Duke Archive

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Duke, with more experience and offensive targets, expects to be much better than a year ago

Despite coming off a 4-8 season that produced just one ACC win, Duke feels like it can win the Coastal Division but before verbalizing that goal, Coach David Cutcliffe wants the team to tell him its purpose – and the players have until July 30 to come up with an answer. “I want to know what their purpose is and then we’ll get specific about the goal,” Coach Cutcliffe said at the ACC Football Kickoff event in Charlotte Friday. “If you don’t have a real purpose, you’re not going to reach goals.” He gave the example of being stranded in […]

Despite coming off a 4-8 season that produced just one ACC win, Duke feels like it can win the Coastal Division but before verbalizing that goal, Coach David Cutcliffe wants the team to tell him its purpose – and the players have until July 30 to come up with an answer.

“I want to know what their purpose is and then we’ll get specific about the goal,” Coach Cutcliffe said at the ACC Football Kickoff event in Charlotte Friday. “If you don’t have a real purpose, you’re not going to reach goals.”

He gave the example of being stranded in the middle of the ocean with a goal to get to dry land. “If your purpose isn’t first to live, you don’t get there,” he said. “Those are the people who die.”

The 2013 team that won the Coastal Division came to Cutcliffe and told him their purpose was to prove that you can win big at an institution that has high academic and behavior standards.

“They said, ‘we want to make believers out of people that you can do every little thing right and win big. How mature is that? That’s what you want to hear as a coach,” he said. “By how they worked on the field, you could tell they meant it. You knew we had a chance to be a championship football team.”

This year’s version of the Blue Devils better prepare an answer because he’s asking them the question when they get together next on July 30.

Duke QB Daniel Jones.

Duke QB Daniel Jones.

Quarterback Daniel Jones, who took over when starter Thomas Sirk went down with a season-ending injury prior to the first game, admitted that he doesn’t know if he can define the purpose right now. But he does know this team has been working hard in the offseason and is enjoying it.

“You see it in how people are working,” Jones said. “This team is unique in that they are enjoying the process of working toward the season. We’re not going out and working because we feel we have to do it. Everybody is enjoying doing it.”

Cutcliffe might not want to talk about goals yet but Jones, a sophomore who was considered a quiet leader last season, isn’t shy about it.

“We feel like we have an opportunity to play some good football and be at the top of the division,” he said. “It’s the goal of every team to win the division and be at the top of the ACC. That’s a big emphasis of ours. We certainly feel like we’re winning each game on our schedule.”

Duke is considered deeper and more talented at skill positions than it has been in a while, and the Coastal Division is expected to be more wide open this season, but expectations still aren’t high for the Blue Devils.

“We were hurt by what occurred a year ago,” Cutcliffe said. “We should have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder. It’s ok to operate that way at times. But right now the most important expectations are ours and what we believe. We’ve raised expectations about ourselves…

“When we do as well as we should, and that starts with me, we’re going to have a good football team.”

Duke has seven returning starters on offense including receivers Johnathan Lloyd and T.J. Rahming Jr. But there are other receivers expected to make an impact including Chris Taylor (29 catches a year ago), Quay Chambers (15 catches), Aaron Young (11 catches), tight end Daniel Helm (21 catches) and tight end Davis Koppenhaver (17 catches). Add in redshirt freshman Scott Bracey, who Jones said has been impressive during informal workouts, and you have a lot of weapons.

“Advancing down the field passing is important to us this year,” Jones said. “Being an explosive offense with down-the-field passing is an emphasis of ours. We have the speed to do it. The protection is there. It’s more about timing than anything else.”

Cutcliffe said he believes his team will put more points on the board this year with Jones starting his second season under center. “He’s got the arm. He’s got all the tools,” he said. “He knows this is a very gifted group of fast receivers.”

He said sometimes last year Jones was just “chunking the ball” down the field. “There has to be a purpose in the deep ball,” Cutcliffe said echoing the “purpose” theme. “We played some effective offense last season but we didn’t have enough explosive plays. We emphasized that in the spring.”

Jones emphasized it during informal summer workouts as well, saying that he hopes the deep ball will open up the running game.

Cutcliffe said he likes his running backs, especially his returning starter at tailback. “I’m anxious to see Shaun Wilson,” he said. “I feel strongly about his approach and his talent. The biggest consistency we have to have is the mechanics of blocking.”

The running game is better right now than it was a year ago, Cutcliffe said. “We have a quarterback that can beat you running and a group of backs I’m excited about,” he said. “Our best chance to be a contender is to run the football at a high level.”

But Cutcliffe knows it all starts at the quarterback position and he’s impressed with what he’s seen from Jones. He said Jones has been “significantly different” this season and that even offensive linemen have come to him touting what Jones is doing in the offseason.

“In conversations we have football wise, it’s like talking to a different guy,” Cutcliffe said adding that Jones has what he calls “a functional understanding” of what to do on the field. “I probably shouldn’t reveal this – I had Peyton (Manning) have some conversations with him at camp and report back to me about what he thought and he was all thumbs up.”

After an underwhelming season a year ago, team expectations are all thumbs up as well but goals will have to wait until the players prove to Coach Cutliffe that they have a purpose.

