Category Archives: Duke Basketball

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Luke Kennard will enter the NBA Draft

 

unnamedDURHAM, N.C. – One of college basketball’s breakout stars and a consensus All-American in 2017, Duke sophomore Luke Kennard will enter the upcoming NBA Draft. He will sign with an agent and forgo his remaining college eligibility.

Kennard, a consensus second-team All-American, led Duke in scoring with an average of 19.5 points per game while shooting .489 from the floor, .438 from outside the arc and .856 from the free throw line. His 722 total points on the year represented the 16th-best single-season total in program history, while his .438 three-point percentage ranked 10th on Duke’s single-season chart.

“After considerable reflection, prayer and consultation with my family and coaches, I have decided to take the next step in pursuing my basketball dreams by entering the NBA Draft,” Kennard said. “Being a member of the Duke Basketball brotherhood is always going to be special to me. I have nothing but love and respect for everyone in the Duke program. I want to thank my coaches, teammates, the best fans in the game and everyone in Franklin for being by my side every step of this journey. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I’m confident that I’m ready and have a great foundation for success at the NBA level.”

The Franklin, Ohio, native scored in double figures in 35 of Duke’s 37 games on the season, eclipsing the 20-point mark a team-high 19 times. He ranked second in the ACC in scoring and three-point field goal percentage, fourth in free throw percentage, seventh in three-pointers per game (2.38) and eighth in field goal percentage while averaging the third-most minutes per game (35.5) in the conference.

He made at least one three-point field goal in 40 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Duke history and the 10th-longest stretch in ACC history.

Kennard eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career on Feb. 25 at Miami, becoming just the 12th Duke player (and fifth under Coach K) to hit that milestone prior to the end of his second season. His 1,147 career points were the fourth-most in Duke history by a player in his first two seasons, trailing only Jason Williams (1,333), Art Heyman (1,237) and Johnny Dawkins (1,165).

“I’ve loved coaching Luke and having he and his family in our program,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Luke’s skill set is such a perfect fit for the way the NBA game has evolved and we’re all excited to see him flourish at the next level. He is a wonderful person who will immediately be an asset to an NBA team.”

For his career, Kennard averaged 15.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.2 minutes. He was a career .461 shooter from the floor and .383 from three-point range. Kennard’s .867 career free throw percentage is the second-best in Duke history (min. 200 FTs made).

He scored at least 20 points in 35.6 percent (26-of-73) of his games in a Duke uniform.

Kennard was the only unanimous choice for first-team All-ACC honors in 2017 and was also a first-team NABC All-District 2 member and an All-District III selection by the USBWA. He was named a member of the John R. Wooden Award All-America Team and a final-five candidate for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

Kennard was selected MVP of the ACC Tournament after averaging 20.0 points and 5.3 rebounds to help Duke become the first team in league history to win four games in as many days to claim the ACC championship.

Duke has produced at least one first-round NBA Draft pick in each of the last six years. Coach K has mentored 32 first-round picks, including a draft-record 21 lottery selections.

 

Frank Jacksom

Duke Blue Devils 2017-18 ACC Schedule Preview

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Duke will face an easier 2017--18 ACC Schedule.

The 2017-18 Atlantic Coast Conference schedule for Duke will provide a little relief when compared to this past seasons slate.

Duke seemed to play all of its tougher opponents on the road this past season.  It was a difficult schedule and  when coupled with numerous player injuries and surgery for Mike Krzyzewski  that meant a 5th place finish in the regular season.

unnamed (7)One could speculate that having to play four games in four days in a loaded ACC Tournament may have been too grueling physically going into the NCAA's.  Duke won the league tournament in grand fashion and carry the conference trophy into the off-season.

Duke would be rewarded with a number two seed in the NCAA Tournament.  In an odd situation, they had to play South Carolina in what was to be an away game with a throng of UNC fans in the stands to  to boot. This seemed hardly fair for a team that earned a high seed by beating three ranked teams in four days work,

But that is the way the season went for the Blue Devils.  There were obstacles galore which almost created a cursed effect at times. Duke was everyone's choice to cut down the nets but no team could stand all the bad luck and make it to that goal.

Going into the off-season, Duke still can hang its hat on the fact they defeated the eventual national champion and arch rival North Carolina two out of three times.  That, in itself, showed just how good Duke was at times and that they were close to breaking through all the aforementioned injuries.

A lot has yet to happen with concern to next seasons roster.  Duke has two players in Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen who may consider the NBA  Draft or test the waters,  The Blue Devils also hope to secure the services of prospects Trevon Duval, Kevin Knox and possibly Mo Bamba.

