Duke emerged from a gauntlet of games with three wins, defeating UNC Asheville (91-55), East Carolina (83-74) and Vermont (91-90) in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The UNC Asheville and East Carolina wins were part of the NIT Season Tip-Off and propelled Duke to the semifinals where they will face Alabama in Madison Square Garden Wednesday. The Vermont win was a non-conference contest that turned into one of Duke’s biggest test of the year, as the Blue Devils needed 19 second-half points from Jabari Parker and a made free throw with five seconds left from Rodney Hood to squeak out the win. As has been the story all season, Hood and Parker were the stars of the week averaging 23.3 and 22.7 points per game, respectively with a combined five 20-point games from the Duke duo.
Blue Devils Resume Pursuit of NIT Season Tip-Off Championship
Following wins over UNC Asheville and East Carolina in Cameron Indoor Stadium this past Monday and Tuesday, Duke will resume its pursuit of the 2013 NIT Season Tip-Off Championship Wednesday in Madison Square Garden. In the semifinal matchup, Duke will take on Alabama at 9:30 p.m. in a venue that has become a second home to the Blue Devils. Duke will play in The Garden for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons and 41st time overall, looking to improve on a 26-15 all-time record. The Blue Devils have won 13 of their past 15 games there, including Krzyzewski’s record-setting 903rd victory against Michigan State in 2011. With a win over Alabama, Duke would move on to face the winner of Arizona and Drexel Friday at 6 p.m.
Hood and Parker On Historic Scoring Pace
Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker are averaging a combined 44.8 points per game, which would rank as the second highest scoring duo at Duke in the Coach K era. Only the 2005-06 tandem of J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams combined for more points per game, setting the K-era record with 45.6 points per game. Hood and Parker have eight 20-point games together, including a 30-point outing against East Carolina from Hood.
Duke Nabs Four Five-Star Recruits
It was a recruiting coup for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff, who announced Thursday the signing of five-star recruits Grayson Allen (Jacksonville, Fla.), Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn.), Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill.) and Justise Winslow (Houston, Texas) to national letters of intent to join Duke for the 2014-15 season. Each of those four are ranked among the top 40 high school seniors in the nation by every major recruiting list, including Okafor who is the No. 1 overall prospect and Jones who comes in at No. 5. Allen, meanwhile, was the first of the class to commit to Duke, while Winslow made it an even four signees Thursday. To read more about the Blue Devils-to-be, check out the GoDuke.com recap below:
Blue Devils Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions
With the best eating holiday in the United States just around the corner, several Blue Devils chimed in with their favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions. Much like the rest of the country, the players’ favorites revolved around the three F’s – food, family and football. Here is a quick look at some of the Blue Devils’ Thanksgiving traditions:
Matt Jones: Backyard football games with family. Jones was the quarterback in these battles “running the show and posting Peyton Manning-like numbers” and like most family battles there were “usually more hurt feelings than injuries”.
Todd Zafirovski: Backyard football with his brothers. “What always started with touch football turned into tackle which led to a few bloody noses and usually silent treatment until after dinner,” Zafirovski said. Fortunately for the Zafirovski brothers, mom’s cinnamon rolls were more than enough to bring everybody back together.
Alex Murphy: Murphy’s favorite on the holiday is sweet potato pecan casserole and hanging out with family. In the grand tradition that the Pilgrims surely created, he prefers to start the day with the traditional Thanksgiving meal in the early afternoon and proceeded through the rest of the day with a nap-meal-nap-meal-nap rotation.
Jabari Parker: Bypasses the backyard football to catch some pigskin on TV at his uncle’s house just down the block from his family home. His preferred meal consists of “some of everything...I’ve got to have the turkey with stuffing, greens, mac-and-cheese, sweet potato pie. Man, I am getting hungry just talking about it.”
Curry Goes Off in NBA D-League Debut
Former Duke All-American Seth Curry may not have opened his professional career in the NBA, but he made the most of his first opportunity in the NBA Development League when he scored a team-record 36 points in the Santa Cruz Warriors season opener. Curry went 12-for-19 from the field and 3-of-8 from three-point range to lead the Warriors to a 121-102 win over the Austin Toros. He dished out six assists and also picked off a steal. Said Curry after the game, “I feel like I can make a lot of tough shots out there, so I take them. But that's the aggressiveness I have in me to try and make plays for my team.”
“I guess you could call them heat checks,” he added with a smile, “or bad shots that went in.”
Henderson’s “Spider-Man” Dunk
Add another clip to the Gerald Henderson highlight reel. Against the Bulls on Monday, Henderson stood under the basket on an inbounds pass, ran in a complete circle to lost his defender and soared to the basket for an alley-oop that has since been labeled the “Spider-Man” dunk, largely attributed to the ensuing dismount and landing. Check out the link below for the video.
Henderson continues to be a key piece of the Bobcats rebuilding project, ranking third on the team in scoring with double-figure scoring in 12 of 14 games. He is on pace to average double-digit scoring for the third straight season.
Irving Stars in New Foot Locker Commercial
While his on-court exploits are mighty impressive, Kyrie Irving is developing quite a reputation for his humorous, off-key commercials. Foot Locker unveiled a new commercial featuring the “Uncle Drew” star in which Irving daydreams of a “better world” where Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield reconcile, Dennis Rodman takes a permanent vacation and Brett Favre finally hangs it up. To check out the commercial, visit the link below:
Nate James: ‘I never knew my family was a part of that’ (Durham Herald-Sun)
New ingredients, same Cook (The Devils Den)
Winslow bolsters Duke recruiting class (ESPN)
Parker is the real deal (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
Tweet of the Week
grant hill @realgranthill33
Slow down young fella lol "@Chief_Justise: @realgranthill33 Feels great to be a part of the Duke Family. Think I can wear #33 next year?!"
Stat of the Week
Jabari Parker is the first Division I freshman to score 20 points in his first six games since Eric Gordon did so for Indiana in the 2007-08 season. Kevin Durant of Texas also had a seven-game streak to open the 2006-07 season.