Irving performing well under new coach; Redick to participate in Three-Point Shootout

With the All-Star game just a week away, the Blue Zone takes a look at how some former Blue Devils are doing in the association: 

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

The implementation of new head coach Tyron Lue’s offense has been a welcome change of pace for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting point guard. In the past four games, Irving has averaged 25 points per contest, shot above 50 percent from the field and contributed to three Cleveland victories. In addition to stellar shooting, the three-time NBA All-Star has recorded 20 assists in the same four-game span and showcased his ability to be a solid floor general.

In the next week, the Cavaliers’ four opponents have a combined record of 78-121, which should provide Irving with the opportunity to further showcase his skills—and maybe even get a little rest—heading into the All-Star break. Read more »

Krzyzewski back with the Blue Devils after 'kick in the butt'

Krzyzewski back with the Blue Devils after 'kick in the butt'

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was back with his team Wednesday watching tape, he said Thursday during a taping of his SiriusXM radio show.

The Blue Devils were without their leader for Tuesday's game at Georgia Tech, after Krzyzewski felt under the weather before leaving Durham and did not travel with the team.

During his show Thursday, Krzyzewski said he had "a little setback" shortly before the Blue Devils boarded their flight to Atlanta Monday night and was advised not to make the trip that night. He intended to fly down Tuesday morning, but instead visited Duke University Hospital.

"I had to go into the hospital and did a number of tests," Krzyzewski said. "They all were good, and [I] got some good advice, a little bit of medication and a kick in the butt to take better care of myself—which we all need." Read more »

Cutcliffe recounts flight with Randy Moss

Partway through his signing day press conference Wednesday, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe brought up a flight simulation he piloted on the recruiting trail while on a visit with Antone Williams, one of the 21 Blue Devils to sign with the program.

Cutcliffe visited the Delta Flight Museum, where Williams' mother works, and stepped into a simulation.

"I’ve got a great imagination, so we flew to Rome and back, staying on the ground the whole time," Cutcliffe said. "When I was in that simulator, it was a whole new story—it’s real. They put me in a thunderstorm and a landing at Washington National and all I was trying to do was keep it out of the Potomac [River].... When you have enough imagination, pretty cool to fly to Rome with a prospect. I don’t know if that’s an NCAA violation or what."

It may have been Cutcliffe's first time in a flight simulator while on a recruiting trip, but it was far from his first adventure with a recruit involving airplanes. Read more »

Quick Hits: David Cutcliffe talks Class of 2016

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe announced the signing of the Blue Devils' Class of 2016 Wednesday, inking seven four-star prospects. During his press conference, Cutcliffe highlighted some of the touted recruits that will soon be taking the field at Wallace Wade Stadium. Below are his comments.

On Dylan Singleton—rated by ESPN as the No. 10 safety in the Class of 2016 and the younger brother of Duke safety Deondre Singleton:

Dylan is a terrific competitor, he’s a play-maker on offense, and he just wouldn’t come off the field. I’ve seen him make runs, catch passes, score, cover a kick-off, line up, make a big hit, knock a ball loose, have an interception. That’s kind of player Dylan [is]. I would call Dylan an extremely productive player on the field. He is very involved in games.

On tight end Mark Birmingham—rated by ESPN as the No. 3 tight end in the Class of 2016:

Love him—just a great young man. We’ve had him in camp. He’s physical, quick, he’s got great character, great competitiveness, a great spirit to him. Everything that Mark displays with character is really strong, and a lot of talent to go with that. He is a very talented young man.

On Duke's two new running backs, Elijah Deveaux and Brittain Brown: Read more »

Chronicle Postgame: Duke 80, Georgia Tech 71

The Chronicle’s Jack Dolgin and Sam Turken break down the Blue Devils’ nine-point win in Atlanta, which they earned without head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who stayed in Durham after falling ill Monday. Grayson Allen hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points to lead the Blue Devils, who found success playing man-to-man defense in the second half.

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs Georgia Tech

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs Georgia Tech

The Blue Devils took to the road without head coach Mike Krzyzewski and came away with a much-needed 80-71 road victory against Georgia Tech. After struggling to create separation in the first half, Duke embarked on an 18-2 run midway through the second period to put the game away: 

