Blue Zone

Bagley could be the missing piece in the Blue Devils' puzzle

Even during its late-season run to an ACC championship in 2017, Duke sorely missed a post scoring presence, a problem that seemed destined to recur after Amile Jefferson’s graduation.

But with consensus No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III’s commitment, it may have solved that problem—and established itself as a national championship favorite.

Bagley announced his decision to come to Durham on ESPN’s SportsCenter Monday night, electing to play for the Blue Devils instead of Southern California and UCLA. The high school junior will need to be permitted by the NCAA to reclassify and play this season, but if Bagley is cleared to join head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 2017-18 squad, he could give Duke one of its strongest teams in recent memory.

The 6-foot-11 forward has been called a “once in a generation” talent by some scouts and is the overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft.

Why are recruiting analysts and NBA scouts alike so high on Bagley?

His combination of athleticism, shooting range and size figures to make him a formidable offensive threat, presenting serious matchup problems for opposing teams attempting to guard him. He is strong and tough enough around the basket to finish and has the agility and moves to create off the dribble from anywhere on the court.

But Bagley can also shoot from outside the paint and could develop into a legitimate 3-point threat. The Phoenix native is an elite rebounder as well, pulling in nearly 50 percent more rebounds than any other player in 20 games in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.

His defense leaves a little to be desired, but his offense could make Duke more balanced than it has been in recent years. Sharing time with second-year center Marques Bolden and elite forward recruit Wendell Carter Jr. down low, Bagley will likely provide more scoring than the Blue Devils got from Jefferson.

Paired with Trevon Duval—the best point guard in this year's recruiting class—No. 7 overall recruit Gary Trent Jr. and senior Grayson Allen, Bagley could force defenses to collapse on him inside, leaving better opportunities for guards on the 3-point line.

In recent years in Krzyzewski’s system, it has generally taken longer for big men to develop, à la Bolden, Chase Jeter and Harry Giles.

But Bagley is thought to be as prepared for the college game as Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s No. 1 threat from the start of the 2014-15 season, and has been compared to Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who led the Wildcats to the 2012 national championship before starting an All-Star career with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Certainly, with seven freshmen on the roster for just the second time this millennium and Bagley’s late reclassification, it will take some time for the team to develop as a group. Last season, when coupled with injuries and tripping scandals, those growing pains proved to be a major obstacle in the early going.

But with four five-star recruits and two four-stars, this team is arguably even more talented than last year’s squad that won the ACC championship, and if it undergoes a bout of freshman-itis early on, the seasoned Allen will be there to provide a veteran presence.

If Bagley hones his defense, lives up to his offensive promise and helps facilitate a cohesive roster, Duke could be in for a special season.

Duval and Allen team up for their first dunk—in a driveway

Trevon Duval and Grayson Allen are already teaming up for dunks—in driveways.

Joining in on the ever-popular social media craze, the #DriveByDunkChallenge, Allen connected with the No. 1 point guard recruit in the nation to throw it down on a stranger’s hoop.

Sure, the hoop probably wasn't regulation height, but it was impressive nonetheless.

The challenge has swept across the basketball world, prompting NBA stars like Anthony Davis to posterize unsuspecting invisible defenders. Kentucky basketball also dropped its own video that featured not one, but five dunks.

Duke fans can only hope to see more connections like these from the Allen-Duval tandem against ACC teams in the near future.

Recruiting roundup: 2018's No. 1 recruit reportedly considering reclassifying, playing this season for Duke

After landing three 5-star recruits and the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class, the Blue Devils seemed settled with another contender next year.

But they might not be done just yet.

The No. 1 player in the class of 2018, Marvin Bagley III, is reportedly considering reclassifying and joining this year’s recruiting class—making him to eligible to play this fall—and Duke is one of his top choices, according to 247Sports. After impressing in this weekend’s Nike EYBL Peach Jam, the 6-foot-11 forward will take his official visit to Durham this week and eventually visit Arizona and USC, which is thought to be the Blue Devils’ biggest competitor in his recruitment.

Bagley would still have many hoops to jump through in order to become eligible to play this season, including finishing high school and receiving the necessary academic clearances. But if he was allowed to reclassify and join the 2017-18 Duke team, he would join a freshman class that already has the 2017 class' best power forward, top point guard and No. 1 shooting guard in Wendell Carter, Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr.

