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JNort
04-20-2015, 08:36 AM
Interesting topic on a sports radio show in Charlotte the other day. With Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant making his first start the question was asked who were you most eager to see make their debut? I called in and gave my answer but I am much younger than most fans plus I stuck with my favorite sport (Duke basketball) and said Kyrie Irving. My reasoning was because we hadn't had a true elite point guard in almost 10 years plus that class was shaping up to be the worst in my memory with only Thornton and Hairston committing. His high school videos were the best I've seen from a pg in a while, he could shoot, he was fast, quick, athletic, smart, had crazy handles plus could pass very well.

Other people called in and said people like Reggie Bush in NFL, Mike Vick in NFL, Tiger Woods in PGA.

So who were your most anticipated Dukies coming in? What about other sports?

CDu
04-20-2015, 08:43 AM
These things are almost always going to be skewed more towards the current time (especially on the college sports level, because high school sports coverage really didn't take off until much more recently).

Most anticipated Dukies coming in for me were:
- Irving (frowny face for how that turned out)
- Okafor
- Parker
- Rivers
- Deng (would have been higher had he been a frosh in the 2010s instead of the mid-2000s; it wasn't until after LeBron that high school coverage really skyrocketed)

Most anticipated non-Dukies for me included (note: I am a Chicago lean, so this is a Chicago list):
- Michael Jordan's return from baseball
- Derrick Rose's return
- Mark Prior (another frowny face)
- Kris Bryant
- Toni Kukoc
- Kerry Wood (sigh... a lot of frowny faces)

Mike Corey
04-20-2015, 08:51 AM
Fun thread.

I'll go with Shane Battier. Three-time state champion at mighty Detroit Country Day.

https://usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/shane-battier-high-school-yearbook1.jpg

http://jrc-miprepzone.smugmug.com/OP-Boys-50-in-50-photo-gallery/i-2b7BMg9/1/L/Shane%20Battier%20-%20Country%20Day%20(1997)-L.jpg

COYS
04-20-2015, 09:14 AM
Jason Heyward with the Braves in 2010. Hands down. It only made it more exciting that he crushed a homer in his first at bat.

brevity
04-20-2015, 09:18 AM
http://jrc-miprepzone.smugmug.com/OP-Boys-50-in-50-photo-gallery/i-2b7BMg9/1/L/Shane%20Battier%20-%20Country%20Day%20(1997)-L.jpg

Wow, Shane kept a spare headband on his knee. Even in high school, he was smart and resourceful.

I remain mostly ignorant of newcomers until they actually start playing, but I am at least aware that certain ones get more advance hype than others. The following would qualify:

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Johnny Manziel, Browns
Damon Bailey, Indiana
John Wall, Wizards

Keep in mind that when hype becomes overhype, it sticks in my memory.

wsb3
04-20-2015, 09:21 AM
Johnny Dawkins was such a huge arrival during a very down time in Duke Basketball. He made a good recruiting class great. Also Gene Banks.

wilson
04-20-2015, 09:29 AM
Jason Heyward with the Braves in 2010. Hands down. It only made it more exciting that he crushed a homer in his first at bat....a mere 8 hours or so before the Blue Devils won championship #4. That was the greatest single day of my sports fan life, and there is very little chance of it ever being topped.

CrazyNotCrazie
04-20-2015, 09:31 AM
Fun thread.

I'll go with Shane Battier. Three-time state champion at mighty Detroit Country Day.

https://usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/shane-battier-high-school-yearbook1.jpg

http://jrc-miprepzone.smugmug.com/OP-Boys-50-in-50-photo-gallery/i-2b7BMg9/1/L/Shane%20Battier%20-%20Country%20Day%20(1997)-L.jpg

Love the Shane pick, but I was at Duke when Shane was being recruited and I think the excitement was more about the class (particularly him, Brand and Burgess, with Avery to a lesser degree) than one particular guy - Battier was on par with Brand and Burgess, if not even slightly below them. We had had some very down recruiting years that had improved a bit the prior year (Carrawell, Chappell and Nate) but had also had a number of big near-misses (Vince Carter, Shaheen Holloway) so the HS class of 97 really marked the return following Coach K's absence in 1995. In more recent years for Duke, I would like to add Shav to the list, as that was a really heated recruiting battle for a local player.

