Nolan Smith joins D-League affiliate of Philadelphia 76ers

Nolan Smith is one step closer to getting back in the NBA.

The former Blue Devil guard was acquired by the Delaware 87ers—the Development League affiliate of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers—Wednesday afternoon, as announced by the team. Smith had been playing for Galatasaray Liv Hospital in the Turkish League, but parted ways with the club at the end of October after a towel-throwing incident that drew the ire of Galatasary head coach Ergin Ataman.

A national-title winning guard in his four years in Durham, Smith has had a turbulent start to his professional career. After being selected 21st overall by Portland in the 2011 NBA draft, the 6-foot-2 guard made 44 appearances in his first season with the Trail Blazers, averaging 3.8 points per game... Read more

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Furman

Brianna Siracuse / The Chronicle

After five wins in nine nights, No. 4 Duke gets back in action Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 5 p.m. tilt against Furman. Before every Blue Devil contest this season, The Chronicle will select a player from each team who could be the critical piece to the puzzle:

Duke: guard Rasheed Sulaimon

Sulaimon has yet to have a breakout game offensively this season, averaging 4.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. The strong performances of Quinn Cook and freshmen Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor have limited Sulaimon’s opportunities to score, but the Houston native has still contributed to the vaunted Blue Devil offense with his ability to break down defenses off the dribble and make passes to open teammates.

During his freshman campaign, Sulaimon showcased the offensive and defensive prowess that made him a top high school recruit. With senior Seth Curry hobbled with shin splints, Sulaimon often filled a key role as Duke's leading backcourt scorer... Read more

The key three: Duke basketball vs. Furman

After successfully claiming the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic championship, No. 4 Duke will head home Wednesday to face Furman at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the midst of Thanksgiving break. Three things the Blue Devils will need to do against the Paladins before enjoying the holiday:

Take advantage of a struggling Furman offense

Furman currently ranks 303rd in the nation in points per game with 59.7 and is the third team Duke has played this season that at the moment sits below the 60.5 points per game mark. In both of those previous contests—against Presbyterian and Temple—the Blue Devils were able to come away with at least a 20-point victory. Duke, on the other hand, boasts the 13th-highest scoring offense in the country, averaging 89.4 points per game. Furman will be trying to desperately to keep pace with the frenetic Blue Devil offense and Duke will need to keep the Paladins uncomfortable in their own end and force them to commit turnovers... Read more

Stock Watch: Captain Cook trending up after CVC Classic MVP honors

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

Quinn Cook: The freshmen have gotten all the attention so far this season, but Cook and junior captain Amile Jefferson are the engines making the 5-0 No. 4 Blue Devils go so far this season. Cook is leading the team in scoring with 17.0 points per game and has already made 17 3-pointers this season and is shooting 48.6 percent from downtown. More importantly, the Washington, D.C., native has adjusted well to playing off the ball with freshman Tyus Jones and been an extension of the coaching staff on the court... Read more

Former Duke quarterback Thad Lewis to sign with Houston Texans

Welcome back to the NFL, Thaddeus Lewis.

After being cut earlier this season after a poor performance in the preseason, the former Blue Devil standout is poised to sign with the Houston Texans, ESPN's Adam Shefter reported Monday evening.

The Texans are in need of a third-string quarterback after starter Ryan Mallet tore his right pectoral muscle, which may cause him to miss the rest of the season. Thus the need for Lewis, who has worked out for multiple teams including the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams since being cut by the Buffalo Bills Aug. 31. He will back-up veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tom Savage out of Pittsburgh.

Lewis threw for a program-record 10,065 yards as Duke's starting quarterback between 2006 and 2009 and also holds the program record for 2,006 consecutive pass attempts without an interception... Read more

The road to Tampa: Women's basketball update, Week 1

In a week that saw some records snapped and others barely preserved, No. 7 Duke maintained its dominance with an average scoring margin of 32.7 points and at least one double-double in each of its first three games. The Blue Devils’ 83-51 rout of Marquette Sunday began a stretch of four games in eight days that will conclude with a trip to College Station, Texas, when they take on No. 5 Texas A&M Sunday, Nov. 30.

