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Coach K visits Mercer locker room after loss

(03/21/14 11:08pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>You can say what you want about Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, but don't say the man doesn't have class.Directly following the third-seeded Blue Devils' 78-71 loss to 14th seed Mercer in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Krzyzewski visited the Bears' locker room to congratulate the team—which has quickly been dubbed as this year's tournament Cinderella—in person.

Jabari Parker finds a new home

(03/20/14 12:02pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>In his first—and likely only—season with the Blue Devils, Jabari Parker wasted no time becoming one of college basketball's household names. But Parker did not just come to Duke to score 19.3 points per game, learn from head coach Mike Krzyzewski and have a shot at hoisting a national championship trophy. He came to Duke because he wanted to be part of a culture where basketball was celebrated."The people here at Cameron just helps us keep moving," Parker said. "It's something very important to me because I never came from something so important, so big, because in high school a lot of our home fans didn't want to see us succeed."Staying aggressive and attacking the basket has helped Jabari Parker find late-season success.The Chicago native is no stranger to winning championships, guiding his team at Simeon Career Academy to an unprecedented four straight Illinois state championships during his high school career. If the Blue Devils are the ones cutting down the nets in Dallas in three weeks, the only difference for Parker will be the size and shape of the championship trophy he hoists.Winning four state championships and having one of the top college prospects in the country was not enough to drum up major support for the Simeon program. Having a supportive campus culture was one of the main things that led Parker to commit to Duke 14 months ago, but it wasn't until the freshman first arrived on campus that he truly understood what that meant."It was just a selective few that was always supportive of my high school. In all reality, they didn't want to see us achieve," Parker said. "When I'm here I see all the love and support. It's more than just one person—it's about the whole program."Parker didn't waste any time getting the loyal Duke fan base in his corner. He electrified the crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium in his first collegiate game, scoring 22 points in just 23 minutes on 8-of-10 shooting in a blowout win against Davidson. Often double-teamed in the paint, Parker has remained aggressive, finding a way to attack the rim.Seemingly unstoppable through the end of nonconference play, Parker fell back down to earth hard when he played his first ACC games. Rims seemed to become more hostile along with road environments as Parker's efficiency dipped well below the superhuman level Duke fans had become accustomed to seeing.He responded by altering his game. Instead of opting for deep 3-pointers, Parker attacked the basket with the confidence of a senior and once again began to overpower his opponents."He's way more aggressive," said redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood, who alongside Parker has been a primary offensive option for Duke this season. "At the beginning of the year he was hitting all jumpers, and now he's going at people and going in strong. I think he's a bull down low, and he's maturing. His growth has helped our team."Hood said that the freshman got his season back on track in a Jan. 18 blowout win against N.C. State. Parker scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds and three steals in just 26 minutes after failing to top 15 points in each of his first four ACC contests.A proven winner, Parker won four straight state championships at Simeon Career Academy."He was taking it to the rack, he was talking to himself—he was into it," Hood said. "That's when I knew that from here on out, he's going to be there."To Parker, that added maturity came from experiences off the court as well as on it. Parker said that being around high-caliber students in the classroom has helped him become more of a "student of the game," and that his experiences at Duke have aided his personal growth."It just made me think more important, outside of basketball, how great the community is and just focusing on everybody, treating everybody with respect," Parker said. "It's more than just one culture, it's more than just one race. There's so many people out here at Duke, so much diversity. You just learn how to cherish those bonds and relationships."Academically, Parker may still be a freshman. Whatever you do, don't call him that on the court.The Duke forward has made an effort to distance himself from his first-year moniker as his team approaches the NCAA tournament. "I've just left it behind," he said.Parker has taken on a more vocal leadership down the stretch, especially as the Blue Devils made a run in the ACC tournament.After playing a full 34 games and one of the ACC's most grueling conference schedules in history, it is not unfair to say that Parker's experience now expands beyond that of a rookie. When the Blue Devils made a run to the ACC tournament championship game, Parker was often the most vocal Duke player on the floor. "It's really a delight to watch him grow over the season," sophomore forward Amile Jefferson said. "He opens up the floor for his teammates, and he's really just a great person. So it's been a lot of fun playing with him."As he moves forward into his first NCAA tournament and potentially his final games in a Duke uniform, Parker fields countless questions about the legacy he will leave with the Blue Devils. Despite the most successful season by any freshman in Duke history, Parker will not see his No. 1 jersey raised to the rafters anytime soon, regardless of the arguments that can be made for it. That honor is only reserved for Blue Devils who graduate. He knows the way he can be remembered at Duke."The only way you can leave a legacy—you can leave behind memories—is winning a championship," he said.Regardless of whether his collegiate career lasts another three weeks or another three years, Parker is approaching the Big Dance as though any game could be his grand finale."Every game is the last," he said. "Win or lose, you have to play that way."