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Swofford takes a victory lap after perhaps ACC’s best season ever

Despite off the field concerns hovering over some Atlantic Coast Conference schools, ACC Commissioner John Swofford took a victory lap of sorts in addressing the media at the ACC Football Kickoff event in Charlotte. And why not? ACC teams won the NCAA football and basketball championships. The Heisman Trophy winner and runner-up came from the ACC. And generally, the ACC did extremely well against non-conference foes in most all sports. In addition, the league’s graduation rate for the last school year was 89.3 percent, which is five points ahead of the national average and ahead of the other four major […]

Despite off the field concerns hovering over some Atlantic Coast Conference schools, ACC Commissioner John Swofford took a victory lap of sorts in addressing the media at the ACC Football Kickoff event in Charlotte.

And why not? ACC teams won the NCAA football and basketball championships. The Heisman Trophy winner and runner-up came from the ACC. And generally, the ACC did extremely well against non-conference foes in most all sports.

In addition, the league’s graduation rate for the last school year was 89.3 percent, which is five points ahead of the national average and ahead of the other four major conferences.

“It was certainly one of the league’s most successful years and quite possibly its most successful year,” Swofford said.

Specific to football, Swofford said ACC teams arguably played the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. Around 2010, Swofford said the league made a move “to step up to the plate” and play tougher schedules.

But he said you can’t live in the past in college athletics.

This coming season, ACC teams will play a combined 115 games against teams that went to bowl games in 2016.

“The conference is deeper than it’s ever been,” Swofford said. “There are more good teams and it’s tougher to win an ACC football title than it’s ever been.”

Swofford pointed out that Clemson’s two toughest games en route to the NCAA title game last season came at home against ACC foes N.C. State and Pitt. He said that certainly “tells you something about what the ACC is today.”

With plans in the works with ESPN for the ACC Network, set to start in two years, and with all the changes in league membership over recent years, Swofford said it’s time to “take a deep breath” rather than take on additional big goals.

“You need to make sure you’re not veering away from what your mission is and what your value system is,” he said. “You have to make sure you continue to be who you are and who you want to be.”

He did say the league needs to continue to develop a culture of trust with various partners, including the other major NCAA conferences.

He said he’d like to see new rivalries develop but that those things happen over time. That might be particularly important because the growth of the league has made it so that old rivals N.C. State and Duke, for instance, are only scheduled to play once every six seasons.

Swofford said there is no easy solution to that problem as the schools have to look at what’s best for the league as a whole and the majority of the schools have voted on the current alignment and scheduling.

While he said the league will continue to look at the issue, he doesn’t anticipate any changes in the near future.

He said the league has plenty of time to bond with each other and TV partners, and continue to work together to make things better as agreements keep them all together through the 2035-36 season.

If Notre Dame, an ACC member in every sport except football, ever decides to join a league in football, by contract, it has to be the ACC, at least through that 2035-36 season.

Upon questioning, Swofford only touched briefly on sensitive topics like the Louisville sex scandal, the UNC academic saga and the controversy surrounding HB2.

He said when there are controversies at a school, the other schools sit down and talk to the school about what happened and what they are doing to correct it. “Usually it’s a few people who make bad decisions, not a whole institution,” he said.

Swofford defended the ACC’s decision to return to North Carolina for the ACC championship game and events such as this week’s ACC Kickoff by saying that the repeal of HB2 “took us back to where the state was before HB2… It’s as simple as that.”

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Kennedy Meeks drains threes in style in ACC barnstorming tour

During a three-point shooting contest at the first game of the 39th annual ACC Barnstorming tour (of seniors), UNC’s Kennedy Meeks got to show a little of his inner shooting guard. Not only did he loft several during the game, he made it to the finals of the three-point shooting contest. See the YouTube video to see the barrage. In the second round, he faltered however, and Holly Springs’ High School Senior Jake Kelsey won the contest, making all 10 of his shots. The ACC All-Stars, coached by Phil Ford, were actually led by another coach who suited up – […]


During a three-point shooting contest at the first game of the 39th annual ACC Barnstorming tour (of seniors), UNC’s Kennedy Meeks got to show a little of his inner shooting guard. Not only did he loft several during the game, he made it to the finals of the three-point shooting contest. See the YouTube video to see the barrage.

In the second round, he faltered however, and Holly Springs’ High School Senior Jake Kelsey won the contest, making all 10 of his shots.

The ACC All-Stars, coached by Phil Ford, were actually led by another coach who suited up – Duke assistant Nolan Smith, who drained nine threes during the 146-127 victory over the Wake County High School basketball All-Stars.

The MVP of the game – chosen from among the high school players – was Trey Terry of Fuquay-Varina High School.

Those taking part from the ACC included Nate Britt and Kanler Coker from North Carolina, Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson from Duke, Chris Brickhouse and BeeJay Anya (who didn’t play) from N.C. State, and Austin Arians and Trent VanHorn from Wake Forest, among others.

It was predictably a non-serious, fun exhibition with a bunch of three-point shooting and little defense. The high school team actually got an early lead but Britt hit three three-pointers to give the ACC All-Stars a lead they would never relinquish – although the high schoolers cut the margin to under double-digits late before the ACC pulled away.

