It’s no secret that people are always divided about Duke Basketball. And for the most part, people tend to despise them. The Cameron Crazies, Coach K, the floor-slapping, the year-in-year-out success rate, the private school aura … like the Yankees, they’re a team that’s easy to hate.
But what I absolutely love about Duke is that in a sport dominated by one-and-done future superstars and young men who flaunt “where they’ll take their talents” next season, Duke still plays team basketball. True team basketball. They do it with kids who will play their last game in Cameron and kids on their way to NBA stardom. And they do it for the full 40 minutes, every game. Rarely do you see a more cohesive team actively (and equally) busting their ass. You see the same hustling, the same fundamentals, the same on-the-court communication year after year. It’s a throwback to the Wooden-era teams built on the unselfish pyramid of success.
Obviously the climate is changing. I admire LeBron for becoming a house hold name right out of high school, and I love how smartly Calipari has embraced the “one-and-done” rule to build a program at Kentucky. But as a kid who played team sports growing up, and then played in a rock ‘n’ roll band as a young man … I still love the magic that a team effort creates.
Call me crazy, but the less I see that in today’s me-first culture, the more I appreciate Duke basketball.