I think some of the most anticipated players in sports come from SI hyping athletes when they are very young, such as LeBron, Felipe Lopez, Sidney Crosby, Lindros, Jennifer Capriati and Tiger.

camion
04-20-2015, 09:31 AM
I'll go with Tinkerbell (http://www.heraldsun.com/sports/x1733189306/One-on-one-with-Duke-s-Tinkerbell).


Nationally I'd go with Lew/Kareem.

roywhite
04-20-2015, 09:33 AM
Johnny Dawkins was such a huge arrival during a very down time in Duke Basketball. He made a good recruiting class great. Also Gene Banks.

Gotta go with Eugene "Tinkerbell" Banks, the West Philadelphia Speedboys star.

His addition to the promising young players Mike Gminski and Jim Spanarkel was eagerly anticipated. Especially for us alums who had gone through the early and mid-1970's valley of Duke Basketball.

Troublemaker
04-20-2015, 09:41 AM
I didn't really follow recruiting in the pre-Internet days. Didn't read the Poop Sheet or any of that.

So, for me, it would have to be Elton Brand. Because he was my first.

We had gone several years being too small and/or not talented enough in the post to win postseason tournaments (although Coach K did perform a near miracle to get Duke to win the '97 regular season.)

Through DBR, I read about Duke signing a great high school class of Burgess, Battier, Brand, Avery that would be our saviors. And it really was in that order to start with, but Brand just kept dominating high school and AAU and kept rising in regard that, by the time they matriculated, Elton was the most anticipated recruit. He was going to be the monster in the post that we were lacking.

And he did not disappoint.

jimsumner
04-20-2015, 09:45 AM
Banks, by a wide margin.

You have to remember the context. Duke was coming off seven mediocre to bad seasons in a row, while Banks and Albert King were considered the top prep players in the country, a smidge ahead of Earvin Johnson.

Banks had picked Duke over North Carolina, Notre Dame, UCLA and local favorite Pennsylvania. He was Duke's first inner-city superstar. The leap of faith Banks took to come from West Philly to a struggling Duke program was astonishing. A transformative recruitment.

Prior to Banks, anyone could buy Duke season tickets and there was a ticket office for single-game purchases. A few weeks after Banks signed, Duke sent out a letter to season-ticket holders informing them that, due to increased demand, season-ticket purchasers would have to join the Iron Dukes. That restriction has remained in force ever since.

Think about that for awhile. That policy didn't change because of Bill Foster or Mike Gminski or Jim Spanarkel. All had been at Duke in 1977, when Duke won 14 games. It was due to one recruit, so eagerly anticipated that Duke had to change its policy for distributing tickets.

gumbomoop
04-20-2015, 09:45 AM
1. Grant Hill -- I guess I saw him on TV but once, McDonald's, it must have been, and he was so much more all-around skilled than the others -- smooth athleticism, glide speed, impressive handle, hops, vision -- that I remember thinking that Duke was finally going to win the NC. In 1992. When Laettner would be a senior, when Brian Davis would be a lock-down defender, when Hurley would be a great PG, THill and McCaffrey perfect role players, Crawford Palmer a monster off the bench, topped off by a soph-ready GHill. In spring 1990, I couldn't wait for 1992, when Duke would finally win it .....

2. Elton Brand -- monster class. Began getting hints that Brand was way better than Burgess, which sounded amazing to me then. I remember Brand being asked whether he worried about getting enough minutes. Elton's response was something like, "Maybe the other guys should be worried about me."

3. Kyrie Irving -- more HS TV by then, so I saw him several times. Blown away, and understood why K seemed to back off Brandon Knight, a wonderful prospect. But Kyrie, geez. I remember a small debate on EK about not annointing Kyrie before his first game. Perfectly understandable in normal circumstances, but I saw Kyrie as an abnormal circumstance.

duke79
04-20-2015, 09:51 AM
Gotta go with Eugene "Tinkerbell" Banks, the West Philadelphia Speedboys star.

