Duke ends season following positive COVID-19 test

Duke officially ended its 2020-21 men’s basketball season following a positive COVID-19 test within the program that caused the Blue Devils to be withdrawn from the ACC Tournament.

The Blue Devils beat Boston College in their opener and downed Louisville on Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday night, where No. 15 Florida State was waiting for the first matchup of the season between the teams. A January game between the teams was scrapped after a positive COVID-19 test.

Florida State automatically advances to play in the semifinals Friday. The Seminoles draw the winner of the game pitting North Carolina (17-9) and Virginia Tech (15-5).

A source told The Athletic that there is no concern of spread to other teams in Greensboro, N.C., due to precautions taken with cleaning and using separate locker rooms. The Stadium reported that the player who tested positive was a walk-on.

Mike Krzyzewski
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Duke vice president & director of athletics Kevin White later announced the decision had been made to end the team’s season.

“Unfortunately, after going an entire season with no positive COVID-19 tests among our men’s basketball student-athletes and coaching staff, one member of our program tested positive following Wednesday’s ACC Tournament game in Greensboro,” White said in a statement. “After working with our medical professionals and following Duke and ACC Medical Advisory Group health, safety, and contact tracing protocols, the student-athletes on our team are now in quarantine.

“Since last March when the pandemic started, we have listened to our medical experts and always put safety at the forefront of any determinations regarding competition. As a result, this will end our 2020-21 season. We wish every team still playing college basketball good health and the very best during the next few weeks.”

Duke (13-11) was considered a longshot to make the NCAA Tournament, and this is the first time since 1994-95 that the Blue Devils will not participate in the tournament.

“While our season was different than any other that I can remember, I loved the 2020-21 Duke Basketball team and was honored to be their coach,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “We have not asked more of any team in our history, and they deserve enormous credit for handling everything like the outstanding young men they are.

“I feel deeply for our players, who have done a terrific job all season in taking care of each other and the team. I am extremely proud of their collective attitudes and effort, which could not have been stronger. We are disappointed we cannot keep fighting together as a group after two outstanding days in Greensboro.

“This season was a challenge for every team across the country and as we have seen over and over, this global pandemic is very cruel and is not yet over. As many safeguards as we implemented, no one is immune to this terrible virus.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)