No. 6 Stanford kicked off the week with a shocking overtime upset against No. 1 Connecticut Monday, ending a 47-game wining streak. The Cardinal offense shot 50 percent from beyond the arc, making seven triples with four contributed from the bench. On the other hand, Husky head coach Geno Auriemma rotated just seven players throughout the night, only two of which were able to reach double digits from the field.

Stanford’s undefeated record was snapped just three days later in an overtime loss of its own to No. 10 Texas at home... Read more

Around the ACC: Week 1

1. No. 4 Duke (5-0): Duke made mincemeat of its first two opponents, Presbyterian and Fairfield, as expected, beat No. 19 Michigan State at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, then cruised to a Coaches vs. Cancer Classic title with wins against Temple and Stanford. Freshman and top-recruit Jahlil Okafor has shined for the Blue Devils, averaging 15.8 points per game and 8.0 rebounds.

What impresses about Duke, however, is its tremendous depth. Senior captain Quinn Cook and freshman forward Justise Winslow are averaging 17.0 and 15.4 points per game, respectively and freshman point guard Tyus Jones is averaging 9.2 points per game and 5.0 assists. Duke is proving that they deserve to be ranked No. 4 in the nation, and considered favorites to win the ACC.

2. Miami (4-0): Miami currently stands at 4-0 with wins against Howard, Drexel, Akron and then-No. 8 Florida. The Hurricanes upset Florida in Gainesville, Fla., behind stellar play from junior guard Angel Rodriguez, whose 24 points helped Miami overcome a 15-point deficit in the second half... Read more

Around the ACC: Week 13

No. 1 Florida State and Louisville both held on to secure late-game victories, and Duke was dealt its second straight loss Thursday by North Carolina at Wallace Wade Stadium.

North Carolina 45, No. 25 Duke 20

The Blue Devils dropped their second consecutive game and surrendered the Victory Bell Thursday night with a 45-20 loss against North Carolina at Wallace Wade Stadium. Senior safety Tim Scott set the tone early with a 10-yard fumble return for a touchdown to put the Tar Heels up 14-0 in the first quarter. North Carolina would finish the game with 21 points resulting from Duke’s three turnovers.

Junior quarterback Marquise Williams led the way offensively for the Tar Heels, turning in a complete performance through the air and on the ground. The Charlotte, N.C., native completed 18 of his 27 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 98 yards and two more scores. Running back T.J. Logan added 116 rushing yards and a one-yard touchdown run for the Tar Heels... Read more

Duke women's basketball Player of the Week: Week 1

Lily Coad / The Chronicle

Ka'lia Johnson

Statline: Wednesday vs. Old Dominion: 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in 35 minutes; Sunday vs. Marquette: 4 points on 0-of-5 shooting, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in 30 minutes

The good: Triple-double. Not two words heard very often in Women's basketball and yet Johnson found a way to get it done. In a homecoming for the Virginia native, she was highly efficient, only missing two shots the entire game against Old Dominion. Johnson also shot 67 percent from beyond the arc that game. She ran the offense well as the starting point guard with her 13 assists and was really hustling on defense to get nine defensive rebounds. Although she did not shoot the ball well Sunday, Johnson's leadership and special performance Friday earn her the first player of the week honors of the young season

The bad: Although Johnson brought it big time against Old Dominion on Wednesday, the Duke guard was not heard from often against Marquette Sunday... Read more

Thoughts on the AP Poll: Week 1

Duke off to a fast start with big challenges ahead

The Blue Devils stayed at No. 4 after a strong performance in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic this past weekend in New York. Duke (5-0) took care of a pesky Temple team 74-54 Friday—using tenacious defense on the perimeter to make up for a weak-shooting performance on offense. The Blue Devils then turned in arguably their most complete performance of the season with a 70-59 victory against Stanford Saturday, en route to hoisting the championship trophy.

Earlier in the week, Duke defeated previously 19th-ranked Michigan State 81-71 in the Champions Classic, which further bolstered its case as one of the top teams in the nation. Even more important than Duke’s victories or ranking is the fact that the Blue Devils appear to have fixed two major glaring weaknesses from a season ago—rebounding and defense—with their new freshman class... Read more