Several ex-Blue Devils have made headlines in the NBA conference semifinals, but only Kyrie Irving made a significant impact on the court.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Despite a lackluster shooting effort, Irving still helped lead the Cavaliers to a sweep of the Toronto Raptors to vault the reigning NBA champions back into the Eastern Conference Finals.
The shots have not been falling quite as frequently for Irving thus far this postseason, shooting just 28.1 percent from 3-point range and 40 percent from the field, nearly 8 percent worse than his regular season average. Read more »
Duke is still waiting on decisions from its top targets for next year's class—five-stars Trevon Duval, Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba—but the Blue Devils are starting to fill out the rest of their roster after losing more than half their players.
Jordan Goldwire announced his commitment to Duke via Twitter Monday night. The 6-foot-1 guard flew under the radar in the recruiting world—he was not rated by ESPN or 247Sports. Goldwire was also considering Eastern Kentucky.
Duke's former stars have struggled to make a consistent impact in the postseason thus far, but several 2016-17 Blue Devils have made waves on draft boards.
Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, Harry Giles and Frank Jackson
The early entry candidates for the 2017 NBA Draft have been released, with several Duke players finding themselves listed high on potential draft boards.
Jayson Tatum is at the top of the list for the Blue Devils, No. 4 overall behind Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson in DraftExpress' rankings. Following Tatum for Duke is Kennard at No. 20 and then Giles at No. 27. Read more »
The reason for the 1984 gymnastics coach, however, may top the list. To boot, it was a prelude to the ending of his program just two weeks later.
On April 24, 1984, the Duke Athletic Council unanimously decided to terminate the women’s gymnastics program at Duke, instead creating the women’s indoor and outdoor track and cross country teams, which increased the number of women's sports at Duke to 10. Although they could not continue to play their sport, the gymnasts still received scholarships through graduation.
The decision caught many gymnasts off guard, according to a Chronicle article written that summer. Read more »
If Stephen Curry and former Blue Devil Seth Curry had a sibling rivalry in basketball, Stephen would have the better of it so far as a two-time MVP and 2015 NBA champion.
But Seth has started to inch closer to his brother as a shooter, and the two put their talents to the test in a commercial that was released last week for the movie "Despicable Me 3" and has aired regularly in the NBA playoffs.
In the commercial, the Curry brothers sit in the office of a fictional Dr. Collins, a sibling therapist, and toss crumpled up tissues into the trash can while Dr. Collins waits to start their meeting. The commercial then cuts to twin brothers Gru and Dru from "Despicable Me" playfully fighting before returning to the therapist's office, where the Currys are still ignoring Dr. Collins and he groans that he has to see the Gasol brothers—All-Stars Marc and Pau—next.
Seth Curry had a breakout season last year with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 12.8 points per game and shooting 42.5 percent from beyond the arc. His shooting percentages were slightly better than Stephen's, though Stephen was generally more closely guarded by opposing defenses. Read more »
Most of the former Blue Devils in the postseason have struggled to make an impact thus far in the first round.
J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers
With the series between the Clippers and Utah Jazz tied at a game apiece, there have been several notable storylines already. One of them has been Redick’s near absence on offense after he averaged 15.0 points per game in the regular season. Through two games, the former 3-point assassin for the Blue Devils has not looked like his usual self. Redick has gone just 1-for-5 from deep thus far in the series, and is shooting just 38.5 percent from the field with a grand total of 11 points.
Although Redick’s teammates have expressed that they are not concerned about the veteran’s performance, Redick himself was clearly frustrated on the court during the Clippers’ eight-point win to even the series. However, this was likely more a result of the officiating crew, which whistled him for five fouls. Looking ahead to Game 3 Friday night in Utah, the Clippers have said they will try to run Redick off more screens to get open looks and force the Jazz to commit to him defensively and open up other offensive options. If Redick can get hot in the next game or two, the Clippers will be a tough out this early in the postseason. Read more »
As decision time rapidly approaches, Duke's coaches are making their final pitches to several blue-chip recruits and renewing their involvement with the top players in the Class of 2018.
Meanwhile, the recruits, while considering their options and deciding when to make their announcements on where they will go to school, have been participating in national showcases—the most prominent one being the Jordan Brand Classic, which took place April 14 at the Barclays Center in New York.
In ESPN’s final top 100, Trevon Duval—the top-ranked point guard—found himself ranked No. 5 overall. At the Jordan Brand Classic, Duval shot 2-of-3 from downtown and scored eight points to go along with four assists for the East Team, which lost 124-116. With Grayson Allen announcing his return to Duke for his senior season and Frank Jackson expected to remain for a sophomore campaign, the Blue Devil backcourt would be experienced, talented and lethal with the addition of Duval.
Duval is a natural floor general, a role the Blue Devils sorely missed last season. Duval’s handles and court vision paired with Jackson’s explosiveness and Allen’s shooting will spread the floor and make Duke hard to defend. Gary Trent Jr, No. 7 in the ESPN 100, who has already committed to the Blue Devils, would likely provide much-needed depth off the bench. Trent Jr. chipped in six points and three assists in the Jordan Brand Classic for the West Team, struggling from the field at 16.7 percent shooting. Read more »
It was bad enough for Duke baseball that the team was 9-27 late in the 2005 season.
Then The Chronicle broke a story that the team’s head coach, Bill Hillier, had implicitly encouraged his players to use steroids during his six-year tenure.
The Chronicle ran an editorial on April 15, 2005 demanding the firing of Hillier after two former players told The Chronicle they had taken steroids during the summer of 2002. One of the players who spoke to the Chronicle, Aaron Kempster, attempted suicide in the fall of 2002. He said mood swings induced by the steroids he was taking likely led to the incident.
During Hillier’s time at the helm, the team went 121-214 and saw 22 of its players leave early, with 12 transfers. Six former players estimated that between four and 12 baseball players took steroids at some point. Read more »
Falsifying achievement in the sport. Allegations of a paper class for athletes. Sorry Duke fans, this is not referring to North Carolina, but to Blue Devil swimming in 1978.
On April 10, 1978, Duke head swimming coach Bill Barton resigned amid evidence that he had falsified the times of his swimmers to help send them to the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women swim meet, which Duke had hosted. Several members of the team spoke with The Chronicle in an April 13 article that year.
In response, many former swimmers and colleagues admitted that the practice was common around the sport, not limited to Duke, perhaps raising questions about the state of the sport at the time.
As for the paper class, Barton taught a full-credit class—Physical Education 191—open only to juniors and seniors that was considered an independent study class. The only requirement for the class, according to the article, was one paper, and a number of freshman and sophomore swimmers were admitted to the class. Read more »
The Blue Zone takes a look at the former Blue Devils who are healthy and ready to contribute for playoff teams.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
The regular season wrapped up Wednesday with the Cavaliers in an unfamiliar spot—second place. The defending NBA champions lost the top seed to the Boston Celtics after a lackluster second half of the season and have a losing record since the All-Star break. Although most analysts assume Cleveland should have little trouble dispatching Paul George and the seventh-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round, the Cavaliers are going to need Irving to step up and help Lebron as the duo look to make it back to the Finals for the third year in a row.
Irving been a mainstay in the Cavaliers' lineup since the All-Star break alongside Kevin Love and Lebron James, who have played significant minutes during the past two months. Read more »