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Duke Now is your place for Blue Devil hoops and football. Beat writer Laura Keeley has up-to-the-minute news and analysis. Columnist Luke DeCock also contributes. Follow us on Twitter at @laurakeeley or @accnow.

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Top recruit Jabari Parker chooses Duke

Jabari Parker is coming to Duke.

The No. 2 recruit of the class of 2013 ended months of speculation when he announced he will sign the Blue Devils Thursday afternoon. Parker made his decision live from his Chicago high school, Simeon Career Academy, on ESPNU.

“In the fall of 2013, I will be attending...” Parker said, as he attempted to pull a T-shirt out of a black bag, “I will be attending Duke University.”

Parker cited Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski as the reason for his decision.

“He has played a key role in my development throughout high school, just telling me basic things and what I need to do,” Parker said. “I just felt comfortable.”

Postgame: thoughts from Duke's 88-47 win over Cornell

Duke tips again in less than 24 hours. With that in mind, a lighter dose of thoughts with more to come after there's, well, more to think about:

***That big black eye Marshall Plumlee was sporting Wednesday night? It was a result of an inadvertent poke by Ryan Kelly in practice.

***Mike Krzyzewski offered Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim congratulations on his 900th victory after Duke’s win. It was delivered with a heavy amount of sarcasm.
“How does a guy like that win so many games?” Krzyzewski said to a chorus of laughs. “He has no personality, he plays zone all the time, he golfs more than he watches tape. He must have a great staff and unbelievable players over the years.
“It is amazing that somebody can be at a school for 50 years,” said Krzyzewski, who has been at Duke 33 seasons. “He’s there for 50 years.”

***The back-to-back games against Cornell and Elon would have ideally been played over three days instead of two, Krzyzewski said, but scheduling around Duke’s academic needs can make December tough.

Duke beats Cornell 88-47 in the biggest blowout of the year

DURHAM—It took Duke until the opening minutes of the second half to play like the No. 1 team in the country, but once the clock started ticking on the final 20 minutes, the Blue Devils were unstoppable. Duke scored the first 19 points on the half to put the game out of reach in the 88-47 victory over Cornell. It was the Blue Devils’ most lopsided win of the year.

“You’re a little rusty, you haven’t gone up against another opponent in a while,” Ryan Kelly said, noting Duke hasn't played since Dec. 8. “Once that switch went, we did some really good things.”

Part of that switch flipping included playing better defense, which the Blue Devils were able to do starting about halfway through the opening period. The Big Red (4-7) was within single digits until the final minute of the opening half, when Mason Plumlee tap-in gave Duke an 11-point lead at the break. The Blue Devils quickly extended that once play resumed.

Game Preview: Duke vs. Cornell

Duke F Marshall Plumlee is set to make his debut tonight. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

Duke vs. Cornell
When: 7:02 p.m.
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham
TV/Radio: ESPNU/WKIX-102.9 FM

Projected starting lineups:
No. 1 Duke (9-0)
G Quinn Cook, So., 10.9 ppg, 5.7 apg
G Seth Curry, Sr., 16.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg
G Rasheed Sulaimon, Fr., 12.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg
F Ryan Kelly, Sr., 13.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
F Mason Plumlee, Sr., 19.1 ppg, 11.4 rpg

Cornell (4-6)
G Miles Asafo-Adjei, Sr., 2.5 ppg, 2.9 apg
G Nolan Cressler, Fr., 8.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg
G Johnathan Gray, Sr., 7.3 ppg, 2.4 apg
F Josh Figini, Sr., 4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg
F Shonn Miller, So., 10.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg

Duke football position changes and depth chart notes

 

Duke will have a few players in new positions when they play Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

DURHAM—Duke head coach David Cutcliffe met with the media for the first time since the regular season-ending loss to Miami. In the inital Belk Bowl press conference, he announced a few position changes for the game against Cincinnati:

*Nick Sink will move to tight end (from defensive tackle)

*Britton Grier will move to defensive end (from linebacker)

*Nick Hill will move to safety (from wide receiver)

*Shaquille Powell will work at safety as well (he was a running back)

Some of the changes, like Sink to tight end, are permanent. Others, like Powell at safety, could prove to be temporary.

“We have had, as you know, a bunch of injuries at the safety position, really in the secondary positions, and circumstances where areas in the secondary were really thin going into this game,” Cutcliffe said. “That gives us some options to look at.”

