After nearly two years of waiting, Quinn Cook finally got the call from an NBA team and signed a ...

Duke in the NBA: Irving says Earth is flat, Cook signs NBA contract

A few former Blue Devils were busy during All-Star Weekend and are now ready for the stretch run of the regular season.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Irving made headlines this past week not for his play on the court during the NBA All-Star Weekend, but rather for his confident assertion that the Earth, contrary to popular belief, is flat. The former lottery pick guard first spoke up about the issue during an interview on the podcast "Road Trippin' with RJ & Channing," and then repeated his claim on ESPN later in the week. 

The story resulted in widespread mockery of the Cavs guard, who lost the NBA 3-point competition to Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon in a bonus-round shootout last Saturday. Irving also impressed in the All-Star game, going 8-of-12 from the field for 22 points, though the Western Conference edged the East 192-182.

It was Irving’s off-court commentary, however, that overshadowed his stellar All-Star weekend. People from Neil deGrasse Tyson to Duke physics professor Mark Kruse weighed in on the matter, with Kruse telling USA Today he appreciated that Irving, who played in 11 games during his one year a Duke, was willing to question things, but that in this case it was unproductive. Tyson suggested that Irving stick to basketball, or else be launched into space with fellow flat-Earth believers.

A day after Irving's comments caused quite the stir, he laughed that his comments had become a "social phenomenon." It remains unclear whether Irving actually believes the Earth is flat or if he just wanted to mess with the media all along.

Quinn Cook, Dallas Mavericks

After a year and a half of tearing up the NBA Development League, taking home the D-League Rookie of the Year award last season and winning the MVP of the league's All-Star Game last week, Cook finally got called up to the NBA for the first time Friday. The Mavericks signed the captain of Duke's 2015 national champions to a 10-day contract, and Cook could get a chance to make his career debut soon with Dallas playing four games in the next week. 

Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers

Okafor and Ingram, Duke’s most heralded one-and-done prospects from the 2015 and 2016 drafts, respectively, each were chosen to play on the U.S. Team in the NBA’s annual Rising Stars Challenge. Okafor contributed 10 points in 14 minutes of play in addition to grabbing two rebounds, and Ingram recorded four points in 16 minutes and corralled three boards in a losing effort for Team USA. The leading scorer in the Americans’ 150-141 loss was Okafor’s college rival, former Wisconsin standout Frank Kaminsky, who had 33 points on 75 percent shooting from the field.

For Okafor, yesterday’s trade deadline came and went without any news, a surprise considering how much his name had come up in trade discussions in recent weeks. Instead, the 76ers sent big man Nerlens Noel to the Mavericks, meaning Okafor will remain a part of "The Process” for at least the rest of the season.

Seth Curry, Dallas Mavericks

Curry poured in a career-high 31 points on 13-of-17 shooting in the Mavericks' 97-84 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, continuing to make his mark on a subpar Dallas team. The 6-foot-2 guard is one of seven Mavericks averaging double figures in scoring and is shooting better than 40 percent from long range. After playing just 48 combined games for four different teams with nine career starts entering the season, Curry has made 52 appearances and 24 starts for the Mavericks.

J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers

Redick has struggled in the month of February. In the last month, shooting just 34.8 percent from the floor for by far his worst monthly shooting percentage of the year. He is also averaging more than three points less than his season average in February, though he has been better during the Clippers’ last six games, draining multiple triples in each of them. Although he has proven already this season he is still a reliable sharpshooter from beyond the arc, he will need to get out of his current shooting slump for the Clippers to make a late push up the Western Conference standings without star point guard Chris Paul.

Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz

The Jazz stayed pat for the most part at the trade deadline yesterday, but they received one boost free of charge when Hood returned to the lineup Friday after missing seven games with a LCL sprain. The third-year shooting guard scored just three points on 1-of-9 shooting in his return, but Utah still beat the Milwaukee Bucks on the road 109-95. Before his injury, Hood was averaging 13.7 points per game for the Jazz, who currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference.

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