But despite how it all  shakes out, Duke is expected to put together another team that will challenge for a national title.  One of the things that could help is an easier ACC schedule.  With that said, lets take an early look ahead.

While no dates, times and such have been finalized we do know who Duke will play in 2017-18.  As always, Duke will play two late season games with arch rival North Carolina.  This series will always be competitive.

Duke will take on Wake Forest twice, who may or may not have John Collins.  The Blue Devils will also face what will be a solid Virginia Tech team home and home.  The Hokies will be an upper division team in the league under third year coach Buzz Williams.

The Blue Devils will round out their fourth home and home series with the Pitt Panthers.  This is a team that will be in a major rebuilding mode and likely to gain a couple of transfers into the program in the coming months.

As I mentioned, Duke had to play most of the leagues better teams on the road a season ago,  There will finally be some relief this coming season.

Florida State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Virginia and Syracuse will be single games for Duke.  And each of those likely ranked opponents will all visit Cameron.

As for the road games, Duke will travel with no return game to Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and N.C. State.  All of these teams coluld be better and like Duke, there are still key players who could be added.  Still, these are more manageable road games on the surface than a season ago.

So, to break it down Duke will play-

HOME

North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Louisville, Notre Dame. Florida State. Virginia, Syracuse

AWAY

North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami. N.C. State

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Marques Bolden Still Plays for Duke

download (1)DURHAM, N.C. – Rising sophomore center Marques Bolden will return to Duke University for his sophomore season in 2017-18, he and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Monday night.

“Despite rumors about my future that have circulated in recent days, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be returning to Duke for my sophomore year,” Bolden said. “I have unbelievable support from my family, teammates and coaches. I’m ready to get to work for next season and I’m excited for what should be a great year for our program.”

The DeSoto, Texas, native played in 24 games as a freshman, averaging 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds. He missed the first eight games of the season with a lower leg injury and was sidelined due to illness during the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

“We’re thrilled that Marques will continue to be part of our program,” Krzyzewski said. “In addition to being a talented basketball player, he’s an outstanding young man from a great family. It’s unfortunate that his freshman season was impacted by injury, but he has an opportunity to have a great summer and a special sophomore season.”

Duke finished the season with a 28-9 record, making its 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Blue Devils made history at the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, becoming the first team ever to win four games in as many days to capture the crown. Duke has won a record 20 ACC Tournament titles, including 14 under Coach K – the most in league history by a coach.

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A Bolden Take

download (1)The word came out last evening. According to Adam Rowe of 247 Sports, Marques Bolden would transfer from Duke.  This was naturally picked up by many outlets in that any news on Duke Basketball carries significant interest.

The story had the appearance of one ready to go.  It went into to detail on where Bolden was thinking about going  by mentioning specific teams.  A little while later Rowe walked his claim back in the article, stating that sources now said Bolden was only considering a transfer.  But the body of the story remained intact, showing confidence that it would happen.

Generally, this kind of news comes from official channels meaning Duke itself.  There is a reason for this.  Accuracy on sensitive subject matter is important especially when it involves a student athlete who has yet to make a public decision.  Many media members would have called the SID to confirm news before running with it as a general rule.

Now, I am not saying this will not turn out to be true.  I am saying that as journalists we can actually have an effect on a player and his family's decision if sources prove wrong.  Many are out to get a scoop these days in an effort to bring in members for monetary gain. It is not wrong to break a story but you are also putting sources on the spot when doing so.  And in this case, you are reporting on something Duke generally likes to offer up on their own terms.  The bottom line is it is a sensitive and internal issue.

Marques Bolden can develop at Duke and it all likelihood would if he returns.  But in today's world of social media we can help to push a kid out the door with news before it is designed to be released or before the staff has had a chance to work things out.

I was actually the first choice at one time to run the 247 Sports Duke web site and turned it down.  That opened the door for others.  In hindsight, the one thing I regret most about not taking the opportunity  is that it opened the doors for people who simply were not ready for the challenge at that time.  Team reporting has always come natural for me as does double checking sources before putting something out there.

The media has changed in the past few years.  There is now an information at all costs mentality from those who follow sports. Many of us hear things which are happening behind the scenes and even know of issues as they are happening.  But we all obviously choose different ways in how we report things.

Bolden may well leave.  It is shameful if that happens for he is a talented young man who would have to sit an entire season. He has all the tools to succeed and there should be no reason for that could not happen at Duke.

