I'd never seen the Dean Dome look like it did tonight the word got out that everyone had to wear Carolina blue, and by god they all did, even the fat cats down in the front row. If you follow sports, you know what happened tonight, and if you don't, you couldn't care less, so suffice to say I ended the game with my head in my hands, try to stave off a quick weep.
But then I saw something that made things utterly clear. As the Duke team ran off the floor, J.J. Reddick who had a sub-par game and got his shit packed by our own Jackie Manuel at least twice taunted the crowd. A few of their bench warmers did too, waving, sneering and pointing to various fans.
I'm a grown man now, I'm 36 years old, and I have been to every home Duke game for the last 19 years. When I was 18 years old, I camped in the mud (that was soon to be Carmichael Dorm) to get tickets for the first game at the Dean E. Smith Center in January 1986. I have flown here to Chapel Hill from Los Angeles, New York, anywhere.
And tonight, I was reminded again of why. They reprint my Why I Hate Dook article every few years, and it had been a while since I actually read it. But tonight, as I watched that punk-ass bitch Reddick with bleeding back acne wave at our crowd in derision, I was thrown right back to my first taste of that campus in 1985.
Duke University is more than just a bunch of blithering jerks from up North who subvert everything that the Southern Part of Heaven is all about. They are also the embodiment of The New Mercilessness. It is no wonder that Dean Smith campaigns for civil rights and eradicating the death penalty, while Koach K sponsors "Blue Devils For Dole." Smith brought the first black player to the ACC and helped integrate Chapel Hill, while K raises money for people who want to ban gay marriages and make abortions illegal. And he has put in place a system that allows his players to taunt the crowd after a game they've already won.
I keep coming back to my homeland, to this church painted light blue, because we define ourselves by our enemies, and each year I look at that school, those sneering, braggart bastards, and I get to know myself a little bit better.
Posted by irw at February 5, 2004 11:10 PM
I cut my hair; Chip has lost a few strands of his
Weep, yes, but proudly. No. 17 lost to No. 1 by one tiny, lucky point. Those boys played a great game.
I was cleaning my room in California and watching the scores on the internet, and could hear the cheers and moans from here, even without the picture.
When these pics went up on Ian's blog, I wanted to cry at that sea of blue. (And the sight of our beloved Chip, blueing it up with Ian.) You've gotta love a campus that can cause a total blue-out in a giant stadium. Thing is, a display like that, partisn though it is, also kind of stands for all that Dean Smith was... is. A great gentleman and a great coach who taught everyone how to behave with grace and dignity and fairness.
I remember one game where a fight was about to break out with some other team's over-aggressive players. With a gentle shake of his head and his hands in the "stay cool" position, it took him about ten seconds to silently defuse the situation, and bring the Tarheel players back to the business of playing the game. He even taught us how to lose -- or win -- with equal elegance and composure.
I hope the legacy continues.
I despise Dook - the University of New Jersey at Durham is just plain evil.
That being said, in taunting those evildoers, a couple of things to get straight. Dook actually had a black player in the ACC before we did - don't remember his name, but he was on a bench player about 2 years before Dean recruited Charlie Scott.
And not that it matters, but Dook alums have 2 NBA rings - Mullins got one with Golden State in '78 I think, still 36-2 ain't bad.
Conditioning? Come on, we're about the best conditioned team in the country - still nobody can sprint for 5 miles (that's about the amount you'll run in a game) and still have some left to make shots at the end. The trick for these guys is to learn to pace themselves for the sprint at the end. This theory sounds like it comes from listening to Billy Packer do the broadcast - remember, the man is a Wake alum, strongly dislikes Carolina and his opinions are generally worthless.
We will be in the final four, not to worry, Roy has been grooming these guys to play his game and it's 90% mental, the other half is physical (with apologies to Yogi Berra). The first half of the season was learning, now comes the execution.
Also, if you ever find yourself in a bar with 'friends don't let friends drive drunk' bumper stickers, pull out your pocketknife and amend them to say 'friends don't let friends like duke'
Sorry, I just can't let this Billy Packer thing go. The reason I say he's an absolute jackass is because I think he's an arrogant schmuck who considers himself bigger than the game. Say what you will about Vitale, who now annoys me no end, but I'll take his self-deprecating manner and honest passion for the game any day over the smug and self-satisfied Packer. That said, I do not think Packer particualrly hates Carolina, nor do I think he plays favorites any more or less than other announcers. Having resided the last 14 years in SEC and Big East country and making my living working in college sports media, I can tell you with certainty that he is widely reviled in other non-North Carolina parts of the country for being an ACC apologist. Since Carolina appears on CBS more than any other league team except perhaps Dook, when these SEC and Big East fans complain about Packer loving the ACC at the expense of their teams, they're complaining because they specifically think he's a UNC *lover*, NOT a UNC hater who favors Wake, a team which infrequently appears on CBS. If what you say is true about Packer hating Carolina, how could these millions of other fans think the exact opposite?
Easy. It's the same way that every home fan at every college game ever played thinks that the refs are against their team. Packer isn't against (or for) Carolina, he's just a turd on his own merits, plain and simple. So my opinion about Carolina's conditioning comes not as someone wearing Carolina Blue-goggles (though I certainly can be guilty of that at times), but as someone who makes an honest effort to view the non-partisan big picture relative to what's going on in other programs, where I *believe* I often see guys with less natural ability playing harder, faster and better than Carolina's supposedly Blue Chip guys at the end of games. Also, Dook sucks.
