Analysis: Alex Murphy to Duke

Duke fans woke up to some terrific and unexpected news on Monday morning, just two days before the Tar Heels visit Cameron for the first Battle of Tobacco Road of 2011.

2012 Alex Murphy got comfortable in Cameron Indoor over the summer. (Photo property of Crazie-Talk

Alex Murphy, a highly touted 6’8” small forward from St. Mark’s in Southborough, Mass., gave the Blue Devils a verbal commitment, picking Duke over scholarship offers from Kansas, Florida, Villanova, and yes, North Carolina. Murphy is the first player in the high school class of 2012 to choose Duke, and his commitment helps keep Coach K’s recruiting hot streak going strong.

Conveniently for Blue Devil fans who don’t pay much attention to the rest of college basketball, Murphy’s most appropriate basketball comparisons come from inside the family. Two of his favorite players are Kyle Singler and Mike Dunleavy, Jr.—lanky small forwards with shooting range, high basketball IQ, and deceptive athleticism—and Murphy emulates them on the court.

Recruiting guru Bob Gibbons even gave Murphy a slight nod over Singler in terms of rate of development:

“[Murphy’s] not as physically strong and advanced right now,” Gibbons said, “but compare them at the same level as juniors in high school, I think Alex might get a little higher mark than Kyle.”

When C-T saw him play last summer in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, we noted Murphy’s fearlessness in going to the hoop with either hand, activeness on defense, and ballhandling abilities. Add to that list the ability to dunk over seven footers and posterize Indiana commitments and you have an inkling of what Murphy will bring to Duke. While it’s clear that he needs to improve his strength (which he admits himself), Alex has all the natural talent required for big time college basketball. He’s ranked in the top 20 by most recruiting services, and it’s likely he’ll continue to improve in the next year.

That Murphy chose the Blue Devils over several other big name programs is also heartening. His brother Erik, once a Duke target himself, is now a forward at Florida. The Gators went after little brother hard, but after visiting Duke for the home game against Maryland, Murphy knew where he wanted to play:

“As soon as I got back from there I knew that is where I wanted to be…I didn’t make the call right away, but I knew it was something I needed to discuss with my family and the important people in my life. I just knew that was where I wanted to be.”

If there’s any lingering feeling that Coach K is slipping on the recruiting trail, Murphy’s choice—which came pretty early in the game—should put those fears to rest. After picking up blue chippers Austin RiversQuinn Cook and Marshall Plumlee since the 2010 National Championship, it is clear that high school players—ever trend followers—think Duke is hot right now. Our continued dominance of the ACC and another big run in March will help solidify our rep. The 5-stars will come running.

Enjoy the filthy highlights of Alex Murphy from One Entertainment below. Welcome to Duke, Alex.

It’s Heel Week, everybody. Check back tomorrow for the sequel to the legendary “10 Questions for Ed Davis and Co.” YEEHAW!

Video: Austin Rivers vs. Milton

Future Duke phenom Austin Rivers and his Winter Park (Fl.) team faced off against the nationally ranked Milton (Ga.) Eagles in the Hoops in OverDrive Shootout. Milton boasts tons of Division 1 talent in their senior class: Dai-Jon Parker (committed to Vanderbilt), Julian Royal (Georgia Tech), and Shannon Scott (Ohio State). They also have 2012 wingman Evan Nolte, who is currently ranked #50 in his class by ESPNU, and Shaquille Johnson, who recently lost to Plumlee #3 in the City of Palms dunk contest. There has been some noise surrounding Duke recruiting Nolte, but only time will tell how his recruitment will play out. Milton won the game 75-60 in front of a packed house, beating Winter Park for the 2nd time in a week and a half. Simply put, Rivers got little support from his teammates, as he contributed over half his squad’s points (31 of 60).

Rivers didn’t exactly have the start everyone might have been expecting in the first half. He only had 6 points and didn’t seem to get into an offensive groove—although he did have a nice block on Parker on a fast break. His team trailed 37-25 at the break. In the second half, however, Rivers came to life and showed why he deserves his high ranking. He scored 25 points in the final 2 quarters, raining threes from distance. He had several nice drives to the basket, where he would either finish himself with a variety of moves or pass out to a teammate. Unfortunately, the rest of Winter Park was stifled by Milton’s defense and failed to capitalize on Austin’s dishes.