A rising high school senior that can move and shoot like a guard, his athleticism stood out on Nike’s elite circuit, making several highlight reel plays like this block and coast-to-coast dunk. 

Some of Duke’s other top 2018 targets also made flashy plays in North Augusta, S.C. including 5-star Zion Williamson with a thunderous block.

247Sports' Crystal Ball predicts Williamson will sign with Kentucky, but Duke is one of the top few left vying for the 6-foot-7 small forward.

Another Blue Devil target, 5-star point guard Darius Garland, told Durham Herald-Sun correspondent Adam Zagoria that he would like to play alongside Duke’s other top targets in college.

“I mean, it’s a lot of us who are trying to make a package deal out of each other,” Garland told Zagoria. “Cameron Reddish, Tre Jones, me and Marvin, we played together a few years back, so we’ve been talking about it. Me and Romeo [Langford] have a really good connection, so I’m trying to get him over with me, too. Wherever I go, I want him to come with me.”

If that group all came to Durham, it would give head coach Mike Krzyzewski three of the top five players in the ESPN 100 and five of the top 19. According to the Crystal Ball, the Blue Devils are the frontrunners for all of their services, save for Langford, who 247Sports projects to sign with Indiana. Jones, a 5-star point guard, is the younger brother of Tyus Jones, who helped lead Duke to the 2015 national championship.

Another target, 6-foot-8 forward Emmitt Williams, caught Krzyzewski and his staff’s attention with a strong performance at Peach Jam, including a dunk over Bagley. 

According to Zagoria, Williams was enamored when he spoke with Krzyzewski in June.

“Getting a phone call from him, it was like talking to God,” Williams said. “I never thought I would be talking to the best coach in the world from his cell phone, so getting a call from him is a blessing.”

This week in Duke history: Chuasiriporn nearly wins U.S. Women's Open as an amateur

At 20 years young, Jenny Chuasiriporn was making a name for herself on the world’s biggest stage. 

But she fell almost as quickly as she rose.

The amateur and rising Duke senior was playing in the U.S. Women’s Open on July 5, 1998 and needed to sink a 40-foot birdie putt to force a playoff against future Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak.

And she did.

She could not believe what she did and a famous image captured her stunned reaction, hand over mouth and eyes wide.

Chuasiriporn became a name talked about around the world of golf overnight. The next day she and Pak faced off in an 18-hole playoff. On the 18th hole, Pak had to play a shot so close to the water hazard that she had to stand nearly knee-deep in a lake to hit it. 

Chuasiriporn had a chance to win the tournament on that hole but her 12-foot putt traveled roughly an inch right of the cup. An inch. 

The pair went into the only sudden-death after an 18-hole playoff in the tournament's history, and two holes later Pak emerged victorious.

With the newfound media attention, Chuasiriporn struggled during her senior year at Duke—though the team did win the school’s first national title in any women's sport—and she never had much success as a professional, citing a lack of passion for the game.

In many ways, the 1998 Open was both the individual career highlight for her and one of the last shining moments of her career. But the legend of the miraculous 40-foot putt that July afternoon will long live on in golf—and Duke sports—lore.

Duke in the NBA: Former Blue Devils making highlight reels in Summer League

Former Blue Devil stars are making waves in their first taste of NBA action, and another ex-standout signed a massive deal. 

Duke players shining in NBA Summer League

It hasn’t taken long for Duke’s newest NBA players to settle in.

Newly minted Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum and Detroit Piston Luke Kennard picked up right where they left off with the Blue Devils, scoring at ease and making highlight-reel plays in the NBA’s Summer League.

Tatum was fourth in the Utah Summer League with 18.7 points per game and second in the league with 9.7 rebounds per game—and perhaps first in terms of flashy plays.

He wasted no time throwing down a thunderous dunk against the Philadelphia 76ers in his summer league debut Monday, slamming it home over former Arizona star Kaleb Tarczewski.

He also came through in the clutch for the Celtics in his debut, nailing a game-winning shot with 5.9 seconds left to top Philadelphia.

Kennard demonstrated some heroics of his own, averaging 17.2 points per game in the Orlando Summer League, including a 24-point outburst in a title game loss. He also pulled through in the clutch, scoring all seven of Detroit's points in overtime against Dallas Mavericks, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left before Johnathan Motley knocked down a game-winner on the other end.

