Albany on Duke: ‘Lehigh Didn’t Do Us Any Favors’

PHILADELPHIA — The way Albany coach Will Brown figures it, Duke is still ticked off from losing as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament last year.

Here it is a year after Duke’s loss to No. 15 Lehigh, and the Blue Devils are once again a 2 seed playing a 15. This time it’s the Great Danes.

“Well, Lehigh didn’t do us any favors, that’s for sure,” Brown said here after a few dozen fans watched Albany, surprising champs of the America East Conference, practice at the Wells Fargo Center.

“The tough thing is the team we’re trying to beat is a team that got upset one year ago,” Brown added. “So I think Duke will be To read more of this story, click here

Coach K Says Collins Would Be ‘Great’ Head Coach

— With Duke assistant Chris Collins reportedly set to interview for the Northwestern job next week, Coach K said Collins will eventually be a “great” head coach.

“He’ll be great‑‑ all three of those guys would be great,” Coach K said here before the No. 2 Blue Devils meet No. 15 Albany on Friday.

Coach K was referring to his three assistants, Collins, Jeff Capel and Steve Wojciechowski.

“Well, I could lose any of my guys at any time,” Coach K said. “I feel I have the best staff in America, pro or college, because two of them have been with me for seven years in the Olympics and world championships in Wojo and Chris, and I have three head coaches on my staff in Chris, Wojo and Capel, and there’s nobody who has that.” To read more of this story, click here

Jabari Parker in Top Form at Hoophall Classic

Jabari Parker HoophallBy BRIAN FITZSIMMONS

Special to ZAGSBLOG

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – What do Jay Z, Bill Clinton, John Legend, the Baltimore Ravens and Jabari Parker all have in common?

They were all trending nationally on Twitter moments after the Duke-bound Parker scored a game-high 28 points and helped Simeon (Ill.), ranked No. 11 in the USA Today national poll, hold off No. 10 Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 81-68, at the 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic on Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Parker is the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2013, and four weeks ago chose Duke over Michigan State, Florida, BYU and Stanford, ending an intense process during which schools, coaches, scouts, reporters and television personalities were all gunning for answers.

After leading Simeon to three straight Illinois state championships and earning the 2012 Gatorade National Player of the Year, Parker is aiming to amass more achievements – not just becoming a visible icon in social media circles — with a clear mind. To read more of this story, click here

Austin Rivers Struggling As Matchup With Father Looms

NEW YORK — Austin Rivers will face his father, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in an NBA game for the first time Wednesday night, but he’s hardly going into the matchup feeling confident about himself.

Entering Tuesday’s New Orleans Hornets game at Philadelphia, the 6-foot-4 former Duke star has gone scoreless in four straight games.

In Sunday’s 100-87 loss to the Knicks, Rivers didn’t even attempt a single shot. He went scoreless and played less than four minutes.

“I think this is my fourth game in row I haven’t scored,” a dejected Rivers told in the visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden. “I didn’t even shoot a shot [Sunday]. You know what I mean? To read more of this story, click here

Jabari Parker Picks Duke Over Michigan State, Others (UPDATED)

Jabari Parker finally made his college announcement on Thursday.

“The fall of 2013 I will be attending,” he said before asking for help from Simeon Career Academy coach Rob Smith with holding up a blue shirt, “I will be attending Duke University.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Parker is the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2013, he has led Simeon to three straight Illinois state championships and was the 2012 Gatorade National Player of the Year. He was down to Duke, Michigan State, Florida, BYU and Stanford.

“I just chose Duke because it was the perfect fit for me,” he said. “I think Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski…he’s just interested and he’s really played a key hand in my development, even throughout high school and telling me basic things in what I need to do. And I just felt comfortable.”

Michigan State coaches Tom Izzo and Dwayne Stephens got the last visit with Parker and his family Wednesday, but Coach K’s visit on Tuesday proved to be enough. To read more of this story, click here

Duke Has Now Beaten Three 2012 Final Four Teams

As ESPN’s Brent Musburger pointed out after No. 2 Duke’s 73-68 win over No. 4 Ohio State in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge, the Blue Devils have now beaten three of last year’s Final Four teams.

And it’s not even December yet.

On Nov. 13, Duke beat defending national champion Kentucky, 75-68, in the Champions Classic and on Nov. 24, the Devils topped Louisville, 76-71, in the Bahamas.

“It sure wasn’t [easy],” senior big man Mason Plumlee, who had 21 points and 17 rebounds, said on ESPN. “Ohio State showed why they’re one of the best teams in the country.” To read more of this story, click here

The Mason Plumlee Conundrum


Special to ZAGSBLOG

What if you were an NBA GM and I told you that there was a 6-foot-11 power forward who runs like a cheetah and jumps like a scared kangaroo?

Then I told you that this same big man has nice face-up game and looks comfortable putting the ball on the floor. I know you’re interested now but I’m not done.

This kid is also a willing passer from the post who has a knack for finding open shooters and has spent the last three years of his life with maybe the best basketball coach in all of recorded history. I tell you that he averaged 11 points and 9 rebounds last year and that this season those numbers will increase. To read more of this story, click here