Conversely, Milton was ready to go on both ends of the floor. They were simply too athletic for Winter Park and dominated from start to finish. The Wildcats pulled close in the 2nd half due to Austin’s amazing play, but his effort was not enough to complete the comeback. Check out the highlights above (part of the ever-growing Austin Rivers mixtape collection), and you’ll see why we’re thrilled to have one more year to watch games in Cameron as Duke undergrads.

Happy New Year from all of us at Crazie Talk! 2010 was a great year for Duke basketball, and we only hope it continues into 2011. Thanks so much for following us the past year, and as always, let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions (crazietalk@gmail.com or on our Twitter)

Breaking: Quinn Cook to Duke!

Quinn Cook, shown here on Coach K Court. We can get used to this. (Photo Property of C-T)

Quinn Cook has announced his decision to attend Duke University and become the Devils’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2011.  He joins a class that was already considered to be one of Duke’s strongest in recent memory. He’ll team up with Austin Rivers and Michael Gbinije in the backcourt next year, the mere thought of which makes me want to do this.

Scout.com lists Cook—who also considered playing for UCLA—as a five-star player and the 4th best PG of his class. Over the summer, Crazie-Talk’s Arun had a chance to watch Quinn play at the Tournament of Champions. In his review of the event, Arun had a feeling that Duke would not be a major player in his recruitment.  Good thing his feelings have nothing to do with the staff’s recruiting decisions.

Cook’s recruitment got interesting over the past week. ScoutHoops reported he had added UNC to his list a few hours before ZagsBlog announced Quinn would pick between Duke and UCLA in a matter of days and would abstain from visiting UNC altogether. Whirlwind!

Recruitniks were further mystified by top-flight PG Myck Kabongo’s long-rumored de-commitment from Texas earlier this week. Kabongo said that he wanted to take a further look at Syracuse, UNC, Kentucky, and Duke, along with the Longhorns. Just this morning though, Dave Telep of ESPN.com reported that Myck has decided to re-commit to Rick Barnes and the Texas program. Best of luck to Myck in the future!  We’re just glad he didn’t land over in Chapel Hill.

With Cook now on board for 2011, Duke is poised to field the nation’s best backcourt for two years running. Enjoy the show!

Thanks again, Nolan.

For the umpteenth time in his tenure at Duke, Nolan Smith is to thank for something great happening for Duke Men’s Basketball.

It has been well reported that Quinn and Nolan are godbrothers. Dan Wiederer of The Fayetteville Observer recently wrote a wonderful and inspirational piece on their friendship. If you’re not familiar with this story, spend a few minutes reading that article. Caution: tears alert.

Though they won’t ever play together in college, Quinn’s relationship with Nolan will make the transition from Oak Hill to Duke butter smooth. It will also inform Quinn’s career as Duke’s point guard—the difficulties and triumphs of which Nolan knows well.

Quinn was also a member of the DC Assault AAU program, the same team that has produced literally dozens of current and former NCAA stars, including Michael Beasley, Austin Freeman, Jeff Green…and Nolan Smith. (Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston also played for the Assault. Can you say pipeline?)

Quinn will bring an excellent skill set to Durham when he enrolls in the fall of 2011.  He has great handles and has no issues getting to the basket in traffic. As Arun reported, “there really wasn’t anyone on the opposing team who could contain [Cook.]”

His ability to create both for himself and for his teammates is remarkable.  At the FIBA U17 World Championship, Cook led all players in assists with an impressive 7.4 apg.  Those kinds of stats are certainly welcome in Durham. We love assists.

This year, after transferring from DeMatha Catholic, Cook is playing for Coach Steve Smith at Oak Hill Academy, the most storied high school basketball team of the modern era. The Warriors’ unbelievable list of alumni includes Jerry Stackhouse, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings…and high school/NCAA national champion NOLAN SMITH.

(Aside:  Oak Hill also produced Makhtar N’diaye, who some might recall held up a certain sign at the 2009 title game.  Here’s what Crazie-Talk countered with in Indy this past year. Alright, enough snarkiness.)

