I remember the old days when there basically was no recruiting information available to the teeming masses (me) and I'd wait anxiously for Street & Smith to come out because it would give some indication of who the high school studs were and where they might end up."
Let me go back even further. I remember the old days when we fans waited to see the freshmen teams play before thinking about evaluating potential talent. Occasionally the rare Lew Alcindor or Tom McMillen would garner front-page attention in high school but it was quite rare. Even David Thompson, the last of the great freshman-team-stars-was largely under the radar.
Showing my age.
I can remember back when the only word you would get, on a national level, concerning a high school player, might be in the very back ofSports Illustrated with a one column inch write-up. God, I'm old.
Maybe Jim Sumner or Olympic Fan could pipe in with the facts.
United States Navy (Retired)
The Denton-DeVenzio class was the highest-ranked class Bubas brought in but they did lose some freshmen games.
In 1968 the Duke freshmen games were broadcast on the campus radio station. Duke beat the Carolina frosh at home on a mid-court buzzer beater by DeVenzio. Freddie Roberts, calling the game, absolutely lost it. I can't repeat on a family site but there were lots of asterisks. The next season, the games were not on the radio.
1969 was Denton's et. al's sophomore season, my freshman season, and Bubas' last season. I'm reasonably certain there is no connection between my showing up at Duke and Bubas leaving but the possibility has given me some anxiety over the years.
The sophs joined a deep group of seniors--Lind, Vandenberg, Golden, Claiborne, Chapman--and a non-descript junior class. Vandy and/or Golden were the presumed heir(s) to the star rung vacated when Mike Lewis graduated in 1968. Expectations were high and got higher when Duke started 3-0 and jumped to 9th in the AP poll.
The the wheels fell off. Rudy Tomjanovich and Michigan came to Durham and left with a 90-80 win. Duke lost four straight for the only time in Bubas' career and spent the rest of the season in the unaccustomed neighborhood of .500. The sophs and the seniors-to put it politely-did not mesh well. Think entitlement. Vandy and Golden slumped badly. Bubas pulled it together for a memorable stretch run but ended 15-13, the worst season of his tenure by far.
Denton thrived under Bucky. DeVenzio did not. Dick averaged 12.2 ppg as a sophomore, including a memorable 28-point game in an overtime loss to top-10 Davidson. But Waters wanted his PG to think pass first, second, and third. DV was a great open court player but BW reigned him in for a more half-court approach. DeVenzio's scoring dropped in half and he was visibly unhappy?
Why did he stick around? Simple. He was a three-time Academic A-A and he loved everything else about Duke. DeVenzio, incidentially, was a consensus top-10 recruit in high school and tried to get his h.s. teammate Dennis Wuycik to follow him to Duke. Wuycik was thinking a lighter shade of blue. John Wooden tried real hard to get DV to come west and he only did that with special prospects.
Evans? Quit basketball after his junior season to play football. Probably should have made that decision sooner. He was a good h.s. basketball player but an off-the-charts football prospect. But he loved hoops.
Katherman? A truly great shooter. But rebounding, defense, ball-handling? Why bother, that's so much work. Litz had the best view in the house. There was another member of the class, Larry Saunders, a 6'9" forward who transferred from Northwestern. The only transfer Bubas ever took and a pretty good player.
The Class of '71 was the cornerstone to a pair of NIT teams back when the NIT meant something. Ironically, when they were seniors they were joined by a sophomore class that had gone undefeated as freshmen; Richie O'Connor, Gary Melchionni, Alan Shaw, Jeff Dawson. Final Four written all over it. But. Too many guys competing for too few minutes. Lots of bruised egos and Bucky didn't do hand-holding. In other words, they didn't mesh.
Still, 20-10 and fourth in the NIT was the high-water mark for Duke basketball for a decade and it sure looked good a few years later. After these guys left, it was deluge time until Foster righted the ship.
Actually, the Goobers across I-40 won the NIT in '71 and I'm pretty sure there is a banner.
Want to impress your friends? The only time Duke and UNC have ever played in basketball after the ACC Tourny was in the '71 NIT. Light Blue beat Dark Blue 73-67.
Also, Bucky had a couple of notable assistants in 1969, Hubie Brown and Chuck Daly. I've told the haircut story about Hubie and i before here - won't bore anyone with that again.
"What am i doing in a state of consciousness where THIS is real?"
Back at you with trivia,Jim, and anybody else interested. What quite notable player dispatched Duke in the '71 NIT? I can recall Larry Saunders describing him afterwards as "an absolute tower of strength." Also, he had a teammate who in 1979 won one of the most prestigious awards in sports. In addition, on the freshman squad of that program that year was a player who would become one of the best known coaches in basketball. Name all three and I'll genuflect before the screen. Two and receive a hearty "bravo." The first should be snap.
"What quite notable player dispatched Duke in the '71 NIT? I can recall Larry Saunders describing him afterwards as "an absolute tower of strength." Also, he had a teammate who in 1979 won one of the most prestigious awards in sports. In addition, on the freshman squad of that program that year was a player who would become one of the best known coaches in basketball."
Assuming you're referring to UNC in '71 not Utah in '70. Assuming you're not referring to the consolation loss to St. Bonaventure.
Wuycik tore up his knee early in the NIT and Bill Chamberlain was MOP. Dave Chadwick came off the bench and played well and Lee Dedmon always vexed Randy. I'll guess Chadwick.
1979? Who does "he" refer to? The mystery tower of strength or Saunders?
Future coach? Well, Roy Williams wasn't a freshman in '71 and I don't think he played freshman ball anyway. Karl was a sophomore. Bobby Jones was a freshman in '71, as was Ray Hite. Beats Me.
UNC defeated Massachusetts in the '71 NIT. You don't mean Julius Erving, Mike Flanagan, and Al Skinner do you?
Anyway, a bravo for Erving and Flanagan. The guy who was on the freshman team is a much better known coach than Skinner.
1999 was actually one of my very favorite years of Duke basketball. Yeah, we lost the title game to the #2 team in the country, who had been ranked #1 earlier in the season at times. It happens. I'm not going to let a single game, even one for a championship, ruin a great season.