Redick inks big deal with 76ers

Former Duke star J.J. Redick cashed in big in free agency, inking a one-year, $23 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers—more than he earned in the last three years combined.

In the midst of a rebuilding project, the 11-year NBA veteran provides leadership on a team chock full of lottery picks.

“Trust the process,” Redick tweeted shortly after the news broke of his signing Saturday.

Redick averaged 15.0 points per game last season with the Los Angeles Clippers, playing in all but four games. The sharpshooter will make Philadelphia more dangerous from beyond the arc—he shot 42.9 percent from 3-point range last season.

Duke draftees sign with NBA teams, but Plumlee waived by Knicks

After tying a school record with four players picked in June’s NBA Draft, all of them except Frank Jackson have officially signed with NBA teams. Tatum led the way in inking a deal that will give him $4.7 million in his first year in the pros, according to RealGM .

After two seasons in Durham, Kennard cashed in with a deal with the Pistons that will give him $8.2 million in his first three years in the NBA, according to the Detroit News.

Former No. 1 overall recruit Harry Giles, who was expected to be a lottery pick heading into the 2016-17 season, also signed Thursday with the Sacramento Kings. The No. 20 overall pick will earn $10.6 million in the next four years.

Jackson, a one-and-done guard picked No. 31 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans, remains the lone Blue Devil draftee unsigned by his NBA team.

But another former Duke standout, Marshall Plumlee, was waived by the New York Knicks Friday to make room for Tim Hardaway Jr., who signed a $71-million deal with the team. The 7-foot center averaged 1.9 points per game in 21 contests with New York last season. 

This week in Duke history: Longest professional baseball doubleheader ever played on East Campus

They say baseball takes too long these days. Good thing you weren’t around on July 5, 1915!

That day, the second half of a minor-league doubleheader brought the total of innings played that day between the Durham Bulls and Raleigh Capitals to 34.5. The two teams played the first game in Raleigh before moving to Duke’s Hanes Field on East Campus for the second game. 

The doozy of a day set the all-time record for length of a doubleheader in American professional baseball, according to Philip J. Lowry's "Baseball's Longest Games."

But that leaves a few questions to answer.

First: What was minor league baseball doing on East Campus?

That’s where the Bulls played before they found a home at the Durham Athletic Park downtown, where they played until 1994. They competed at Hanes Field from 1913 to 1917 and 1920 to 1926.

Second: Why did the games take so long? 

The games could have taken even longer. They lasted from 10 a.m. to the early evening according to the News & Observer.

But apparently, to end an argument about a dropped fly ball that created a “rhubarb” between the teams—including the immortal Connie Mack's son, Capitals manager Earle Mack—the umpire decided to call it quits with the game tied at two. The first part of the double-header lasted 14 innings, and the second 20 1/2.

Is Hanes Field named after the founder of Hanes underwear?

That may be a leading question, but it is true! His name was John Wesley Hanes, and he was a former Duke student from after the Civil War.

Did anything else happen at Hanes Field that was cool?

It’s where the Duke football team used to play, and also where the athletic-related sorority Delta Phi Rho put initiates through some traumatizing tasks... at least for the young male students on campus who could hear their cries from their dorm rooms.

It might have been easier for them to sleep, though, after watching a full day of baseball between the Bulls and Capitals.

This week in Duke history: Krzyzewski courted by the Lakers

Although Duke basketball has recently seen many players make the jump to the pros, the NBA perhaps was never more directly connected to the Blue Devils' fate as in the summer of 2004.

On July 1, 2004, news broke that the Los Angeles Lakers offered Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski a five-year, $40-million contract to replace Phil Jackson as head coach of the defending Western Conference champions. Lakers brass later said they knew courting Krzyzewski was essentially a shot in the dark. 

"I don't think anybody who was close enough to it or follows college basketball—even NBA basketball, for that matter—thought that it wasn't a remote possibility,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said at the time. 

Even though he said Krzyzewski "would have been a wonderful coup for our organization and the city of Los Angeles," Kupchak already offered the job to North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, who declined.