Cook has made a big impression thus far at Oak Hill. He had 16 points and 7 assists against the Italian Junior National Team and followed with 14 and 15 against Princeton Day three days later. These stats, particularly the assists, indicate Quinn’s ability to recognize the talent around him at Oak Hill. The same concept will apply manifold at Duke, where the talent level is reaching heights unseen since the late 90s.

For this season, Cook will have the opportunity to play with and learn from perhaps the best coach high school basketball has to offer.  And when that’s done, it’ll be off to Duke to learn from the best coach the college game has to offer.

As much as I’d like to give Coach K all the credit for reeling in another amazing guard or give kudos to Mike G or Rivers for starting the domino effect, I’ve got to throw it back to the one, the only, the @ndotsmitty. I can’t wait for more Smith/Cook videos to come out—this time with both of them head to toe in Duke gear.

UPDATE: Here is the video from ESPNU of Quinn’s announcement.

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Here are some highlights that show what Cook will bring to Duke, from our friends over at HardwoodElite.

Scott and Jake contributed to this impassioned piece of expository writing.

Breaking: Austin Rivers to Duke

The Rivers will officially runneth through Durham next fall. Austin Rivers, the top ranked shooting guard prospect in the country, committed to the defending national champions on Wednesday evening.

Stone. Cold. Killer. (Photo courtesy of Jason Jordan/HighSchoolHoop.com)

According to a report from The Orlando Sentinel, Rivers informed the coaches at North Carolina and Kansas that he would not be taking official visits to their respective schools.

The news comes just one day before Austin was scheduled to take an official visit to North Carolina. I guess Coach Williams won’t be doing the ‘Soulja Roy’ this weekend. He was probably looking forward to it.

If you’ve read this site for any amount of time, you know that we’re absolutely in love with Austin’s game. Here’s what ESPN’s Paul Biancardi has to say about Rivers’ arsenal:

Rivers is a prolific scorer who exudes confidence and, more importantly, has the ability to lead his team to victory. He is a cold-blooded assassin that has the full package of offensive weapons at his disposal and plays without fear of failure. He has range out to 28-feet, uses the jab-step as well as seasoned pros, an excellent mid-range game, can finish through contact when attacking the basket and has the best NBA-level floater over the bigs of any player in the high school or college ranks.

If that doesn’t get you jacked up, I have no idea what will. Rivers joins Michael Gbinije, Marshall Plumlee and Tyler Adams as future members of Duke’s Class of 2015.

Update: Rivers confirmed the announcement via his Twitter account around 2:00pm on Thursday.

World i have decided to go to duke! Let’s go blue devils ha’Thu Sep 30 18:03:04 via Echofon

So, Crazie-Talkers, you thought last year was great? Just wait. The next three years are going to be one hell of a ride. K is loading up the uzis, folks. Let’s get ready to rumble.

Hungry, Humble and Happy

The Duke basketball program has a lot to discuss with recruits.

The world conqueror is back in Durham, and we're ready to put our championship pedigree to its regular litmus test. (Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

Duke has four national titles in the modern era of basketball, a legendary coach whose teams can’t stop winning championships, one of the best academic acumens in the world…and on, and on, and on.

So the Blue Devil coaching staff has a lot of positives to throw out to recruits (and as Andy Katz reported recently, Wojo and Co. didn’t miss a beat while K and Collins were abroad). We have no reason to resort to negative recruiting, the underhanded and illegal tactics that are souring the world of high school sports and obliterating the “ethics” of coaching. That fact is not pompous, it’s not something that will necessarily last forever. For now, it’s just how things are.

But let’s be real–not everyone has the benefits that Duke fans (and really, UNC fans as well) tote to the high ground. Look at Bruce Pearl. How could a man who hops around half naked at a Lady Vols game imitating the Truffle Shuffle also be a base hoops villain with no respect for fundamental rules?

I know that the NCAA is a bass ackwards organization whose only saving grace is the Big Dance, but really, Bruce. I feel kind of sorry for you. That tan? Yikes. Being perpetually in the shadow of your football program? Tough life.

(Well, Billy Donovan made it work, but he also has Nerf guns.)