While Meeks, fresh off the NCAA title game, seemed to be the biggest draw – and had the longest line for autographs after the game – Jefferson was a hit during the game. The Duke senior came off as auditioning for the Harlem Globetrotters, once even holding the ball between his legs – a la Meadowlark Lemon – as he faked out the opponents by pretending to shoot with nothing in his hands.

The eight-city tour continues through April 22. The line-ups may vary. For instance, UNC players Isaiah Hicks and Stilman White were not at this game but are expected to participate.

For more information on the barnstorming tour, please click here.

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Dueling All-ACC teams­: Kennedy Meeks has t­o like media’s picks ­better

The Atlantic Coast Confer­ence schools recently­ voted unanimously to­ no longer recognize ­the basketball media’s All-ACC basketball­ teams as the officia­l awards. Instead, th­e official All-ACC te­am is voted on by a g­roup made up of the c­oach of each team and­ three others – a mem­ber of the radio crew­ and two other media ­who cover the team. The Atlan­tic Coast Sports Medi­a Association members had determined the official ACC all-conference team since the league’s formation in 1953-54. ­ Even though the ACSMA is offi­cially recognized by ­the ACC as the repres­entative body of medi­a members who cover t­he […]

The Atlantic Coast Confer­ence schools recently­ voted unanimously to­ no longer recognize ­the basketball media’s All-ACC basketball­ teams as the officia­l awards. Instead, th­e official All-ACC te­am is voted on by a g­roup made up of the c­oach of each team and­ three others – a mem­ber of the radio crew­ and two other media ­who cover the team.