But according to then-athletic director Joe Alleva, the Lakers and Duke's longtime head coach were in "serious discussions.” Krzyzewski admitted that the NBA was a nice fit due to his increasing age, and he also had a strong relationship with Kobe Bryant dating back to when Krzyzewski was recruiting the Philadelphia native in the mid-1990s.

When the news broke that Krzyzewski had received the offer, students and faculty campaigned heavily for the head coach to stay with the Blue Devils. Students gathered in Krzyzewskiville to set up a tent, start chants and form a "K."

Among the campaigners was a prominent new administrator: Richard Brodhead. In his first day as the university's president, Broadhead took a megaphone and pleaded for Krzyzewski to stay.

Brodhead—who is stepping down Friday after 13 years—and Alleva also took Krzyzewski out to dinner that week, and the rest is history. After hearing offers from the Boston Celtics in 1990 and Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat in 1994, Krzyzewski is here to stay at Duke for the remainder of his coaching career.

Former Blue Devil Luke Kennard is dating reality TV star Savannah Chrisley

When Luke Kennard heard his name called as the No. 12 pick in the NBA Draft, reality TV fans may have recognized one familiar face sharing the moment with him and his family.

Savannah Chrisley, a star on the USA Network show "Chrisley Knows Best," confirmed that she is in a relationship with Kennard on Instagram Thursday night.

And we're off!! Today's the where it all changes!!! #nbadraft (Dress, Heels, and bag...all Gucci) @gucci

A post shared by Savannah Faith Chrisley (@savannahchrisley) on

Chrisley, 19, has gained fame from the show that centers around her father, wealthy real estate mogul Todd Chrisley, and his family. She has more than a million followers on Instagram and ended a lengthy relationship with musician Blaire Hanks in January before she was briefly linked to Memphis Grizzlies guard Chandler Parsons later in the winter.

Kennard, who will turn 21 Saturday, appears to be enjoying life as a celebrity, and at least we'll know he has somebody to impress if he continues his habit of adjusting his hair when he is on the floor for the Detroit Pistons.

Krzyzewski to ring opening bell at Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday in honor of Emily K Center

Before the NBA Draft begins Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski is making the most of his trip to New York.

Krzyzewski will ring the Nasdaq Opening Bell at the stock exchange in honor of the Emily K Center and all first-generation college students at 9:15 a.m. The event will be streamed live on Nasdaq's Facebook page.

The Emily K Center, named after Krzyzewski's mother, was founded by the head coach in 2006 and helps low-income students in Durham get to college. Every graduating high school senior that went through the "Scholars to College" program last year will attend college, with one going to Pennsylvania and becoming the first student in the program ever to attend an Ivy League school.

This week in Duke history: Olympic torch travels to Durham

It was a day of remarkable pride for city, country—and university.

On June 23, 1996, Duke track and field head coach Al Buehler reunited with former N.C. Central head coach LeRoy Walker to light the Olympic cauldron twice in Durham on its way to Atlanta for the Summer Olympics the following month. Buehler stood for more than a minute with the torch in front of the Duke Chapel, greeted by more than a thousand onlookers and "with the chapel bells playing the Olympics' theme song," according to The Chronicle.

The torch came to Durham at the request of Walker, who was then president of the U.S. Olympic Committee and had been the Eagles' head coach for 28 years from 1945 to 1974. He and Buehler developed a relationship during Buehler’s 60 years at Duke, as the Blue Devil coach let N.C. Central's all-black team practice at Duke’s track in the midst of racial segregation in the United States.

Buehler's accomplishments, in fact, are quite many. He drove Tommie Smith and John Carlos back from the Olympic Village to the airport at the 1968 Games after they were kicked out of the residential area following their historic Black Power salute for their respective first- and third-place finishes in the 200-meter dash.

Buehler was a coach or manager with Team USA at the 1972, 1984 and 1988 Olympics, and he coached 17 Blue Devils to All-American selections as head coach. The running trail around the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club is named after him.

Buehler also taught classes as a faculty member, and is widely considered as one of the best educators Duke has seen. “Al Buehler is the best teacher-coach in intercollegiate sports,” Blue Devil men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said in 2012.

Buehler's life was documented in a critically-acclaimed 2011 documentary produced by Grant Hill, “The Coach Buehler Story." Even after watching the movie, it would be hard for one to imagine a moment sweeter than how Buehler felt on the morning of June 23, 1996.