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New season, new limits: Okafor lives up to hype as Duke basketball kicks off season with Countdown to Craziness

The Blue Devils got their season started with their annual preseason showcase Countdown to Craziness Friday night. After player introductions, Duke's intrasquad scrimmage featured two 12-minute periods and a dominant performance from freshman center Jahlil Okafor. The 6-foot-11 center scored 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in 24 minutes of action. A brief dunk contest followed the scrimmage, and 7-footer Marshall Plumlee upset Grayson Allen to take the title.

Observations:

  • All of the freshmen showed off some good dance moves during the player introductions, with Justise Winslow using a rehearsed routine to break it down.
  • Junior forward Amile Jefferson and senior point guard Quinn Cook also got creative, having the whole time join them to show off some collective rhythm. Junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon took a selfie of the whole squad dancing at one point.
  • Prized recruits Dennis Smith Jr... Read more

Undrafted rookie Andre Dawkins makes Miami Heat regular season roster

This time last year, Andre Dawkins was preparing for Countdown to Craziness.

Now he's preparing for the NBA regular season.

The deadeye shooter was kept on the Miami Heat's regular season report, according to a Miami Herald report Saturday evening,

In three preseason games, Dawkins averaged 10.3 points per contest. He had 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting—including three 3-pointers—Oct. 24 in a win against the Spurs and had nine points in 12 minutes in Friday's win against Memphis.

With sharpshooters James Jones and Mike Miller leaving Miami this summer to follow LeBron James to Cleveland, the Chesapeake, Va., native landed in the perfect spot after competing for the Heat in summer league and going through training camp with the squad... Read more

Duke in the NBA: Irving continues to dominate as preseason winds down

With the NBA preseason wrapping up and the regular season starting next week, we take a look at how some of the most notable former Blue Devil standouts are faring in the NBA. Check back with the Blue Zone each week for a Duke in the NBA update.

Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks: In seven preseason games so far, the second overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft has averaged 15.1 points and 6.29 rebounds per game. The Bucks hoped he would come in and be an immediate impact. Parker has shown this preseason that he is ready to lead the Bucks as a rookie. With 13 points and six rebounds against the Knicks Oct. 20 and 18 points and 9 rebounds against the Timberwolves on the two days later, Parker has been the offensive weapon the Bucks front office imagined. With only two turnovers over that same span, Parker is committed to not making mistakes. The Bucks will count on Parker at small forward when the season starts next week... Read more

Countdown to Countdown to Craziness: A guide to Saturday night's festivities

The Blue Devils will ring in the 2014-15 season with their sixth annual Countdown to Craziness Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Doors open at 6 p.m., with player introductions for the women's and men's teams scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Following the fanfare, head coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad will take the floor for a 24-minute scrimmage, fans' first opportunity to see Duke's highly-touted recruiting class in action. The evening concludes with a dunk contest at around 9:30 p.m.

The Chronicle's men's basketball beat writers get your countdown to Countdown started with a Q&A:

Who will have the best introduction?

Daniel Carp: Justise Winslow. He’s a freshman who is quick to crack a smile and has been entertaining Duke fans with his larger-than-life Twitter persona since before he committed to the Blue Devils... Read more

Duke football midseason report: Special teams

With the Blue Devils preparing for their next Coastal Division test at Pittsburgh Nov. 1, we break down how Duke's special teams unit has performed this season and keys going forward. This week, The Blue Zone has given a breakdown of the Blue Devils' offense, defense and now special teams as they head down the stretch of the regular season.

Three key stats:

26.2: The kickoff return unit averages 26.2 yards per return, good for second in the ACC. With safety DeVon Edwards and running back Shaquille Powell usually back deep on returns, the Blue Devils have a field position advantage when their returners get a chance and opposing kickers aren't able to boot kicks deep into the end zone for touchbacks. Duke's kickoff return unit was one of the keys to last season's magical run to the ACC championship game, and could provide more big plays if given the opportunity.

