Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Brian Pollack broke down how No. 5 Duke can extend its winning streak to eight when it travels to Las Vegas to play the first game ever in T-Mobile Arena against UNLV Saturday evening at 5:15. The game presents another opportunity to continue integrating freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden into the rotation before ACC play starts at the end of December. The topics discussed can be viewed below.

0:32—A discussion of UNLV's struggles so far this season with a couple of ugly losses

1:44—Why head coach Mike Krzyzewski could use this game as an opportunity to keep Marques Bolden on the floor for extended minutes

2:53—What makes the road trip particularly special for Las Vegas native Chase Jeter Read more »

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Duke will take its seven-game winning streak into Las Vegas Saturday for a matchup with UNLV at 5:15 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Blue Devils upset the undefeated Runnin' Rebels in the 1991 Final Four en route to their first national championship. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be the difference-maker in the game:

Duke: Forward Jayson Tatum

After struggling to find a real rhythm but showing glimpses of big-time talent in his season debut against Maine, Tatum dazzled under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden Tuesday against Florida. The freshman played 29 minutes in just his second game back from a foot injury, scoring 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and adding eight rebounds.

It was another slow start for the five-star forward, but he turned in on late in the first half as his defense sparked a 15-3 Blue Devil run in the waning minutes of the first half. And in the second half, he drained a pair of smooth step-back jumpers to ignite a healthy Duke contingent in New York. The St. Louis native has still attempted just two 3-point attempts in his two games, and outside of sophomore guard Luke Kennard—who was 5-for-7 from long range against the Gators—the Blue Devils went just 2-of-10 on 3-pointers in their 84-74 win. Read more »

Stock watch: Amile Jefferson, Luke Kennard develop into rising stars for Duke men's basketball

Stock watch: Amile Jefferson, Luke Kennard develop into rising stars for Duke men's basketball

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has rung again, meaning it's time to take a look at who is rising and falling with their performances for Blue Devil sports teams. Each week, the Blue Zone will look at whose stock is on the rise and whose stock has taken a hit from the week in the world of Duke athletics.

Bull Market—Trending Up

Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard: Going into the 2016-17 season, Duke's offense was expected to go through junior guard Grayson Allen and incoming freshmen Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles. Jefferson, a 6-foot-9 graduate student, and Kennard were expected to be role players on a talented Duke team.

But Allen has been inefficient and is playing hurt, Tatum is working his way into the lineup after a foot injury he suffered in October and Giles is rehabbing his knee and has yet to play a game. As a result, Jefferson and Kennard have taken on leading roles, contributing an average of 36.0 points and 16.5 rebounds per game between the two of them, including Kennard’s 35-point outburst against Maine Saturday and Jefferson’s 24-point, 15-rebound performance against Florida in the Jimmy V Classic Tuesday night. Read more »

Duke in the NBA: Irving, Redick leading their teams to strong starts

Duke in the NBA: Irving, Redick leading their teams to strong starts

Kyrie Irving and Jabari Parker are putting up big numbers for their teams, while Justise WInslow waits to be cleared to play.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers:

Irving helped the Cavaliers end their three-game losing streak Monday night, scoring 24 points and picking up seven assists in a 116-112 win against the Toronto Raptors. The contest was his 10th consecutive 20-point performance, a mark he has reached in 18 of Cleveland's 20 games this season. He is also averaging 2.5 made 3-pointers per game, a career high for the point guard. Irving and the Cavaliers, who are atop the Eastern Conference right now, will continue to seek their second championship in as many years.

Irving also visited New York this week to play the Knicks Wednesday and sat courtside to watch Duke beat Florida in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. A day later, he put up 28 points in a 126-94 win and dished out six assists, one of which resulted in an alley-oop to LeBron James in transition. Read more »

This week in Duke history: 'Blue Angels' program matches football recruits with female hosts

This week in Duke history: 'Blue Angels' program matches football recruits with female hosts

Louisville may have made national headlines last fall with the NCAA’s investigation into its alleged hiring of prostitutes for basketball recruits—but it comes out of a milder, albeit potentially related tradition.

The Chronicle reported Dec. 2, 1988, on Duke’s “Blue Angels” program for recruits. Like many southern schools in college football, the Blue Devils would attract recruits on their visits by assigning them a female student to show them around.

Almost all the interactions between the females and the recruits were monitored, but it did not stop the speculation. In fact, many at Duke, including then- and current-dean of student life Sue Wasiolek, did not know such a program existed.

"I would have to say, from the outside looking in, and not being very familiar with the program, that it does allow one to draw the conclusion that it it is a sexist organization and that it promotes sexist ideas,” Wasiolek said at the time. Read more »

Tatum and Jefferson star against Florida after attending funerals for loved ones

Tatum and Jefferson star against Florida after attending funerals for loved ones

NEW YORK—Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been adamant following recent games that his team does not practice very much.

