Duke basketball: Coach K’s event to include two former Blue Devils

Duke basketball guard Tyler Thornton and head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guard Tyler Thornton and head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball may face two of its former backup point guards this season.

Last week, Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported that the Duke basketball program opted out of the former Battle 4 Atlantis field that will play in South Dakota. He then noted that head coach Mike Krzyzewski would instead look to host a multi-team event to “center around a theme and backdrop of social-justice activism.”

On Monday night, some details emerged about that event, including the dates and the invite to an HBCU school. Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweeted the following:

“Former Duke player Kenny Blakeney has verbally committed to bringing Howard University and top recruit Makur Maker to Duke for an event Coach K is putting together in Durham on Dec. 4-5…”

Since Tyler Thornton is an assistant to Kenny Blakeney, who landed five-star 2020 center Makur Maker despite a 4-29 record in his first year as head coach, that makes two former Duke point guards set to be on a Cameron Indoor Stadium bench at the event. Though Coach K has repeatedly expressed unease about facing ex-pupils, this apparently calls for an exception.

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If the dates are correct, then presumably the tournament will consist of four teams, each playing back-to-back days. Outside of Duke and Howard, the other squads are unknown (also still unknown is whether Duke will actually play Howard).

Speaking of unknowns, though the 2020-21 college hoops season is supposed to tip on Nov. 25, it’s now unclear whether Duke will be in action that soon.

More Duke basketball scheduling tidbits

Thus far, in addition to Coach K’s event, the non-conference foes on tap for Duke are Michigan State in the Champions Classic, tentatively set for early December in Orlando; an undetermined foe in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, likely to occur on Dec. 8 and 9 in Orlando; and two scheduled visitors in Appalachian State (no date set) and Cleveland State (Dec. 18).

Now, the plan is for teams to play 27 regular-season games. So on top of the six outings noted above plus a 20-game ACC slate, the Blue Devils would have one more slot to fill (assuming Cleveland State and Appalachian State each still intend to make the trip to Durham).

Obviously, though, this is 2020, so everything we think we know could change at any moment.

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