Will the 2020-21 Duke basketball team enjoy a distinct homecourt advantage?
During his recent chat with fellow ACC Network analyst Dalen Cuff, 2001 Duke basketball national champ Carlos Boozer sounded somewhat somber about the upcoming Cameron Indoor Stadium environment, which doesn’t figure to be the slightest bit deafening this season as a result of no fans being in the stands:
“It was one of the reasons why I wanted to come to Duke…The fans are extremely supportive. And they really do jump on the opposing team.”
Yet Boozer, a 2001-02 All-ACC selection who went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA and earn two All-Star nods, still tried to come across as fairly optimistic in regards to the atmosphere for Duke basketball home games this season. He explained what he has heard from his former head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, about the challenge at hand for the program:
“[Coach K] talked about the people at Duke being able to do something similar to what the NBA did in the bubble and have noises and different sounds and different chants…It’ll be interesting to see how they’re able to adjust without having real bodies in the seats.”
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As the No. 9 Blue Devils prepare to host Gardner-Webb in their season opener on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (ACCN), fans were able to catch a glimpse into the new look and feel inside Cameron Indoor Stadium by watching the following highlights of the Blue Devils’ final intrasquad scrimmage on Friday night:
A less cheery take on Duke basketball without Cameron Crazies
Reacting to Boozer’s relatively upbeat comments about the aura for contests this season in Durham, Cuff countered with what might prove to be a far more realistic forecast concerning the impact of a Crazies-less Cameron Indoor Stadium:
“You can pump whatever sound you want in there, but when those kids are waving their hands and are almost touching you, that’s real…That’s a massive advantage when you’re playing an opposing team that can’t hear their play calls.”
Cuff continued to focus on what all the Blue Devils may stand to lose, particularly on the defensive end of the court, from no longer having the incessantly raucous Cameron Crazies by their side at home:
“They’re not some of the transcendent stars and dominant players we’ve seen in recent years…So they’re going to have to rely more on team defense. Again, their defense was always helped by playing at home. So everybody in the league is not going to be scared to come into Cameron…I think that’ll be a massive story.”
With the first seven outings on the Blue Devils’ schedule set to take place at home, including matchups with two AP Top 25 opponents in Michigan State and Illinois, it should not take too long at all for the players, fans, and media alike to grow accustomed to a significantly quieter Cameron Indoor Stadium this go-round.
Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more news and views regarding the 2020-21 season and all things Duke basketball.