It must be difficult for Pearl to have his recruits constantly dipping out on him and his players having frequent run-ins with the law. And after being banned from off campus recruiting for two years, things are just going to get worse and worse at Thompson Boiling Arena. Pat Summit has always worn the pants in this relationship and good lord, man, she always will.

I’m thrilled to be a Duke student for the halcyon days that we have now firmly entered. Our recruiting, unlike Pearl’s, is going along swimmingly. Our targets, unlike John Calipari’s, did not play profe$$ionally in Europe or have their transcripts overhauled to be admitted to “school” (…reportedly). Our prized players, unlike poor Dana Altman’s at Oregon, aren’t jumping ship overseas (check those consecutive ocean metaphors!).

Obviously, the Blue Devil program has had problems in the past. If I had a nickel for every time a rival fan (read: Kentucky) mentioned Corey Maggette and Myron Piggie, and literally snorted like a pig in imitation, I could buy season tickets next to Ashley Judd. And there is no guaranteeing that, in the post-Coach K era, Duke will always attract top talent to Durham or run a squeaky clean program. We can hope, but we can’t count on it.

But for now, let’s enjoy the fruits of success. Coach K is stacking so much paper to the ceiling and slanging so many gold medals that Duke will probably have top 5 recruiting classes until he retires.

The founders of this blog have at least two more years at Duke and in Cameron. With this roster, a coach who has his own holiday, and the Durham community, we’re hoping to ride the wave to Houston.

Crazie Notes featuring Quinn Cook

Duke has offered 2011 standout point guard Quinn Cook, Jason Jordan on DIME Magazine reported yesterday. Thanks for taking our post-Felix advice, guys. Once Cook recovers from his knee injury, he’ll be an absolute star for Steve Smith at Oak Hill. I hope (and kind of anticipate) that Quinn joins Duke and helps fill the hole left by his god-brother Nolan Smith. With Gbinije, Adams and Plum3 already committed (and Austin Rivers possibly on the way), we may be looking a recruiting class to sort of rival 1999. Maybe.

Cook’s highlights from a solid summer are below.

Find more videos like this on BALL IS LIFE

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Thanks for all your support of Crazie-Talk, folks. Please leave your comments, thoughts and criticisms in the comments section. You can even tweet and Facebook this article if you want. I love the 21st century.

Five (More) Recruiting Stories to Follow

Way back in January, we talked about five of the biggest recruiting story lines to follow throughout the spring. Back then, Carrick Felix was still being recruited and Maryland de-commit Terrence Ross was still a viable wing option for 2010. Yet we remained optimistic about the state of Duke recruiting.

Well, following that post we won 17 of our last 18 games en route to the 2010 National Championship. So yeah. Optimism abounds these days.

As the summer winds down, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories to follow this fall into the early signing period.

1. Will Austin Rivers be a Blue Devil after all?

Rivers has had a huge summer, despite the fact that he played relatively few AAU events. Austin played for Each One Teach One at a few Nike EYBL events. A major chunk of his time, however, was spent with the Team USA U-18 squad, which included Duke freshmen Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston at the FIBA Americas Championship (which we live-blogged here). Rivers took home MVP honors after leading the team in scoring with an unbelievable 101 points in 115 total minutes. Those 101 points included a streak of nine—that’s right, nine—made three pointers in a row. Sounds like a Blue Devil to me.

Rivers has stated that he plans on taking official visits to Duke, Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky this fall. In the same journal entry, Austin said that he plans on announcing his decision in December. Despite some heavy hitters in Rivers’ rotation, Duke fans should have little to fear. Austin’s last visit to Duke was in April for the annual team banquet, which celebrated this year’s Championship team. Having been there ourselves, we can certainly tell you that there are very, very few places that could have impressed him as much as Duke did that night. Take that to the bank.

(Correction: Rivers may be deciding earlier than December. Who knows these things, really. But keep an eye out.)

2. What’s Cook-ing?

There has been a lot of talk in the last few months of Kyrie Irving—Duke’s best point guard prospect in a decade—leaving Durham after just a year. Irving has been hotter than a habanero pepper with scouts in the last few months, with speculative draft watchers like NBADraft.net placing him second in the 2011 draft. Duke thrives under expert floor generals; if Irving does end up leaving, it’s natural to look toward the next few recruiting classes to see what kind of prospects there are. Near the top of the 2011 board sits Quinn Cook.

