Category Archives: Blogdome

Winn: Duke Won’t Make Final Four

In offering 25 fearless predictions for the upcoming (well, almost) college basketball season, SI.com’s Luke Winn makes a point that will undoubtedly delight Duke haters and incense Blue Devil loyalists:

21. Duke will look, statistically, like a national-title contender … and yet fall short of the Final Four once again.

The jab implicitly references Duke’s early-season success of 2007-2008, when the Blue Devils knocked off North Carolina in Chapel Hill in early February to prove their mettle, and also cites the struggles down the stretch, when Duke squandered a two-game lead in the ACC, lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament and failed to advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Stewart Mandel, Winn’s SI.com colleague, wrote a long piece about how Duke has recently dominated in December and January before slumping when it matters most–an analysis that proved prophetic.

So make your fearless prediction: Will the Blue Devils still be alive for college basketball’s final weekend next season? And don’t worry. You still have many months to make up your mind.

–by Ben Cohen

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Own Your Own Piece of… MLL History?

For the bargain-basement price of $551, you can out-jockey current high bidder “tommoetj” for an autographed Matt Danowski all-star jersey. Danowski, an attackman for the New Jersey Pride, was named as an injury replacement for Thursday’s Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game. The 2007 Tewaaraton Award winner also participated in the Freestyle Shootout (the Slam Dunk contest of the MLL all-star experience) and had the dubious pleasure of making the finals but following the guy who jumped over two kids while riffling it into the net. The video was posted in deadspin’s morning round-up and shows up with 41 seconds left in the clip.

At the break, Danowski is tied for fourth in points among rookies with 19 and picked up Rookie of the Week Honors in the fifth week of the MLL season.

by Meredith Shiner

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Filed under Alumni, Blogdome, Men's Lacrosse

Alleva: LSU Passion Eclipses Duke Fanatacism

Former athletic director Joe Alleva spent 32 years at Duke, and 10 as Director of Athletics. He considered himself a Blue Devil man, loyal to Duke. But in just two months in the same job at Louisiana State University, Alleva had some choice words that likely won’t sit well with Duke supporters.

“The passion for LSU is just phenomenal, it’s mind-blowing,” Alleva told  The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune. “That’s the biggest difference.”

Reporter James Varney pressed him further, asking Alleva to compare the “passion” to that of Duke’s rabid basketball fan base.

“Even then, it’s not the same,” he said.

What do you think of Alleva’s statements? How does the passion of Duke fans relate to that of other fans?

Most importantly: Is Alleva simply saying what he needs to say to blend into the Bayou?

—by Ben Cohen

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Who’s Your Best High School Athlete?

Over at the always-entertaining D.C. Sports Bog today, The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg (he of “Pimp My Sneaker” fame) has a post about the best high school athletes he and some of the more esteemed members of his newspaper have ever seen. On the early list: Adrian Dantley, Dwight Howard, Tiger Woods, Tedy Bruschi and Delonte West. Not too shabby.

We’d love to hear your opinion. Feel free to name the best high school athlete you’ve seen in the comments section below.

Here’s my tome of an offering, after the jump. Continue reading

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Cutcliffe Picks Up Third Recruit in As Many Days

With tight ends Jack Farrell and Ryan Hall, athlete Corey Gattis and four-star defensive lineman John Drew already verbally committed to Duke’s class of 2009, the Blue Devils picked up their fifth recruit and third in as many days Sunday with the addition of quarterback Sean Schroeder.

Interestingly, Schroeder was the fourth person to accept Duke’s scholarship offer less than a week after receiving it.

“It was an easy decision for me,” Schroeder told Rivals.com Sunday. “Duke is one of the top academic institutions in the country and they have some of the most top-notch coaches in the entire country. I couldn’t think of any other school that could offer this great of an opportunity and the full package like Duke can.

“When I was speaking with my high school coach, he asked me if there was one school that if they offered would it make me hesitant to go to Duke. We couldn’t think of a single place, so there was no reason for me not to go ahead and commit.”

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound California native is listed as a three-star pro-style quarterback. Technically, that makes him the second quarterback of the class, joining dual-threat QB Corey Gattis from Durham. But Gattis also worked out as a wide receiver at Duke’s camp this weekend, so it’s yet to be seen where the Blue Devils’ coaching staff will decide to put him.

As far as the overall quarterback situation is concerned, Duke should be set for a while now. Starter Thaddeus Lewis is entering his junior year, and so is his capable backup Zack Asack. Mike Capetto redshirted last year, so both him and incoming true freshman Sean Renfree will undoubtedly compete for playing time down the road. Renfree was Cutcliffe’s first truly special recruit, snapping the gunslinger up before the February signing deadline in just his first month on the job.

This means there will be at least five quarterbacks on the depth chart for the 2009 season, not including Gattis or converted linebacker Marcus Jones, who opened the 2006 season as the team’s starting quarterback.

Schroeder also had offers from San Diego State, Oregon State and Stanford, but he said the fact that Cutcliffe and his staff are in the upper-echelon of college coaches, it made his decision a “slam dunk.” He said he’s also excited to start recruiting other players and begin changing the school’s reputation.

“Duke has always been known as a basketball school,” Schroeder told Rivals.com. “That’s not going to change, but there is room for it to become a football school, too. Coach Cut brings an energy and excitement to Duke and I don’t see any reason why we can’t make Duke a basketball and football school.”

Stay tuned for more recruiting news throughout the summer.

–by Matthew Iles

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A Century’s Worth of Coverage

Have you heard about Bill Werber? If you’re an avid reader of newspapers, chances are you have in the last few days.

Werber celebrated his 100th birthday Friday, inspiring a slew of retrospective stories about Duke’s first All-American basketball player and the oldest living major league baseball player. Werber now lives in Charlotte and seems as garrulous and affable as ever. So instead of picking choice excerpts, we’re just going to provide a laundry list of Werber links, and pick through them at your own convenience. Start with Dave Sheinin’s in the Washington Post, if we may recommend one:

–by Ben Cohen

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Duke Wins Suit With Devilish Argument

If Duke’s football team isn’t good, then its lawyers certainly are.

After Louisville sued Duke for $450,000 for backing out of a four-game football contract with three games left, Duke’s lawyers capitalized on a clause in the contract that stated Duke was responsible for finding a “team of similar stature,” or else. The argument in a Franklin, Ky. Circuit Court? “The Blue Devils…were so bad that any team would be a suitable replacement,” according to this news report from the Courier-Journal.

An excerpt from Judge Philip J. Shepherd’s summary:

“At oral argument, Duke (with a candor perhaps more attributable to good legal strategy than to institutional modesty) persuasively asserted that this is a threshold that could not be any lower. Duke’s argument on this point cannot be reasonably disputed by Louisville.”

Seems like Duke has scored the first victory of the David Cutcliffe Era.

—by Ben Cohen

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