Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Update on COVID-19 Testing for Duke Student-Athletes

July 31, 2020

DURHAM, N.C. -- 
Duke University’s COVID-19 testing program has administered 700 tests to 309 student-athletes, coaches and staff in the first three weeks since student-athletes began returning to campus for voluntary practice.  

As of July 31, 2020, nine student-athletes are in mandatory isolation due to positive COVID-19 tests. Sixteen others who earlier tested positive went through the required isolation period and have been cleared by physicians for return to regular activity. No coaches or staff have tested positive, and no teams have paused team-related activities due to testing results.

The majority of student-athletes testing positive were positive upon arrival.  All were asymptomatic or experienced minor symptoms, and no student-athletes required additional medical care. Treatment consisted of symptom monitoring, rest and over the counter medication. 

“We are foremost concerned for player safety, and with finding ways to balance the desire to have a vibrant athletic culture on campus, with the reality that COVID-19 is a highly transmissible infection,” said infectious disease specialist Cameron Wolfe MD, associate professor of medicine at Duke and chair of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Medical Advisory Group for COVID-19. “To that end, an aggressive testing strategy is paramount -- identifying positive asymptomatic student-athletes, who may be capable of inadvertently transmitting the virus, is crucial.  Duke is finding and isolating cases early in the season, prepared to quarantine when necessary, and by combining a regular batch testing program with multi-pronged mitigation strategies, we believe athletics can and will be successful at Duke.”  

Duke’s testing programs follow the protocols set by the ACC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group. 

With undergraduate and graduate students returning to campus in August for the start of the fall semester, Duke has set up a comprehensive COVID-19 testing protocol which includes encouragement of testing and quarantining prior to traveling to Durham,  mandatory testing on arrival before access to campus is permitted pooled community screening of students, faculty and staff, daily symptom monitoring, and an extensive contact tracing program. The University has set aside more than 300 beds to be used for quarantining on-campus students if necessary. 

“Everyone must contribute to keeping COVID to a minimum on campus,” said Wolfe. “We will all need to be prepared to acknowledge the risks and wear masks and distance where we can; to be prepared to listen to contact tracing experts; and to be a part of our rigorous testing platform that will roll out across campus, as it has done for athletics. Things will feel very different. Regular testing and vigilance around health and safety protocols are going to be crucial for the fall semester to be successful and safe.” 

Duke’s overall COVID-19 testing regimen includes the following steps:   

·         All students have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival in Durham, and obtain COVID-19 tests, if possible, prior to arrival.  

·         All undergraduate, graduate and professional students will be tested before their Duke Cards will be activated, except PhD students who have been regularly coming to campus this summer for approved research.  Students will have to sequester in their room or off-campus residence until their results are confirmed. 

·         All students residing in the Durham area will be required to complete a daily symptom-monitoring survey every day before coming to campus.  

·         Faculty and staff who visit campus regularly will have to complete the symptom tracking survey every day.  

·         Students who reside in Duke housing, who attend classes on campus or work on campus, and a number of faculty and staff, will be subject to regular pooled surveillance testing during the semester.  

·         Contact tracers will conduct notifications of those who may have been in close contact with someone whose test comes back positive.  

In addition, all students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings while on campus and observe other health-related guidelines for distancing and hygiene.

Duke Boasts 17 Alum in NBA restart

ORLANDO, Fla. -- With the 2019-20 NBA season ready to restart Thursday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, the Duke Blue Devils boast a league-leading 17 players on the 22 teams that will return to play following the suspension for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 22 teams consist of the 16 teams (eight per conference) in current playoff positions and the six teams that are currently six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences. At the conclusion of the seeding games, if the eighth seed is four games or fewer ahead of the ninth seed, those teams would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the eighth playoff seed. Playoffs and Finals will proceed in the traditional, conference-based format.

Of the Blue Devils' 17 players -- matching Kentucky for the most on restart rosters -- five are on the New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon IngramFrank JacksonJahlil OkaforJ.J. Redick and Zion Williamson. The Pelicans, whose general manger is former Blue Devil Trajan Langdon, are in a dogfight for the eighth seed in the Western Conference with Memphis, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix.

Blue Devils occupy 12 roster spots on those six Western Conference foes with Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow on Memphis, Gary Trent Jr. on Portland, and Marvin Bagley IIIHarry Giles and Jabari Parker on Sacramento.

Also for Duke, Quinn Cook is on the roster for the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers, with Mason Plumlee on the third-place Denver Nuggets, Austin Rivers on the sixth-place Houston Rockets and Seth Curry on the seventh-place Dallas Mavericks.

The lone Eastern Conference representative from Duke is 2020 NBA All-Star Jayson Tatum from the Boston Celtics. Tatum, an NBA All-Rookie pick in 2017-18 and on pace to earn an All-NBA spot for the 2019-20 season, enters the restart averaging a career-best 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in the team's first 59 games this season.

