Duke Blue Devils

Video: Coach K talks Team USA with Dan Patrick

Leave a comment

Team USA has blown through its competition in its first two exhibition games ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro with wins over Argentina and China by a combined a combined 96 points.

Tonight, they’ll have a rematch against China, which they defeated 106-57 on Sunday, but it will also serve as the unofficial debut of Kevin Durant in front of his new hometown fans with the game taking place at the home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

“Excited for Kevin tonight to make his debut in front of the Golden State fans,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “He got a great reception (Monday) at a function. He was, as he should be, warmly welcomed.”

The team has been together since July 18 in the run-up to its first Olympic contest on Aug. 6 against China. For Krzyzewski, a couple of players have made an impression already.

“You see these guys on TV,” the Duke coach said, “but I don’t get a chance to see them in person. (Clipper) DeAndre Jordan is such a good player. A great athlete, a great guy. To see him run, defend, holy mackerel. He’ s really good.

“I haven’t seen Paul George in two years when he had that horrific (leg) injury in Las Vegas at one of our camps, and he’s so darn good. On defense, tremendous.”

It’s on the defensive side of the floor that Coach K believes his team can really make its mark even with the incredible collection of offensive talent the roster has.

“We’re very athletic so defensively we could be a very good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve shown a willingness to want to do that in the first two games.”

As usual, Team USA is the prohibitive favorite to bring back gold for the third consecutive Olympics, which will be Coach K’s last at the helm after taking over after the 2004 bronze medal debacle.

“I’m excited about the team,” he said. “It’s a short time. to see our guys working so hard and they get along so well, I’m excited about the team we might be in Rio. We’ll use tonight to get a little bit better.

“I kind of have the blinders on. You only have a short time. It’s a little over a month, and we want to win the gold medal in Rio.”

Coach K calls North Carolina’s HB2 “embarrassing”

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2016, file photo, Duke head men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, second from right,  reacts to a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils have lost three straight games entering Saturday’s game at North Carolina State followed by Monday’s game at No. 15 Miami. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)
4 Comments

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had short but strong words about the North Carolina bill HB2 that cost Duke a home opponent, has thrown the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte into jeopardy and has sparked outcry from around the country.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Krzyzewski told USA TODAY of the bill that requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender listed on their birth certificate. The state is currently locked in a legal battle over the bill after the Department of Justice deemed in in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

“That’s all I’m going to say about it,” Krzyzewski said while at USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas.

The Blue Devils’ scheduled November matchup with Albany in Durham was cancelled due to New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order that bars non-essential state travel to North Carolina in response to HB2. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has threatened to move the league’s 2017 All-Star weekend if the bill remains.

Another coach from within the state shared Krzyzewski’s sentiment.

“I’m against any law that allows discrimination, whether that’s based on race, gender, sexual orientation,” NC State coach Mark Gottfried told USA TODAY. “I don’t understand how someone can support this. I think the people at N.C. State, we believe in inclusion. Being a resident of the state, for me and my family, it’s been frustrating.”

Albany vs. Duke cancelled due to HB2

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils reacts in the second half against the Yale Bulldogs during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 19, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
5 Comments

While the NBA waits to make a decision on whether to host its All-Star Game in North Carolina, the state’s controversial bathroom bill has canceled a college basketball game.

Albany’s scheduled visit to Duke on Nov. 12 has been cancelled due to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ban on state-sponsored, non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina in response to HB2, the state’s law that requires transgendered people to use the bathroom as assigned by the gender on their birth certificate, according to the Herald-Sun.

“The State University of New York supports Governor Cuomo’s executive order banning all non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina,” SUNY spokesperson Holly Liapsis told the Herald-Sun. “We instructed our campuses to immediately review any existing travel plans by faculty and staff. SUNY and its campuses continue to support the Governor on taking this stand.”

In May, the U.S. Justice Department ruled the law violated the Civil Rights Act, but the state is fighting the decision. While the stakes of such a fight are vast and broad, it’s clear that sports – whether its Albany or the NBA’s signature weekend – will be brought into the fray as it plays out.

New York’s ban won’t affect the state’s highest-profile program, Syracuse, because it is a private institution.

Long time “voice of the Blue Devils” set to retire

dukelogo
1 Comment

Duke basketball will have a different sound starting in the 2017-18 season.

The voice of the Blue Devils, Bob Harris, will retire following this upcoming season after calling Duke games for over 40 years, the school announced Tuesday.

His unwavering passion for Duke came through each and every broadcast over the past four decades,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement released by the school. “Without a doubt, Bob has produced some of the greatest calls in Duke history, if not all of sports, during that time.

“Certainly, we will miss Bob after this season ends, but we are very thankful we have had such a long run together.”