His addition to the promising young players Mike Gminski and Jim Spanarkel was eagerly anticipated. Especially for us alums who had gone through the early and mid-1970's valley of Duke Basketball.

Totally agree ! I distinctly remember the excitement on campus when it became known (and those were obviously the days before the internet and 24 hour sports saturation on cable) that Gene Banks was coming to Duke. He was, legitimately, a big-time high school superstar. I'm not sure Duke had ever had such a recruit (at least from 1970 on) ?

AIRFORCEDUKIE
04-20-2015, 09:51 AM
Well no list like this is complete without, The debut of Lebron in Clevland. The hype was unreal and he already had a 90 million dollar shoe contract. Followed by Lebron's debut in Miami, followed finally by Lebron's return to Clevland. I'm only mostly kidding but It was really hyped up all three events.

As far as Duke goes, Kyrie, and Jah for me, I was also really excited about Josh McRoberts and thought he was going to be amazing after watching him in the McDonalds game that year.

Reilly
04-20-2015, 10:17 AM
Love the Shane pick, but I was at Duke when Shane was being recruited and I think the excitement was more about the class (particularly him, Brand and Burgess, with Avery to a lesser degree) than one particular guy - Battier was on par with Brand and Burgess, if not even slightly below them. ...

Agree on it being the class. I went to Army for the first game ever of Avery, Battier, Brand and Burgess. Bunch of kids walking around with "Peekskill H.S." hoops shirts on (Elton's hometown being not far away). Burgess I believe got the first dunk of the vaunted freshman. And of course we all know who was the first to leave early and go pro from the many talented players who were on that 1997-98 team: Jay Heaps.

That game in November 1997 @Army was not only the heralded class's debut, but also marked the return of Johnny D -- his first as an assistant, I believe. Walked past him on the court and he was wearing a Marvin Gaye-esque leather trench coat after the game.

Kedsy
04-20-2015, 10:25 AM
For Duke, I agree with the Gene Banks crowd.

Nationally, can it be anyone other than Sidd Finch?

sagegrouse
04-20-2015, 10:32 AM
For Duke, I agree with the Gene Banks crowd.

Nationally, can it be anyone other than Sidd Finch?

I was gonna go with Bill Bradley, but it is too recent and still painful.

Merlindevildog91
04-20-2015, 10:37 AM
1. Grant Hill -- I guess I saw him on TV but once, McDonald's, it must have been, and he was so much more all-around skilled than the others -- smooth athleticism, glide speed, impressive handle, hops, vision -- that I remember thinking that Duke was finally going to win the NC. In 1992. When Laettner would be a senior, when Brian Davis would be a lock-down defender, when Hurley would be a great PG, THill and McCaffrey perfect role players, Crawford Palmer a monster off the bench, topped off by a soph-ready GHill. In spring 1990, I couldn't wait for 1992, when Duke would finally win it .....



In spring, 1990, I was thinking exactly the same thing. After the UNLV game of 1990, I thought next year we will get some experience and then come on like gangbusters in 1992.

We were half right. :)

OldPhiKap
04-20-2015, 11:14 AM
Art Heyman -- signed with UNC, switched to Duke.
Gene Banks -- for the reasons already stated.
Johnny Dawkins -- first big K signee.
Danny Ferry -- huge recruit (no. 1 after Davide Rivers got hurt IIRC) -- first of the big forwards with an outside shot for us, True coach's son.
Kyrie -- wow. What was and what could have been.

Dukeford
04-20-2015, 11:24 AM
Gene Banks was by far the biggest news ever.

And Coach K's biggest recruiting coup was Danny Ferry. It's less memorable now, but back then it was very big news.

Mike Corey
04-20-2015, 11:27 AM
Love reading this thread. Great info on Banks, in particular.

