Damond Johnson commits to Duke football, kickstarting 2017 class

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said Wednesday after inking a 21-player recruiting class that he'd already turned his attention to 2017.

He wasn't kidding.

Just a few days after closing the book on their Class of 2016—likely the best recruiting class in program history—the Blue Devils received their first commitment for the Class of 2017 from wide receiver Damond Johnson.

HALFTIME: Duke 41, N.C. State 35

With head coach Mike Krzyzewski back on the sidelines, the Blue Devils jumped out to a large lead, and are back on top in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

After the first half of play Saturday, Duke is up 41-35 on the Wolfpack, and the team shot 54 percent compared to N.C. State’s 41 percent mark. If the Blue Devils can hold on in the second half, they will have their first back–to-back victories since beating Wake Forest and Virginia Tech in early January. 

N.C. State won the tip-off and converted a jumper on the first-possession to take the lead against Duke, but the Blue Devils responded with 3-pointers from Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram—who combined for 19 points in the half. Poor shooting by the Wolfpack made it difficult for them to capitalize on its offensive opportunities, and Duke pulled ahead with an 11-4 lead after six minutes.

The Wolfpack’s shooting efficiency improved as the half went on, but the Blue Devils were still lights-out from inside and behind the arc. In the first ten minutes of play, Allen had two 3-pointers, Ingram had one and Duke shot 7-of-14 from 3-point range in total. Read more »

Key Three: Duke basketball vs. N.C. State

Key Three: Duke basketball vs. N.C. State

After going 2-1 on a three-game road swing, the Blue Devils return home Saturday to take on N.C. State. Duke defeated the Wolfpack 88-78 two weeks ago and will look to replicate its success on the offensive end to come away with the win. Here are three keys to the game: 

Win the rebounding battle

Three players in the N.C. State starting five—Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber and Cody and Caleb Martin—are capable of creating instant offense. The best way to limit the N.C. State's offensive firepower is to limit second-chance points by cleaning up the defensive glass. Duke will need center Marshall Plumlee and forward Brandon Ingram to step into the paint and dial up their efforts to come away with rebounds. With Amile Jefferson still leading the team in rebounds per game despite a lengthy absence, the rest of the frontcourt must help shoulder the load against the girth of BeeJay Anya and Abdul-Malik Abu in the paint. 

Strong defense Read more »

Chronicle Pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. N.C. State

Chronicle Pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. N.C. State

The Chronicle's Ryan Hoerger and Brian Pollack preview Saturday's 2 p.m.tilt between the Blue Devils and Wolfpack. Duke is expected to have head coach Mike Krzyzewski back on the sidelines after he missed his team's win at Georgia Tech due to a hospitalization, and the Blue Devils will have to key in on Wolfpack point guard Anthony "Cat" Barber, who has scored 30-plus points in four of his last five games.

XFactor: Duke basketball vs N.C. State

XFactor: Duke basketball vs N.C. State

After getting back on track against Georgia Tech Wednesday night, the Blue Devils face off against N.C. State Saturday. Duke will look for its second win against the Wolfpack this season, but will need to to sharpen up on defense if they want to contain a talented N.C. State squad. Before each game, the Chronicle takes a look at one player from each team who could be the difference maker in Duke’s upcoming contest.

Duke: forward Brandon Ingram

With the return of Amile Jefferson still on hold, Ingram will need to shoulder the load in the paint for the Blue Devils. The freshman is the team's second-leading scorer and Duke will need his size down low against a Wolfpack team that has had success attacking the hoop and has post players capable of dominating on the boards. 

Duke is ranked 10th in the nation in scoring offense at 84.7 points per game and will rely on Ingram and sophomore Grayson Allen to pace the Blue Devil offensive attack. Ingram is capable of stretching the floor with his perimeter jumper and his skill as a ball-handler enables him to get to the hoop and set up teammates for open shots. If Ingram can find his shooting stroke as he did two weeks ago in his  25-point performance against the same N.C. State squad, the Blue Devils should be able to emerge victorious once again.  Read more »

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 »