100%: Kicker Ross Martin is 10-of-10 on field goals this year and boasts the best field goal percentage in the ACC... Read more

Duke football midseason report: Defense

With the Blue Devils preparing for their next Coastal Division test at Pittsburgh Nov. 1, we break down how Duke's defense has performed this season and keys going forward. This week, The Blue Zone will break down all three phases of the game, so check back tomorrow for the update on the Blue Devil special teams unit.

Three key stats:

1.6: The Blue Devils have had a tough time generating a pass rush so far this season. Only generating 1.6 sacks per game, the defensive line is not getting to the quarterback like it should be. Injuries and inconsistency have plague the group that has had to rely on Duke's linebackers and secondary for support near the line of scrimmage. One issue is that most ACC offensive lines outweigh the Blue Devil front four, which only averages 268 pounds and is undersized for a college defensive line. Duke will likely have to generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks in the latter half of the season to clinch another division title... Read more

Duke football midseason report: Offense

With the Blue Devils preparing for their next Coastal Division test at Pittsburgh Nov. 1, we break down how Duke's offense has performed this season and keys going forward. This week, The Blue Zone will break down all three phases of the game, so check back tomorrow for the update on the Blue Devil defense.

Three key numbers:

33.6: The Blue Devils are averaging 33.6 points per game, which is good for fifth in the ACC and 44th in the FBS. A balanced offensive attack has allowed them to put points on the board and the team has scored 40 or more points three times this season. The offense benefitted from playing a weak non-conference schedule early in the season, as it has only averaged 20.3 points per game against ACC opponents.

218.0: Led by running backs Josh Snead, Shaquille Powell, Joseph Ajeigbe and Shaun Wilson, the ground game has averaged 218.0 yards per game, paving the way for the Duke offense so far this season... Read more

Duke football to face Notre Dame 4 times between 2016 and 2023

A handful meetings with one of the nation's most storied football programs are on the horizon.

Duke will face independent Notre Dame three more times between 2019 and 2023, in addition to game on September 24, 2016 that is already scheduled to be played in South Bend, Ind., the Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday. The Blue Devils will host the Fighting Irish in 2019 and 2023 and will travel to South Bend in 2020 in addition to the already scheduled matchup in 2016.

The two opponents aren't exactly strangers on the gridiron. They have faced off four times since 1958, with Notre Dame owning a 3-1 record between the two teams. Duke lost their last matchup with the Fighting Irish 28-7 in 2007.

In that game, current Chicago Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen threw for 194 yards and three touchdowns as Notre Dame built a 28-0 lead in the fourth quarter, one that it would not relinquish. A six-yard rushing touchdown by reserve quarterback Zach Asack was Duke's only score of the game... Read more

Former Duke standout Nolan Smith likely to be cut from Turkish squad after squabble with head coach

Former Blue Devil standout Nolan Smith is likely to be waived by Turkish squad Galatasaray, according to reports Tuesday.

The former Portland Trail Blazer recently got into a confrontation with his head coach, Ergin Ataman, after being taken out of the game. Smith threw his towel in frustration in the direction of Ataman, who followed the 6-foot-2 guard to the bench and started pointing his finger at him,


After the incident, Smith was sent to play with the squad's youth team, and recently put out this apology on Twitter.

Duke football standout Tomlinson continues reeling in national accolades, quartet of Blue Devils earn conference honors

After a 6-1 start that has showcased the Blue Devils' talent in all three phases of the , a handful of Duke players are reeling in midseason awards.

A week after guard Laken Tomlinson was named to the CBSSports midseason All-America second team, he is making headlines again after being named to the Phil Steele All-America second team. He was also named an All-ACC performer by Steele in addition to the national honors.

The redshirt senior has anchored an offensive line that is tied for first in the FBS with only 0.57 sacks allowed per game and 2.86 tackles for loss allowed per game. The line has also paved the way for a Blue Devil four-headed rushing attack that is averaging 218 yards per game... Read more