Quinn Cook Steps Up Again

Some would think to fill the shoes of multi-year MVP, three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry would be near impossible. Quinn Cook? He’s done it a few times now and done it with excellence. After Curry injured his adductor a few days ago against the Bucks, Cook took things into his own hands, scoring 27 and assisting 5 baskets in last night’s game against the Nets.

Quinn Cook deserves everything he’s worked for. If you remember, he was the leader of the 2015 Duke National Championship team. After going undrafted, he spent a year in the (then) D-League, then bounced around on mostly 10-day contracts. He worked hard working out for different teams across the NBA for about two years. Think you would’ve given up by then? Well, Quinn then came across the Warriors and signed one of the NBA’s new two-way contracts in which he played for a G-League affiliate for most of the season but could be called up to the Warriors in case of an emergency. That emergency came in the form of an injury to star PG Stephen Curry. He was called up to the Warriors on November 13, 2017. He would continue to successfully fill in for Curry and was officially signed to a two-year deal to ensure his ability to play in the playoffs, which the Warriors would win at the end of the season.

Jayson Tatum Does Jayson Tatum Things

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Jayson Tatum goes up for the dunk as Philadelphia’s Ben Simons (25), Joel Embiid (21), and Dario Saric (9) look one

Some were worried about a second-year drought for Jayson Tatum. Well, it hasn’t been too long, but Jayson Tatum’s sophomore season started off with a bang last night in TD Garden, where Jayson went for a game-high 23 points and snagged 9 rebounds. There’s an excellent ESPN story here by one of the greats, Jackie MacMullan, about his journey to becoming a budding star and how he handles that along with his own personal life, mainly concerning his son. You have to tip your hat to a dad that will do this:

That’s adorable. But anyway, Jayson Tatum performed very well vs. Philadelphia and we’re thrilled to see what he can do for a Celtics team that’s on the rise.

Bleed blue. Two days to Countdown!

Grayson Allen Shines vs. Adelaide

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Grayson Allen (24). Source: Basketball Insiders

I’m still trying to comprehend the fact that Grayson Allen won’t take the floor at Countdown on the 19th. He’s a special player of the likes we aren’t likely to see again, at least for a while. Grayson is getting rolling with his new teammates on the Utah Jazz, a franchise that’s on the rise with new star Donovan Mitchell. Now they know they’ve got another star, a gem for that late in the draft: Grayson Allen. He’s a guy who’s all for the team, he’s an excellent player, he can lead guys, and he’s been on a team with about half the NBA at this point. He’s showing out in the Jazz’s preseason:

He threw down that big dunk and helped the Jazz to the win. He came off the bench but played a sixth man role for the Jazz with the most minutes out of those players. Grayson Allen has a bright future in Salt Lake City!

Bleed Blue. Duke Football takes a bye week this week.

Hype Becomes Reality for Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley

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Harry Giles (20) and Marvin Bagle III (35). Source: Sacramento Bee <https://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/article217120605.html&gt;

People were beginning to think that Harry Giles would always be the poor guy who had a bright future but a debilitating knee injury. Not anymore. Harry is balling in his first preseason games in Sacramento. If you looked at his high school highlights, you wouldn’t be too surprised, but it never really happened for him at Duke just because of his knee.

When Harry Giles was a college freshman in Durham, Duke basketball fans kept waiting for him to turn Cameron Indoor Stadium into his personal bounce house. Unfortunately, knee surgeries in 2013, 2015, and 2016 had taken their toll on the spring in the step of the 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward.

–Matt Giles, BallDurham

I just love that “personal bounce house” line. But yeah, it never happened at Duke. However, he is doing really well now in what has been the past few years’ most boring team of the NBA. Now? They look like showtime. For Marvin Bagley: he was a double-double machine at Duke and the #2 pick in the NBA Draft, but didn’t look as hot in summer league and got shut down for pelvic bruising. He’s gone back to his machine-like ways and looks pretty epic. They lost to the LeBron-ified Lakers but there’s no shame in that considering the development that they’ve shown. I’ll let you listen to Marvin Bagley rap while you think about how awesome he’ll be in the NBA this year.

Just had to throw that in there. Bleed blue.

Quinn Cook Does It Again

I found this watching Get Up’s “My Favorite Person on Earth (right this second)” this morning and it just reminded me of what an awesome guy Quinn Cook is. He’s worked for everything he’s got and he deserves every bit of it. Take a look at this:

He’s the best, honestly. Bleed blue.

Jahlil Okafor to New Orleans

Former Duke center and National Champion Jahlil Okafor has agreed to a partially guaranteed deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for the next year. There is a team option for 2019-2020, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. After his All-Rookie team debut season with the 76ers, his role in Philly diminished quickly and he was traded to Brooklyn. He became a free agent this summer. The Pelicans lost C DeMarcus Cousins to the Warriors through free agency and gained C Julius Randle, former Kentucky standout, from the Lakers.

The featured image on the homepage is courtesy of CBS New York.

