Cash, Skura, Edwards headline preseason watch lists for Duke football

Duke opens the season Sept. 3 at Tulane—a Thursday night game to help kick off the college football slate. The primetime slot is the Blue Devils' second Thursday night game in as many years, a new trend for a program that had endured many long seasons prior to its current string of three consecutive bowl trips.

Another growing trend: a slew of Duke players continue to be named to national award watch lists and preseason All-ACC teams.

Eight Blue Devils were bestowed preseason recognition as the team prepares for fall camp with their season opener a month away. The 9:30 p.m. kickoff against the Green Wave will be the first opportunity for many of them to begin their campaigns for consideration.

Among watch lists for defensive players, it's hard to find one that does not include redshirt senior safety Jeremy Cash. The former Ohio State transfer picked up preseason All-ACC honors, along with a first-team All-America selection by Phil Steele and second-team nods from Sporting News, Lindy's Sports and Athlon Sports... Read more

Jahlil Okafor rejects young fan's jump shot at summer event

During his one year in Durham, Jahlil Okafor racked up several highlight-reel blocks as he went toe-to-toe with some of the best big men in the country.

Saturday, he added another legendary block to his resume—except this time the victim was a young fan, not another 7-foot college player.

While participating in the Philadelphia 76ers' Beach Bash event in Avalon, N.J., Okafor had a huge size advantage on some of his competition, and he used it to his benefit. The reigning ACC Player of the Year must have missed the memo to go easy on the young fans in attendance, dishing out a harsh rejection of this attempted jump shot.

Okafor—who was Read more

Duke in the MLB: Jones throws out first pitch, Stroman excited by trade

A few months ago, former Duke point guard Tyus Jones handed out one of his trademark assists to Kevin Garnett, feeding the Big Ticket for the ceremonial first pitch of a Minnesota Twins game.

Thursday night, Jones returned to Target Field for another first pitch appearance—but this time he called his own number.

The Apple Valley, Minn., native and newly minted Minnesota Timberwolves point guard took the mound wearing a No. 1 Twins jersey—a change of pace for Blue Devil fans who became accustomed to his No. 5 during last year's national championship season. Jones made it look easy on the hill, firing a strike to Twins catcher Joe Mauer.

Duke football heading into fall camp with high expectations

As has been the case in recent years, the Blue Devils are beginning the season with a chip on their shoulder—and they would not want it any other way.

After graduating the team’s top offensive threats in Jamison Crowder and Anthony Boone and losing defensive leader Kelby Brown to a season-ending ACL tear, Duke begins summer camp next Wednesday looking for new faces to fill the voids. The Blue Devils boast experienced running backs and will have another weapon under center in new starting quarterback—and previous short-yardage specialist—Thomas Sirk.

That was not enough to sway the minds of the voters at last week's ACC Kickoff event in Pinehurst, N.C., where Duke was pegged to finish fourth in the Coastal Division behind Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami. But that has not dented the Blue Devils' own expectations.

“We all have high expectations for this season,” Sirk said. “Ultimately our goal is to win the Coastal side, win the ACC championship and win our bowl game. We’re not going to be content with where we are at—ever... Read more

David Cutcliffe talks Duke football during ACC football "car wash" at ESPN

Kevin Shamieh / The Chronicle

With a trio of bowl appearances highlighting one of the most successful three-year spans in Duke football history, head coach David Cutcliffe knows his Blue Devils are starting to gain attention on the national stage.

Cutcliffe had another chance to showcase his program's steady improvement Tuesday when he joined the other ACC head coaches in the conference's ESPN "car wash"—a slew of appearances on various ESPN platforms.

The 2013 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year made an appearance live from Bristol, Conn., during the 10 a.m. edition of SportsCenter. During the segment, Cutcliffe talked about the next step for the Duke program and the importance of continuing to improve rather than sustaining the Blue Devils' most recent run of success.