Programming update: Like Duke NOW on Facebook

Tags: ACC Now | Duke Now

With ACC play coming up, there will be plenty of Duke basketball news forthcoming. Like the Duke NOW Facebook page to make sure you're not out of the loop. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

Since last week was a slow week, I had time to sit and think about ways to make this blog better. And I realized something: if you're not on Twitter (a decision I strongly urge you to reconsider), then you don't know when new content appears here. So, in an effort to reach more people, I decided to create a Facebook page. You can check it out here.

People connect to the Internet in a varity of ways: through Twitter, on their phones, work computers, iPads, etc. This is just an attempt to make it easier to keep up with the latest Duke news. With minimal Twitter advertising,  92 people(!!) liked Duke NOW last week. I'd love to see that number continue to grow.

So go ahead and give it a like. With the Belk Bowl and ACC play right around the corner, there will be plenty of news coming daily. Make sure you don't miss it. 

7:20 p.m. update: A public shout-out and thanks to Marvin Davis, Duke NOW Facebook fan No. 100. And thanks to the other 99 as well.

Duke to be No. 1

 

Quinn Cook and the rest of the Blue Devils will be on top of the AP Poll Monday. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

With Butler's 88-86 overtime win over No. 1 Indiana on Saturday, Duke will be the No. 1 team in the polls when they are released Monday. It will be the first time since the week of Feb. 21, 2011 that the Blue Devils have claimed the top spot.

Coming into this year, Duke has been ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll in 10 of the last 15 seasons. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has had the No. 1-ranked team in the AP Poll for 104 weeks during his career, the highest number among active coaches. North Carolina's Roy Williams ranks second with 57 weeks at No. 1. 

The Jabari Parker watch

Jabari Parker, the No. 2 recruit in the country, is close to making a college choice. Credit: AP

If you missed it, prized basketball recruit Jabari Parker announced Wednesday that he will make his college choice Dec. 20. The recruiting analysts feel like it will come down to Duke or Michigan State. You can check out the full story here.

The one large advantage Michigan State has over Duke is that it’s much closer to Parker’s Chicago home. As a general rule of thumb, the longer it takes a player to make a decision, the greater the chance he stays close to home, but that’s certainly not foolproof logic. Mike Krzyzewski has done well recruiting in Chicago, drawing players like Jon Scheyer, Corey Maggette, Chris Collins and Sean Dockery. At this point, no one—not even Parker’s father—knows which way he is leaning.

12 thoughts on Duke's season thus far

 

There have been a few surprises this season in Durham. Pretty much all of them have been positive. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

In honor of the day (12-12-12 for those who, somehow, haven't had this pointed out to them at least 12 times today), here's a dozen thoughts on No. 2 Duke (9-0) so far this year

1. Anyone that tells you they predicted Duke would be 9-0 at this point of the season is either a) lacking objectivity or b) not being truthful. Not even Mike Krzyzewski could have predicted this strong of start.

“If you looked at our schedule, I don’t think you could have expected to be 9-0 at this time,” he said after the win against Temple.

In fact, by being 9-0, Duke has done something no team in NCAA history has done before: beat three top-5 teams before the end of December. As a review, Duke beat then-No. 3 Kentucky 75-68 in Atlanta in the second game of the year, then-No. 2 Louisville 76-71 in the Battle 4 Atlantis final and then No.-4 Ohio State 73-68 in the ACC/Big 10 challenge.

2. While Kentucky has fallen out of the polls, both the Cardinals and the Buckeyes remain in the top 10. Minnesota, another Duke victim in the Bahamas, is now No. 13 with an 11-1 record. I was super impressed with the Gophers when I saw them. Rodney Williams (who was held in check by Ryan Kelly) is as athletic a player as you will find in college basketball.

Duke's unsung hero? Tyler Thornton

 

Behind the scenes work by Tyler Thornton has played a large role in Duke's success this year. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

As the Blue Devils take some time away from the court to write their final papers and study for their semester-ending exams, perhaps we should take some time to reflect on what's been a rather successful start to the Duke hoops season. Traditional awards would be rather anticlimactic (Mason Plumlee for MVP, Quinn Cook for most improved, Rasheed Sulaimon for best newcomer, etc. etc.), so here's one ever-so-slightly out of the box

The unsung hero award goes to...Tyler Thornton.

The main reason was detailed in a story I wrote earlier this week. When Seth Curry can't practice (and that's normally the case), Thornton simulates his role. By nature, Curry and Thornton are completely different players: Curry is a score first shooting guard who has steadily improved his defense over the years, and Thronton is a defense-first point guard who rarely looks to score (to that point, he leads the team with 18 steals).