Harris, who also calls Duke football games, has been on the mic for 1,358 Blue Devils men’s basketball games. He’s called all five of Duke’s national title wins along with 13 Final Fours.

“Bob Harris is an institution at Duke,” ESPN broadcaster and former Duke player Jay Bilas said in a statement, “and his voice accompanies almost every iconic moment in Duke history. Bob taught me to be a broadcast pro and, while there is sadness at the thought of him leaving the booth, it will be wonderful to see the rich career of a true Duke legend appropriately celebrated in his final season. Bob Harris’ voice will be missed, but I’m thrilled we all get to savor it for one more year.”

Harris’ last year calling Duke games could be a special one as the Blue Devils top the Way-Too-Early Preseason Top-25 with Grayson Allen headlining a strong group of returners from last year, and a heralded recruiting class made up of Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden, among others, expected to provide major instant impacts.

Utah outlasts No. 7 Duke in overtime

Utah forward Jakob Poeltl (42) battles for a rebound against Duke center Marshall Plumlee (40) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Associated Press
2 Comments

Utah overcame foul trouble and a limited second half from star sophomore center Jakob Poeltl as the Runnin’ Utes upset No. 7 Duke, 77-75, on Saturday in Madison Square Garden.

At the end of a wild game, Luke Kennard made a four-point play with under 10 seconds left and Duke trailing by six. Utah turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play with 6.7 seconds left, but Brandon Ingram missed the game-tying look just outside of the restricted area as Utah’s Kyle Kuzma recovered the defensive rebound and was fouled.

Poeltl quickly picked up his third and fourth fouls in the second half and didn’t score for over 20 minutes of game action before turning it on at the end of the game for Utah. The sophomore had multiple blocks at the rim, finished plays with rebounds and also attacked Duke senior center Marshall Plumlee on the offensive end — who was also battling foul problems.

Finishing with 19 points and 14 rebounds, Poeltl was a huge boost for Utah late, as they were carried for much of the second half by Kuzma. The sophomore forward scored 13 consecutive points for Utah during one stretch and he finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, taking advantage of Duke using smaller lineups when Plumlee wasn’t on the floor.

Duke struggled to adapt without senior forward Amile Jefferson, who is sitting out with a fractured foot. The Blue Devils used various zone looks in the first half and only slowed down Utah when Poeltl was on the bench in foul trouble. Sophomore guard Grayson Allen was also struggling with flu-like symptoms and only finished 3-for-17 from the floor for seven points for the Blue Devils.

Duke (9-2) struggled overall as a team, shooting 29 percent (23-for-77) from the field and 28 percent (8-for-28) from 3-point range. Freshman guard Luke Kennard paced Duke with 24 points — 10 of which came in overtime — while Matt Jones added 18 points. Freshman Brandon Ingram tallied 15 points for Duke.

Utah (9-2) also had a solid outing from guard Lorenzo Bonham, who finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Without Jefferson, Utah outrebounded Duke 56-38 on the afternoon. Utah avenged a loss against Duke in last season’s Sweet 16 as they beat the Blue Devils for the first time since 1970.

This is a great win for Utah, who picks up a signature victory and showed that it could hang with elite teams without Poeltl on the floor for the whole game. Kuzma showed that he’s a matchup problem for plenty of teams and Bonham was also steady at both ends of the floor.

With only a limited rotation without Jefferson, Duke is still trying to figure out lineups — especially if Plumlee is battling foul trouble. Freshman center Chase Jeter still isn’t ready for major minutes and Brandon Ingram doesn’t help enough as a rebounder if he plays the four. It’ll be a trial-and-error process for Duke with some of these smaller lineups, but it’s encouraging that Kennard stepped up and attacked the way that he did.

Broken right foot to sideline Duke’s Jefferson one month

Amile Jefferson, Thomas Bryant
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Just prior to No. 7 Duke’s game against Utah at Madison Square Garden, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that senior forward Amile Jefferson would be out for a month due to a broken right foot.

Jefferson sat out the Blue Devils’ win over Georgia Southern, and with the timeframe provided by his coach the Philadelphia native won’t be back until mid-to-late January at the earliest. This is a big loss for Duke, as Jefferson has been their most consistent front court player to this point in the season.

Jefferson’s averaging 11.4 points and a team-best 10.3 rebounds per contest for Duke, which entered Saturday’s game with a 9-1 record.

With Jefferson out of the lineup guard Luke Kennard moved into the starting lineup with fellow freshman Brandon Ingram sliding down to the four. Ingram has improved his play in recent games, but he isn’t a particularly physical player. And with freshman Chase Jeter not ready for major minutes, the absence of Jefferson places more pressure upon the shoulders of Ingram and center Marshall Plumlee.