Duke basketball earns No. 3 seed in Midwest Region

(03/17/14 2:37am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Blue Devils will begin their NCAA tournament journey close to home before facing a treacherous road to the Final Four.Duke (26-8, 13-5 in the ACC) earned the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region of this year's 68-team field. The Blue Devils will take on 14th-seeded Mercer in a second-round matchup at PNC Arena in Raleigh Friday at 12:15 p.m. This year's Midwest Regional semifinal and final will be held in Indianapolis, where the Blue Devils captured the 2010 national championship.The Midwest Region could be the toughest in this year's tournament, headlined by No. 1 seed Wichita State—which enters the Big Dance boasting a perfect 34-0 record. Duke could face a potential Sweet 16 matchup with No. 2 seed Michigan, which the Blue Devils defeated at Cameron Indoor Stadium Dec. 3. The region's No. 4 seed is defending national champion Louisville, which knocked the Blue Devils out in the Elite Eight of last year's tournament.The ACC was represented with six teams in this year's NCAA tournament field. Virginia, which beat Duke Sunday in the championship game of the ACC tournament, earned the No. 1 seed in the East Region, which is based in New York. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are both playing in the South Region, with the Orange earning a No. 3 seed and the Panthers seeded ninth. N.C. State was one of the last four teams to make it into this year's field, earning a No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region.Arizona and Florida also earned No. 1 seeds in the West and South Regions, respectively.

Virginia bests Duke basketball for ACC tournament title

(03/16/14 11:20pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>GREENSBORO, N.C.—In a championship game that pitted the ACC's top scoring offense against the nation's top scoring defense, Virginia proved that defense does, in fact, win championships.The third-seeded Blue Devils fell to top-seeded Virginia 72-63 Sunday at the Greensboro Coliseum in the championship game of the ACC tournament. With the loss, Duke extends its ACC tournament title drought to three years."We weren't able to make the plays that win championships," sophomore forward Amile Jefferson said. "Knowing that we were so close. I still haven't won a championship. That hurts. That hurts a lot, knowing that you were right there."Sophomore Amile Jefferson finished with 11 points on 5-of-7 from the floor, but his Blue Devil teammates left some crucial opportunities at the rim in a loss to Virginia.Shooting just 38.1 percent on the game, Duke (26-8) left enough opportunities at the rim to allow Virginia (28-6) to do what it does best—play with a lead. Boasting one of the nation's most disciplined offenses and physical defenses, the Cavaliers have a knack for making a two-point lead feel like 20."We just didn't finish. The shots that we normally make, we didn't finish," sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon said. "We got the shots that we wanted but we just didn't finish at a high percentage."With the teams knotted at 53-53 down the stretch, Virginia pulled away with a 6-0 run thanks to a backdoor cut by first-team All-ACC selection Malcolm Brogdon, a tip-in by forward Akil Mitchell and a pair of free throws by Anthony Gill. That was all the Cavaliers would need to capture their first ACC tournament title since 1981.The Blue Devils were able to cut the lead to as few as four points with 1:28 remaining, but a flurry of late free throws allowed Virginia to widen its advantage and preserve the victory.Jabari Parker found a groove early in the second half, but Virginia's defense around the stretch prevented him from guiding the Blue Devils to victory.Playing what could be the last ACC game of his collegiate career, Jabari Parker overcame a slow start to take over the second half. The freshman from Chicago finished the game with 23 points and eight rebounds. Parker's aggressiveness was on display throughout, consistently taking on defenders to get to the rim for buckets, but after starting the second half 6-for-8 he finished the game just 1-for-6 down the stretch."He carried us," Sulaimon said. "Jabari is a special, special talent. And what you have to love about him is that when the time arises, he always steps up to the big-time occasion."The game started out as a defensive struggle, with Duke hitting just three of its first 19 attempts from the floor and Virginia going more than eight minutes in the first half without a field goal. Both teams began to find their shooting stroke near the end of the period, trading triples to send the Cavaliers into the locker room with a 28-25 advantage.Rasheed Sulaimon was the lone Blue Devil to foul out, but all five of Duke's starters accumulated four fouls in the contest.The Blue Devils struggled with foul trouble throughout the contest, with all five starters either fouling out or finishing with four fouls. Ultimately, the Cavaliers took 38 attempts at the free-throw line to Duke's 11, but Virginia kept the Blue Devils in the game by shooting just 65.8 percent at the charity stripe."It was little ticky tack grabbing stuff that we can do," junior point guard Quinn Cook said. "We get away with it sometimes in practice but in games... the refs are going to call it."Brogdon hit a number of big foul shots down the stretch for the Cavaliers en route to 23 points.Although the Cavaliers' free-throw shooting did not hurt Duke, foul trouble prevented the Blue Devils from playing physical defense down the stretch and provided Virginia with some easy looks at the basket."It shouldn't affect us, but it can make guys not as aggressive as they were at the beginning just because you don't want to pick up that fourth foul early in the half," Jefferson said. "It knocks us back a little bit, but it really can't."Duke will await its NCAA tournament seeding, which is schedule to be released at 6 p.m. tonight. With the loss, the Blue Devils are likely to be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in this year's 68-team field.

