What makes Duke basketball so special to me is that there has never been a time that any player has walked on a court in a Duke uniform that was undeserving to wear that uniform, both from their ability on the court as well as in the classroom. To me , that is the foundation that makes Duke basketball one of the most respected institutions that exists anywhere. And, that is the type of values that the fab 5 and those who propelled them could care less about. It also means alot to me that the end of the road for this gambling experiment was found on tobacco road, Duke and N.C are the 2 teams that exposed this bunch for what they really were......alot of hype and not champions.
While I obviously don't agree with what he said, I think Jalen (spelling? don't feel like looking it up) Rose summerized what King was trying to say much better in the fab 5 documentary. He was talking about how the black players who were popular in the eyes of the media, which Grant Hill was the only example, were from more well to do families and not from neighborhoods/backrounds like his. He said that Hills father was a pro athelete, his parents went to college and mom roomed with Hillary Clinton, and he felt that Hills pedigree vs. his own was a deciding factor in why a school like Duke did not recruit him (at least thats what I inferred, maybe I got that totally wrong).
Basically, the insinuation is that in the eyes of the media, Duke recruits black players from families that are upper-middle class, and not from low income households. While this statement is rediculous, I can understand why so many people come to this false conclusion. When looking at some of Dukes notable black commits in the last few years (Rivers, Irving, Curry, Smith, Henderson, to name a few), many come from families with professional (or college) BBall backgrounds, therefore went to college, and fall into at least the middle class demographic.
Looking in Dukes recruiting using that sort of tunnel vision, its easy or an uninformed college BBall fan to support Kings argument, as so many do. However, the critical flaws in this argument is 1) they don't look at the rest of Dukes recruits which did not fall into this category 2) they don't aknowledge that other schools recruited the same players which committed to Duke, but somehow avoid the criticism that Duke gets (UNC comes to mind) and 3) maybe (just maybe) Coach K is actually a great coach, and parents of recruits with basketball backgrounds want their kids to go to Duke.
Ease up on Jimmy. He is describing the way he felt and feels. At the time Duke was a predominantly white team, lead by two of the palest individuals to ever play the game. The featured black player was the son of two Ivy League graduates. Duke through the 80s featured players like Danny Ferry, Mark Alarie, Jay Bilas, Quinn Snyder. Duke was celebrated for knocking off undefeated UNLV who preceded the Fab Five as the "street" team, and who the Fab Five rooted for when they were in high school. In the show, Jalen admitted that much of his feeling about Duke and Grant Hill was Grant having a famous pro athlete father that was involved in his life, whereas Jalen's Dad, NBA #1 pick Jimmy Walker, completely abandoned Jalen and his mother.
Black players that went to Duke later don't really pertain to the issue except to the extent he may still feel that way. Jimmy admitted the nature of his feelings when he conceded that he would have considered "his brother" Webber a sell-out if he had chosen Duke.
Jimmy was a good kid and seems to have matured into a pretty good guy. Jalen is the one who amazes me, he really was a punk with a chip on his shoulder, and yet he has matured nicely. Webber continues to be the one who refuses to believe the rules should apply to him. He had so much potential as a person, can you imagine how different he would have turned out with a couple of years under Coach K?
Don't forget, grades also play a big role as to why they are not recruited. IIRC, Jalen pointed out that the reason the 2 white guys were on their team is to keep the gpa's up. He may have been joking, but still some truth.
If you watch the UNLV documentary on HBO (also excellent!) I think you might gain some perspective on Jalen's perspective as an 18-year-old. After all, we played UNLV and the Fab 5 in the Final 4 in consecutive years.
While I still abhor the language Jalen used and the aspersions it casts on Duke's black players, watching the Vegas documentary reminded me how absolutely offensive the characterizations of the 2 Final 4 meetings between Duke and UNLV were. Even as a huge Duke fan, as a young black teenager I couldn't help but to be absolutely turned off by the media's characterization of every player on UNLV as a thug and every player on Duke as an angel.