Nationally, for me, it was Lebron. My enthusiasm was heightened since he was a few hundred miles up the road from where I'd grown up, and because I got to attend two of his high school games, one of which was played in Greensboro (http://www.dukechronicle.com/articles/2003/01/21/james-drops-32-points-dominates-greensboro#.VTUoHCHBzRY) while I was in college. I suspect we all remember this, but his high school team essentially went on a national tour. And we all gobbled it up. The crowd that night drew a record crowd in NC for a high school basketball game.

phaedrus
04-20-2015, 11:36 AM
Shavlik Randolph.

jimsumner
04-20-2015, 11:50 AM
Art Heyman -- signed with UNC, switched to Duke.
Gene Banks -- for the reasons already stated.
Johnny Dawkins -- first big K signee.
Danny Ferry -- huge recruit (no. 1 after Davide Rivers got hurt IIRC) -- first of the big forwards with an outside shot for us, True coach's son.
Kyrie -- wow. What was and what could have been.

David Rivers and Danny Ferry were not in the same class. Rivers was a year ahead of Ferry.

Ferry was the consensus top player in his class. He was the first successful K recruit also recruited by Dean Smith, so it was a huge head-to-head win for the young Duke coach.

And yes, Dean Smith did not recruit Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie or Tommy Amaker.

Dukeford
04-20-2015, 11:56 AM
Vince Taylor was also a very big land.
Not as big as Banks, but not too for behind.
Coming in after the 78 season, the thought was that his addition would make them possibly unbeatable in 79. I guess that was Foster's last big recruit.

UrinalCake
04-20-2015, 11:59 AM
Definitely Okafor for me. After all the years of hearing how Duke could never land a true post player, finally we had a genuine, old-school back-to-the-basket scorer. Then the reports coming in over the summer from the coaching staff were that he was every bit as good as advertised. He was so good that we very quickly took him for granted, and just assumed he'd get a double double on 75% shooting while drawing constant double teams every game. Such a unique player, and I'm glad we had him.

Tommac
04-20-2015, 12:11 PM
I'm with the Gene Banks crowd on this one. I really didn't follow recruiting much back in the 70's but I had heard of "Tinkerbell."

mo.st.dukie
04-20-2015, 12:20 PM
Lebron. People had tabbed him as the next MJ when he was 16, maybe even younger. He was on the cover of SI as a junior which doesn't seem so crazy now but he was kind of the reason for the explosion in national media coverage of high school hoops. He was the reason ESPN started televising regular season high school games. The best high school baller since Alcindor. A true phenom and what was remarkable, his first regular season NBA game was outstanding, he actually lived up to the hype from day 1.

In terms of Duke, Kyrie Irving.

BD80
04-20-2015, 12:48 PM
Duke: Gene Banks. One must consider where the program was at the time.

National: Michelle Wie. She was going to do for women's golf what Tiger did for men's.

NashvilleDevil
04-20-2015, 12:53 PM
I agree with those saying the 97-98 freshmen class. I remember following the recruiting of those kids and wanting that season to start as soon as possible.

Nationally I remember there being a lot of hoopla surrounding Kidd, Iverson, and Marbury. So I'll say those three.

superdave
04-20-2015, 01:02 PM
Felipe Lopez

http://www.si.com/nba/2014/08/15/nba-st-johns-catching-up-with-felipe-lopez

Channing
04-20-2015, 01:14 PM
The obvious ones have been mentioned. For me (serious Duke fandom starting around 2000) it was definitely Kyrie Irving. On the baseball side (Braves fan) Jason Heyward had a ton of hype, but Francoeur was the second coming.

Two that I haven't seen mentioned are Freddy Ado for soccer and Sydney Crosby in hockey. Both those guys came in with incredible hype surrounding them.

weezie
04-20-2015, 01:19 PM
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals


Absolute frenzy ensued over Strasburg. I've always felt they didn't marshall his strengths well enough in his first two years.
He deserves better.

Duke: Jay Williams. People were over the whole moon about what he was bringing into the program.

The moon was only the beginning.

Tripping William
04-20-2015, 01:38 PM
Shawn Bradley. Of course, I'm biased, since he grew up only about 30 miles from me in Utah's Coal Country. My lone basketball claim-to-fame is that I officiated one of his 8th grade basketball games, when he was "only" 6'9".

wsb3
04-20-2015, 02:07 PM
Gene Banks was by far the biggest news ever.