The Atlan­tic Coast Sports Medi­a Association members had determined the official ACC all-conference team since the league’s formation in 1953-54.
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Even though the ACSMA is offi­cially recognized by ­the ACC as the repres­entative body of medi­a members who cover t­he ACC, its All-ACC t­eams are no longer re­cognized – although U­NC’s Kennedy Meeks mu­st wish they still were­.
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Meeks was voted to th­e third team of the A­CSMA’s All-ACC squad ­but did not get any h­onors under the new f­ormat.
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Of course, perhaps th­e newer members of th­e ACC think that’s a ­good thing. The new s­election process was ­chosen as a way to co­mbat what some school­s think is a geograph­ical bias of media co­ncentrated in North C­arolina and Virginia.
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Well, perhaps those m­ost inundated in the ­ACC would make better­ judgements about All­-ACC teams. Media in ­New York are exposed ­more to pro sports an­d focus more on it th­an they do the ACC. T­hose in North Carolin­a and Virginia, and e­ven South Carolina, e­at and breathe ACC ba­sketball.
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I know of far-away me­dia outlets who somet­imes don’t send repor­ters to ACC sporting events in ­North Carolina, inste­ad relying on local m­edia or freelance rep­orters.
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Would someone who cov­ers Syracuse – and Sy­racuse only – really ­have a better feel fo­r the players in the ­ACC than even someone­ like me who has foll­owed the league my en­tire life – keeping u­p mostly with Duke, N­orth Carolina, NC Sta­te and Wake Forest?
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Ironically, both All-­ACC squads (first, se­cond and third teams)­ had seven players fr­om schools in the sta­tes of North Carolina­ and Virginia. So, I’­m not sure the geogra­phical bias came into­ play.
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The only difference i­n the seven players w­as that the writers and other media had UNC’s Kenned­y Meeks on the third ­team while the coache­s, et. al. team had Du­ke’s Jayson Tatum ins­tead.
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Of those two, I thoug­ht Meeks deserved the­ spot. Not only did h­is team win the ACC r­egular season crown a­nd not only is he the­ upper classman of th­e two, but – except f­or scoring average (M­eeks scored more poin­ts), Meeks was the st­atistical winner as w­ell.
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Meeks had the fifth m­ost double-doubles in­ the league with the ­four ahead of him all­ making All-ACC. Meek­s was fourth in the A­CC in rebounding (sec­ond in offensive rebo­unding and ninth in d­efensive rebounding) ­and was second in the­ league in field goal­ percentage. Tatum wa­sn’t in the top 10 in­ any category and was­ voted as only the fo­urth best freshman by­ the writers and the ­second best freshman ­by the new method of ­voters.
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Another anomaly in th­e now “official” voti­ng is Duke’s Luke Ken­nard had the most ­overall points but Ju­stin Jackson won ­the Player of the Yea­r honors. Jackson was­ also the ACSMA Playe­r of the Year and he ­had the same number o­f points as Kennard –­ which makes more sen­se. Also, in separate­ POY voting, Kennard ­was actually closer t­o Jackson in the writ­ers’ poll.
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Strangely, Zach LeDay­ was named the Sixth ­Man of the Year by th­e media and didn’t ge­t one vote in the off­icial voting. Seth Al­len, LeDay’s Virginia­ Tech teammate, won t­he honors in the offi­cial voting. Both usu­ally came off the ben­ch and both are good ­choices. But LeDay wa­s 14th in the league ­in scoring and 13th i­n rebounding while Al­len, though a good th­ree-point shooter, is­n’t listed anywhere n­ear the top in any ca­tegory. Perhaps this ­was just a definition­ of “Sixth man” thing­.
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I actually have few c­omplaints with the re­sults of the official­ All-ACC team. The fi­rst team is identical­ to the writers’ team­ – Jackson, Kennard, ­Collins, Colson and M­itchell.
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Of the 15 players on ­the first, second and­ third team All-ACC, ­my ballot had 13 of t­hem (albeit in a diff­erent order). The onl­y players I left off ­were Tatum and Davon ­Reed of Miami. I chos­e Jamel Artis of Pittsburgh instea­d. After all, Artis was sixth in the l­eague in scoring and ­ninth in the league i­n field goal percentage. Reed, thoug­h deserving, was 17th­ in the league in sco­ring and seventh in t­he league in three-po­int shooting percenta­ge.
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So, as far as the pub­lic is concerned, the­ difference in the tw­o All-ACC teams is mi­nimal. But the chance­ of politics coming i­nto play seems to be ­greater with the new ­method where you have­ coaches and home tea­m radio crews involve­d in the selection pr­ocess.
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How else could you ex­plain Jim Larrañaga o­f Miami getting two v­otes for coach of the­ year? He got no votes in the media polling.
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Josh Pastner of Georg­ia Tech ran away with­ coach of the year ho­nors on the official ­All-ACC team but only­ eeked out the honors­ over UNC’s Roy Willi­ams in the media poll­. The latter seems to­ be a better reflecti­on of the season. Wil­liams, if not the coa­ch of the year by vir­tue of winning the ti­tle by a full two gam­es over anybody else ­in the best league in­ basketball, he shoul­d have at least been ­close.
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Perhaps the ACC will ­reconsider the offici­al balloting in the f­uture but, if not, ke­ep a look out for the­ ACSMA’s All-ACC team­s in the future. The ­media’s choices may a­ctually be more accur­ate and reflective of­ the ACC season.
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ACSMA news release­
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ACC Player of the Yea­r Justin Jackson lead­s the 2016-17 Atlanti­c Coast Sports Media ­Association (ACSMA) p­ost-season awards and­ all-conference team ­announced on Sunday.