Tark's program certainly didn't always pass the smell test, but often that was a reflection on him, rather than his players. As history as proven, Laettner had his "thuggish" moments (much as I love him, the foot stomp vs UK was unacceptable) and Greg Anthony, Stacy Augmon, and Larry Johnson (gold tooth and all!) proved to be nothing other than spectacular college players and pretty good pros. IMHO Anthony is one of the best analysts on TV today. He is and was certainly far more articulate than Anderson Hunt was, yet I seem to recall that Hunt was given the nationally televised interview after their loss to us in '91.
In the way that Rose and King characterized it, Webber was a Duke-type guy - which is consistent with how Albom described him. He was heavily recruited by Duke (there was a lot of speculation that Duke was going to get Parks, Alan Henderson and Webber, which would have been a class as spectacular as the Fab Five). I will say that Webber was perhaps the most talented player I've seen during the last thirty years. He put up 51 pts and 26 rebounds one night in the NBA and had so many eye-popping stat lines. Like other posters, I wonder what his career would have been like had he come to Duke. First, imagine the 92 team with Webber, Laettner, Hurley and Hill. Imagine the 93 team with Parks, Webber, Hill and Hurley. I also can't help but think his NBA career would might have been different, although he did face a lot of injuries.
Singler is IRON
I STILL GOT IT! -- Ryan Kelly, March 2, 2013
Duke was expected to beat the Fab Five. They were a mature championship team playing against all freshmen. What made the Fab Five unique is that they were 18 and 19 year old kids playing against the Blue Devils in the final game of the basketball season.
The hate that Wolverines team had for the Blue Devils at that time was the same intensity they had for both Ohio St and Michigan St. There dislike for Duke had an added dimension. Those guys were everything that Duke were not except when it came to playing the game of basketball well. Unfortunately, too may out there paid more attention to the off the court stuff without giving the Fab Five credit for what they were doing once the whistle blew. I think that the emphasis on the dilsike for the Blue Devils were to show how they came around to respect Duke's program. The one thing I got from watching the show last night was how an eighteen year inner city kids viewed the world twenty years ago and how America viewed them.
Interesting interview with Rose, King and Jackson on ESPN 1st antd 10
Wanted to correct the subject because of grammatical error, but I can't once submitted.
Last edited by MulletMan; 03-14-2011 at 09:38 PM.
I remember feeling terrible for Chris Webber after that championship game. That was highlighted again last night, but there is no doubt we should never recruit guys like that. By that I just mean guys who don't realize that it is a school, not just a launching pad to the NBA. We get guys there, but we expect them to grow as individuals on top of playing well. Jalen seems to have matured, but I don't think that happened until he got into the league and started seeing that on that level, he wasn't the big man on campus anymore.
I was most interested in the amount of hate mail from Michigan "fans". Hard not to have a chip on your shoulder when stuff like that is originating from your own side.
Are folks aware that Rose produced the documentary? Imagine how differently it might have portrayed the whole thing if it hadn't been produced by one of the players on the team.
K appeared in the HBO documentary on UNLV and had very favorable comments on how the 1990 beat down of Duke refected favorably on the Runnin Rebels being a great team - if he had wanted to go off on a rant about Tark being the captain of a crew of pirates at Vegas for 30 years I bet HBO would not have edited the comments out of what appeared on screen Saturday night
So much more went on than admitted to, but the effort was enlightening.
I found the interview with Mitch Albom amusing - Webber hit Mitch, an investigative reporter, up for money. How accustomed must Webber have been to asking for, and receiving, money to ask for money from a reporter?
I started following college basketball about the time of the Fab Five (at about 10 years old) and have always been interested in that team. One thing to remember is that these were 18 year old kids who became instant celebrities. By every indication, Steve Fisher was useless, and these kids were left to essentially do what they wanted.
Jalen grew up in very very tough circumstances. Every day life for him included the hardships of the street. You can't expect him to come to college basketball and all of a sudden he is a completely refined personality. Its not how he grew up and that isn't his survival instinct.
My Quick Smells Like French Toast.