Photo: Lara Lee/DukeHoopBlog.com

First of all, Cook is not on the same level as Irving. He’s shorter, not as quick, and hasn’t yet shown the ridiculous intelligence that makes Kyrie so fun to watch. But that shouldn’t count him out as an important Blue Devil prospect. Here are some facts, you know you like facts.

Quinn has shown himself to be more of a distributor than go-to scorer thus far. He led the USA U-17 team to a gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in Europe this summer, logging 7.8 assists per game. More impressive, perhaps, was Cook’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.45 (59 assists versus 24 TO’s). He started all eight games, and played more minutes than heralded Kentucky commit Marquis Teague. These are data that prove something. As a junior, Cook was named D.C.’s All-Met Player of the Year in 2009-10, beating out our own Tyler Thornton (as well as UNC’s Kendall Marshall and Indiana Hoosier Victor Oladipo). Next year, he’ll transfer from national power DeMatha Catholic to national power Oak Hill Academy, the same school that produced two of the best ACC guards of the past five years: Tywon Lawson and Nolan Smith (Smith, by the way, is one of Cook’s closest friends).

So what does that little piece of expository writing say? Quinn Cook is worthy, hell, more than that. We’re going to be spoiled next year by Kyrie Irving, the kind of talent (and positive attitude) that pops up once in a John Wall. But if and when Irving goes pro, we’d be lucky to have a young gun like Cook fill his slot.

3. Would Tyler Adams pull a Felix?

One of the first major “we’ve made it” moments after the recent National Title was the commitment of Mississippi giant man Tyler Adams. That benefit, it seems, may be getting itself windfall-profits-taxed.

A week ago, perhaps-reputable  Mississippi State fansite BulldawgJunction.com reported that Adams may be wavering in his commitment to the Blue Devils, and that the ‘Dawgs are still an option. Also, perennial losers Georgetown are still recruiting him post-commitment (I wonder how these guys feel about that). Message boards went wild, flustering about potential academic issues and the name of erstwhile here today, gone tomorrow dude Carrick Felix was thrown around a few times. (Sidebar: Georgetown hasn’t secured a commitment from anyone in the 2011 or 2012 classes since they beat the living daylights out of the eventual National Champions in January. They also flamed out to Ohio—yes, Ohio—in the first round of what was to be our tournament. Schadenfreude. End sidebar.)

Update (11:45am, 8/11/10): Apparently Georgetown has really been in contact. No surprises there.

RT @NationWideNolan: Duke commit Tyler Adams confirmed to me that Georgetown is indeed in contact.Wed Aug 11 11:39:00 via ÜberTwitter

I know nothing about Tyler’s grades, and even if I did, that’s not really my business, or any fan’s at this point. What I do know is that Facebook, bastion of new media resourcefulness, is saying  “don’t worry, it’s going to be alright.” In Adams’ current profile picture, he is wearing a massive Duke Basketball shirt. He has said on that same website that his lack of certainty is just ‘a rumor.’ I also learned that Adams likes to post his statuses in all caps.

Until any further info comes down the pipe, that’s what this is: A rumor, probably trumped up by some Mississippian in twelve dollar overalls scraping barbecue sauce out from under his fingernails down at “The Junction.” Forgive my humor, entire SEC.

Furthermore, Adams is the most jacked of our three 2011 commitments. Whatever needs to be done to keep him loyal to Duke—short of a Calipari tactic, of course—will be done by our coaching staff.

4. Is all hope lost for Miller?

Oh, Quincy. You’re so close, yet so far away.

This blog has developed an attachment to 2011 superstar Quincy Miller over the past year. After Miller attended Duke’s inaugural elite camp in 2009, hope burgeoned that Miller may be as interested in Duke as we were in him. What has proceeded since then has been nothing short of a square dance, with Quincy switching dance partners every few months and keeping everyone guessing about his recruitment.