And Coach K's biggest recruiting coup was Danny Ferry. It's less memorable now, but back then it was very big news.

Danny Ferry was huge and if my memory serves me correctly did he not narrow it down to Duke & the evil empire?

Back in the dark ages where we had no 24/7 recruiting news I remember driving home from Raleigh from a state P&R conference when they announced Danny was coming to Duke. I screamed in jubilation for the next fifty miles.

Because he did not play on a NC team while at Duke I don't think he gets the credit for just how great a college basketball player that he truly was. Back to back conference player of the year when the league was loaded with not only talent but experience as well.

I still view Dawkins as Coach K's greatest recruit because of where the program was at. He came and others followed.

Bob Green
04-20-2015, 02:20 PM
I am a member of the Gene Banks camp. His decision to attend Duke was fantastic news.

Wander
04-20-2015, 03:08 PM
Duke answer, sort of: Harrison Barnes. Do you guys remember what it felt like in the offseason of 2009? Of course we were a really good team, but after the Barnes commit and how much hype surrounded him, it felt like UNC had moved ahead of us as a program for the forseeable future. Obviously, things turned out ok.

National answer, sort of: Chip Kelly. I have long thought that most NFL coaches are too boring and conservative, and was just really curious to see how things with Kelly would turn out (and still am).

I guess my "real" answers would be McRoberts and either Redick or Curry.

Olympic Fan
04-20-2015, 03:16 PM
As another old guy, allow me to second Jim Summer's opinion -- it's Gene Banks and no other Duke recruit else was close.

But I would like to point out the difference that freshman basketball made ... until 1973, every recruit played freshman ball for a season before joining the varsity. That changed things. Few people followed recruiting -- they would just wait and see what they looked like on the freshman team. Art Heyman was a huge recruit --thanks to some degree to his flip-flop from UNC to Duke -- but we got to see how good he was as a freshman. David Thompson was just another recruit when he signed at N.C. State (Sonny Vaccarro, who ran the Dapper Dan All-Star Game -- the McDonald's Game of its Day -- didn't even invite him to the game). But after his first 5-6 games for the State, he was so good that Fred Schaus, who coached Jerry West at West Virginia and with the Lakers, called him one of the 10 best players in the world ... at any level. By the team he joined the varsity, Thompson was a superstar (so much so that when he had 29 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Wake Forest in his fifth college game, the Greensboro paper labeled his performance "disappointing").

subzero02
04-20-2015, 03:29 PM
Felipe Lopez wasn't a player that I anticipated highly but he was a player who received a lot of hype and was highly anticipated nationally. He appeared on the cover of sports illustrated before entering college but never lived up to the expectations of the new york media machine.

subzero02
04-20-2015, 03:35 PM
Felipe Lopez

http://www.si.com/nba/2014/08/15/nba-st-johns-catching-up-with-felipe-lopez

I guess you beat me to him... ;-)

luvdahops
04-20-2015, 03:46 PM
As another old guy, allow me to second Jim Summer's opinion -- it's Gene Banks and no other Duke recruit else was close.

But I would like to point out the difference that freshman basketball made ... until 1973, every recruit played freshman ball for a season before joining the varsity. That changed things. Few people followed recruiting -- they would just wait and see what they looked like on the freshman team. Art Heyman was a huge recruit --thanks to some degree to his flip-flop from UNC to Duke -- but we got to see how good he was as a freshman. David Thompson was just another recruit when he signed at N.C. State (Sonny Vaccarro, who ran the Dapper Dan All-Star Game -- the McDonald's Game of its Day -- didn't even invite him to the game). But after his first 5-6 games for the State, he was so good that Fred Schaus, who coached Jerry West at West Virginia and with the Lakers, called him one of the 10 best players in the world ... at any level. By the team he joined the varsity, Thompson was a superstar (so much so that when he had 29 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Wake Forest in his fifth college game, the Greensboro paper labeled his performance "disappointing").

Getting to see Thompson play on TV (versus reading about him in SI and newspapers) might have been the most anticipated for me. Dr J coming to the NBA was similar. The world was just so much different then.