Revisiting Three Keys to the Game

  • Get on the glass: Although the margin was thin, the Blue Devils managed to hold their own on the boards and out-rebounded Georgia Tech 39-38. Marshall Plumlee and Brandon Ingram cleaned up on the defensive glass with 14 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Duke struggled on the offensive glass though, and only managed nine second-chance opportunities. Freshman Chase Jeter still had difficulty with his duties in the frontcourt, grabbing only one rebound and collecting four fouls. Perhaps the biggest success for the Blue Devils in this category was limiting Georgia Tech's Charles Mitchell—the leading rebounder in the ACC—to just six boards. 
  • Score enough points to win the game: Duke’s scoring ability was not missing, particularly in the second half. The Blue Devils exploded for 44 points after the break on 55 percent shooting from the floor. More importantly, Duke created just enough offense through Ingram and sophomore Grayson Allen—who combined for 41 points—to put the game away against a Yellow Jackets team that would not go away quietly and continued to press until the clock hit triple zeroes.
  • Build momentum: After dropping out of the AP Poll for the first time in nine years and having Krzyzewski miss his first game in 20 years, the undermanned Blue Devils responded with a gritty win on the road. It was ugly and mistake-ridden effort but a much-needed victory nonetheless. As the team prepares to head into the most difficult portion of the schedule with four of the next five games against ranked opponents, Duke’s victory showed signs of life for a squad that hopes to return its head coach and senior Amile Jefferson soon.

Three Key Plays

  • 6:38 remaining, first half: With the Blue Devils trailing by two and needing a rest for center Marshall Plumlee, associate head coach Jeff Capel looks to a new face and inserts freshman Antonio Vrankovic into the game. The center's time on the court was his first game action since Dec. 30. 
  • 9:35 remaining, second half: Freshman Derryck Thornton stays aggressive and drives hard to the hoop for a nifty layup. The guard had one of his best performances of the season and finished with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. 
  • 5:35 remaining, second half: Allen lines up for another triple which clanks off the mark, but Plumlee is at the basket for the easy tip-in. The basket was the end of an 18-2 run for Duke that blew a close game wide open. 

Three Key Stats Read more »

Duke football set to ink highly-touted class on National Singing Day

Duke football set to ink highly-touted class on National Singing Day

Duke is coming off of its first bowl win since 1961, but that won’t the only cause for celebration Wednesday. 

The Blue Devils are expected to ink 19 highly-touted prospects on National Signing Day, making this one of the most talented recruiting classes head coach David Cutcliffe has lured to Durham during his eight-year tenure at Duke. Two three-star prospects in the class—athlete Jacob Morgenstern and cornerback Mark Gilbert—previously signed financial aid agreements with Duke and are enrolled for the spring semester.

While no last-minute drama is expected Wednesday for the Blue Devils, the program is expecting to sign a wealth of four-star prospects according to ESPN—including four ranked in the ESPN 300. This has drawn attention across the college football world and catapulted the program to No. 27 in the ESPN class rankings. The Blue Devils are also expected to have the fourth-best class in the ACC behind traditional powerhouses Florida State, Clemson and Miami. 

To put things in perspective as to why this class is so special, consider that Duke has only signed seven four-star prospects according to ESPN since 2011, with six out of those sevencoming in the last two years. Additionally, only two active players on the current roster—wide receiver Trevon Lee and cornerback Keyston Fuller—were classified as ESPN 300 prospects.  Read more »

Stars shine at Duke's game against Georgia Tech

ATLANTA—Even without Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils came away with an 80-71 win Tuesday night against Georgia Tech in front of a spectacle of stars.

The Yellow Jackets first introduced golfer Stuart Cink—a 1995 alumnus and the 2009 Open Champion—at halftime. After a fifth-year student failed to make a 94-foot, full-court putt for $25,000, Cink gave it a try and—yes—sunk it. 

Read more »

HALFTIME: Georgia Tech 40, Duke 36

ATLANTA—With associate head coach Jeff Capel filling in for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski—who is back in Durham under the weather—the Blue Devils have struggled early on. 

Duke trails Georgia Tech 40-36 at the half at McCamish Pavilion, playing its first game as an unranked team since 2007. After looking out of rhythm and sluggish in the first four minutes, the Blue Devils relied on their perimeter shooting to stop the early bleeding. But the Blue Devils have not found a solution to the Yellow Jackets' offensive success in the interior. 

Georgia Tech jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks in part to two easy dunks. From the tip, the Yellow Jackets were set on penetrating and feeding the ball inside, opening up a 28-10 edge in points of the paint.

After beginning the game 1-of-6 from the field, the Blue Devils got back in the game behind their perimeter shooting. A Matt Jones 3-pointer followed by a Plumlee dunk and consecutive triples from sophomore guard Grayson Allen gave Duke a 15-12 lead by the first media timeout. The Blue Devils cooled down in the half's closing minutes, though, missing eight of their last 10 shots—many of them right around the rim—as the Yellow Jackets surged back ahead by as many as seven. Nick Jacobs bested his season average with 12 points down low to key Georgia Tech's 58.1 percent shooting. Read more »

Chronicle Pregame: Duke basketball vs. Georgia Tech

The Chronicle's Ryan Hoerger and Brian Pollack look ahead to Duke's Tuesday contest at Georgia Tech. After an eight-day layoff, the Blue Devils will play their first game as an unranked team since 2007 against a Yellow Jacket squad that has been pesky at home, knocking off then-No. 4 Virginia and dropping their last two ACC games by just five total points.