Quincy is a lighthearted kid; anyone who follows his Twitter knows that. He’s also incredibly media savvy, understanding who his audience is (overly rabid college basketball fans) and having a good time keeping everyone out of the know. But here’s what we do know. Quincy is transferring to Westchester Academy in High Point, N.C., the same school that his friend and Elite 24 teammate Quddus “Deuce” Bello has transformed from random Piedmont private school to hoops powerhouse. Their friendship has translated into some, well, interesting YouTube videos. More importantly from our standpoint is that Miller and Bello appear likely to be interested in playing for the same college as well. HighSchoolHoop reported that Quincy and Deuce will visit Louisville on the weekend of September 4th.The Cards, in spite of Rick Pitino’s recent career shaming trial, are building a solid 2011 class led by Chicagoan Wayne Blackshear. If Miller and Bello matriculate as well, L’ville fans may finally be able to exorcise the Demons of Karen Sypher and get back to the Final Four. Maybe.

Miller and Bello are also considering the Big 12’s hottest team, the Baylor Bears. Scott Drew received a commitment from 2012 center Isaiah Austin this week, and we’re highly interested in what Perry Jones can do there next season. That train has no signs of slowing down.

So does Duke figure in this argument anymore? Probably not. Luckily, we already have a strong 2011 class already, with the strong possibility of adding to it. And I will never be able to dislike Quincy Miller—he’s too talented, hilarious, and comically outspoken to anger anyone. If he goes to Louisville, fine. To borrow from the lexicon of the SEC once more, that’d really “stick in the craw” of many University of Kentucky fans.

5. Introducing Rodney Purvis

Somehow this became a very long article. So we’re happy to finish with a short introduction to 2013 point guard monster Rodney Purvis. Hailing from nearby Raleigh, Purvis has already drawn comparisons to John Wall. Look for Duke to investigate Purvis thoroughly as a future guard option. He’s already checking us out, per his Twitter:

I will be at Duke Midnight Oct. 15th !! #shouldbefunTue Aug 10 18:39:28 via Echofon


For all those not fluent in Twitterese, Purvis will be attending Duke’s Countdown to Craziness on October 15. And it “shouldbefun”.

Here’s some footage of Purvis from this past season. Enjoy.

Be sure to follow Crazie-Talk hardcore, guys. We’re all over the place: Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeDo it to it, Lars.

Marshall Plumlee Commits to Duke

Last night, Marshall Plumlee, the younger brother of Miles and Mason and Scout.com’s 5th-ranked center for 2011, announced his decision to follow his brothers and play for Coach K.

He is the third commitment Duke has nabbed in the Class of 2011, joining Michael Gbinije and Tyler Adams, and if Miles and Mason stay for their senior and junior years, it would be the first time in Duke’s history (and maybe college basketball history?) that three brothers would be on the same roster.  Like both of his brothers, Marshall has a great basketball IQ.  He is a 7-ft 215-lb center who will bring a slightly different game to Duke than his brothers did.  He uses his height to take on a more traditional center’s role, using a number of back-to-the-basket moves in the low post.  He has great hands and footwork for a player of his size.  However, he’ll need to bulk up and become more physical if he wants to have a big impact in the ACC.  He has a large 7 foot frame to fill, and he’ll no doubt use his senior year of high school to work on that.  If he can build muscle, he has the chance to excel on offense and defense, much like Brian Zoubek did this past season.

So now that Plumlee #3 is in the bag, what does this mean looking ahead for Duke recruiting for 2011?  With our second big man locked up, Duke will likely focus much of its attention in the coming months on the smooth-shooting Austin Rivers and the speedy Quinn Cook.  Both place Duke high on their lists.  Rivers led the way alongside incoming freshmen Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston to a gold medal for the US U18 team at the FIBA Americas tournament just a little over a week ago. Cook, who is Nolan Smith’s god-brother, was the starting point guard for the US U17 team that won the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships this very morning.  No doubt that will have an impact on where the two end up.  Here’s to hoping for the best!

Finally, here’s a video showing a sneak peek of what Duke is getting in Marshall. Although the footage is about a year old, one can see glimpses of his work ethic and leadership abilities:

We figured that the 2010 National Title would pay big dividends on the recruiting trail. With several more targets in 2011—and the talented crop of 2012 prospects still wide open—look for the coaching staff to work hard to bring the top talent where it belongs: Durham, N.C.

Follow C-T on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for all the latest news and updates from the Duke Basketball universe. Go Devils.