Home > Sports > Getting ready for UNC-Dook part deux

Getting ready for UNC-Dook part deux

It’s #1 UNC driving eight miles over to Durham tomorrow to take on #5 Dook! Man, life doesn’t get better than that. My prediction? Duke by 2. I just feel like they have the upper hand again, especially at a crazed Cameron Indoor Stadium and with the Heels’ point guard Ty Lawson still a bit gimpy.

The one thing that I’m happiest about is that the hate is back in the rivalry. After Henderson’s elbow last year, things have pretty much kicked up a notch. I don’t think we’re back to the Montross-Laettner days, but there has been blood shed in the past year.

Of course, for many UNC and Dook fans, the hate never leaves our hearts. It waxes and wanes, but it never leaves. During the Elton Brand years, I couldn’t hate those guys. When Battier was there, it all came back for some reason. Never really had too much ill will for the current crop of Dookies, but last year’s flagrant foul changed that.

But, if you ever want to know what it’s like when I get really pissed off at Dook (and really, we’re talking about the combination of their fans, their coach, the nauseatingly positive media ccoverage…), read this email. Sent April 2, 2001 to a bunch of fellow UNC fans, it pretty much shatters the “bitter, sarcastic” scale. I’m not really proud of what I wrote here. Nor would I take it back. Dook did win that national championship, but somehow this made me feel good.
Enjoy the screed.

OK, I give up.After watching each Duke basketball game this tournament and cheering against my hated rival with no success, I give up. It’s just time for me to recognize what most media hacks across the nation have told me so incessantly… day in, day out… for the last five years. Duke basketball is a freakin’ paragon of greatness unparalleled in sports, nay, unparalleled in the annals of human accomplishment. In fact, Duke basketball only follows the invention of the wheel, the polio vaccine and nuclear energy as the greatest achievements of Man. For real.

And you know, I give up on my argument that Coach K isn’t the best coach in basketball, for he truly is a genius whose shining light burns brighter than all lesser coaches, including pitiful schleps like Smith, Rupp and Wooden. I mean, all the esteemed Mr. Wooden did was win 10 NCAAs and produce great players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. Wuss! Coach K has won two tourneys, maybe three after tonight. But K really cares about his players. And they’re good kids. Advantage, K.

And I’ll stop bringing up the fact that K’s best players usually spend their post-graduate years relegated to the end of the bench for the Grizzlies or Mavericks. Or that in a 1992 game, Dick Vitale called Cherokee Parks, “the next Bill Walton,” when in fact he became a poor man’s Greg Kite. Or that Christian Laettner once stomped on a Kentucky’s player’s chest or pushed an oh-so-threatening Kevin Salvadori to the floor at the Smith Center one year (I have the tape).

Laettner was a model citizen, regardless of what he ever did on the court or said in the papers. If I could just figure out which NBA team he plays for, I’d send mad props his way on a weekly basis.

Anyway, that’s history. We’re talking about the present. The here and now…a time when Duke basketball is a greater achievement than the space program or the industrial age.

I mean, just get a load of that coaching tree. While tired UNC-bred coaches are leading the NBA in victories (or getting the most lucrative contract in pro sports history), K’s charges are now at Michigan and Missouri. Woo hoo! Forget that Amaker lost control of his Seton Hall team so mightily that a mid-season locker room brawl erupted. Or that he basically left town Mack Brown-style, only a few days after saying he would stay. He really cares about his players. And they’re good kids. He’s still the best young coach in America. Just ask Dick Vitale.

Then there’s Shane Battier, the greatest player to ever grace the earth. He is surely a god among men. No, wait, that’s not enough. Today, I’m starting a new religion with Mr. Battier as my deity, for no mortal could generate this much positive publicity otherwise. This religion, called “Neo-Orthodox Shaneism,” will be open to all believers, each of whom will have to rub a wrinkled head and chant his name. Alterboys will not kneel, but flop in the presence of the prophet.

And I’m not sure what heaven is, but it must look like the hallowed halls of Cameron, which I always thought looked like a library that mistakenly contains a basketball floor. Silly me. Cameron should be a national shrine, with all citizens making a yearly pilgrimage to pay homage to this edifice of excellence. And the Cameron Crazies will be sanctified, whether mocking a player’s physical appearance or throwing panties at a kid accused (not convicted) of sexual assault. Surely, such high comedy is divine.

And if I have a child that comes up to me someday and says, “I’d like to go to Duke,” I’ll refrain from pointing out that you’re paying 10 times as much for essentially the same degree. And I won’t say that diversity in Durham means a rich kid who’s from Michigan not Jersey. I will gleefully mortgage my future — and his — to pay for that education. State-supported means low-class, and you know it. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

So, onward Duke towards the national championship… as the prophet Vitale predicted, over and over again. Yea and verily, I submit to your unyielding, unbending record of excellence (except for the mid 90s… and early 80s). Because Coach K really cares about his players. And they’re good kids.

Ah, screw it. It didn’t take. Duck fook! Laettner sucks, but Hurley swallows. Man, I feel better.

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