The restart is officially underway Thursday night with a doubleheader on TNT as the Jazz battle the Pelicans at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Clippers versus the Lakers at 9 p.m. ET. A full slate of games is on tap for Friday, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Friday's national TV games include Memphis versus Portland at 4 p.m. ET on NBA TV, followed by Boston versus Milwaukee at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and Houston versus Dallas at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The restart rosters were announced on July 20 and included injured players that did travel to the bubble. Not included are injured players that didn’t make the trip to Orlando, nor players who voluntarily opted out.

Duke and the ACC Navigate Tricky Waters

Most of you are wondering if Duke football and basketball will be played this season and the truth of the matter with concern to an answer is that it is up in the air.

Just today, the Miami Marlins baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles has been canceled or delayed due to players testing for the COVID-19 virus. No less than fourteen players and coaches in the Marlins organization have tested positive.

That unfortunate news was then followed by the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies canceling their contest.

The ACC presidents are scheduled to meet this Wednesday and there is no way to know how the latest news will hinder their plans. We were originally expected to hear their outline for Fall sports and scheduling by weeks end, but more developments between now and then could once again delay the process of a firm commitment.

The Duke basketball team is scheduled to be on campus in early August. Most recently, Duke announced that upperclassmen would not be on campus, but the athletes have been given permission to do so. This also means the football team can move out of their temporary quarters in the Washington Duke motel unless those plans change in the current climate of liquid and ever-changing policies.

Another item that has come to light is that Duke expects to implement a 30% reduction in fans allowed to attend athletic events. This too is something that could change as we all watch how major league baseball and the NBA season set to tip-off again this Thursday.

Q & A with Jack White

Here is the Q & A with Jack White from today -

On his involvement in Black Lives Matter protests in the Durham area: “It’s something that I’ve definitely learned about over my time in the U.S., especially. My girlfriend is black. My best friend, Javin [DeLaurier] is black. A lot of people that are very close to me are people of color and go through things that I don’t experience as an international person in the U.S. and just as a white person. Just seeing the events that transpired, to come to that point where there were protests and everything like that, I really tried to educate myself and try to come to a better level of understanding so I could really just support my friends and people that I care about in this time. When my girlfriend, or Javin, for example, saw what happened to George Floyd –- he’s getting killed and you just feel like that could’ve been anyone. It’s not just him, it could’ve been anyone. I just really felt like it was appropriate for me to stand in solidarity, as did a lot of people who weren’t people of color at those protests. I just try to stand for the right thing and what I was raised to believe was right, and that’s that everyone should be equal and no one should feel unsafe or at a disadvantage to anyone else just because of something they can’t control. It was a big thing for me to step up, understanding that I have a platform and people look up to me. I have a pretty strong voice, I’d like to think, so for me to be there, especially as a white man, to stand up and acknowledge that something’s wrong and as a community we’re trying to stand up against it. I thought that was the right thing to do.” 

On head coach Mike Krzyzewski calling him ‘The best teammate ever’: “First of all, that made me feel really good. I’d probably have to disagree with him actually, though. I really think in my experience, J Rob [Justin Robinson] was one of the most selfless [people]. He just cared about you a lot. He was super selfless, and he just really wanted to see you do well. I’ve got to say, I was just so happy for how his stuff finished up and March Madness would’ve seen a new player come into light with J Rob, I reckon. Obviously, it was a huge honor for me to hear him say that and just to have him be part of my career for the four years, especially in the stage of his career that he’s at, and to be able to be captain twice of his teams and learn from him on a daily basis, I feel like I’m one of the luckier basketball players on the planet in terms of that stuff. Just to have him on my side and pushing me every day, and just watching him push himself every day like he’s not 72 years old, it’s just incredible. To hear him say those nice words about me, it definitely made me feel good.” 

On how his family reacted to him signing his first professional contract: “They were really happy about it. Throughout the whole process of me deciding, I really kept them in the loop. It was funny, even though I’m 22 years old now, I’m still kind of checking in with Mom and Dad and seeing if they were all good with my decision and everything like that. They were really happy. It’s a bit of a bonus that the best spot for me was in Melbourne, so I’m about a two- hour drive away from my hometown. I haven’t been that close to home in six years. It feels a bit weird being home for good, per say, because I just haven’t had that feeling in a while, so just having the opportunity to hang out with my family and friends whenever I got back to the country has been good. They were really happy for me and I’m really happy where I ended up.” 

