Duke in the NBA: Rookies struggle but journeyman Lance Thomas makes big splash

With the regular season finally underway, we take a look at how some former Blue Devil standouts are faring in the NBA. Check back each week for a Duke in the NBA update.

Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks: In his much-anticipated NBA debut, the second overall pick struggled, scoring eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and grabbing only four rebounds. His struggles on the defensive end were already on display as he posted a team-worst plus/minus of -13 as Milwaukee fell 108-106 to the Bobcats in the opener.

Friday against the 76ers, Parker recorded his first double-double, scoring 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting and adding 10 boards in the 93-81 win. Although the Bucks' offense has revolved around guards Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo so far, head coach Jason Kidd will need much better production from his star rookie, especially on offense, in order to sneak into the playoff conversation... Read more

Third and Goal: Duke football vs. Pittsburgh

After its second bye week of the season, Duke travels north to take on the star-laden Pittsburgh Panthers in a game with major ACC Coastal Division implications. Kickoff is 12:00 p.m. at Heinz Field. Here are the keys to this afternoon’s game:

Rely on the run game

Similarly to Duke, Pittsburgh’s biggest weakness this year has been its run defense. In each of its four losses, the Panthers have given up at least 155 yards on the ground and last week against Georgia Tech, they gave up a whopping 465 rushing yards against the Yellow Jacket spread option attack. Their struggles have them ranked ninth in the ACC in rush defense, a very different story than last year when star defensive tackle Aaron Donald clogged up the middle on a weekly basis.

Relying on the run game will allow Duke to move the ball down the field effectively and keep Pittsburgh’s star running back James Conner and wide receiver Tyler Boyd off the field... Read more

Duke basketball ranked 4th in first AP Poll

The first AP Poll of the college basketball season was released Friday, and the Blue Devils once again found themselves near the top of the list.

Duke will begin the season ranked No. 4 in the country, behind top-ranked Kentucky, Arizona and Wisconsin. The Blue Devils had previously been pegged No. 3 by the USA Today Coaches Poll—just ahead of the fourth-ranked Badgers—last week. Duke and Wisconsin will meet Dec. 3 in Madison, Wisc., in a highly-anticipated showdown in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The ACC was well-represented with five ranked teams—the most of any conference—and especially concentrated at the top of the poll, as North Carolina, Louisville and Virginia all cracked the top 10. In addition to its showdown with the Badgers in December, Duke will play its traditional home-and-home with the No. 6 Tar Heels and must travel to tough road environments to take on the No. 8 Cardinals and No. 9 Cavaliers.

For the second consecutive year, head coach Mike Krzyzewski's team will be heavily reliant on newcomers, headlined by No... Read more

X Factor: Duke football vs. Pittsburgh

After becoming bowl-eligible with a 20-13 Oct. 18 win against Virginia, the Blue Devils are looking to seize control in of the ACC Coastal Division with a win against Pittsburgh at noon Saturday at Heinz Field. 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: cornerback Breon Borders

Most teams don't like to throw at Breon Borders. Although he gave up a few deep throws against Georgia Tech and allowed Virginia wide-receiver Miles Gooch to catch a deep pass right before halftime Oct. 18, his production has mostly been quiet this season because teams shy away from him. Last season, he tied a program record with four interceptions as a true freshman, including a pair in the ACC Championship game against Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The Cavaliers attempted to go after Borders, but the Statesville, N.C., native punished quarterback Matt Johns, breaking up three passes, including one in the end zone... Read more

Duke women's basketball ranked No. 7 in preseason AP Poll

New look, same expectations.

Despite losing four starters from last year's squad, the Blue Devils were ranked No. 7 when the Preseason AP Poll was released Thursday. Duke plays Limestone tonight in its first exhibition contest and has been ranked in the preseason top-10 each of the past 15 seasons.

The Blue Devils opened the season with their annual Blue-White scrimmage Sunday and three new faces showed they were ready to step up and fill the void left by the loss of decorated players Chelsea Gray, Haley Peters, Tricia Liston and Alexis Jones.

Redshirt freshman Rebecca Greenwell made her debut with 18 points—all of which came on 3-pointers—freshman Azura Stevens had 16 points and transfer point guard Mercedes Riggs added 13 points and two steals.

