I have hated Duke for as long as I can remember. I never really had any reason other than that they were the Yankees of college basketball. Each year they got the best recruits, Coach K mostly convinced them to hang around for 4 years, and they made winning 30 games look as easy as finding something bad to say about Justin Beiber. Now I have a reason.
It wasn’t that it was a bad call. It was probably, as Boeheim said in his presser, the worst call of the year. In fact, earlier in the game, the same call on Michael Gbinije WAS a blocking foul. I used to be an assistant high school basketball coach. The one thing that was instilled in me by my mentor was that bad calls happen all of the time, but they happen on both sides of the ball so you can never blame the refs for a game. Well, folks, I’m going to be a little whiny brat and tell you that this game did not go down that way. The right call would have been a no call, which would have tied the game and let these young kids who gave their all decide the outcome, not the referees.
But I digress. I am not here to write about 12 seconds of a single game. I’m here to talk about almost 35 years of tyranny under Coach K. I needed the help of an expert hater of Duke in compiling this list, so I called my guy Q-Tip (no, not from Tribe) who lives in Raleigh and has been an avid UNC fan since the day I met him. He was there Thursday night when Duke went down to UNC and he was thrilled to help me compile a list of his biggest enemy ever.
5 REASONS EVERYBODY SHOULD HATE DUKE
5. The Players.
Christian Laettner. Chris Duhon. Cherokee Parks. Bobby Hurley. Grant Hill. Jay Williams. Greg Paulus. Trajan Langdon. Corey Maggette. JJ Redick. All of the Plumlees. Steve Wojciechowski. Aren’t those names sickening? None of these players went on to NBA super stardom. You can make a case that Grant Hill was on his way to a Hall of Fame career, but injuries ended that too quickly. You can look at someone like Redick who does his job well as a shooting specialist but he’s a one-dimensional player, not a NBA star. My biggest beef is and always will be Christian Laettner. I hate that I have to admit that he is the best college player of my lifetime, but he undoubtedly is. He put together a respectable NBA career hanging around for a long time but was never part of the elite of the game. How that guy got to be on The Dream Team is beyond me.
4. Coach K.
It’s not that I hate Coach K. He’s done a lot of good things for basketball, especially with Team USA over the years. The primary reason he makes my list is because Coach K is the one person who stands in Jim Boeheim’s way of being the winningest coach in NCAA history. Throw on top of it this whole he runs a clean program image and it gets even worse. Many pundits and former opponents will tell you that he bullies officials. Or take the Corey Maggette scandal. Maggette admitted to taking money from Myron Piggie, no lie, Myron Piggie, before signing his letter of intent with Duke. A year later Duke goes 37-2 and loses to UConn in the National Championship. No sanctions were ever levied, and 37 more wins were added to Coach K’s illustrious clean career. Add to it that Maggette declared early, which almost never happened with Duke athletes, and you have to wonder what exactly Coach K knew. (Coach K, incidentally is less than 37 games ahead of Boeheim.) When it comes to his overall record, there is also his one-year sabbatical at which you need to look. The team went 2-14 during his ’94-’95 absence, yet those loses were part of Pete Gaudet’s record while even Coach K admits they should be added to his.
3. Duke Vitale and the rest of the Duke loving media.
Much like Coach K, I don’t hate Dickie V. I just hate when he announces Duke games. I don’t understand how he and Jay Bilas are allowed to cover nationally televised games. People hate the Yankees enough as it is, but could you imagine if someone like Yogi Berra called the games for Fox? Granted, last night both Bilas and Dickie V seemed shocked and appalled at the end result of the game, but overall ESPN and their analysts have no problem openly displaying their love affair with Duke.
2. Cameron Crazies.
OVER RATED!!! (Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap) OVER RATED!!! (Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)
Best fans in college basketball? Puh-lease. Is the Black Hole in Oakland the best fan base in the NFL? Much like Duke, with the Black Hole, you see the craziest of the crazies on TV but miss out on the whole picture. A 2012 report showed a steady decline in attendance over the previous 5 year period. There were several reasons given but the most glaring was a lack of competitive top-ranked teams playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Really? So you’re too busy to support your team when they play in-state rival Wake Forest, but you can show up for a huge showdown? Is it me or does that sound like a fair-weather fan? These are annoying hooligans who jump around and make stupid noises or wave their hands in an opponent’s face and that has earned them the right to be declared the best fans in college hoops? Have you seen Kentucky’s attendance over the last decade? Have you watched Syracuse pack out the Carrier Dome, shattering the NCAA single game attendance record with each big game that comes through? Have you been to Syracuse? It’s like 50 below for half the season, yet they manage to cram 35,000 into the Dome. You can take your 9,200 seat high school gymnasium – I’ll take Otto’s Army any day.
1. Duke Rules.
I live in ACC country. When Syracuse moved to the conference people told me to be prepared to lose at Cameron every year because the refs won’t let you win. I thought that was a sign of sore losers, a group of fan bases whose teams could never find a way to beat Duke. Unfortunately last night’s game did nothing to prove those fans wrong. That being said, here are some of the most famous calls that make you wonder…
It all starts with Laettner in the 1992 East Regional Final. Everyone my age remembers watching that shot and cringing when it miraculously went through the net. But… should Laettner have even been on the court to take the shot? I’m sure Aminu Timberlake would think not. For those of you that don’t remember Timberlake, he was the one who Laettner ADMITTEDLY stomped on his stomach while he lay on the ground. Laettner did draw the technical but remained in the game. So take note all of you aspiring high school basketball players, punching an opponent will get you ejected, but kicking someone in the guts is A-OK.
Do you remember just one week ago when the officials fouled up in the Maryland game? The Terrapins were up 56-54 when a jump ball occurred. The possession arrow pointed towards Duke so they took the ball, tied the game, and went on to win 69-67. A day later, the ACC acknowledged that the officials had forgotten to change the possession arrow and that it should have been Maryland’s ball instead of Duke’s. They also conveniently mentioned that once games are finished they can not change the outcome but just offer an apology.
Remember when Greg Paulus was practically in the stands and made a “great save” on the ball to keep Duke, the number 2 seed, in the game against Belmont, the number 15 seed, back in 2008? He was CLEARLY out of bounds by two or three steps. Duke won that game 71-70.
How about the 2001 Championship game against Arizona when certain members of the media counted a whopping seven fouls committed by star point guard Jason Williams?
And let’s not forget in 2009 when 3 officials were actually suspended for messing up an obvious call against FSU. Duke won that game 97-96.
These five reasons all equate to one thing: People hate Duke because they are the power house you wish your team was. If Boeheim had 4 championships, then I’m sure Syracuse would be hated nationwide and I would wear the badge as an honor. Can you point the finger for Syracuse’s loss at Ennis and Cooney for playing a subpar game? Sure. Can you say that a team that shoots 28% from the floor in the first half doesn’t deserve to win the game? Absolutely. The bottom line is that Cuse found a way to stay in that game and that they lost that game because as usual, the refs made a call that favored Duke. In the end, that is all we need to unite as a Hate Duke Nation.
I need to cool off, folks. All I can hope for is that there is a Round 3 on a neutral court where my boys and Coach K’s kids can settle this once and for all.