I was 4 years from matriculating to Duke at the time, but from everything I have heard, Jim Sumner is spot on about Gene Banks. Though I would say that Magic's arrival at Michigan State was probably comparable on a local level. Seth Davis's When March Went Mad does a great job on describing this. While Banks and Albert may have had bigger national reps, East Lansing native Magic had frequently played pick-up games against the Spartan players and dominated, so they knew what they were getting. Spurning archival and then national power Michigan (NCAA runner-up in 1976 followed by a 26-4 season) only added fuel to the fire.

NashvilleDevil
04-20-2015, 04:05 PM
I just caught the tailend of the 30 for 30 on Randy Moss. I cannot believe I forgot him.

gumbomoop
04-20-2015, 04:12 PM
I don't necessarily disagree with the many posters who insist that the most anticipated Duke player was Banks. But in the OP post, as opposed to title, the question refers to your most anticipated. So while Tinkerbell almost surely is the consensus pick for posters older than, say, 50, he wouldn't be every poster's personal "most anticipated."

Banks is arguably the "correct" answer to the historical question. There is no incorrect answer to the personal most anticipated, is there?

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
04-20-2015, 04:34 PM
I echo lots of these comments but would like to add Seth Curry. I still remember so clearly hearing that he was coming to Duke. I knew very little about him, but had visions of mini-Stephen... and I was never disappointed.

DukeandMdFan
04-20-2015, 04:37 PM
Gene Banks, Danny Ferry, JJ Reddick, Kyrie Irving, and Kyrie Irving's toe.

Johnny Dawkins is rightly credited with being Duke's most important recruit, but IMO the imporance of Gene Banks choosing Duke is often overlooked.

It is interesting to me that while the '79 NCAA Championship is still the most watched and arguably the most famous Finals, Duke started the season #1 and Indiana State wasn't even ranked until week 4 (at least according to this site http://www.databasesports.com/ncaab/polls.htm?season=1978&week=4

Nationally, I remember reading about LeBron James when he was in the 6th grade and Damon Bailey committing to Indiana in 8th grade. I'm too young :D to remember Lew Alcindor even playing in college.

Lauderdevil
04-20-2015, 05:51 PM
Johnny Dawkins is rightly credited with being Duke's most important recruit, but IMO the imporance of Gene Banks choosing Duke is often overlooked.


If you want to make a case for Gene Banks as the most important recruit in Duke history (in addition to most anticipated), here it is. When he arrived, Duke had just finished last in the ACC for four straight years. Added to a solid core inherited from those teams, Banks vaulted the team all the way to the national championship game in his freshman year, and a number one ranking for parts of his sophomore and junior years.

That alone was awesome. But more important was that in doing so, he also helped catapult Bill Foster, then Duke's coach, into the top tier of college coaches. That led to Foster getting a number of offers to coach at other schools, and in 1980 he accepted the South Carolina job -- because he thought South Carolina was more serious about building a long-term program than Duke was. (!)

That left an opening at head coach, which Athletic Director Tom Butters filled with the unknown Mike Krzyzewski.

You can make the case that if Gene Banks hadn't come to Duke, Bill Foster would never have built the record to generate an offer from a school more attractive than Duke. He'd have remained at Duke at least for another couple of seasons. K would have moved on to a power-conference program (he had an offer from Iowa State when he accepted the Duke job) and begun building there. And Duke might well have ended up with a series of middling coaches like we had in football for all the years before Coach Cut -- much like Wake Forest and NC State have had in basketball. There's no chance that whomever they ultimately chose to replace Foster, whenever he stepped aside, could have been remotely as successful as the winningest coach in history.

So, thanks, Tink!

BobbyFan
04-20-2015, 06:04 PM
Shaun Livingston would be up there if he matriculated. 6' 7" and with passing skills that brought up inevitable Magic Johnson comparisons. He was the #2 player overall in the 2004 class, behind Dwight Howard.

superdave
04-20-2015, 06:09 PM
Shaun Livingston would be up there if he matriculated. 6' 7" and with passing skills that brought up inevitable Magic Johnson comparisons. He was the #2 player overall in the 2004 class, behind Dwight Howard.