The trio and a host of other talented underclassmen will look to rally around three-time All-American center Elizabeth Williams and fellow senior Ka'lia Johnson when the regular season starts Nov. 16 at Alabama.

Duke's talent will be put to the test early and often, as the Blue Devils are slated to take on seven top-15 squads this season and nine top-25 teams in total.

Duke basketball, Okafor honored at annual ACC media day

The preseason accolades continue to roll in for freshman center Jahlil Okafor and Duke basketball.

The Blue Devils—who were ranked No. 3 in the Preseason USA Today Coaches Poll—were picked to win the ACC at the conference's annual "Operation Basketball" media day Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. Duke received 41 of 65 first-place votes and finished with a total of 935 points, 65 more than second-place North Carolina. The Tar Heels received 12 first-place votes.

Conference newcomer Louisville, Virginia and Syracuse rounded out the top five. The three squads joined the Blue Devils and North Carolina in the Preseason USA Today Coaches Poll top 25 and will likely also fare well when the Preseason AP Poll is released Friday with expectations for the conference higher than they have been in a long time.

After dominating Countdown to Craziness Saturday with 27 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes of action, 6-foot-11 center Jahlil Okafor was selected as the ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year... Read more

Touted point guard Derryck Thornton, Jr. narrows list to 10

He wasn't at Countdown to Craziness, but one of Duke's top targets in the class of 2016 announced his top 10 Tuesday and still included the Blue Devils,

Point guard Derryck Thornton, Jr. announced his top 10 to Tuesday afternoon. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard will decide between Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Louisville, Arizona, California, Miami, Southern California, UNLV and N.C. State.

Thornton went on to say this about each school:

Duke: "Coach K is a legendary coach, it's a great education and it's a great national program."

Kentucky: "Coach Cal is a great coach. My ultimate goal is to get to the league and they do a great job helping players get there."

Michigan: "I love the staff - it's a great staff - and all the coaches there are super supportive. I love the style of play and coaching staff."

Louisville: "I have a good connection with some of the coaches there... Read more

Stock Watch: Juwan Thompson, Duke football and Jahlil Okafor trending up as October comes to an end

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has just rung again, meaning it's time for another taking 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

Juwan Thompson: The undrafted rookie, who played offense, defense and special teams at Duke, worked his way onto the Broncos' roster this fall and is seeing meaningful time during the heart of the NFL season. He had a breakout game last Thursday in a 35-21 win against San Diego, rushing seven times for 24 yards and two touchdowns. Although he is still taking second team reps behind starter Ronnie Hillman, he has seen numerous touches during the past three games and is Denver's best option near the goal line... Read more

Duke in the NFL: Thompson, Helfet, Rey excel given more opportunities

With week eight of the NFL season in the books, the Blue Zone takes a look at how three former Blue Devils have excelled on the gridiron in recent weeks.

Juwan Thompson, Denver Broncos: The undrafted free agent has made an immediate impact for the Broncos in the absence of Montee Ball. Thompson rushed seven times for 24 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos 35-21 win over the Chargers Thursday. Thompson has been playing the complementary hammer role to the more elusive Ronnie Hillman. Until Ball returns from injury, Thompson will continue getting the ball at the goal-line. Against the Cardinals in his NFL debut, Thompson only rushed for 15 yards on three carries, but scored a touchdown. He has three touchdowns along with 107 yards on 24 carries in the month of October, despite not even being active in September... Read more

6 prospects attend Countdown to Craziness, Leaf cancels at the last second

Another week for the Blue Devils and it seems another target might crossed Duke off his list. T.J. Leaf, a player discussed here multiple times, decided late last week to skip Countdown to Craziness. Although the exact reasons for his cancellation are not known, it is possible that Leaf may have given a “silent verbal” to Arizona during his official visit there.

A “silent verbal” is when a recruit tells a coach he will come to that school, but does not announce it to the world yet. It is interesting to also note that Billy Donovan, head coach of the Florida Gators, flew to Leaf’s home late last week and may have given a last ditch pitch to convince the big man to go down south... Read more