New Orleans Pelicans sign former Duke guard Quinn Cook

New Orleans Pelicans sign former Duke guard Quinn Cook

Quinn Cook has waited for his chance to make an NBA regular season roster, and now the 2015 national champion will get his chance.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced Saturday afternoon that they have signed the former Duke guard and team captain on the 2014-15 championship team. The 6-foot-2 guard was the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year last year with the Canton Charge, averaging 19.6 points and 5.4 assists per game. Cook was also named a third-team All-NBA D-League performer.

With the signing, New Orleans now has 20 players on its roster, with the Pelicans allowed to keep a maximum of 15 before their season opener next month.

New Orleans used its first-round draft pick in June on Oklahoma sharpshooter Buddy Hield, and the Pelicans have also invested in guards Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Lance Stephenson. Cook will likely be competing with Langston Galloway, Tim Frazier, E'Twaun Moore and Quincy Pondexter for a roster spot. Read more »

Chronicle pregame: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Chronicle pregame: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Sameer Pandhare get you set for Duke's Saturday tilt at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. Both teams are 1-2, but the Fighting Irish have one of the most lethal quarterbacks in the country in DeShone Kizer and are heavy favorites to knock off the Blue Devils. We explain why Duke's remaining nine games could be some of the most important in program history as a team on the rise tries to avoid taking a major step back. 

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Saturday afternoon’s showcase between Duke and Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., features a battle of under-performing teams. Although both are worse than .500 at 1-2, the season’s outlook for each team varies greatly. The Fighting Irish, who were ranked as highly as No. 10 this season, has little hope of a playoff bid, but a bowl game is still well within reach. The Blue Devils, conversely, are projected to finish with three wins on the year – a big step down from last year’s victory against Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl. Here are three keys for Duke if it wants to right the ship against a superior opponent:

Get on the board early

It’s no secret that Notre Dame is expected to win this game. In what will be the biggest challenge for Duke’s defense so far, it would serve the Blue Devils well to get on the board early to relieve some pressure. After an offensive explosion in Week 1 against N.C. Central, reality has quickly—and noticeably—set in for Duke. Moving the ball down the field is not the problem—the Blue Devils have at least 350 yards of offense in all three contests to date. The problem is their inability to capitalize on big plays or turnovers forced by the defense, which is reflected in low score totals against Wake Forest and Northwestern. Faced with by far their strongest opponent yet, a lead going into the second quarter, or perhaps even halftime, could provide the momentum necessary for an upset.

Limit big plays by Notre Dame offense

As Duke’s offense stagnates, the Fighting Irish continue to produce. They have amassed 114 points through three games, an impressive tally considering two of those games were against ranked opponents. With 13 total touchdowns so far this season, redshirt sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer has gone from a backup to a Heisman contender in just one year. He is the architect behind a Notre Dame offense averaging 430 yards per game and has the talent to influence the outcome of a game with a single play. 

Big plays have hurt Duke’s defense, leading both Wake Forest and Northwestern to outgain the Blue Devils. Demon Deacon true freshman running back Cade Carney broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown run two weeks ago, and quarterback Clayton Thorson threw three long touchdown passes last Saturday. For Duke to stay competitive Saturday, they will need to contain Kizer and Notre Dame’s array of playmakers. Read more »

X Factor: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

X Factor: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

The Blue Devils have stumbled to their worst start in five years, and their schedule is only getting tougher. Duke travels to South Bend, Ind., to play at Notre Dame Saturday at 3:30, in need of a major upset to improve to 2-2. Every week throughout the football season, we’ll break down a player on each team who could be the difference-maker in the upcoming contest.

Duke: Quarterback Daniel Jones

As the Blue Devil offense continues to struggle, a win this week against a historically strong Notre Dame program will only be possible if redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones steps up to the occasion. Jones had 279 passing yards and zero touchdowns against Northwestern last week, with Duke's running backs accounting for the team’s only two scores. Jones has showcased his ability to succeed at times in the passing game with 800 total yards through the air this season, but hasn’t been able to finish off drives with touchdowns. The Charlotte native has just two passing touchdowns this year and has committed five turnovers in the last three games.

In order to return home with a much-needed win Saturday against the Fighting Irish, Jones will need to capitalize against the struggling Notre Dame defense, which has allowed opposing teams to score more than 500 yards in both of their losses. Jones and the Duke offense will need to use this to their advantage to gain yardage and score touchdowns when they reach the red zone in what could be a high-scoring game. Read more »

"We carry the team...'s GPA": Duke football walk-ons show off sense of humor on Twitter

"We carry the team...'s GPA": Duke football walk-ons show off sense of humor on Twitter

Every young athlete’s dream is to play in college, but most aren’t strong, athletic or talented enough to be among the few to receive a Division I scholarship. 

