College football season is in full swing, but the local professional teams are in the news as well across the Triangle.
Player commitments, the start of one professional season and the final stretch of another, highlight the week in sports across the area.
Big commitments for Triangle schools
Recruiting is still popping in the Triangle as evident by the influx of big time verbal commits for the Big Three last week.
Earlier in the week, Duke’s basketball class leaped to number one in the country with a commitment from Dereck Lively II, a five-star center rated as the No. 2 player in the class of 2022. The fourth player from the 2022 class to commit to play for Scheyer when he takes over as Duke’s head coach when Mike Krzyzewski retires next spring, Lively joins fellow five-star players Kyle Filipowski and Dariq Whitehead in Duke’s recruiting class. The fourth player is four-star shooting guard Jaden Schutt from Yorkville, Illinois.
With Lively, ranked No. 2 in the class by 247sports.com, joining the 6-6 Whitehead (No. 5) and the 6-11 Filipowski (No. 8), Duke has three top-10 recruits.
Not to be outdone, UNC and N.C. State decided to join in the commitment conversation, both on Thursday.
George Pettaway, a four-star running back from Suffolk, Va. picked the Tar Heels over Florida, Oregon and Penn State, proving that Mack Brown is still crushing it on the recruiting scene over national powers.
Speaking of national, Wolfpack basketball coach Kevin Keatts got his first 2022 commitment all the way from Arizona, in the form of 6-10, 250-pound center Shawn Phillips, the No. 24 center in the nation.
Guess the three local schools couldn’t let the other hog all the headlines.
The Canes back on the ice
That perfect 75 degree day in North Carolina can only mean one thing -- hockey season is back!
The Carolina Hurricanes hit the ice for the start of camp on Thursday, beginning their quest for a return trip to the postseason. The Canes’ last two runs through the playoffs had the city buzzing and fans are eager to pack PNC Arena this season, riding the momentum from the last two seasons.
Coach Rod Brind’Amour welcomes a lot of new faces to the team, and it was obvious to the veteran coach on day one.
“It’s a lot of introductory stuff,” he told the media after the first practice. “A lot of guys haven’t seen any of this of how we’re doing it, so I expected it to be a little rough.”
The Hurricanes will have four preseason games — the first is Tuesday against Tampa Bay at PNC Arena. The Canes open the 2021-22 season on Oct. 14 against the New York Islanders.
Last season the Hurricanes finished first in the Central Division, but fell in the second round of the playoffs to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
While Triangle fans were waiting for one pro sports team (Carolina Hurricanes) to start their season, another local professional team was dominating.
The Durham Bulls clinched the Triple-A National Championship on Sept. 18 with a 9-5 win over Charlotte. That win guaranteed that Durham would have the best overall record among all the Triple-A teams. It’s the third time in franchise history the Bulls have won the Triple-A National Championship.