Senior guard Andre Dawkins will return to Duke program next season

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While there was doubt in some circles that 6-4 shooting guard Andre Dawkins would ever play another game in a Duke uniform after redshirting this season, the senior will return to the court for the Blue Devils in 2013-14.

Dawkins tweeted the decision Thursday afternoon, also noting that he will switch his jersey number from 20 to 34.

As a junior Dawkins averaged 8.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in just over 22 minutes of action per contest, shooting 40% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc. With the Blue Devils losing Seth Curry’s perimeter shooting (as well as that of Ryan Kelly) it certainly doesn’t hurt to have another shooter in the rotation.

Dawkins’ older sister tragically passed away in a car accident on December 5, 2009, and according to his father Andre never had time to grieve.

“He’s dealt with a lot,” Andre Dawkins Sr. said. “It’s been tough. It hasn’t been easy at all. With the fast pace of playing high-level basketball, you don’t really get the time to deal with things like that.

“Everyone is different and so everyone might handle that situation differently. I appreciate the fact that’s an option for him if that’s going to be the case. That’s been really great.”

That ultimately led to the decision to redshirt, with Dawkins not even practicing with the team during his off year.

Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton will return next season, and the addition of shooting guard Matt Jones and small forward Rodney Hood (SEC All-Freshman Team selection in his lone season at Mississippi State) will only help Duke on the perimeter.

Duke also welcomes two of the top small forwards in the 2013 class in Jabari Parker and Semi Ojeleye. The big question mark for the Blue Devils is how they go about accounting for the graduation of Kelly and Plumlee.

There should be no such questions about Duke on the perimeter, and that was the case even before Dawkins announced his return to the program.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.