I tend to enjoy a little break over the summer time, completely ignoring Big Duke Balls. Instead I focus on family, vacations, my last place fantasy baseball team and I begin to prepar for my upcoming football draft. This is my life and yes, it’s a good one. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t pay attention. Let’s take a quick look at what we’ve missed since we’ve last posted.
Interesting fact about the Olympic team I didn’t know #1: Dean Smith (yep, Carolina’s Dean Smith) recommended Coach K for the head coaching job to Jerry Colangelo.
Interesting fact about the Olympic team I didn’t know #2: If the United States wins the Gold Medal, Coach K (and his staff) don’t get a medal. I never knew.
Interesting fact about the Olympic team I didn’t know #3: During the first day of practice, Coach K played Marvin Gay singing the National anthem and there were actually a handful of players who were hearing it for the first time.
– I don’t really watch too much NBA. Although the basketball is clearly better, the simple two-man game that is run throughout the league bores me. Also, the excitement is missing when I watch a game. The crowds typically just sit on their hands until about five minutes to go in the game. Having said all that, I do tend to keep an eye on former Duke players. So far, this off-season has been a busy one. Duhon is headed to New York where he’ll have a legit shot to start. I have no idea if he is the answer for the Knicks, but that team has really needed a true point guard for a long, long time.
Elton Brand heads to Philly and just like that, the 76ers are a contender. No, not really for the NBA title, but in the East, it doesn’t take much to be a contender. I can see Philadelphia as the 4th seed next year. For Brand, it’s a good move. He’s made it to the playoffs only once in his eight-year career. If he wants to be more than just a great player on bad teams, this is his shot.
Corey Maggette becomes the second Blue Devil to jump the Clippers ship. He’s headed to Golden State. While the Warriors have been better than the Clippers the past few years, you have to wonder, will that stay true now that Baron Davis is in LA now?
– The bad recruiting news: Leslie McDonald decided to go to UNC in 2009. It wasn’t surprising that McDonald wouldn’t come to Duke. With Nolan Smith and Elliot Williams the future of the Duke back court, there was little room for McDonald. I just would have liked to see him go somewhere else…far, far away.
So far, I can’t look at the 2009 recruiting class and be happy about it. So far, we landed a second Plumlee. He’s a solid player, but he’s not enough. It’s one thing to lose Murphy to Florida or a Reeves Nelson to UCLA, but I was shocked when Echenique passed on Duke for Rutgers. It’s not like a McDonald situation where playing time, or lack-of playing time would be an issue. With his big body and big game, Echenique would have started the moment he walked on campus. Duke’s inability to land big men like Echenique and Patrick Patterson (last year) is the ONLY reason why the Blue Devils are playing second fiddle to the Tar Heels right now.
– Speaking of those pesky Tar Heels. Three tried to go pro, but all three failed. Losers! As a Blue Devil fan, I was really, really pulling for them to go high in the draft. With all three players returning, Carolina is again the big dog in ACC country and clearly they will be ranked #1 in the country. Does Duke have a shot at de-throning them? Maybe, but don’t place any big bets on it.
– As a New Yorker, I don’t get to see too many Blue Devil games in person anymore. However, this year the Blue Devils could potentially play in the NYC area four times. Twice in the ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ tournament, once against St. Johns and then across the river in Jersey against Xavier. My wife is going to be real happy.