In the end, Bolden will do what it best for himself and there is no faulting him for that.  I just hope he hasn't read some of the more colorful comments from fans on message boards.  Especially since nothing official has been released with concern to him leaving at this time.

I feel confident in saying that the Duke staff wants Bolden back in uniform next season.  The Texan big man has a great opportunity right where he resides,  It is worth noting that from Nolan Smith to many others, there are stories of success after the sometimes difficult trials of a freshman season.  Those who stick it out often find the fruit they many think may be elsewhere.

As of noon today, no releases were set to come forth from the Duke Sports Information office concerning Marques Bolden.  

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Harry Giles to Enter NBA Draft

unnamed (4)DURHAM, N.C. – Duke freshman forward Harry Giles has announced that he will enter his name in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Giles is the 11th Duke freshman to declare for the NBA Draft, days after teammate and close friend Jayson Tatum announced his intention to turn pro after one season in Durham. That duo joins a group that includes Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012), Jabari Parker (2014), Tyus Jones (2015), Jahlil Okafor (2015), Justise Winslow (2015) and Brandon Ingram (2016).

Each of the previous nine Duke freshmen in the draft was a first-round selection, including eight lottery picks.

“With his uplifting personality and love for the game, Harry Giles has been a joy to coach,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He is only beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be on the basketball court. Harry has an exciting NBA future ahead of him and we are here to fully support him as a member of our brotherhood.”

Giles played in 26 games for the Blue Devils, making six starts and being part of Duke’s first sub group in 10 games. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting .577 from the field.

“Playing in the NBA has been my goal for as long as I can remember, and I’m so excited to take the next step in that journey,” Giles said. “My time at Duke has been a dream come true. I’ve built so many strong relationships here and I have so many people to thank, from my teammates and coaches to our medical staff and strength coach. I can’t understate how proud I am to be part of the Duke Basketball program forever.”

The Winston-Salem, N.C., native had one double-double on the year – a 10-point, 12-rebound effort against Georgia Tech on Jan. 4 – and scored a season-high 12 points against Boston College on Jan. 7. He was integral in Duke’s historic four-day run to the ACC Tournament championship, where he posted six points, seven rebounds and four blocks in the win over sixth-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals.

Duke has produced at least one first-round NBA Draft pick in each of the last six years. Coach K has mentored 32 first-round picks, including a draft-record 21 lottery selections.

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Kennard is a John Wooden All American

unnamed (4)LOS ANGELES – Duke sophomore guard Luke Kennard continued his run on postseason awards Monday night when he was named to the John R. Wooden Award All-America Team by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Kennard has also garnered second-team All-America status from the NABC, Sporting News and the USBWA with the AP team set to be announced this week.

Kennard led Duke in scoring with an average of 19.5 points per game while shooting .489 from the floor, .438 from outside the arc and .856 from the free throw line. His 722 total points on the year represent the 16th-best single-season total in program history, while his .438 three-point percentage ranks 10th on Duke’s single-season chart.

The Franklin, Ohio, native scored in double figures in 35 of Duke’s 37 games on the season, eclipsing the 20-point mark a team-high 19 times. He ranks second in the ACC in scoring and three-point field goal percentage, fourth in free throw percentage, seventh in three-pointers per game (2.38) and eighth in field goal percentage while averaging the third-most minutes per game (35.5) in the conference.

He has made at least one three-point field goal in 40 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Duke history and the 10th-longest stretch in ACC history.

Kennard eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career on Feb. 25 at Miami, becoming just the 12th Duke player (and fifth under Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski) to hit that milestone prior to the end of his second season. His 1,147 career points are the fourth-most in Duke history by a player in his first two seasons, trailing only Jason Williams (1,333), Art Heyman (1,237) and Johnny Dawkins (1,165).

For his career, Kennard owns averages of 15.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.2 minutes. He is a career .461 shooter from the floor and .383 from three-point range. Kennard’s .867 career free throw percentage is currently the second-best in Duke history (min. 200 FTs made).

Kennard was the only unanimous choice for first-team All-ACC honors this season and was also a first-team NABC All-District 2 member and an All-District III selection by the USBWA. He has been named a member of the national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award and a final-five candidate for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

Kennard was named MVP of the ACC Tournament after averaging 20.0 points and 5.3 rebounds to help Duke become the first team in league history to win four games in as many days to claim the ACC championship.

2017 John R. Wooden Award All-America Team
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Dillon Brooks, Oregon
Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Jackson, Kansas
Justin Jackson, North Carolina
Luke Kennard, Duke
Frank Mason III, Kansas
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga