Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.
You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner
You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke
We can speculate till the cows come home what the different comments made by various players after the loss to Lehigh actually mean. Does it serve any purpose? I really can't see what that would be, except to satisfy our curiosity.
I also don't see how the loss of Rivers will let us fathom what did or didn't happen this year no matter how well or how poorly the team plays next year. The team dynamics will be completely different.
Maybe I am cynical or not that understanding, but I have very limited feelings about players like Deng, Magette, Rivers, and Irving. I might give Irving a pass because of his injury but the others very little feeling .
When you watch Deng or Magette do you get that same warm feeling you do when you see or saw Grant Hill, Shane Battier, Nolan Smith, Christian Laetnner, Gerald Henderson play ?
Maybe I am in the minority but I have no proud feeling of being a Duke fan when I see Deng or Magette play and I will have the same non feeling when I see Rivers play in the NBA.
OK he made that great clutch shot at UNC but bailed out after one year when in my opinion he will be a bench player or get very few minutes of play next year, unlike Irving who is a star immediately. His family certainly doesn't need the money.
Sorry, I will not be rooting for Austin Rivers and in a few years or maybe even sooner , like Deng and Magette, I will probably forget that he even played for Duke.
Shabazz, who I understand is a really good kid , will not propel Duke into a championship team, especially if Mason leaves and will be a one and done player, in my opinion.
Next year at this time, many posters will be thanking him for a great season and wishing him well in the NBA.
In my opinion, Mason staying is more important than Rivers, who is bailing out after 1 year and will be a bench player for a year or two in the NBA.
If Mason stays and I surely hope he does, Duke could be a very decent team...in my opinion not a championship one but very decent.
If he leaves, my big question is who is going to rebound ? Are you telling me that Marshall and Kelley are going to be our rebounders....wow that should be interesting.
If Mason stays or leaves, Coach K and staff should do everything in their power to get Oriaki, ( spelling ?) He is a much better fit that Shabazz, Parker, Jefferson etc.
As a matter of fact, if Oriaki would come and Mason would stay, then we might have something special.
Maybe we'll just have to settle for a 3-4 year forward with less attitude problems though. Or maybe we'll just be stuck with a dynamic all-around player who is ranked #1 in the 2012 class. It's not ideal, I know, but hopefully we can find some way to then overcome our inability to bring in a bad apple with one year of eligibility remaining who averaged 4.8 rebounds per game this year.
Ultimately, though, basketball players are going to make their own choices for their own reasons. And given the way the current NBA rules work, the coaches have limited choices--recruit the best players they can, knowing that some will probably choose to leave early, or pass on potential lottery picks and stick to good, but not great players (some of whom might surprise and leave early anyway, whether or not they "should"). While I'm sure both players and coaches would like it if school fan bases continued to support and feel connection to the players when they go to the next level, it can't really be a top consideration for either group.
"It was a difficult decision to leave Duke..."
It was just as difficult for me to return Sofia Vergara's call last Saturday, and even more difficult to lie to my wife and tell her I was going bowling with the guys. I just hate myself.
Take Nolan Smith as an example. He went from a scrawny little freshman to being a superstar. That was seriously fun to watch. And how about watching Scheyer's growth? That was so much fun. I also enjoy the intrigue of a player like Andre. What do we need to do to get Andre back on track? I watched some clips from the last NCAA championship and saw Andre doing things he sure wasn't doing this year. What changed? To me it was probably the lack of leadership and confidence on this year's team. In hindsight I am continually reminded about how much difference a Scheyer or a Battier truly makes to a basketball team. And by them staying for the duration we get to see those leadership skills develop and guide a team.
On a different note, I disagree that the team got jealous of Austin and quit playing. I recall Andre's reaction numerous times when Austin had a big play -- the tv cameras seem to love Andre. It was always huge and happy. He was the first one to get to him after Austin hit the 3 at UNC. I can't imagine the rest of the guys being any less happy.
Now that I think about it though I do wonder how the media affects the dynamic of a team. It was weird that we had to look at Doc Rivers' reaction every time he was at a game and Austin scored. That must have gotten old for the rest of the team's families, especially the ones who can't afford to fly their private jet to every game.
Deng is from one of the poorest, most difficult places on the planet. He had an opportunity to go to the NBA and lock in guaranteed millions that could buy him not just a bunch of cars but have an impact on a network of projects and people. He had a choice, but I don't begrudge him the choice. Sure, if he'd stayed even 3 years, he'd have a jersey flapping in the Cameron breeze, and being the best player alongside Redick, Williams, and Nelson, we'd have been the favorite to win the NC every year. Hard to argue wit hthe decision--though you're right, I didn't get to watch him enough to go out of my way to to turn on a Bulls game...
I have somewhat different feelings about Irving and Rivers. Kyrie is so likable and so good and so adept at making his teammates better, that I both regret not seeing him play and wish him well at whatever he does. Rivers, meanwhile, never seemed to make his teammates better, played with a surly attitude and never appeared to really unpack his bags at Duke; I'll wish him well and realize I have no idea who he is as a person and will be perfectly happy to watch whoever is suited up next year in a Duke uniform.
Can we put two and two together for a second? A commitment to Duke is no one year thing. Coach K builds relationships with the huge majority of his players before they ever even get on campus and continues to monitor them when he can.
Even Coach K understands that even if a player stays for 4 years, it's still but a pit stop in the grand scheme of life. He also understands that if a kid is good enough that he should be able to go straight to the NBA. If a kid wants to leave then Coach K discusses it with him as a BUSINESS DECISION (cause ya know - they did name a center in the business school after him). Everyone has their reasons for leaving. Duke may not be striving to be an NBA factory but he definitely wants his kids to be successful.
I pray that most feel the same as K.
MT: Leaving Duke early when it wasn’t a normal occurrence. What went into making that decision?
Elton Brand: It was a tough decision. Coach K was right there along with my decision. He knew my background financially and things like that. During the season he said “Hey, we’re gonna do this thing right.” He told me I was gonna be on the cover of magazines and player of the year…which I was. The same with the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award and all that. He said I was going to be a top three pick. He said it’s OK, I understand your situation.
College is pure. I left a lot of fun there. It was more a business decision. Now my son or daughter (not yet) won’t have to make the same decisions I made.
But if Duke as an institution is in the business of doing what is best for these kids, as we're supposed to be, then you are absolutely right. When a player accepts a scholarship to Duke there are certain obligations that come with it - going to class, going to practice, representing the university appropriately - but fulfilling fan expectations is not on the list. AR, Deng, whoever - they've got to do what's best for them. So long as they are good students, good teammates, good representatives of the university for however long they're here, I'm at peace with it.