Krzyzewski: 'Our league should get more respect'

(03/16/14 5:36am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>GREENSBORO, N.C.—Barring any significant surprises, the 15-team ACC will likely only get five bids to the NCAA tournament come Selection Sunday. After grinding it out against two conference foes that will likely not be headed to the Big Dance in the conference tournament, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski stuck up for his league's tournament resume.Following his team's 75-67 win against N.C. State in the ACC tournament semifinals, Krzyzewski told Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried that he hopes his team gets into this year's tournament. Krzyzewski contended that N.C. State's 21-13 record and body of work should be enough to warrant the Wolfpack a trip to March Madness."They won at Tennessee," Krzyzewski said. "They probably should have beaten Syracuse twice. I think they’ve played a really good schedule, and they’ve got one of the best players in the country."Although he likely won't be seeing the Wolfpack again until next season, Krzyzewski said that the team's resurgence could have resulted in N.C. State making some noise in the NCAA tournament."They'd be a tough out," he said. "I wouldn't want to play them in the NCAA tournament."Krzyzewski also made cases for Florida State and Clemson to make the NCAA tournament, comparing the quality of the ACC to a smaller conference like the Atlantic 10, which could exceed the ACC's bid total this season."I’ll get in trouble probably for saying it," Krzyzewski said. "Like the Atlantic 10, they’re a really good conference. I hear people saying there are six teams in there. Come on. I mean, they’re good, but put them in our conference and go through the meat grinder that our conference has to go through."As for the reason behind this supposed national confusion, Krzyzewski pointed to the lack of a quantitative system to measure the strength of a conference against another.This is not the first case Krzyzewski has made to get the ACC more bids into this year's NCAA tournament field. During the final weeks of the regular season, Krzyzewski said multiple times in postgame press conferences that he believed the conference deserved seven or eight bids this season, as opposed to the four or five that resident bracketologists have projected."Our league should get more respect," Krzyzewski said after his team's win against the Wolfpack. "The fact that Pitt comes in here and people are saying they have to do something, come on. Come on, man. I don’t get it."

Duke basketball advances to ACC tournament final

(03/16/14 1:34am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>GREENSBORO, N.C.—In homage to N.C. State legend Jim Valvano, Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried had his team practice cutting down the nets before the start of the ACC tournament. To ensure their own chance at trimming the twine, the Blue Devils bucked a recent trend and refused to take their foot off the gas.Third-seeded Duke earned a chance to play for its first ACC tournament title since 2011 by knocking off seventh-seeded N.C. State 75-67 Saturday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum. After a first half in which the teams shot a combined 57.4 percent from the field, it was a revitalized defensive effort that led the Blue Devils to victory."We didn't want to trade baskets. That's what we did in the first half," senior captain Tyler Thornton said. "The second half we were able to make them take tough shots, and that's how we got our stops."After heading into the locker room with a slim 39-38 advantage, the Blue Devils (26-7) held the Wolfpack (21-13) without a field goal for 5:15 early in the second half, using a 13-2 run during that span to open up a 58-47 lead. Tyler Thornton's defensive effort led to this Amile Jefferson dunk, which was one of the key plays of the second half.Thornton, who picked up three first-half fouls, played a crucial role in that spurt, knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing and making an acrobatic defensive play that led to a rim-rattling dunk by sophomore forward Amile Jefferson to give the Blue Devils a nine-point lead, its largest of the game at the time. In his postgame press conference, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski called Thornton's defensive effort "one of the biggest plays of the game.""Plays like that really hurt teams," Jefferson said. "When you're fighting for a ball and the other team has the ball and he just smacks it out and we go and get a dunk... that's really tough. When you see your opponent fighting, risking, putting all that on the line. It's either you're going to fight back or you're going to snap, and Tyler made a huge play." After shooting 6-for-9 in the first half, N.C. State star T.J. Warren managed just 4-for-13 in the second half.Freshman Jabari Parker continued his recent tear by leading the Blue Devils with 20 points on his 19th birthday. After scoring seemingly at will in the first half, ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren managed just eight second-half points, leading the Wolfpack with 21.After shooting 6-of-9 in the first half, the Warren was hampered by consistent double-teams from the Blue Devils in the second period. Duke's defensive communication paid off, and the Wolfpack star finished a meager 10-of-22 from the floor on the game."I think we played more connected on the defensive end," redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood said. "We knew T.J. was going to get his points.... We still gave him some, but I think we did a good job helping each other out, especially in transition."Duke's defensive intensity in the second half helped hold the Wolfpack to just 35.5 percent from the floor after shooting nearly twice that in the first period.Warren was not the only N.C. State player to feel the Blue Devils' added defensive intensity in the second half. After shooting 66.7 percent from the floor in the first half, the Wolfpack only managed a 35.5-percent clip in the final 20 minutes of the contest.N.C. State was able to cut Duke's lead to eight in the final three minutes of the game, but Parker erased all doubt by grabbing an offensive rebound when Hood missed the front end of a one-and-one and flushing it back home.As Hood was occupied with guarding Warren, Duke got an additional offensive spark from its guards. Sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon drove to the bucket aggressively en route to 16 points and junior Quinn Cook was lights out from 3-point range, knocking down 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to finish with 14 points."Quinn stepped in and hit some big shots and did a good job pressuring the ball," Thornton said. "That's what we needed. We just want him to do that for the rest of our games left in the tournament."The Blue Devils will advance to tomorrow's ACC tournament championship game to take on No. 1 seed Virginia, which advanced to the final with a 51-48 win against Pittsburgh earlier Saturday afternoon.

