What’s next for Duke basketball and Zion Williamson

In the aftermath of the Zion Williamson injury, everyone is consumed with pontificating over whether Zion should consider returning to Duke basketball once his injury heals. Zion has been the vehicle for every talking head and sportswriter with an ax to grind about the one-and-done rule imposed by the agreement between the NBA and the players association.

Everyone is wasting their breath of course. Zion will play again once he heals up, and the injury really doesn’t appear that serious. The real injured party appears to be Nike which now faces a PR nightmare and the need to pay up much more to get Zion on board.

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Miami and Duke provide another crazy finish

It’s been a pretty crazy year in college football. This play is right up there as one of the craziest, though the Michigan fiasco versus Michigan State still take still takes the cake and was far more important in the playoff picture.

Still, this one will be shown for a long time, and the officials have a lot of explaining to do. On one of the backward passes there was a knee that clearly seemed to be down before the ball was let go.

Also, there were clear block in the back penalties, and the refs initially announced that penalty, only to strangely overturn it later.

The Miami Hurricanes were fortunate and Duke got screwed. But in the big picture it doesn’t matter much.

Duke lands Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker is one of the most sought after high school recruits in the country, and Duke just landed him for their program.

Jabari Parker, the nation’s No. 2 senior, committed to Duke during a news conference at his school Thursday.

Parker, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Simeon Career Academy, chose the Blue Devils over BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.

Although hats representing all five schools initially were situated on a table in the Simeon gym, Parker pulled out a Duke long-sleeved T-shirt while announcing his decision.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has had good luck with recruits in his native Chicago. He also landed Jon Scheyer (Glenbrook North), Sean Dockery (Julian), Michael Thompson (Providence) and Corey Maggette (Fenwick) from the area.

“What brought me to the decision is, of course, the history,” Parker said. “Duke was always going to be a team in the tournament. You can’t go wrong at the program. And most importantly, the long-term investment — I feel if I go there, I can get a good degree.

Check out the interview above from this year’s Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards.

Kyle Singler Gets Buckets 2.0 [video]

You may remember Kyle Singler’s first trick shot video. Well, he’s back for more and this time he’s going to get buckets from the top of the Duke chapel.

How did Arizona beat Duke?

Arizona Wildcats players celebrate during their NCAA West Regional college basketball game against the Duke Blue Devils in Anaheim, California March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Derrick Williams played a nearly perfect first half, and then his supporting cast played a nearly perfect second half.

It’s really that simple.

If not for Williams, Duke might have blown Arizona out in the first 20 minutes. The sophomore forward went 8-for-11 from the field (5-of-6 from 3PT) for 25 points to go along with six rebounds, three steals and a block. That’s all in a half, people. Not a game. A half. His deep three as time expired cut the Duke lead from nine to six, and gave Arizona some momentum heading into intermission.

One category that coaches and statheads both look at is offensive efficiency, which is the number of points per possession that an offense scores in any given game. Since each offensive rebound starts a new possession, one stat I like to look at is the number of points per trip. In the second half, the Wildcats scored 55 points on 35 trips, or 1.57 points per trip. The sign of a good offense is generally 1.0 point per trip, so Arizona’s work in the half was nothing short of outstanding.

Arizona missed just 16 shots in the second half (making 21), but gathered 12 (twelve!) offensive rebounds, so along with three turnovers, the Wildcats only had eight scoreless trips in the second half. That means that they scored on 27 of their 35 (77%) trips in the final 20 minutes. That’s a truly an amazing half of basketball.

Arizona made nearly all its open shots and hit several tough leaners and fadeaways that aren’t typically high percentage shots. They took care of the ball — remember the aforementioned three turnovers — and made every correct decision when Duke’s defense came over to help or trap.

That said, Duke still had a chance to make a run with about six minutes to play. The Blue Devils cut the lead from 14 to 11 and forced an Arizona miss, but Nolan Smith couldn’t convert a semi-tough layup to get the lead under 10. Had that shot gone in, the pressure would have been back on the Wildcats, and the game might have been tighter at the end. But it didn’t fall and Arizona went on a 5-0 run to push the lead back to 16. Wheels off. Game over.

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