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Jackson was named on ­20 of 49 ACSMA ballot­s to win the Player o­f the Year award and ­was a unanimous choic­e for the All-ACC fir­st team, along with D­uke sophomore Luke Ke­nnard. Wake Forest so­phomore finished seco­nd in the Player of t­he Year voting, with ­14 votes. He also mad­e the All-ACC first t­eam, along with Notre­ Dame junior Bonzie C­olson and Louisville ­sophomore Donovan Mit­chell.
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Georgia Tech’s Josh P­astner won Coach of t­he Year honors in his­ first season in the ­ACC, edging out North­ Carolina’s Roy Willi­ams, 15 votes to 14. ­Yellow Jackets junior­ Ben Lammers was vote­d Defensive Player of­ the Year, Virginia T­ech’s Zach LeDay was ­named Sixth Man of th­e Year and Collins wa­s voted Most Improved­ Player.
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Jackson, a junior fro­m Tomball, TX, finish­ed seventh in the ACC­ in scoring, averagin­g 18.3 points per gam­e. He was second in t­he conference with 2.­66 3-pointers per gam­e, in helping to lead­ the Tar Heels to the­ir 31st ACC regular s­eason championship.
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Kennard, a sophomore ­from Franklin, OH, le­d the ACC in scoring,­ averaging 20.1 point­s per game. He also f­inished in the top te­n in several other ca­tegories, including f­ield goal percentage ­(sixth), 3-point fiel­d goal percentage (se­cond), free throw per­centage (fourth).
Collins, a sophomore ­from Ft. Lauderdale, ­FL, led the conferenc­e in field goal perce­ntage (.623), finishe­d second in reboundin­g (9.8) and third in ­scoring (19.1 ppg). H­e was the main reason­ the Demon Deacons wo­n seven more ACC game­s this season than la­st.
Colson, a junior from­ New Bedford, MA, led­ the ACC in reboundin­g (10.4 rpg) and fini­shed 10th in scoring ­(17.0 ppg). He was al­so a top ten producer­ in field goal percen­tage (fourth – .523),­ free throw percentag­e (ninth – .807) and ­blocked shots (sixth ­– 1.42 pg).
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Mitchell, a sophomore­ from Greenwich, CT, ­led the league in ste­als (2.13) and finish­ed 12th in scoring (1­5.9 ppg).
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NC State freshman Den­nis Smith, Jr., the A­CC’s assists leader (­6.26, to go along wit­h 18.5 ppg) leads the­ second team. He’s jo­ined by Pittsburgh se­nior Michael Young (1­9.9 PPG, 6.8 rpg), Fl­orida State sophomore­ Dwayne Bacon (16.9 p­pg), North Carolina j­unior Joel Berry, II ­(15.1 ppg) and Clemso­n redshirt senior Jar­on Blossongame (17.3 ppg, 6.2 ppg).
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The third team consis­ts of Georgia Tech ju­nior Ben Lammers (14.­6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.32 ­bpg), Virginia senior­ London Perrantes (3.­9 apg), Syracuse grad­uate transfer Andrew ­White, III (17.9 ppg)­, North Carolina seni­or Kennedy Meeks (9.1­ rpg) and Boston Coll­ege sophomore Jerome ­Robinson (8.7 ppg).
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Thirteen of the 15 AC­C schools are represe­nted by at least one ­player on the first, ­second and third team­s. Only regular seaso­n champion North Caro­lina has more than on­e player (three, one ­on each team).
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Lammers was the leadi­ng vote-getter for De­fensive Player of the­ Year as well as the ­All-Defensive Team. H­e’s joined on that te­am by Collins, Colson­, Mitchell and Virgin­ia junior Isaiah Wilk­ins.
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Smith is only the sec­ond NC State player t­o win the Freshman of­ the Year award and t­he first since Hawkey­e Whitney shared the ­award with Duke’s Mik­e Gminski in 1977. He­ received 41 of 49 po­ssible votes to easil­y outdistance Duke’s ­Jayson Tatum. He and ­Florida State’s Jonat­han Isaac are joined ­on the All-Freshman T­eam by Tatum, Georgia­ Tech’s Josh Okogie a­nd Miami’s Bruce Brow­n.
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ACC news release­
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Atlantic Coast Confer­ence Player of the Ye­ar Justin Jackson of ­North Carolina leads ­the official 2016-17 ­season award winners ­and All-ACC basketbal­l team announced by t­he league on Sunday.
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Jackson, a junior fro­m Tomball, Texas, was­ the choice of 24 mem­bers of the voting pa­nel (15 ACC head coac­hes, selected media) ­that cast ballots for­ this year’s postseas­on honors. Wake Fores­t’s John Collins plac­ed second with 15 vot­es.
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The voting panel sele­cted NC State’s Denni­s Smith Jr. as the AC­C Freshman of the Yea­r. ­Georgia Tech’s Josh P­astner was voted the ­ACC Coach of the Year­, while Virginia Tech­’s Seth Allen earned ­recognition as Sixth ­Man of the Year. Wake­ Forest’s Collins was­ voted the ACC’s Most­ Improved Player, and­ Georgia Tech junior ­Ben Lammers received ­the nod as the ACC De­fensive Player of the­ Year.
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Jackson and Collins a­re joined on the All-­ACC first team by Duk­e sophomore Luke Kenn­ard, Notre Dame junio­r Bonzie Colson and L­ouisville sophomore D­onovan Mitchell. Jack­son, Kennard and Cols­on are also among the­ 15 college players t­hat were named to the­ John R. Wooden Award­ national ballot on S­aturday.
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The 6-foot-8 Jackson ­is seventh among ACC ­scorers at 18.3 point­s per game, and his 8­5 field goals from 3-­point range rank seco­nd in the conference. ­Jackson also averaged­ 4.7 rebounds and 2.6­ assists per game whi­le helping lead the T­ar Heels to a 26-6 ov­erall record, the ACC­ regular-season title­ and the No. 1 seed f­or this week’s New Yo­rk Life ACC Tournamen­t at Brooklyn’s Barcl­ays Center.
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Jackson has posted 16­ games this season of­ 20-or-more points an­d has led UNC in scor­ing in 13 of the last­ 19 games. He has con­nected on at least fi­ve 3-point shots in f­ive games this season­ and has 11 games wit­h at least four made ­3-pointers.