Krzyzewski indicates Hood is NBA bound

(03/15/14 6:57pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>GREENSBORO, N.C.—Mike Krzyzewski has essentially ended any and all rumors of Rodney Hood returning to Duke next season.After the redshirt sophomore sunk a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds left to give his team a 63-62 win against Clemson in the ACC tournament quarterfinals, Krzyzewski lauded the Blue Devil captain for his coachability during his postgame press conference. In the process, the Hall of Fame coach acknowledged the fact that this season would be Hood's first and last in a Duke uniform."I wish we had him for more than one year, because the growth that he's had in this year is terrific, and it's because he wants to be coached and he takes responsibility," Krzyzewski said. "Anybody's who's willing to take responsibility for his or her actions usually does better, and that's what Rodney does."Hood shied away from questions about his NBA future after Duke's win on Senior Night against North Carolina, which would also mark the final game in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Meridian, Miss., native if he enters this year's draft. The forward would be a potential lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft. The latest mock draft from DraftExpress has Hood being selected No. 15 overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Hood is expected to be joined in the lottery by freshman teammate Jabari Parker, who will be a consensus top-five selection.

Hood refuses to let nerves, sickness get the best of him

(03/15/14 6:42pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>GREENSBORO, N.C.—In a bizarre scene, Rodney Hood made his way to the bench just 1:14 in the second half, prompting a stoppage of play. His Duke teammates rose from the bench and huddled around him to shroud their captain from view of the television cameras.Duke trainer Jose Fonseca sprinted an orange Gatorade cooler down the row so Hood could vomit. Less than a minute later, the Blue Devils tore down the human wall around Hood. After sitting on the bench for just 3:06 of game time, Hood checked back into the contest. He hit his first jumper and played like nothing was wrong.It was not the first time Hood had suffered a freak illness this season. He missed two starts early in the seasons because he threw up in the locker room moments before tipoff. Andre Dawkins took his place in the starting lineup both times."It's happened to him a couple times this year. I guess it's nerves, but once he gets it out of him, it just happens and he's back in there," sophomore forward Amile Jefferson said. "It's not something that derails him, so we know when it happens he'll be out one, two, three plays and we have guys that come in to pick him up."Hood said that once he got everything out of his system, he felt fine finishing the game against Clemson. To put the skeptics to shame, the Meridian, Miss., native did not let his nerves get to him when he stepped to the line with 3.8 seconds left and knocked down both ends of a one-and-one to send his team through to the ACC tournament semifinals. "I felt good after it," Hood said of his moment on the sidelines. "So I mean, if it works then, oh well."