Although walk-on athletes do not often get a chance to show off their abilities on the field, they definitely come up with ways to compensate. For example, just take a look at what the Duke football walk-ons have been up to.

At the beginning of football season, a Twitter page arose dedicated to the Duke football walk-ons, with the handle @DukeFBWalkons. According to the bio, the account is nothing more than a Duke walk-on appreciation page, run by the walk-ons themselves. The bio proclaims, “We carry the team…’s gpa,” humorously acknowledging that though these athletes aren’t going to be NFL players, they sure are hard workers and are Duke students more than football players. 

The bio goes on to say, “RIP Doyle, Boden, and D. Jones, who no longer pay tuition,” referencing redshirt sophomore defensive end Danny Doyle, whose scholarship offer during a team meeting in May went viral; redshirt senior running back Zach Boden, who received a scholarship before the 2016 season; and Daniel Jones, the Blue Devils’ current starting quarterback. Read more »

Duke in the MLB: Stroman loses again, Justise Winslow catches a home run

Despite another strong performance, former Blue Devil Marcus Stroman suffered his ninth loss of the season Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Angels to bring his record to 9-9. 

The loss came at a critical time for the Toronto Blue Jays, who are barely clinging to a playoff spot in the American League wild-card race.

Stroman pitched a solid game, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings of work. He pitched out of a couple of jams to escape serious damage and allowed just one extra-base hit. It was another quality effort for the Toronto right-hander, whose ERA has now dropped to 4.50.

The typically potent Blue Jays offense was once again held in check, this time by Alex Meyer of the Angels, who picked up his first major-league win and held the Blue Jays to just two hits in five innings of work. The Angels' offense against Stroman came in the form of an RBI groundout in the second inning after Stroman walked Albert Pujols and allowed a single to C.J. Cron before Rafael Ortega reached on catcher’s interference.  Read more »

Recruiting roundup: Carter, Trent Jr. both put Duke in top 4

With the regular season a little more than a month away, the pace is starting to pick up on the recruiting front. 

We'll begin this week's roundup with a look at five-star power forward Wendell Carter—the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2017 ESPN 100. The Blue Devils landed on the final-four list announced by the Atlanta native Tuesday night, but Duke's competitors are not programs many would traditionally assume as contenders for one of the top high school players in the country. 

Although in-state options Georgia and Georgia Tech remain on the table for Carter and Harvard looms as an interesting possibility for the power forward, the Blue Devils are believed to be overwhelming favorites to land the big man. Read more »

Former Duke star Jahlil Okafor reveals 'Vampire Diaries' fandom during Twitter Q&A Wednesday

Former Duke star Jahlil Okafor reveals 'Vampire Diaries' fandom during Twitter Q&A Wednesday

Twitter question-and-answer sessions with fans are becoming more popular for athletes and celebrities, and former Duke star and current Philadelphia 76ers big man Jahlil Okafor took some time Wednesday afternoon to interact with some of his 155,224 followers. Below are some of the highlights from Okafor's answers. All of his responses can be viewed on his timeline here

What he's been watching on Netflix

What he thinks of the 2016-17 Duke team Read more »

Duke in the NFL: Weeks 1 and 2

Duke in the NFL: Weeks 1 and 2

Four of Duke's five players on NFL rosters started and made an impact in the first two weeks of the season. The Blue Zone sums up how all of the Blue Devils in the NFL have fared early in the year.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

The 5-foot-8 receiver kicked off his second campaign in the NFL with two straight six-reception games. After the first two weeks of the season, Crowder has accounted for 97 total yards and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass against the Cowboys in a 27-23 Week 1 loss. The former Duke standout is now one touchdown reception away from equaling his total from last year.

Pegged to be a secondary option in the Redskins’ receiving core behind DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and first-round draft pick Josh Doctson, Crowder has proved the experts wrong through two weeks. After passing Art Monk last season for most receptions by a rookie Redskins receiver with 59, the Monroe, N.C., native is looking like he will have another productive year in the nation’s capital. Read more »

Former Duke forward Alex Murphy to finish career at Northeastern after leaving Florida

Former Duke forward Alex Murphy to finish career at Northeastern after leaving Florida

Former Duke forward Alex Murphy has received a sixth year of eligibility after leaving Durham for Florida and will finish his career at Northeastern, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported Tuesday afternoon.

Murphy started his career at Duke before suffering an early-season concussion and redshirting in 2011-12. He played in 31 games the following season, averaging 2.1 points in 6.3 minutes per contest.

In December 2013, the Wakefield, R.I., native announced he would transfer to Florida. After sitting out the rest of the 2013-14 season, the 6-foot-8 forward played in 23 games for the Gators in 2014-15, averaging 5.1 points per game.  Read more »