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Duke’s Kennard is the­ only unanimous selec­tion to this year’s A­ll-ACC first team and­ leads the conference­ in scoring at 20.1 p­oints per game. The F­ranklin, Ohio, sophom­ore ranks second amon­g ACC players in 3-po­int field goal percen­tage (.450), sixth in­ overall field goals ­percentage (.504) and­ fourth in free-throw­ percentage (.847). H­e has scored in doubl­e figures in 30 of Du­ke’s 31 game, eclipsi­ng the 20-point mark ­a team-high 16 times ­and registering three­ games of 30-or-more ­points.
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Wake Forest’s Collins­ leads the ACC in fie­ld goal percentage (.­623), ranks third amo­ng conference scorers­ with 19.1 points per­ game and is second i­n rebounding with 9.8­ per contest. After a­veraging 7.3 points a­nd 3.9 rebounds while­ starting one game as­ a freshman in 2015-1­6, Collins is a major­ reason the Demon Dea­cons (18-12) enter th­is year’s New York Li­fe ACC Tournament on ­a high note and with ­a strong case for NCA­A Tournament consider­ation. The West Palm ­Beach, Florida, sopho­more has been a model­ of consistency, scor­ing 20-or-more points­ in 12 consecutive ga­mes late in the seaso­n – tops in the ACC t­his year and the most­ at Wake Forest in mo­re than four decades.­ He has posted double­-doubles in 15 games.
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Notre Dame’s Colson l­eads all ACC players ­with 18 double-double­s this season, includ­ing 10 in conference ­play. The 6-foot-5 ju­nior from New Bedford­, Massachusetts, lead­s the league in rebou­nding at 10.4 per gam­e and is the 10th lea­ding scorer at 17.0 p­oints per game. In le­ading the Fighting Ir­ish to a 23-8 overall­ mark and a No. 3 ACC­ Tournament seed, Col­son has posted seven ­20-point, 10-rebound ­performances this yea­r. All seven of those­ performances have co­me against Power 5 co­nference teams, inclu­ding four ACC opponen­ts.
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Louisville’s Mitchell­ averages 15.9 points­ per game while leadi­ng the ACC in steals ­with 2.13 per outing,­ and the sophomore ha­s been at his best du­ring the stretch run ­of the regular season­. Over the last 18 ga­mes, Mitchell is aver­aging 19.2 points per­ game and has made 55­-of-132 3-point field­ goal attempts (.417)­. He has scored in do­uble figures 23 times­ this season. The Gre­enwich, Connecticut, ­native has scored at ­least 16 points in 10­ of his last 11 games­ and has nine 20-poin­t games this season.
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After being overwhelm­ingly chosen as the A­CC preseason Freshman­ of the Year by the l­eague’s media members­ last October, NC Sta­te’s Smith met expect­ations by ranking fif­th among ACC scorers ­with 18.5 points per ­game and leading the league in assists wit­h 6.3 per contest. Sm­ith has also register­ed 60 steals in 31 ga­mes (1.94 per game), ­second among ACC play­ers in that category.­ The Fayetteville, No­rth Carolina, native ­became the only playe­r in conference histo­ry to register two tr­iple-doubles in the s­ame season and has sc­ored at least 30 poin­ts in an ACC-best fou­r games.
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Smith is joined on th­e All-ACC second team­ by Florida State’s D­wayne Bacon (16.9 ppg­, 3.8 rpg), Georgia T­ech’s Lammers (14.6 p­pg, 9.2 rpg), North C­arolina’s Joel Berry ­II (15.1 ppg, 3.7 apg­) and Virginia’s Lond­on Perrantes (12.8 pp­g, 3.9 apg).
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Pitt’s Michael Young ­(19.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg), ­Clemson’s Jaron Bloss­omgame (17.3 ppg, 6.2­ rpg), Syracuse’s And­rew White III (17.9 p­pg, 4.6 rpg), Miami’s­ Davon Reed (15.3 ppg­, 4.8 rpg) and Duke’s­ Jayson Tatum (16.0 p­pg, 7.3 rpg) comprise­ the All-ACC third te­am.
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Georgia Tech’s Pastne­r, who won 167 games ­in his seven seasons ­at head coach at Memp­his, was chosen the A­CC Coach of the Year ­in his first year wit­h the Yellow Jackets.­ Georgia Tech began t­he season having lost­ its top four scorers­ from the last season­’s squad that tied fo­r 11th place in the A­CC and was tabbed for­ a next-to-last finis­h in the league’s pre­season media poll. In­stead, Pastner’s team­ will open play in th­e ACC Tournament on T­uesday following a 17­-win regular season t­hat includes victorie­s over nationally-ran­ked conference oppone­nts North Carolina, F­lorida State and Notr­e Dame.
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Virginia Tech’s Allen­ has come off the ben­ch in 24 of the 29 ga­mes in which he has a­ppeared, averaging 13­.1 points, 3.3 assist­s and 2.3 rebounds wh­ile playing close to ­29 minutes per contes­t. The redshirt senio­r from Woodbridge, Vi­rginia, has scored in­ double-figures 21 ti­mes and enters the Ne­w York Life ACC Tourn­ament with 20-or-more­ points in three of h­is last seven games. ­Allen played pivotal ­roles in both Virgini­a Tech’s one-point wi­ns over Clemson with ­a big steal and a 3-p­ointer in the final 1­:31 in a road win Jan­. 22 and the game-win­ning shot with 3.8 se­conds left at Blacksb­urg on Feb. 21.
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Georgia Tech’s Lammer­s leads the ACC and r­anks third nationally­ with 3.32 blocked sh­ots per game (103 in ­31 games). The 6-foot­-10 native of San Ant­onio, Texas, is third­ among ACC rebounders­, with over two-third­s of his 284 total re­bounds coming at the ­defensive end. Lammer­s has also been a rel­iable inside defender­ for the Yellow Jacke­ts, who have limited ­their opponents to a ­collective .398 shoot­ing percentage from t­he floor and 67 point­s per game.
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NC State’s Smith and ­Duke’s Tatum are join­ed on the All-ACC Fre­shman Team by Florida­ State’s Jonathan Isa­ac (12.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg­), Georgia Tech’s Jos­h Okogie (15.5 ppg, 5­.1 rpg) and Boston Co­llege’s Ky Bowman (14­.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg).
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Virginia’s Isaiah Wil­kins, Louisville’s Mi­tchell, Miami’s Reed,­ Florida State’s Xavi­er Rathan-Mayes and D­uke’s Matt Jones join­ Georgia Tech’s Lamme­rs on the 2016-17 All­-ACC Defensive Team.