Hood's free throws lift Duke basketball past Clemson 63-62

(03/15/14 7:38am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>GREENSBORO, N.C.—Redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood sprinted from the court early in the second half to vomit into a Gatorade cooler on the Duke bench. But when it mattered most, Hood did not let his nerves get the best of him.Hood knocked down two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining, preserving a 63-62 victory for the third-seeded Blue Devils against sixth-seeded Clemson in the quarterfinal round of the ACC tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum. Hood finished with 17 points on the night."I just got eye contact with him when he got the ball and I said, 'Go,'" Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I believe in Rodney and you sink or swim with him, and we're still swimming, so thank goodness."Rodney Hood knocked down a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds left to give Duke a one-point win against Clemson.Despite leading by as many as 13 points in the second half, Duke (25-7) allowed the Tigers (20-12) to take the lead at 62-61 with nine seconds to play when Rod Hall got a runner in the lane to rattle home. Krzyzewski decided not to take a timeout and Hood pushed the ball back down the court and was able to draw the foul. He calmly sunk both ends of a one-and-one to give his team back the lead for good."Not at all," said sophomore Amile Jefferson when asked if he was worried Hood's nerves would return at the free-throw line. "He's clutch. Those are the types of plays Rodney lives for. It's really good to have a player like that on your side."Hall tried to replicate Hood's drive down the floor and draw contact as the buzzer sounded, but the referees' whistle remained silent and Duke was able to escape with the win.Hood's impromptu exit from the court came just 1:14 into the second half. He remained on the bench for just three minutes before returning to the court and knocking down a jumper on his first attempt."I have no idea," Hood said when asked what caused his stomach problems. "I felt good after it, so I mean, if it works then, oh well."Bringing back sour memories of Clemson's upset victory against the Blue Devils Jan. 11, Duke's interior defense was porous down the stretch as Clemson scored on seven consecutive possessions to take the lead in the closing seconds.On a night where they shot just 3-for-13 from beyond the arc, the Blue Devils attacked the basket relentlessly. Trailing 25-23 with 1:38 remaining in the first half, Duke capped off the period with a 6-2 run thanks to a transition layup by Quinn Cook and dunks by Hood and Jabari Parker. The Blue Devils extended that run to 12-2 early in the second half, giving them control of the game at the time.Rasheed Sulaimon attacked the rim against the Tigers and made a big bucket down the stretch.Parker led the way for Duke with 18 points on the night and sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon—who finished with 14 points—hit a big runner in the lane to give his team some breathing room as Clemson made its comeback push."We really wanted to get to the basket," Parker said. "At the beginning of the second half we really got a lot of stuff going to the rim, and I think we got away from that."After being outrebounded by Clemson 48-30 in the teams' first meeting, the Blue Devils asserted themselves on the glass in the rematch and won the rebounding battle 34-25. Jefferson led the way for Duke with 13 boards on the evening.It took a team effort to hold Clemson's K.J. McDaniels—a first-team All-ACC selection who torched the Blue Devils in the teams' first meeting—to just 12 points. Although the junior had 10 of those points in the second half, the Duke defense forced him to work for every shot."He's a really good player," Jefferson said. "To limit him and keep him from getting too many points was really good for our ball club. We did a great job defensively I think, for most of the game, and that helped us get the win."Duke will move on to face seventh-seeded N.C. State in tomorrow's semifinal round at 3 p.m. The Wolfpack are a surprise semifinalist in this year's field, knocking off second-seeded Syracuse in a 66-63 stunner.

Report: ACC tournament headed to Brooklyn

(03/14/14 6:56pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reported early Friday morning that the ACC is working out the details for a multi-year agreement to play its conference tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Thamel's sources indicated that a deal was expected to be done by the end of the month.Since the ACC's expansion to add Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame, the northward shift of the conference's footprint has led many to speculate that the ACC was eyeing New York as a possible landing spot. The presumptive favorite was Madison Square Garden, but the arena's contract to host the Big East tournament through 2026 will likely preclude that from happening.The ACC tournament is slated to be held at the Greensboro Coliesum in Greensboro, N.C., in 2015 and the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., in 2016, so the earliest possible move to Brooklyn would be for the 2017 tournament. Thamel's report points out that the A-10 tournament will be in the last year of a five-year contract with the Barclays Center in 2017, which is something both sides would have to work out.The move would allow for a rotation of the tournament between New York—the conference's largest market—and North Carolina, where the ACC is headquartered and four of its 15 teams reside.

'Angry' Duke basketball squad readies for rematch with Clemson

(03/14/14 9:21am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>A normally level-headed bunch, the Blue Devils found their answer after a demoralizing road loss to Wake Forest—they had to play angry. Duke responded by closing out the regular season with a 93-81 victory against North Carolina, giving the Blue Devils the third seed in this week's ACC tournament. The first game sophomore forward Amile Jefferson mentioned when asked about the fuel for that fire was a loss to Clemson Jan. 11 that dropped Duke to 1-2 in ACC play.The Blue Devils will have a chance to avenge that loss when they take on the sixth-seeded Tigers Friday at 9:30 p.m. in the ACC quarterfinals at the Greensboro Coliseum."We have to be angry and think about those losses we took and let those fuel us into not wanting to have that feeling again," Jefferson said. "Remembering when we didn't block out hard, when didn't protect our paint, when we didn't play for each other—and let that be reminders for us that when we do that, we can be a really good basketball team.”Redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood scored 20 points in Duke's Jan. 11 loss to Clemson.Clemson (20-11, 10-8 in the ACC) earned a date with the Blue Devils (24-7, 13-5) with a 69-65 overtime victory against 11th-seeded Georgia Tech Thursday night. Although the Tigers represent the higher-seeded of Duke's two possible opponents, a rematch with Clemson provides the Blue Devils with some added motivation heading into postseason play. Instead of playing a Yellow Jacket squad Duke had defeated twice already this season, the Blue Devils will take on a team it can only associate with a road loss that continues to sting two months later.“At a certain point, you get tired of sitting in the locker room quiet with guys disappointed in how they played," redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood said. "Right now we’re at a time when we don’t have any do-overs.”

