D’Antoni or Nate McMillan to his staff.

On Monday, we presented our list of best-bet candidates to replace Dawkins. For better or worse, we stand by that list, and we’ll add former Blue Devil Jason Williams to the longshot list. Just a hunch, though.

–by Ben Cohen

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FIRST HALF: Duke-Pitt Live Blog

HALFTIME, Duke 34 Pitt 22: Pitt narrowed the margin at the end of the half, but if you’re a Duke fan, you have to be happy with that first half. Playing a high-quality opponent, a double-digit halftime lead is not something to frown on. Singler and Henderson lead Duke with eight points apiece, a number that’s even more significant for the latter, who was quickly saddled with two fouls. Fields leads the Panthers with nine. We’re off to the press room for some free snacks, but check back in the second half for more updates.

2:35, Duke 31 Pitt 18: All of a sudden, the Blue Devils have broken this game wide-open and have earned the first standing ovation of the night. Paulus hit his favorite type of shot (a 3-pointer fading to the left) before the Duke defense forced three consecutive turnovers. Then Singler sunk a pretty 8-foot, turnaround, fadeaway jumper, and Henderson followed that with a gorgeous fadeaway of his own. The sophomore forward followed that jumper with a steal and fast-break layup to bring the crowd to its feet. Duke fans stayed up when King sunk a deep 3-pointer from the corner, which, we’ve been told, Jay Bilas called “a layup” for him. Dixon called a 30-second timeout and Levance Fields canned a 3-pointer to break Pitt’s dry spell. Still, Duke leads by 13, thanks in part to Pitt’s 14 turnovers. Does anyone else think Singler and Henderson look a little bit too comfortable making NBA-like jumpers in the home of the NBA’s worst franchise?

7:46, Duke 19 Pitt 13: The Blue Devils have come alive, thriving despite Pitt’s physical challenge. The defense has clamped down, resulting in only one Panthers bucket since the last media break, and has forced a bevy of turnovers, as well. Thomas shows no sign of a lingering ankle injury, getting great position in the post two possessions in a row, one resulting in two free throws and the other winding up with an attempt at an old-fashioned three-point play after the forward made a layup and was fouled. Credit Paulus for LT‘s first three throw attempt, as the savvy point guard worked a beautiful pick-and-roll and found Thomas with just three seconds remaining on the shot clock. One more note: Singler just reeks of more offensive confidence, and despite a recent air-ball, he looks as good as he has been since winning MVP honors at the Maui Invitational over Thanksgiving break.

11:35, Duke 14 Pitt 11: Scheyer promptly proceeded to be knocked down on consecutive 3-point attempts, but only the second foul was called. The Scheyer tackles seem to be a part of Pittsburgh’s game plan: play more physical than Duke, and see what happens. Given Duke’s small lineup, it might not be the worst approach. The referees have let a lot of the rough play go so far, much to the chagrin of the Duke coaching staff, especially Krzyzewski, who has been off the bench for a good portion of the first eight minutes. Even though he has been more animated tonight, Krzyzewski looks calm compared to Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon, who has been clapping and pacing the sidelines all half. Henderson is about to check back into the game, even with two fouls.

15:05, Duke 7 Pitt 5: Henderson has already been relegated to the bench with two fouls, one trying to block a dunk attempt and another on a player-control offensive foul. For the first time in a few games, Singler looks to be shouldering the scoring load for Duke. The freshman already has four points, both on tough inside finishes, and the Duke defense has forced a few turnovers with its trademark, tight man-to-man defense. The Panthers have missed two dunks, too, putting them on pace to miss about 20. Good times. Reserves Jon Scheyer and Taylor King are already in the game, giving the Blue Devils a more guard-oriented lineup. We’ll see if King’s sniping ability translates well to a venue other than Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Spotted here in the last 30 seconds: former standout point guard Jason Williams, looking dapper in a dark suit, and reigning Tewaaraton Trophy winner Matt Danowski, in a more casual outfit.

Just saw a sign that says: “Welcome to Cameron Square Garden.” That distinction doesn’t seem like such a stretch, given the decidedly pro-Duke crowd here in New York.

Starting Lineups:

Pittsburgh: Sam Young, Mike Cook, DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields, Ronald Ramon; Duke: Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas, Greg Paulus, Gerald Henderson, DeMarcus Nelson

For all the talk about Thomas being questionable with an injured ankle tonight, it’s interesting to see that the forward from nearby Scotch Plains, N.J. is playing.

Greetings from Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena, for tonight’s marquee matchup between No. 6 Duke and No. 11 Pittsburgh. The reportedly sell-out crowd is slowly filing in, and there is a strong Duke contingent, as expected. My co-writer, Lauren Kobylarz, estimates that for every Pittsburgh fan, there are at least three Duke fans. Lauren also tells me that she learned in Statistics that such a statistic implies that the crowd is 75% Duke, which the rousing cheers the Blue Devils just received for running on to the floor seems to corroborate.

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