Grayson Allen, Donovan Mitchell Go from Rivals to Teammates to Friends

After he played at Louisville, I’ll admit Donovan Mitchell wasn’t my favorite player. He was always getting at it with Grayson. He played for Rick Pitino, for goodness’ sake, whom I most certainly did not care for. I feel bad about that now because as I’ve seen him grow in the NBA, the ESPY award winner (Breakthrough Athlete of the Year) is a really nice guy. Now, that’s been validated by his mutual respect and friendship with new teammate Grayson Allen. Grayson, one of my personal favorite Duke players ever, who’s now gone from college basketball senior veteran to NBA rookie, has a bit to learn this season and Mitchell, who is entering his second season, will be a good mentor.

The Rivalry

Mitchell made most of his impact at Louisville during his breakout sophomore season in 2017 when Grayson was a junior. As you can see in the video above, things got a little scrappy between the two of them, but it all worked out in the end.

There was this incident, among others. Duke and Louisville split their games during that year, one of which was during the 2017 ACC Tournament Quarterfinals at the Barclays Center, a tournament which Duke would go on to win. The quarterfinal game was tight and emotions ran high, so Allen and Mitchell, both central figures for their respective teams, crossed hairs and defended each other at different times during the game. After the 2017 season, Mitchell declared for the NBA Draft while Grayson returned to Duke for his senior season. Mitchell was runner-up for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and lost to only Ben Simmons of the 76ers. He won the ESPYs Award for Breakthrough Athlete of the Year.

The Draft

Despite their college rivalry, Mitchell attended Grayson’s workout for the Jazz and was visibly impressed.

But the one thing about Grayson is I always respected him. When people ask me who the toughest guy I had to go against in college basketball, it’s him. It’s hard when you have all the negative connotations with your name, especially in college. You see it on ESPN and then you’ve got to go to class and you’ve got to walk and see everybody on campus—and you still get 30 points a game? That’s impressive to me. That’s where he got my respect. After that game my sophomore year, I told him how much I respected him.

– Donovan Mitchell

It was later revealed that Mitchell contacted Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey with a text saying “Grayson at 21?”, and was vocal in his support of Grayson. Obviously, the Jazz trusted their star player and selected Grayson at #21.

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A message from @graysonjallen to the fans!

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It was one of the best moments in the draft when Donovan Mitchell surprised Grayson during his interview.

Mentorship

While Grayson is older than Mitchell in age, he does not have any NBA experience. It seems as though Mitchell will be a good mentor for Grayson whilst he adapts into the NBA life. In the big leagues, chemistry is rare. When you have chemistry like this between two very talented players, it can mean something special for a team that already advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year. The Jazz were bounced by the Houston Rockets last year.

He’s just giving me some tips for Summer League, an idea of what to expect with the pace of it, all sorts of stuff. He had a pretty good Summer League last year, so he knows what he’s talking about.

– Grayson Allen on Donovan Mitchell

Bleed blue, Duke fans. I have a LOT of guys on a lot of teams to follow in the NBA this year, but it’s never a burden to see these guys grow and progress.

Amile Jefferson, Magic Agree to Two-Way Contract

After leading the G-League and Summer League in rebounds this previous year for the Iowa Wolves, Amile Jefferson has signed a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic this summer. The contract permits Amile to spend up to 45 days on the active or inactive roster, while he will spend most of his time with Orlando’s G-League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. If you’ve seen Jefferson, a 6-9 forward, play, you can easily tell that this guy is an extremely selfless player who benefits the team regardless of the stat line. Hopefully, he can pull out a full-time contract. Who knows? Maybe Mo Bamba and Jefferson on the frontcourt is a masterpiece in the making. Nevertheless, Jefferson is one of the best teammates we’ve had at Duke and we wish him well in the NBA.

Bleed blue, Duke fans. Go Amile!

PS: Some fun videos I missed showing you all while on vacation:

And, get this! Grayson Allen is in there! I’m telling you, him being a psychology major and all, he’ll be doing something on the staff one day.

These guys are very likable. We’ll have a fun season next year. The Countdown is on!

Trevon Duval Gets Signed

After an impressive performance with the Rockets in Summer League, the Milwaukee Bucks have signed Trevon Duval to a two-way contract. “Tricky Tre” averaged 10.8 points, 5.6 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game at Duke this year. He’s got a lot of work to do but this guy has a high ceiling.

Bleed blue.

Gary Trent, Jr, Wins Summer League Championship with Portland

Duke’s Gary Trent, Jr, and the Portland Trailblazers won the Summer League Championship after defeating the Lakers last night. Trent, Jr, had 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals, showing off his all-around prowess for the game. He’s certainly not just a sharpshooter. These 2018 Blazers (7-0) are among just 3 teams to go completely undefeated throughout Summer League, including the 2016 Bulls and 2013 Warriors. It was a vengeance W for the Blazers, who lost to the Lakers this past year.

Gary Trent, Jr, has proven his worth throughout summer league for the Portland Trailblazers, with a 20-point performance against San Antonio and a good sample of minutes for the Blazers. He could get some good minutes in the regular season after this impressive performance.

Bleed blue, Duke fans. Guess what? Tomorrow marks 3 months until we kick off the season. That’s 93 days from today. 2232 hours. 133920 minutes. Seemingly too long but we get closer every minute!