Parker, Hood earn All-ACC honors

(03/11/14 12:16am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Freshman Jabari Parker and redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood were Duke's two representatives on this year's All-ACC teams.After averaging 19.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in his rookie season, Parker earned first-team honors from both the ACC's media and the coaches. The Chicago native was the leading vote-getter among the coaches and was one of two unanimous selections alongside N.C. State's T.J. Warren. Parker was also a unanimous choice for both All-ACC freshman teams, joining Syracuse's Tyler Ennis as the lone unanimous choices.Hood earned second-team honors from both the media and coaches, receiving four first-team votes in the media voting. The Meridian, Miss., native averaged 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in his first season as a Blue Devil and also served as a team captain.Parker was joined by Warren, North Carolina's Marcus Paige, Syracuse's C.J. Fair and Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon on the coaches' first team. Clemson's K.J. McDaniels replaced Brogdon on the first team picked by the media.In addition to All-ACC recognition, Parker was also named a first-team All-American by Sporting News, becoming the first Duke freshman ever to receive that honor.

Krzyzewski: 'I do not color my hair'

(03/09/14 8:50pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>People across the nation have pondered the question. Now we have the answer.Following his team's 93-81 victory against North Carolina last night, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed health concerns and his trip to the hospital after Duke's loss to Wake Forest. Krzyzewski said that doctors told him he had the brain and heart of a 20-year-old, something the Hall of Fame coach found unsettling. When asked if he had the hair of a 30-year-old as well, the 67-year-old head coach revealed that he does not, in fact, use any performance-enhancing products on his jet-black hair.“I will tell you this: I do not color my hair. I do not," Krzyzewski said with a smile. "I’m losing my hair, but I do not color my hair. I don’t. So, it’s a myth. My buddies would kill me if I did.” There you have it, folks. One of life's greatest mysteries is finally solved.

Duke basketball tops North Carolina on Senior Night behind dynamic duo

(03/09/14 8:23am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Senior Night is a time for a team's elder statesmen to take center stage. But Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium it was two underclassmen who electrified the home crowd for what could be the final time in their collegiate careers.Freshman Jabari Parker led the way with a career-high 30 points and redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood added 24 as the No. 4 Blue Devils finished the regular season in style with a 93-81 victory against No. 14 North Carolina.After Duke's first loss to the Tar Heels two weeks ago, head coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team was missing an "it" factor. There was no questioning this time around that the Blue Devils' stars were in control of their destiny."It's hard to say what 'it' is, but whatever the hell 'it' is, Jabari found it," North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said.Both Parker and Hood are expected to depart for the NBA after this season and both could be lottery picks. After the contest, both said that they had yet to make a decision concerning their respective NBA futures.Coming off a 6-for-27 performance from 3-point range in an upset loss to Wake Forest Wednesday, Duke (24-7, 13-5 in the ACC) continued its shooting slump to start the game against its arch rival. The Blue Devils managed just 2-for-13 from long range in the first half, but took a 40-37 lead into the locker room thanks to the team's interior presence and ability to force eight North Carolina (23-8, 13-5) turnovers."I thought in the first half we had some really good looks," Krzyzewski said. "We were 2-for-13 from three and we just hadn’t been shooting well. At halftime we said, ‘just keep shooting, just keep shooting.’"Parker and Hood combined for 27 points in the opening 20 minutes and topped 20 points in the same game for the first time since a Nov. 24 victory against Vermont."Jabari was sensational. So was Rodney," Krzyzewski said. "This was the first game where the two of them were sensational together. They’ve both been good together, but they were sensational together."Amile Jefferson added eight points and eight rebounds providing key hustle plays in Duke's victory.The play of Duke dynamic duo was instrumental in causing early foul trouble for Tar Heel forward James Michael McAdoo. However it was Amile Jefferson—who added eight points and eight rebounds in the contest—who forced McAdoo to commit his fourth foul just 52 seconds into the second half.McAdoo's prolonged absence allowed Duke to dominate the glass, winning the rebounding battle 34-20 in the contest. In addition to his 30 points—becoming the first Blue Devil to top 30 against North Carolina since Nolan Smith dropped 34 in 2011—Parker added 11 boards.The Blue Devils heated up from outside with McAdoo off the floor, hitting three of their first four attempts from long range to begin the second half. Triples by Quinn Cook and Andre Dawkins pushed Duke's lead back to double digits and a 3-pointer by Hood put the Blue Devils up 62-46 with 14:02 remaining, forcing the Tar Heels to take a timeout and sending the Cameron crowd into a frenzy.Hood said that there was no way his team was going to be swept by North Carolina in the regular season for the first time since the 2008-09 season.A beautiful up-and-under move by Quinn Cook helped Duke extend its lead during a game-changing run.“No way," Hood said. "Not with the students and the fans behind us and the determination we had to win this game regardless of whether shots went in or not. We had to come out with this win. That was our mindset.”North Carolina was able to cut the lead to eight in the closing minutes, but Duke held on thanks to a 27-for-31 performance from the free-throw line, allowing its senior class of Dawkins, Tyler Thornton, Josh Hairston and Todd Zafirovski to earn a victory in its final home game.Shifting their focus toward the postseason, the Blue Devils will be the No. 3 seed in this year's ACC tournament. After receiving a bye through the first two rounds, Duke will begin postseason play Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum Friday at 9 p.m."We're looking forward to it," Hood said. "We want to go win a championship."