Was Charlie Scott perhaps the first *scholarship* African-American player in the ACC, but not actually the first African-American team member?
For some reason, I just can't resist piling on. Apologies to all.
First, more on Packer: His real genius, if you want to call it that, is that he can call a game, and afterwards fans of BOTH teams will think he was *against* their team. To accomplish that, he's a special kind of prick, for sure. In fact, he's the Howard Cosell of modern-day college basketball. People watch *because* they hate Packer. He arouses emotions, which increases, or at least holds, viewership. And I suspect that CBS Sports executives, being generally pretty intelligent, recognize this fact and that's why they leave him in his seat as their #1 color guy. And as long as he doesn't refer to anybody as a "monkey" on a national broadcast viewed by 25 million people, he'll probably stay there. In other words, Andrew, when you write Packer off as "anti-Carolina" you're being played by The Man and don't even realize it.
Now, back to conditioning. I just did a Google search for "Roy Williams" and "conditioning." Here's a direct quote from Roy from the first paragraph of the first link returned, which was his press conference on 11/13/03, i.e., early this season:
"I was very discouraged at one point because I thought we were giving in and we were a little tired and I tried to convince the guys that its better to get your conditioning out there during a game than it is with me after practice getting on the end line."
As I said before, I believe Roy eventually will get future Carolina teams into great shape, and hoefully even this one by the end of the year, but earlier this season, at least, he shared my view that this particular squad was not in the best possible condition. I'm just a loudmouth know-it-all, but he's got the best winning percentage of all active college coaches, so I'm inclined to accept his assessment.
Guess I touched a nerve...
Charlie Scott may have been the first scholarship player - if you google around you can find info on the dukie.
Billy Packer used to be a great announcer - he and Al McGuire were a fantastic team and Packer was confined to play-by-play - they were a joy to listen to. Then CBS in their infinite wisdom decided they could do better by splitting them up and Packer started doing the color and has sucked ever since. I'd rather listen to McGuire decomposing. Even in his last year on the air when senility was seriously coloring about half his commentary, he was always spot-on. I'll never forgive him for 1977, but he was a great one.
OK, now back to the conditioning - 7 guys play for us - they account for all but 4 minutes of each game and they are playing agressive, switching man D, running at every opportunity - it's too much to ask.
At Kansas, Roy always had more players to play - even under Self this year their top 9 guys average less minutes than our top 7 combined - same holds true for Pitino at Louisville.
Pitino perfected 40 mintues of Hell and does it with a deep rotation AND various matchup zone full court presses - this allows his players to rest - 1 out of every three possessions off a made basket (press opportunity) you don't have to get back behind half court - this means less running (Gary Williams also does this when he has faster, deeper teams - they run about 14 different presses).
No additional amount of conditioning will make our top 7 able to last longer - they are playing Roy's game and leaving it all on the floor, which I'm tremendously proud of (and if I hear one more word about McCants slouching on D, whomever utters it is going to get a prepared 45 minute diatribe on why he's going to go down as one of the top 5 players to EVER play at UNC). The problem is that we're out of gas before the game ends - Roy is teaching them to pace themselves - look back at the Virginia and NC State games to see where we slacked off for a while until Raymond said 'go' with 15 mintues left. That's our near future and with it we can beat anybody.
Sorry 'bout the Packer comment - it's a good one to pull out to see who you're talking to - I've been hearing this conditioning crap all year and just don't buy it - the numbers don't add up.
My other favorite comment to find out how much people know is to say 'yeah, and I bet when you watch a game your eyes follow the ball too' - the way people answer that one tells tomes.
Now those are some pretty solid arguments.
A couple counterpoints though:
* Without having looked at the stat sheet from the other night, didn't Dook's starters play very comparable minutes and yet have fresher legs at the end?
* One of the beauties of Pitino's success is that he often goes deep into his bench to achieve his style regardless of whether those bench guys are considered "good" players or not -- proving that even a mediocre player in great shape can make important contributions. Hell, he took a Kentucky team to the Final Four with a starting five that consisted of Jamal Mashburn and four insurance salesmen-in-training (well technically, at least one is a coach now, and one is the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture. But still).
Doesn't UNC have a few of those mediocre-but-fit guys on the bench that Roy could use more often if their intensity and commitment was such that they could give a few minutes of great defense, and not hurt us too bad on offense? I'll pretty much guarantee you (again not bothering to research, sloppy on my part) #9 and 10 on UNC's bench were more highly thought-of coming out of high school than whoever #9 and 10 are at Louisville this year. But I'll also give you the no-research gurantee that #9 and 10 at Louisville are getting more minutes.
* Al McGuire was senile for, like, the last 10 years he was on the air, but I still couldn't help but like him. Now that Dick Enberg has joined him in the Senility Hall of Fame, I just cringe ever time I hear the poor guy try to say something. A nice, nice man, but he can't pull off the senility like McGuire could because a) he does play by play, and b) he doesn't have the wacky persona that McGuire had.
* For what it's worth, when I watch football, my eyes ALWAYS follow the ball. Then again, on telelvision you don't have too much choice since you can't see what's happening downfield anyway. And somehow, in spite of the fact that you can't see half of what's happening, football is the most popular sport on telelvision. Why is this?