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View Full Version : Why We Hate Duke (well, not me)

03-25-2011, 01:03 AM
Decent article written. Again, I'm not a big fan of basketball but after living in NC I am sort of forced to pick what shade of blue I like best. :rolleyes:


Things I believe: 1. In the movies, if a bad guy falls off a tall building, he will always land on a car. 2. Bigfoot is real (and she’s stacked). 3. College basketball fans will always hate Duke. Yep, here we are on the doorstep of the Sweet Sixteen, and the blue-wigged ones are once again involved (Duke and Arizona tip off in just a few hours), as they have been 19 times since 1981. But despite the Blue Devils’ sweet smell of success and boyish good looks, I sincerely believe that, if put to a vote, a majority of Americans would choose an air strike on Krzyzewskiville over one on Tripoli.
Simply put, Duke is Camp Mohawk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVREnF4kh18&NR=1), and the rest of the world is Camp Northstar.
But why, America? What has this sleepy Methodist institution from a rural tobacco hamlet done to incur your wrath? Today we get to the bottom of this.
Recently I emailed a sportswriter friend and told him that I was thinking of writing a column on why people hate Duke. What is the main gripe against the Blue Devils? His reply was balanced and pragmatic:
False hustle. Guys slapping their hands on the floor who can’t play d, they brag about high admissions but they let guys in who barely qualify.
Then, a couple of minutes later:
And a lot of what Jalen Rose said was true.
[/URL]So that brings us to our list of charges. Let’s begin.

The charge: Elitism.

The counter-charge: Duke haters are reverse racists.
You’re all familiar of course with [URL="http://offthebench.nbcsports.com/2011/03/17/jimmy-king-to-grant-hill-i-got-99-problems-and-hill-ant-one/"]The Great Quote Wars of 2011 (http://offthebench.nbcsports.com/2011/03/24/ricks-cafe-why-we-hate-duke-a-totally-scientific-study/rickscafelogobrown37502-14/), in which members of Michigan’s Fab Five recalled thinking of Duke players as “Uncles Toms,” “bi****s” and “elitists.” Although couching their criticism of Grant Hill and Christian Laettner in the past tense during filming of their ESPN documentary, it was pretty clear that Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson also think that way now. The words just danced off their tongues too trippingly to qualify as dusty relics.
The main contention by Rose & Co. is that Duke doesn’t recruit from the inner city, and specifically not in urban Detroit. Of course the irony there is that, thanks to Chris Webber and the recruiting scandal of the 1990s, Michigan now doesn’t recruit there either. But anyway, let’s just cut to Rose’s real point. Duke is too white.
Of all the teams you’re used to seeing in the Final Four in recent years, can you think of one that consistently starts more Caucasian players than Duke? This rubs a lot of people the wrong way, as terrible as that sounds. When Duke played Butler in last year’s NCAA title game, five white players were on the court at tipoff — the most since 1998, when six white players started in the Utah-Kentucky final, according to Rivals.com (http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=jn-race040410). This year, half of Duke’s 12-man roster is white, including four of its top eight players. Stop whining about it. It shouldn’t matter. I, for one, would like to see five Native Americans start a Final Four game. That would be cool.

The charge: Refs give Duke special favors.

The counter-charge: What you call “favoritism,” Krzyzewski calls “fundamentals.”
Charles Barkley was ranting the other day on the radio about how AAU programs are killing college basketball. Barkley: “These kids aren’t getting good coaching. They’re playing too many games and not working on their game enough. And what happens with the AAU and all the extracurricular stuff, the college coaches have no control over these kids. They have to kiss their butts to come to their school; they’re afraid to coach them because if you criticize them, they don’t consider that coaching, they consider it criticism. There’s very few coaches that are actually coaching these kids. They let them do what they want to because they’re happy to get them because of the AAU circuit. It’s bad basketball.”
And he’s right. Duke is one of the few programs remaining where the coach is still in charge. Krzyzewski is a throwback to a time when coaches still taught footwork and spacing and how to come off a screen. And Duke plays defense with a ferocious man-to-man intensity seen in few other programs. A lot of times, what TV viewers perceive to be the refs favoring Duke, is actually the refs seeing the little things on the floor that get you calls. You call it a flop? Krzyzewski calls it letting the ref know that an offensive player is trying to muscle you off of your spot. You get calls by doing the little things.
Krzyzewski played and coached under Bobby Knight, after all … and pulled a neat trick. He took away the lion’s share of Knight’s technical acumen, and the lamb’s portion of his clinical misanthrope. So in essence, what was created was a sort of supercoach — albeit, one who kind of resembles a rodent. But if Walt Disney has taught us anything, it’s that rodents can be endearing. And profitable.

The charge: Duke’s fans are arrogant, largely out of control, and incredible dorks.

The counter-charge: Guilty, with an explanation.
http://nbcoutofbounds.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dukefan02-copy.jpg?w=180&h=174 (http://offthebench.nbcsports.com/2011/03/24/ricks-cafe-why-we-hate-duke-a-totally-scientific-study/dukefan02-copy/)The Cameron Crazies are known throughout the land as the rowdiest, most annoying college basketball fans anywhere. The fact that they would set up a tent city, often in the snow, and camp there before games is a testimony to their unique psychoses.
A while back I wrote a post with this headline: Doofus in blue wig not sure why people hate Duke. Here is that doofus, to the left. Without even knowing what he’s saying, don’t you just want to punch him? This guy was born to be locked in a cafeteria dumpster. But here’s the thing: When I was in college, I couldn’t walk 20 yards without seeing someone I’d like to tie into a sack and toss in the creek. It’s college. Annoying pr***s are everywhere, on every campus.
Besides, the Cameron Crazies usually confine their mayhem to the game itself — the aftermath of Duke championships are comparatively mild. Consider this report from the University of Maryland: April 4, 2006: Students light street fires, throw bottles, and try to tip over a bus — after a win by their WOMEN’S basketball team.
A couple of kids I used to coach in basketball are now in college — Santa Clara University and UC Davis — and I asked them recently why they think everyone hates Duke. “It’s the jealousy factor,” said one. “Everyone hates a consistent winner.” Pressed further, they admitted they didn’t like Duke themselves.
My theory can be boiled down to an even simpler premise. Duke is Camp Mohawk, and the rest of the world is Camp Northstar. Face it, as a wise camp counselor once said (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3S_k1dRbXY), Camp Mohawk’s got the best equipment that money can buy. Hell, every team they’re sending over here has their own personal masseuse. Not masseur. Masseuse.
But it just doesn’t matter. Because every good story — and the NCAA Tournament is one of the best stories ever — needs a strong antagonist. And Duke fills that role very well.