Watch Tony Romo, Jason Garrett take on Quinn Cook and Jason Williams in PIG

(03/08/14 11:27pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>With the NFL in its offseason, players and coaches have to find a way to fuel their competitive fire. Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo took a trip to Durham this week and tested out their skills on the hardwood, competing in a spirited game of PIG against junior point guard Quinn Cook and former Blue Devil Jason Williams.

Duke basketball looks to rebound against UNC on Senior Night

(03/08/14 8:54pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Two weeks ago, Duke went ice cold down the stretch and suffered a frustrating road loss to an unranked in-state rival before returning home to take down a ranked foe days later.After allowing a 17-0 run in the final six minutes of the game to Wake Forest in a head-scratching upset loss, the Blue Devils hope that history will repeat itself when they host their arch rival.North Carolina was the unranked team that surprised Duke three weeks ago—now winners of 12 consecutive games, the 14th-ranked Tar Heels are one of the hottest teams in the ACC. The No. 4 Blue Devils will host North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium at 9 p.m.To finish off the regular season with a win on Senior Night, Duke (23-7, 12-5 in the ACC) must improve upon what senior captain Josh Hairston said was his team's "worst loss of the season.""We as a group know that we didn't show up ready to play. That's just disrespectful to the game," he said. "It was disrespectful to the jersey and the University, our fans—everybody."Redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood pointed to rim protection as the key to topping a tough Tar Heel squad.Surrendering a 17-0 run down the stretch to the Demon Deacons, Duke registered just two field goals in the final 5:44 of the loss. Redshirt sophomore captain Rodney Hood said that his team did not even watch tape of its loss to Wake Forest—instead the Blue Devils turned directly to footage from their loss to the Tar Heels Feb. 20, when they hit a similar cold streak late in the second half.To knock off a North Carolina (23-7, 13-4) squad that is playing its best basketball of the year, the Blue Devils cannot afford to replicate a rough patch of shooting. Duke is shooting a meager 27.2 percent from 3-point range in its last four games after a 6-for-27 performance against Wake Forest. "For the most part, we're getting the shots that we want," senior guard Tyler Thornton said. "Hopefully we start knocking them down."One of the keys for the Blue Devils will be stopping North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige. The sophomore has been on a tear as of late and has asserted himself as one of the top playmakers in the country.North Carolina's front line dominated the inside in Duke's loss to the Tar Heels Feb. 20.Although Paige made the key play down the stretch for the Tar Heels to seal their victory, it was Duke's interior defense that was its Achilles heel throughout the contest. The Blue Devils allowed the sizable North Carolina front line of James Michael McAdoo, Brice Johnson and J.P. Tokoto to control the inside and lead their team to a 43-30 advantage on the glass."We have to protect the basket. It's simple as that. They're a team that scores in the paint, other than Paige and [Leslie] McDonald," Hood said. "We had the game in our hands, and if we don't protect the paint... we're going to be in a position to lose, and we know that."Tobacco Road rivalry aside, Saturday's showdown marks the final home game for senior captains Hairston and Thornton as well as graduate students Andre Dawkins and Todd Zafirovski. It could also be the final performance in Cameron Indoor Stadium for Hood and freshman Jabari Parker, both of whom are expected to make the leap to the NBA next season.At their respective press conferences Thursday, both Hairston and Thornton were asked about their favorite memories from their four years with the Blue Devils, and both included the same game in their response: Feb. 9, 2011, when Nolan Smith and Seth Curry led Duke back from a 14-point halftime deficit to top the Tar Heels 79-73 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Hot start leads Duke basketball past Virginia Tech

