NC State sophomore power forward C.J. Leslie and Duke junior power forward Ryan Kelly won't need an introduction at 9 p.m. tonight at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Kelly attended Raleigh Ravenscroft, while Leslie was a student at Raleigh Word of God his last three years. The two have squared off for years, whether on the prep level, at camps, at the North Carolina Pro-Am and now in the ACC. They were also teammates at one point on the D-One Sports traveling squad with Washington Wizards star point guard John Wall.
Kelly has steadily improved each season at Duke. The 6-foot-11, 230-pounder is averaging 12.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. He is shooting 41.3 percent (31 of 75) from three-point range and 46.7 percent from the field.
Kelly's ability to stretch the floor gives the Blue Devils a different dimension at power forward, as evidenced by his 15 points in the 85-84 upset win at North Carolina Feb. 8.
The 6-8, 209-pound Leslie has also improved across the board during his sophomore season, and is averaging 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He is shooting 50.2 percent from the field and is starting to show progress at the free-throw line at 61.8 percent.
"It's a good matchup because Ryan is really good, and Calvin has been playing really good," NC State coach Mark Gottfried said. "Calvin has had a great year. Calvin is quick enough and long enough to bother a stretch four."
Gottfried said Duke is crafty in getting Kelly free along the perimeter.
"They do a great job of involving him in ball screens, and using his ability to pick and pop and to stretch it out," Gottfried said. "There are some challenges, and it won't just be Calvin. There will be other guys that will have to defend Ryan Kelly."
NC State was one of the first schools to actively recruit and offer Kelly a scholarship. He was a local standout at Raleigh Ravenscroft and is dating Lindsay Cowher, the daughter of former NC State football star and NFL head coach Bill Cowher.
Kelly eventually re-added Duke to his list of schools, which was a subtle way of declaring the Blue Devils his leader, and he signed with them. Kelly, freshman point guard Quinn Cook, sophomore point guard Tyler Thornton and to varying degrees the three Plumlee brothers — Miles, Mason and Marshall - are among the Duke players NC State either offered or evaluated while in high school.
NC State Wolfpack (18-7, 7-3 ACC) at No. 5 Duke (21-4, 8-2 ACC)
Game time: Thursday, Feb. 16, 9 p.m. — Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.
Television: ACC Network
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 189, Soph., 11.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 6.7 apg, 1.8 spg)
SG — 21 C.J. Williams (6-5, 224, Sr., 12.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.1 spg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 175, Jr., 13.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-8, 209, Soph., 13.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.7 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 250, Jr., 11.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg)
PG — 3 Tyler Thornton (6-1, 195, Soph., 3.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.0 apg)
SG — 0 Austin Rivers (6-4, 200, Fr.,15.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg)
G — 30 Seth Curry (6-2, 180, R-Jr., 12.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg)
PF — 34 Ryan Kelly (6-11, 230, Jr., 12.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.1 bpg)
C — 5 Mason Plumlee (6-10, 235, Jr., 11.6 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 bpg)
Location: Durham, N.C.
Nickname: Blue Devils
2010-11 record: 32-5 overall, 13-3 ACC
2011 postseason: Lost 93-77 to Arizona in the West Regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski 921-288 overall (37th year) and 847-229 at Duke (32nd year)
Series: Duke leads 137-97
Last meeting: Duke won 76-52 on Feb. 5, 2011, in Durham
Duke: Two of Duke's perimeter players have fathers that played in the NBA and older brothers of note. Austin Rivers' father is former NBA point guard and current Boston Celtics head coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers, and his older brother, Jeremiah, played at Georgetown and Indiana. Seth Curry's father, Dell Curry, was a standout sharpshooter in the NBA, and his older brother is Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors … Rivers has been inconsistent from the field, but is shooting 45.0 percent overall and 41.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Rivers scored a season-high 29 points, including the game-winning three-pointer, at North Carolina Feb. 8. He has tallied at least 20 points in six games and has made at least two three-pointers in 15 contests … Curry started his college career at Liberty, where he averaged 20.2 points per game in 2008-09. Curry broke out of a slump from three-point land by going 11 of 21 from long range over his last three games … Dawkins has come off the bench the last two games after starting 14 this season. Dawkins shot 7 of 12 from three-point range versus the Demon Deacons Jan. 19. He also had five three-pointers and 24 points at Clemson Jan. 15, and was 6 of 10 from beyond the arc for a season-high 26 points versus Michigan State Nov. 15 … Brothers Miles Plumlee (a senior), Mason Plumlee (a junior) and Marshall Plumlee (a freshman) are from Warsaw, Ind., but were standouts at Arden (N.C.) Christ School … Mason Plumlee has emerged for the Blue Devils at center and had arguably his two best games of the season in late January. He notched 23 points, 12 rebounds and four assists at Maryland Jan. 25, and then tallied 15 points and 17 boards against St. John's Jan. 28. He has struggled from the free throw line (48.6 percent), but has been better of late, making 30 of 45 (66.7 percent) over the last nine games. Mason Plumlee has cracked double figures in points in 16 contests and has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in 13 games … Miles Plumlee has started seven games this season and has grabbed at least 11 rebounds in five games, including 22 against Maryland Feb. 11. He has scored in double figures in six contests, with a season-high 17 at Temple Jan. 4 … Duke has tried several players at point guard this season, but has settled on sophomore Tyler Thornton over the last four games. Freshman Quinn Cook started four games at the point, but then got hurt Jan. 21 against Florida State. Thornton started six games between Dec. 7 and Jan. 4. He had a season-high 12 points against Western Michigan Dec. 30 … Duke is redshirting a pair of freshmen - Marshall Plumlee and small forward Alex Murphy, who is the younger brother of Florida junior power forward Erik Murphy. Murphy's father, Jay, played basketball at Boston College, while junior forward Ryan Kelly's father, Christopher, played at Yale and overseas.
NC State: The Wolfpack are expected to break out the black uniforms against the Blue Devils tonight … NC State coach Mark Gottfried was recruited by Duke out of high school, but joked that they landed another pretty good guard, Johnny Dawkins. Gottfried eventually picked Oral Roberts and transferred to Alabama … Gottfried has only coached one game against Duke, having his Murray State squad lose 71-68 in the 1997 NCAA Tournament … NCSU is 4-1 in ACC road games, averaging 65.2 points per game, and allowing 58 points in those five contests … NC State only plays Duke once during the regular season, even though the two schools are separated by a little over 25 miles. The series was just one game in 2005-2006, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. Prior to the recent interruption, the 1924-25 season was the last time the two colleges played just once ... NC State has defeated Duke four times since 2000, and last won at Duke in 1995. The Wolfpack are 25-45 all-time at Cameron Indoor Stadium … Kenny Carr holds the all-time mark for NC State for points against Duke with 45 in 1976. Ronnie Shavlik grabbed 18 rebounds in 1956, while Chris Corchiani had 14 assists in 1991. Adam Harrington holds the record with six three-pointers against Duke in 1998 … Jim Valvano is the only NC State coach to win his debut at Duke, 52-51, on Feb. 21, 1981. Les Robinson also won his debut, but at Reynolds Coliseum, 95-89, on Jan. 23, 1991.