Duke begins practice with eye on Final Four

Sep. 27, 2013 @ 10:39 PM

Duke is getting starting a few weeks earlier than usual, and the Blue Devils hope their season ends a little bit later than the last one did.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team began practice Friday as a favorite to reach its 12th Final Four under him.
This team is built around two players who have yet to play in a game at Duke — Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood and top freshman Jabari Parker.
He says he isn’t locking anyone into specific spots on a depth chart because this team is built on versatility.
“It’s not like one guy is trying to beat out one guy — basically, you’re trying to blend,” Krzyzewski said. “The two guys you initially want to blend with are Rodney and Jabari because they’re two very talented and versatile players. So that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
The 6-foot-8 Hood is a redshirt sophomore averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in his lone season at Mississippi State in 2011-12. He’s listed as a forward but has said he considers himself a shooting guard on offense and a small forward at the other end of the court.
Parker, one of the most heavily pursued recruits in the nation out of Chicago, is also a 6-8 forward whose ability to play multiple spots is prized by Krzyzewski.
Krzyzewski says the only starters he’s settled on so far are Hood, Parker, high-energy forward Amile Jefferson “and probably Quinn” Cook, last year’s starting point guard.
Krzyzewski says this team reminds him of his late 1990s and early 2000s teams “when we were very athletic — really athletic.” That was the formula that Duke used to win its third national title in 2001 behind Carlos Boozer and Shane Battier.
The Blue Devils are replacing three NBA-bound seniors — Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry — from a team that went 30-6 and lost to eventual national champion Louisville in the regional finals.
While last year’s seniors were the undisputed best players on the team, things are a little different now because the three main scholarship seniors — forward Josh Hairston and guards Tyler Thornton and Andre Dawkins, who’s back after a year away from the team — shape up as part of the supporting cast.
Duke opens Nov. 8 against Davidson and hopes to be playing in the national championship game April 7 in Arlington, Texas.

HIGH POINT — Sam Phipps has been promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities & Operations, announced Vice President for Athletics Craig Keilitz on Friday. Phipps came to HPU in 2008 and oversees all in-game operations as well as facility enhancement for HPU Athletics.
“In Sam’s five years with us, he has proven his value as a member of our Athletic Department,” said Keilitz. “Sam has a tireless work ethic and helps make our department better every day. I look forward to his continued leadership as a member of our staff.”
Phipps came to HPU as Assistant Director of Facilities & Operations before being promoted to Director in 2011. In his position as Assistant AD, Phipps oversees operations for every event in an HPU athletic facility and manages all event staff. He also coordinates scheduling, maintenance, improvements and special projects at all of HPU’s athletic facilities.
In addition to HPU’s 100-plus home games each year, Phipps has played an integral role as High Point University has hosted Big South Championships in women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer and cross country.
Phipps came to HPU from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., where he was a member of the athletic facilities and operations staff. While at Marshall, Phipps coordinated event management, including serving as co-coordinator of the 2007 Conference USA Volleyball Championship. He also assisted with improving and maintaining all athletic facilities, and served as a visiting team liaison during home events.
Phipps earned his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and Marketing from Marshall University in 2006 and earned a master’s degree in Athletic Administration from Marshall in 2007. A native of Beckley, W.Va., Phipps resides in Kernersville.

HIGH POINT — The High Point University volleyball team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to Campbell 3-2 on Friday at the Millis Center. Junior Chelsea Davis posted a double-double in the Big South opener.
“This is a tough loss to swallow,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “We didn’t play consistently enough to get the win, despite having some moments of amazing volleyball. In the third and fourth sets we showed we can play with anyone in the Big South but we let Campbell go on runs when it mattered most.”
Davis led all attackers with 23 kills while adding 17 digs. Sophomore Annemarie Chin posted a match-high 34 digs, tying her career high. She also had 34 digs against Elon on Sept. 10. Junior Katie Vincent hit .300 with 11 kills and four blocks in the match.
Jessica Groen had 20 kills to lead the Camels while Lindsey Coats tallied 10 kills. Mary Crema led Campbell with 24 digs.
HPU starts Big South play 0-1 and moves to 6-10 on the season. Campbell improves to 10-7 and 1-0 in league play.
The Panthers stormed out to an early lead in the first set, 18-11, after a kill by Davis. Campbell slowly chipped in to the lead, using an 11-4 run to tie the set 22-22 on an ace by Groen. HPU was able to side out and bring up set point, 24-23, on another Davis kill down the line. The Camels scored the final three points of the frame, two on HPU errors, to pull off the comeback and win the set 26-24.
Campbell controlled the second set from the beginning, opening up a 17-10 lead. The Panthers used a six-point run to get within two, 18-16 but the Camels got a kill from Groen to end the run. CU went on to win the set 25-18.
High Point rebounded with an impressive 25-15 win in the third set. The Panthers hit .294 with 16 kills while Campbell hit .000 with five kills and five errors. Back-to-back kills from freshman Savannah Angel gave HPU a 14-8 lead and they rolled to a 25-15 victory.
The Panthers held set point, 24-15 in the fourth set, but the Camels didn’t go down without a fight. Campbell fought off six set points to make it a 24-20 HPU lead. Junior Chelsea Blanford blocked an attack by Groen to win the frame for the Panthers.
Groen recorded five kills in the fifth set to lead Campbell to a 15-10 win. The Camels led 11-5 after a Groen kill but the Panthers answered with a five-point run. Junior Kristin Heldt had two aces to cap off the run and pull HPU within one 11-10. Groen scored the next two points to give Campbell back the momentum and CU held on for the 15-10 victory.
Angel finished the night with nine kills and Blanford added five kills, four blocks and two aces. Sophomore Wavie Chin tallied 11 digs while senior Maddie Simpson recorded a double-double with 25 assists and 11 digs.
The Panthers will have a week off before traveling to Coastal Carolina next Friday for a 7 p.m. match with the Chanticleers.

HIGH POINT — Dan Wade carded his second career hole-in-one, acing the par-3, 101-yard sixth hole with a 9-iron on Friday at Maple Leaf.
K.T. Wood and Ron Money witnessed the gem.

GREENSBORO — Lewis Kindle was 14 of 22 for 140 yards and touchdown and also ran for a first-quarter score to help North Carolina A&T beat Howard 27-17 on Thursday night in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Desmond Lawrence had a 38-yard scoring run in the second quarter for the Aggies (3-0).
Greg McGhee was 20 of 44 for 186 yards and two touchdowns for Howard (1-3). The Bison were coming off a 76-19 loss to Old Dominion on Sept. 14.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — High Point’s Drew Weaver tied for 13th at 8-under 208 following Friday’s final round of the eGolf Tour’s Columbia Classic. Matthew Ryan won the tourney at 14-under 202 following rounds of 63, 68 and 71. Weaver carded rounds of 70, 67 and 71.