(02/26/14 6:47am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>It started and finished like an easy victory, but the Blue Devils took a turbulent road to get there.Despite jumping out to a 24-4 lead in the first 10 minutes of the contest, No. 6 Duke had to scratch and claw its way past a resilient Virginia Tech squad Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils ultimately overcame the Hokies' comeback attempt and prevailed 66-48 to cap off a grueling stretch of five games in 11 days."When you get off to that lead... sometimes, that's bad," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I'll take it all the time and just deal with the consequences, but you let up a little bit because you think it's going to be easy. But the reason we had that lead is because we played so hard. I mean we were playing great basketball, and then we let up, and they never stopped."Virginia Tech (9-18, 2-13 in the ACC) attempted to stifle Duke's offense with a 2-3 zone, but the Hokies' defense lacked the same intensity that Jim Boeheim's Syracuse squad brought to Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night. Redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood made Virginia Tech pay, attacking the center of the zone and using his soft shooting touch to knock down jumpers from the elbow. The Meridian, Miss., native led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting.Virginia Tech had no problem looking like the conference's last-place team in the early-going. Even as they struggled to hit from beyond the arc, the Blue Devils (23-6, 12-4) forced early turnovers and dominated the glass to jump out to a 15-2 lead just 4:24 into the contest. Although Duke had it clicking on all cylinders at that point, the large advantage came more in part due to the intensity of the team's ball pressure than its offensive efficiency.The rout appeared to be on as Duke extended its lead to 20 points with a 9-0 run, but seven straight points from forward C.J. Barksdale helped to keep the game within reach."We just lost a lot of the energy we had, with the first group giving us all of that defense," freshman forward Jabari Parker said. "It allowed them to score and catch up, and it ruined our run."

Mike Krzyzewski reacts to Duke-UNC postponement

(02/14/14 12:27am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The most historic rivalry in college basketball took an unprecedented turn Wednesday when the Duke-North Carolina game was postponed due to a snow and ice storm left more than six inches of wintry precipitation throughout the Triangle.Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacted to the game's cancelation for the first time Thursday morning in an excerpt of his weekly radio show on Sirius XM College Sports Nation that was released. Although no time for next Thursday's matchup between Duke and North Carolina has been announced, Krzyzewski said that the contest will take place in its usual 9 p.m. slot.The Duke head coach also added that as much as his team wanted to take on the Tar Heels in a highly-anticipated rivalry matchup, moving the game back a week was the right call."You're ready to play that game," Krzyzewski said. "You want to play the game—they do too—but it was the right decision."The Blue Devils were slated to leave at 6 p.m. to make the eight-mile trip to the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, but adverse conditions on the roads prevented the team bus from even arriving at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The remnants of Winter Storm Pax still have the Triangle at a standstill Thursday, with an addition 1-3 inches of snow expected to fall."We just don't have the equipment necessary to handle something like this. And there's still problems today, and that's why the game was not pushed to today," Krzyzewski said. "It was the smart thing to do. Their fans were not able to get to the game. We couldn't even get a bus here. The main route we had to take there was a parking lot. The other thing you worry about is just your own players traveling to get here, to get back. It's a good decision."With the game's postponement, Duke now has the task of playing four games in eight days next week. The Blue Devils will host Maryland for the final ACC matchup between the two foes Saturday before heading to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech Tuesday night. After Duke squares off in its rescheduled game with the Tar Heels, undefeated and top-ranked Syracuse will invade Cameron Indoor Stadium less than 48 hours later for a 7 p.m. game Feb. 22.Although Krzyzewski admits that the prospect of next week's schedule is daunting, he said it was the only real scheduling possibility."It's what you have to do. There was no other place to put the game," Krzyzewski said. "We actually, after the Syracuse game, played Virginia Tech at home on the following Tuesday and we get a break—it's our time to have a weekend off. Carolina during that time plays three games in six days so we couldn't do it there."The cancelation of Wednesday's game left some fans clamoring for a double-header between Duke and North Carolina on the last two days of the regular season. Krzyzewski quickly put that rumor to rest."We always play the last game of the regular season and flip flop home and away. So you're not going to play Saturday night the last game here and Sunday in Chapel Hill. Roy Williams and I, Bubba Cunningham their AD and our AD Kevin White felt it would be good. TV felt it would be good and the ACC ultimately makes that decision."