As he prepares for his eighth season as the head coach in Durham, Cutcliffe offered promise that there might not be much of a drop-off in Duke's play this season despite graduating the program's second-winningest senior class since 1944 following last season's Sun Bowl loss to Arizona State... Read more

Recruiting Roundup: Duke extends two more offers; Giles talks recruitment

Let's start this week with the Blue Devils latest offer to a prospect in the Class of 2016. Forward Wenyen Gabriel became the latest junior to hold an offer from the reigning national champions and took to Twitter to express his gratitude.

The 6-foot-9 power forward is the 84th-ranked recruit in the 2016 ESPN 100. Although the Wilbraham, Mass., native's low ranking may surprise some, Gabriel has been praised on the AAU circuit as one of the most improved players this summer and his ranking is likely to rise over time.

Moreover, Gabriel is likely a four-year player which could allow him to contribute as a seasoned veteran later in his Duke career... Read more

Azura Stevens captures FIBA U19 gold medal as Team USA tops Russia

Jesús Hidalgo / The Chronicle

When Azura Stevens steps back on campus in August, she will have one more accolade to add to an already impressive list: gold medalist.

The Blue Devil sophomore started Sunday's gold medal game at the FIBA U19 World Championship, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds to help the Americans outlast Russia 78-70 in Chekhov, Russia. The 6-foot-6 forward finished 7-of-13 from the floor—including 2-of-3 from behind the arc—to help Team USA capture its sixth consecutive gold medal.

Playing on its home soil, Russia led 21-19 after the first quarter—a margin that could have been much larger if not for the play of Stevens. The forward kept the Americans close by racking up 10 of her 18 points during the period. The Russians led by as many as eight early in the second quarter before the United States mounted a comeback. South Carolina sophomore A'ja Wilson led the charge, finishing with a record 30 points and eight rebounds to fuel the Americans. The versatile Wilson was named the tournament's most valuable player... Read more

Stevens, United States beat Salvadores, Spain to reach FIBA U19 gold medal game

Emma Loewe / The Chronicle

For the second time in a week, future Duke teammates Azura Stevens and Angela Salvadores met on opposite sides of the floor, on the other side of the world—this time with a trip to the gold medal game on the line.

Once again, the United States came out on top.

Stevens posted 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks as the Americans established a double-digit lead in the second quarter before pulling away late to defeat Salvadores' Spanish squad 80-65 in the semifinals of the FIBA U19 World Championship in Chekhov, Russia. The United States will take on the host nation, Russia, Sunday at 1:15 p.m. for the gold medal.

Salvadores stuffed the stat sheet once again for Spain, continuing to show why she was ranked fifth in the Class of 2015 by ESPN and named the 2014 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year. The 5-foot-10 floor general finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but went just 7-of-23 from the floor. After a rough time handling the ball Read more

Cash, Skura named to Preseason All-ACC team by media

Khloe Kim / The Chronicle

With fall camp just over a week away, two of Duke football's most accomplished seniors were recognized by the media.

Both safety Jeremy Cash and center Matt Skura received the most votes amongst the 163 media members at their respective positions and were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team. The Blue Devils were one of only four teams to have both an offensive and defensive member named to the team.

Cash, who has been one of the most dynamic players in the Blue Devil secondary during the last two seasons, receives his second straight Preseason All-ACC selection. His selection to the team comes as no surprise as he received All-America honors in 2013 and 2014. The Miami native stuffed the stat sheet last season, with 111 tackles, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and a pair of interceptions.

Cash is on the watch list for the Bednarik Award—awarded annually to the top player in college football—and the Jim Thorpe Award—given to the top defensive back... Read more

Ingram shows off hops as he soars above backboard

As usual, there will be no shortage of storylines around the Blue Devils this season as they look to repeat as champions after once again reeling in the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

But none may be more exciting than the tantalizing potential of five-star recruit Brandon Ingram.

The 6-foot-8 forward flashed a bit of jaw-dropping athleticism when he jumped above the backboard during practice Wednesday. As Ingram took flight, his freshmen spectators could do nothing but look on in awe.

It's safe to say that Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff will look to do everything possible to take advantage of their freshman's athletic abilities this season.