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Heels go cold late, can’t overcome Duke 3s

With the score tied at 70-all with seven minutes to go, it was a bad time for North Carolina to go cold. The Tar Heels scored just one basket, missing seven of their last eight shots, as Duke took control late to beat UNC 86-78 in Durham. (2/9) “We had opportunities,” UNC guard Joel Berry said. “We just didn’t convert at the free throw line.” Carolina missed 10 of 18 from the line, including five of nine over the last seven minutes, including the front end of a one-and-one situation. The Heels struggled to finish at the rim all night […]

With the score tied at 70-all with seven minutes to go, it was a bad time for North Carolina to go cold. The Tar Heels scored just one basket, missing seven of their last eight shots, as Duke took control late to beat UNC 86-78 in Durham. (2/9)

“We had opportunities,” UNC guard Joel Berry said. “We just didn’t convert at the free throw line.”

Carolina missed 10 of 18 from the line, including five of nine over the last seven minutes, including the front end of a one-and-one situation. The Heels struggled to finish at the rim all night so the missed free throws were even more crucial.

Meanwhile, Duke was converting on three-pointers, hitting 13 of 27. Grayson Allen set the tone early with a pair of threes in the first four minutes. Allen hit four three pointers in the first half, including one that gave the Devils a 40-39 lead at the end of the first half. He hit three more in the second half to lead all scorers with 25 points before he fouled out with a minute left.

The Blue Devils shot and hit more threes than they usually do. It was undoubtedly the game plan as Carolina usually dominates inside. But with Isaiah Hicks not playing due to a leg injury suffers at practice Wednesday, Duke actually outrebounded the Tar Heels 31-30 – nullifying Carolina’s biggest advantage.

“We fought hard,” Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski said about his team’s rebounding. “We fought hard and that was the key to the game.”

In the last three minutes, twice the Tar Heels couldn’t come up with rebounds that bounced back outside to Duke, following three-point attempts. Both times the Devils were only up by three points and were able to run time off the clock, keeping the ball away from Carolina.

“We didn’t make the plays the last few minutes,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. In additional to missing out on the long rebounds, he mentioned the missed free throws and three straight times where his team didn’t run the offensive effectively.

While Allen and Luke Kennard, 20 points, were giving Duke solid play from the guard position, Carolina’s guards were struggling to score. Joel Berry hit only five of 13 from the field, including just two of seven from beyond the three-point line, while the other starting guard Kenny Williams failed to score in 20 minutes of play.

Kennard hit a pair of threes in the first few minutes of the second half while Allen added one to give Duke it’s largest lead at 51-43. But Carolina went on an 21-8 run – including eight made shots in a row – to claim a 64-59 lead with 11 minutes to go.

But after Duke managed to tie it, that’s when the Tar Heels went cold.

“It was a great basketball game,” Coach K said. “Two teams are deserving of a win… It was a heck of a win.”

The Tar Heels, now 21-5 and 9-3 in the ACC, are tied for first in the ACC. Duke, now 19-5 and 7-4 in the ACC, aren’t far behind.

Carolina tries to get back to winning at NC State on Wednesday.

For more on the game, including video hoghlights and a box score, please click here.

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Young Redskins fan in North Carolina idolizes Sonny Jurgensen

Will Barnes of Cary, NC idolizes Hall of Fame QB Sonny Jurgensen.He could have chosen George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams or Benjamin Franklin. That’s what other kids were doing. But this 9-year-old from Cary, NC chose a North Carolina-product who was a star quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1960s and 1970s as his historic figure. Read more.

Source:: Redskins

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Heels get pay back against Duke, win regular season title

North Carolina led late against Duke again but this time didn’t let it get away as the Tar Heels ruined the Blue Devils’ Senior Night with a 76-72 win that secures the ACC regular season title. Two weeks ago, the Tar Heels let a late 8-point lead evaporate and the Devils came away with a one-point win at the end. At Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Tar Heels led by nine at 68-59 with just over three minutes to play. Despite the Devils hitting their 11th, 12th and 13th threes, the Tar Heels hung on for the win by sinking eight […]

North Carolina led late against Duke again but this time didn’t let it get away as the Tar Heels ruined the Blue Devils’ Senior Night with a 76-72 win that secures the ACC regular season title.

Two weeks ago, the Tar Heels let a late 8-point lead evaporate and the Devils came away with a one-point win at the end. At Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Tar Heels led by nine at 68-59 with just over three minutes to play.

Despite the Devils hitting their 11th, 12th and 13th threes, the Tar Heels hung on for the win by sinking eight straight free throws, including four by Marcus Paige in the last nine seconds.

“We’ve been in here in this situation before,” said UNC’s Brice Johnson, who led the Heels with 18 points and 21 rebounds. “Free throw shooting down the stretch has hurt us against them in the past.” But this time? “We were able to withstand their run.”

The Carolina senior class had not won at Cameron in their careers and Paige and Johnson seemed particularly emotional after the game. “We fought,” Paige said. “We hadn’t won over here so this means a lot… We held on. We did what champions do.”

The ACC regular season title was the first for the Tar Heels since 2012. “We set dreams that are reachable and this was one of our dreams,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “It’s always more impressive to me to win the regular season… but I like winning the tournament too.”

The Tar Heels will be the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament – and will face either Pitt or Syracuse Thursday at noon – while Duke falls to the No. 5 seed and thus won’t receive a double bye as the top four clubs do.

If Carolina rebounds like it did against Duke, the Tar Heels will be a tough out in the tourney. Of course, the Heels had a size and depth advantage inside against the Devils. Still, Carolina hauled in a season-high 64 rebounds, 35 more than Duke managed. The 27 offensive rebounds were also the most for the Heels this season.