On if there is a moment in his career at Duke that stands out as his favorite: “The thing that probably stands out the most is just those big wins -- the ACC Tournament wins my freshman and junior year were huge, just because it’s all part of the group getting that done. That’s probably the thing that I think about the most, actually, is just the different teams and groups that I’ve been able to be a part of and the amazing talent that I’ve been able to play with and build relationships with. Obviously, there’s a pretty big turnover each year, so just being able to have more or less a fresh start and bringing a team together, it’s a big thing. But I think really grinding to make that happen at the start of each season in the summer, you kind of work your way through and by the time you get to the postseason, you really feel like a tightknit group. Thinking back on that, just the relationships I’ve made with not only the players, but also the coaches and people around Durham and Duke in general – those are probably the things that stick out to me most. But if I was to highlight a moment, it was probably those big wins where we bring home a trophy or win a tournament, where our hard work feels rewarded.” 

On what led to him signing with Melbourne United of the National Basketball League: “Pretty much straight after the season was confirmed suspended – obviously, I’m a senior and I knew that the next step was coming after the season and that got obviously pushed forward a bit. I really just tried to start to work through that agent process and work out who was the best person to represent me and what I’m about. I signed to SIG Sports and agent Sammy Wloszczowski, which I’m really happy with and I guess from there, I already had pretty good relationships with teams in the NBL. Knowing coaches, it’s a pretty tightknit league. Especially as an Australian, I was already pretty familiar with all the players and coaches and everything along those lines. Teams, once they kind of got their finances and got themselves together, they started conversations with me and everything like that. I was pretty fortunate that I had every team in the league reach out to me in one way or another. I was pretty fortunate there in terms of my options, but I really thought Melbourne was the best spot for me regardless of it being one of the closer teams to my hometown and my family. I just really felt like I have a good opportunity there to come in. There are a couple big re-signings and veterans that I’m really excited to learn off on the team. Obviously, Dean Vickerman is a great coach. Every time I’ve come home in the summer between college seasons, I’ve been able to work out with them and they’ve been very welcoming of me, so I already had an existing relationship with him as well as a fair chunk of the players. I really just felt like it all kind of came together pretty well for me and I was pretty lucky.” 

On what he learned about leadership in four years with Mike Krzyzewski: “First, just being around Coach, and even just the coaching staff – they were all captains of his teams and are all familiar about what it takes to be a good leader in that team. When I came in as a freshman with Amile [Jefferson] and Matt Jones and obviously Grayson [Allen] – those kinds of guys, great guys to learn from straight away. They really did a good job of taking me under their wing and not only making me just feel welcome to the group, but it just felt like there was a real place for me and I could really grow within the Duke basketball program. Just understanding that leadership is something that you can even exhibit when you don’t think you are. When you are a leader, the things that you don’t think are that important pull more weight than you think. The little things, in terms of just checking in with a teammate after a game or playing your [butt] off at practice, just leading by example and getting the talk going, getting the atmosphere going and little things like that. I think really, just understanding that you can control your environment. That was probably the biggest thing that I learned from coach, is that he really controlled his environment, put himself around really good people and constantly reinforced what he believed in and tried to take us – his team – with him on the path of success. That was something that I really try to emulate. I’m a pretty verbal person on the court. I like to talk a lot, but understanding that you’ve got to have action to back that up and that’s really what gives your words substance. You can’t expect other people to do what you ask if you’re not doing it yourself.”

Jack White Signs with Australia’s NBL

MELBOURNE, Australia – The Melbourne United of Australia's National Basketball League (NBL) announced Wednesday the signing of former Duke men's basketball captain Jack White to a three-year deal.

The 22 year-old from Traralgon, Australia graduated from Duke this past season after playing four years for the Blue Devils and serving as team captain his final two campaigns. A two-time All-ACC Academic selection, and named to the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, White played in 103 career games in his Duke career including 65 games over his final two seasons that saw him average 3.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. He graduated in May with a degree in sociology.

"Jack was just the best teammate ever," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "A hard worker – came to work every day. One of the easiest kids to coach that I've had the opportunity to coach in my 45 years as a collegiate coach. He is a top-notch defender, rebounder and shot blocker. He does all the dirty work. Offensively, he'll be able to add and stretch a defense because he can hit his outside shot."

Playing for his native country, White represented Australia at the World University Games in 2019 winning a bronze medal alongside the likes of Will Magnay (Brisbane Bullets), Kyrin Galloway (New Zealand Breakers), Alex Mudronja (Adelaide 36ers) and Jack Purchase (Melbourne United).

White was pursued by multiple NBL teams before signing with the United.

"Jack is an exciting young prospect who has incredible potential, so to have him choose Melbourne United, and commit with a long-term deal is fantastic," said United head coach Dean Vickerman. "He is a leader, highly intelligent and a very hard worker. We believe Jack will have a strong impact both on and off the court and we are eager to help him grow as a player and person within our club's system and culture."

The NBL regular season is scheduled to begin in October.