Krzyzewski: Duke, NCAA cooperate in Thomas inquiry


Krzyzewski: Duke, NCAA cooperate in Thomas inquiry

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Mike Krzyzewski says Duke is cooperating fully with the inquiry into whether any NCAA rules were broken when former player Lance Thomas purchased nearly $100,000 in jewelry during the 2010 national championship season.

The Duke coach said Friday during the team's preseason media day that he's proud of the school's compliance record during his 33 seasons there.

Krzyzewski said he hadn't commented previously on the inquiry because ``we want to honor the integrity of that process,'' and that he will continue to decline to discuss it in the future.

Krzyzewski said in early September he was made aware of a lawsuit filed against Thomas and contacted Duke's administration, which reached out to the NCAA ``to go through a process of seeing what happened.''

Thomas, who's now with the New Orleans Hornets, has said he doesn't think he violated any NCAA rules when he made the purchase midway through his senior season in December 2009 - just over three months before the Blue Devils won their fourth national title - and is willing to speak to the NCAA about it.

He was sued in January in Austin, Texas, by a New York jeweler who said Thomas owed $67,800 for five pieces of jewelry he purchased at a cost of $97,800. An invoice dated Dec. 21, 2009, indicates that he made a $30,000 down payment and agreed to pay the balance in 15 days.

The lawsuit, filed in Texas because Thomas was playing for the NBADL's Austin Toros at the time, was settled days after it surfaced publicly early last month, though school officials have said the settlement doesn't affect the ongoing inquiry.

``I have complete trust and confidence in all parties involved,'' Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils prefer that the focus be on the court and the current team, which wants to erase the sour taste that has lingered since Duke was upset by 15th-seeded Lehigh in its NCAA tournament opener and ended the year losing three of four.

That flop and the subsequent personnel losses - Austin Rivers and Miles Plumlee are now in the NBA - might have Duke flying under the radar entering this year.

``Our preseason ranking may be the lowest since I've been here,'' big man Mason Plumlee said. ``No one's ever won the championship in the preseason.''

Plumlee and Ryan Kelly, both freshmen during that 2010 title run, and guard Seth Curry make up the veteran nucleus of this year's group. They will be complemented by two big-name freshmen, guard Rasheed Sulaimon and swingman Amile Jefferson, and redshirt freshman Alex Murphy.

``If we do something special this year, a big thing will be because of'' Plumlee, Krzyzewski said. ``It's his time to be the key guy. ... Ryan and Seth are also key guys, but Mason is the key guy. I love when a guy wants that. He owns it, and he's taken responsibility for that. ... It's is my 33rd year. What excites you? Those are the types of things that excite me.

``We've won everything. We've won big and we've lost big. We've won a lot more big than we've lost big, but you've got to be in (the players') moments. I'm anxious to be in (Plumlee's) moment.''

In each of the past two years, a Duke freshman guard has become a lottery pick in the NBA draft. NBA rookie of the year Kyrie Irving preceded Rivers in making the jump in 2011.

Sulaimon - a 6-foot-4 McDonald's All-American from Houston who averaged 27 points as a high school senior - could possibly be next in line.

``I'm just trying to get where I fit in,'' Sulaimon said. ``I still have a lot to learn.''

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Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in NFL history.

But is he the best running back for the Redskins right now?

The Redskins signed Peterson, 33 years old and a 12-year NFL veteran, to a one-year contract. They have been hit with injuries at the running back position, most notably the loss of second-round pick Derrius Guice for the season with a torn ACL. They didn’t make any moves when that diagnosis was announced a week and a half ago. But they lost two more backs to short-term injuries last Thursday and they decided that now is the time to go out and get somebody.

Is the need for a running back really there? Rob Kelley was the starter for the last half of the 2016 season and for seven games last year before a variety of ailments sent him to injured reserve. Samaje Perine became the starter after that and while he struggled at time he also showed growth potential.

Kelley is 25 and Perine is 22. In the absence of Guice, they could develop and when Guice returns next year the team would have a good stable of young running backs.

But now, Peterson is in the picture. We don’t yet know what his role will be, but they did not sign him to be the back who is inactive on game days. He will get some carries and that will take work away from Perine and Kelley.

Now, if Peterson is more productive than either of the two younger backs then that is a worthwhile swap. But what does he have left in the tank at age 33?

Last year, playing for the Saints and Cardinals he gained 529 yards on 156 carries, a very pedestrian average of 3.4 years per carry. That is very similar to the production of Perine, who had 175 carries for 603 yards, a 3.4 average. In his two years in the NFL, Kelley has averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

By signing Peterson, however, the Redskins are hoping that Peterson has one more big year, or at least a medium year by his standards, left in him. After all, it was just in 2015 that he led the NFL in rushing for the third time in his career as he ran for 1,485 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The Redskins would be delighted if he could get half of that total.

Any free agent signing can only be evaluated when the contract details are available. We only know that it’s a one-year deal and according to some reports he did not get any money guaranteed at signing. That seems to be a team friendly deal, but we will have to see what might kick in if he is on the Week 1 roster.

As with everything else, time will tell if this move works out. If the money is right, it’s a low risk transaction with some possible upside for Washington.

Back during minicamp while talking about how quickly Alex Smith would have to get up to speed with the offense, Jay Gruden said that the Redskins are not in a rebuilding mode and that they need to win now. After the trade for Smith, the Peterson signing is another indication that patience may be wearing thin.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries

Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries

The Redskins agreed to terms with free agent running back Adrian Peterson, per multiple reports and confirmed by NBC Sports Washington.

Washington added Peterson as their running back group took a number of hits this preseason. Rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the year in the preseason opener, while Byron Marshall, Martez Carter and Samaje Perine got hurt in the second preseason game against the Jets.

Peterson is a huge name. He’s likely headed for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, and he’s one of only a handful of rushers to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season.

His best seasons came with the Vikings, but Peterson hasn’t delivered top flight results since 2015.

If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peterson could be a tremendous steal for the Redskins. There is no way to know until he suits up in the preseason, which could happen as soon as this Friday night against Denver.

On the roster, Washington has Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson available at running back. At his best, Peterson is significantly better than that group.

Will the Redskins get Peterson at his best?

That’s the big question. And with two preseason games remaining, he will get the chance to prove it.