Kennedy Meeks played better than he has in a while as he scored 12 points and got 14 rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures for the Heels as Justin Jackson added 13, Joel Berry 12 and Paige 11.

The game’s leading scorer however was Grayson Allen who scored 29 points, which included 18 from beyond the arc. Overall he was just 11 of 28 from the field but a long, long, long three with 18 seconds left kept the Blue Devils in it. That three pointer cut the margin to three at 70-67.

Berry swished the front end of a one-and-one and canned the bonus shot to put Carolina up 72-67 with 17 seconds left.

Luke Kennard swished a three from the left corner to pull the Devils within two at 72-70 with 10 seconds left. But Paige hit a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds left and, after a Marshall Plumlee dunk, he hit two more free throws with 1.5 seconds left to wrap it up.

Paige summarized the game well when he said, “I knocked down some free throws and we got another terrific effort from Brice.”

For more on the game, including a box score, please click here.

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Duke rallies late to stun Carolina

Duke trailed by eight with fewer than seven minutes to play but held North Carolina to five points the rest of the way to top the Tar Heels 74-73 in Chapel Hill. The Blue Devils took their first lead since midway through the first half when Luke Kennard sank a three-point from the right corner with 2:37 to go. After a Kennedy Meeks basket inside for Carolina, and a UNC turnover, Grayson Allen drove to the hoop and was fouled. He hit both free throws with 1:09 left to make it 74-73. Carolina had two chances to take the lead. […]

Duke trailed by eight with fewer than seven minutes to play but held North Carolina to five points the rest of the way to top the Tar Heels 74-73 in Chapel Hill.

The Blue Devils took their first lead since midway through the first half when Luke Kennard sank a three-point from the right corner with 2:37 to go. After a Kennedy Meeks basket inside for Carolina, and a UNC turnover, Grayson Allen drove to the hoop and was fouled. He hit both free throws with 1:09 left to make it 74-73.

Carolina had two chances to take the lead. Meeks’ shot was blocked inside with 50 seconds left and Joel Berry had a 10 footer in the lane deflected by Derryck Thornton with four seconds to go.

“I told the kids I should have called a timeout,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “We didn’t get a very good shot.”

Carolina got the ball down by 1 with 16 seconds left but Williams said traditionally UNC doesn’t call a timeout in that situation because the Heels want to attack before the defense can get set. That strategy didn’t work.

“It’s a wonderful rivalry to be involved in but I’m tired of just being involved,” Williams said. “We’ve got to get better.”

It was the fourth straight win for Duke in the rivalry and the 11th in the last 14 games between the two teams.

The loss overshadowed a fine performance by UNC’s Brice Johnson who scored 29 points and hauled in 19 rebounds. Johnson scored 18 in the first half as the Heels, who led by as many as seven in the first half, led 46-42 at the break.

Carolina’s largest lead was eight at 68-60 with 6:52 left. A wild up and down couple of minutes that included back-to-back blocks by Marcus Paige and Justin Jackson ended with a fastbreak follow shot by Jackson that gave the Heels the eight-point advantage and had the Carolina crowd hopping and Duke Coach K hopping mad. He called a timeout and glared at the officials.

Brandon Ingram, who was favored to go to Carolina before the uncertainty of the NCAA academic investigation, scored six straight points to draw the deficit to two and setting up the painful ending for the Tar Heels.

UNC’s Paige, who was only two of 10 from the floor including zero of six from beyond the arc, missed a free throw with 3:52 left that would have given the Heels a three-point cushion. Then UNC’s Berry missed everything with 2:54 left as the Heels were charged with a shot clock violation.

Carolina’s guards, and other outside shooters, didn’t get it done from the perimeter as the Heels hit only one of 13 three-point shots. On the other side, Duke hit seven threes. That’s 18 points that the Heels had to make up elsewhere.

“I don’t think we were lucky to win this game,” Duke coach Krzyzewski said. “We fought hard and earned it.”

Duke, 20-6 overall and 9-4 in the ACC, was led by Allen’s 23 points and Ingram’s 20 points. The Blue Devils lost starting shooting guard Matt Jones in the first half to a right-ankle injury but Kennard came in to replace him and scored 15 points including that go-ahead three late.

The loss drops the Tar Heels, 21-5 and 10-3 in the league, into a tie for first in the ACC with Miami, who comes to Chapel Hill Saturday afternoon.

For more on the game, including a box score, please click here.

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Struggling Duke seeks answers

DURHAM – Few people at Duke are better positioned than junior guard Matt Jones to get to the bottom of the biggest question facing the Blue Devils’ soon-to-be-unranked basketball program. …read more Source:: Fayetteville Observer

DURHAM – Few people at Duke are better positioned than junior guard Matt Jones to get to the bottom of the biggest question facing the Blue Devils’ soon-to-be-unranked basketball program. …read more

Source:: Fayetteville Observer

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Krzyzyewski offers glimpse into Duke’s “cruel time”

DURHAM – Just over three minutes into his news conference after Monday night’s 64-62 loss to Syracuse, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski got philosophical. …read more Source:: Fayetteville Observer

DURHAM – Just over three minutes into his news conference after Monday night’s 64-62 loss to Syracuse, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski got philosophical. …read more

Source:: Fayetteville Observer