Friday, May 15, 2009

Equation of an NBA Blue Devil: Distance from K

For those of you that know me, you know that I'm not too fond of University of Duke Men's Basketball; particularly the head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. I had been holding back on venting about Coach K and Duke because I try not to be too serious at FU; while providing quality sports hypotheses for you to rattle around in your minds...with a mixture of random pictures. But I must change the tone of this post in order to provide insight for those that may not know the basis of my dislike for the Blue Devils. Whether you're familiar with the story or not, after the picture, flashback about ten years ago...*insert wavy fade out/in with dream sequence music*

Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, and William Avery—all stud underclassmen at Durham—decided to break free from Coach K's regime and head for the pros. Like most college coaches, Krzyzewski is the type has to give his younger players that proverbial blessing to leave; much like how USC's Pete Carroll chastised Mark Sanchez for leaving early. With those kind of coaches, there may be some concern for their player, and they may believe that said player isn't ready for the rigors of the professional level. But also, because coaches have abnormally large egos, they try to hold onto young phenoms so they can preserver their winning product for a few more years keep the bevy of talent rolling along smoothly. Even though Coach K didn't openly campaign against it, his recruiting trends since then have led to circumstantial evidence that supports my claim.

If you run down all the best players since then, you come up with Redick, Jay Williams/Dunleavy/Boozer, and now Kyle Singler. But let's focus on the Redick era. He played alongside DeMarcus Nelson. Nelson is the state of California's all-time high school leader in scoring. Yet, he was reduced to being mainly a defensive stopper while Redick was blessed with an enormous green light. I refuse to believe that someone whose reputation was that of a scorer can't score in the NCAA without some outside hinderance. For example, Tyrese Rice broke all of Redick's Virginia high school records, and he was able to produce at BC without much of a supporting cast. So based on this, I believe Coach K intentionally limits the role of some players (read: the Black ones) in hopes of keeping them around longer. That's why it took so long for Gerald Henderson to break out; and why Carlos Boozer is the best of that above triumverate (with the tragedy of Williams' motorcycle injury playing a role), despite being a second-round pick.

(End brief rant about Coach K. Save that for later.)

But let's get back to Boozer, Redick, Dahntay Jones, and the safest Black man in America, Shane Battier. It seems to me that the further an NBA player gets from Duke, the more admirable he becomes by someone not named Dick Vitale. Battier gets praise for being the ultimate winner, Jones is a pretty good defender, Redick has become serviceable as a shooter, and Boozer is a consistent 20 and 10 power forward. Anti-Duke fans seem to give former Blue Devils that succeed in the Association true respect. I know I do given the circumstances a lot of them have to overcome while playing for Coach K. Duhon is decent in the SSOL system, even though it looks like Mike D will have a new maestro to play with for a few years. Now, will someone please give DeMarcus Nelson some NBA minutes?


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