Whether it is sophomore Grayson Allen dealing with turf toe, Frank Jackson battling a sore foot of his own or Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden shaking off the rust, Duke has struggled finding enough bodies to hold practice.

But a pair of Duke’s best performers Tuesday were not at the team’s practice a day earlier for a different reason altogether.

“Yesterday, both Amile and Jayson were not with us. We had no practice yesterday with them because they were both at funerals for their loved ones,” Krzyzewski said. “Amile’s grandmother who helped raise him passed away and they had a funeral in Philadelphia. Jayson was in St. Louis for the funeral of his great-grandmother. For those kids to come back, we just haven’t practiced very much with injuries and all this.” Read more »

Duke AD Kevin White no longer enemies with son, Florida head coach Mike, after Jimmy V Classic

Duke AD Kevin White no longer enemies with son, Florida head coach Mike, after Jimmy V Classic

NEW YORK—Once the Gators wrapped up a 91-60 win against North Florida Thursday, Florida head coach Mike White knew that the next few days would bring a range of emotions to the table.

After 11 minutes of fielding the media’s questions following an 84-74 loss to No. 5 Duke Tuesday, White embraced his parents—Kevin and Jane White—with a giant hug, knowing that their time spent as opponents had ended.

“Heck, last night I would’ve loved to join them for dinner,” Mike White said. “I’m not sure dad would’ve invited me, as we’ve been enemies here for the last 48 hours. We haven’t spoken in the last couple days so I’ll be anxious to get 60 seconds with them before we all head back to the hotel.”

In the teams’ first matchup since 2000, the White family subplot was an intriguing link between programs that do not see each other on the court very often.  Read more »

Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. Florida

Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. Florida

Jayson Tatum recorded his best game in a Duke uniform, but the fifth-ranked Blue Devils were carried yet again by graduate student Amile Jefferson and sophomore Luke Kennard, who combined for 53 points in an 84-74 victory against No. 21 Florida at Madison Square Garden. At the end of a back-and-forth first half, Duke used a 15-3 run to pull away and head into halftime with a 41-31 lead. The win puts the Blue Devils at 9-1 on the season entering Saturday’s matchup at UNLV.   

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Protect the basketball: Tasked with protecting the ball against a stout defense that forces almost 17 turnovers a game, the Blue Devils performed moderately well, turning the ball over 13 times. No one individual was a consistent culprit for Duke, with seven different players registering at least one giveaway. The Blue Devils forced 13 Florida turnovers and finished the night with eight steals.
  • Hit 3-pointers: Looking to improve on its 3-point field-goal percentage—the Blue Devils ranked 146th in that category entering the game—Duke shot 7-for-17 from beyond the arc against the Gators. Kennard knocked down five of his seven attempts, backing up a 35-point performance against Maine with a 29-point effort Tuesday night. Florida almost surged back into the game by hitting multiple 3-pointers late in the game and went 6-for-11 from beyond the arc, but the Blue Devils’ lead proved to be too much.
  • Crash the glass: Without Marques Bolden and Harry Giles down low to start the season, the Blue Devils still found ways to outrebound opponents consistently, and the trend continued against the Gators. Duke outrebounded Florida 35-32 thanks to Jefferson, who matched a career high with 15 boards. The Blue Devils will look to include Bolden more moving forward in order to continue their success on the glass—the freshman center played just two minutes after racking up two early fouls.

Read more »

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. Florida

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. Florida

Three Blue Devils scored at least 22 points in a game for the first time in more than 15 years to help No. 5 Duke beat No. 21 Florida 84-74 Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic. The Chronicle's Sameer Pandhare and Mitchell Gladstone broke down the big game for Luke Kennard, Amile Jefferson and Jayson Tatum from Madison Square Garden. The topics discussed can be viewed below.

0:23—How Tatum came off the bench to spark Duke's run to take control at the end of the first half

1:32—Why Kennard has surprised many as the Blue Devils' best player this season

3:16—Where Harry Giles will fit into the rotation when he returns from injury and why Marques Bolden sat on the bench for the entire second half Read more »

Halftime: Duke 41, Florida 31

NEW YORK—With Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson all active Tuesday, one wondered who would do the scoring damage for the Blue Devils.

But through 20 minutes, it has been the same duo that has carried Duke through much of the season. 

Led by sophomore Luke Kennard and graduate student Amile Jefferson, the No. 5 Blue Devils hold a 41-31 lead on No. 21 Florida at intermission in the second game of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The half was hotly-contested for almost the entire period, but Duke pulled away with a late 13-1 run to take control. 

After combining for 55 points Saturday against Maine, Kennard and Jefferson picked up where they left off. Jefferson has 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting and eight rebounds against a strong Gator frontcourt, and Kennard added 13 points on 6-of-8 from the floor.  Read more »