Imagine Shaun Livingston, JJ Redick, Luol Deng, Kris Humprhies and Shelden Williams with Daniel Ewing, Greg Paulus, Josh McRoberts and Shavlik Randolph off the bench. You could erase that 2005 Unc championship before the Ncaa gets to it.

Livingston's injuries were a shame. He never realized all the potential he had.

jimsumner
04-20-2015, 06:17 PM
I've always ranked Dawkins as the third most important recruit in Duke history, with Banks No. 1 and Art Heyman No. 2. Heyman was a UNC commit who de-committed after his stepfather and Frank McGuire had a violent disagreement on a Heyman visit. Vic Bubas snagged Heyman within days of Bubas becoming head coach. Heyman jump-started Bubas' program and more than any other player was responsible for Duke moving from regional power to national power.

Of course, recruiting wasn't a spectator sport in those days and freshmen weren't even eligible for varsity competition. Coaches knew how good Heyman was but I suspect there wasn't all that much anticipation amongst the rank and file.

For me personally, I really looked forward to Mickey Mantle joining the Yankees. I was only 11 months old at the time but I knew that Joltin' Joe's time was running out. :)

FerryFor50
04-20-2015, 07:08 PM
If the 2015 recruiting thread (http://forums.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?29033-MBB-2015-Recruiting-Thread) is to believed, the answer is either Brandon Ingram or Dennis Smith. :cool:

Tripping William
04-20-2015, 07:21 PM
Shaun Livingston would be up there if he matriculated. 6' 7" and with passing skills that brought up inevitable Magic Johnson comparisons. He was the #2 player overall in the 2004 class, behind Dwight Howard.

Livingston's decision to turn pro is the reason I gave up, to this day, following recruiting with any enthusiasm. One has to draw the line somewhere between APGAR scores and when one actually dons a Duke uni. I chose the latter post-Livingston.

His injury was gruesome and very sad.

Dukehky
04-20-2015, 07:34 PM
I was more excited to see Jabari Parker's first game in a Duke uniform than I have ever been for any athlete's debut in any sport. I remember hearing about him when he was in like, the 8th grade.

pamtar
04-20-2015, 07:38 PM
Great thread. Duke-wise for me it's got to be Greg Paulus. Best PG in the country, turned down a football scholly to ND, kid has to be legit. And he was, until JJ left. I think the whole "Coach K says he's the starting PG no matter what" thing, and getting JJ a ring had me pumped well beyond reasonable expectations. Now that I think about it, it would be fun to see what K could do with those guys after a couple of USA golds and a handful of OaDs.

Nationally, gotta be Tiger's first tourney after sex rehab.

JNort
04-20-2015, 07:42 PM
I know I already listed Kyrie but I didn't have time for my others.

Dukies: Kyrie, Rivers, Cook, MP2, Paulus, Andre, Seth and Hood.

Non Dukies: Strasburg, JR Smith, Andrew Luck, Braylon Edwards, Reggie Bush, Marcus Vick

BD80
04-20-2015, 07:43 PM
...

Nationally, gotta be Tiger's first tourney after sex rehab.

You mean his appearance on COPS. Don't think he ever attended sex rehab.

Tripping William
04-20-2015, 07:44 PM
If the 2015 recruiting thread (http://forums.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?29033-MBB-2015-Recruiting-Thread) is to believed, the answer is either Brandon Ingram or Dennis Smith. :cool:

You forgot Crew Ainge. ;-)

Yeah, regency bias ....

subzero02
04-20-2015, 08:18 PM
Imagine Shaun Livingston, JJ Redick, Luol Deng, Kris Humprhies and Shelden Williams with Daniel Ewing, Greg Paulus, Josh McRoberts and Shavlik Randolph off the bench. You could erase that 2005 Unc championship before the Ncaa gets to it.

Livingston's injuries were a shame. He never realized all the potential he had.

It really is a shame. Livingston was on his way to becoming a legend/hall of famer. His knee injury was one of the worst I have seen in basketball.

pamtar
04-20-2015, 09:12 PM
You mean his appearance on COPS. Don't think he ever attended sex rehab.

Oh yes, he rehabbed the sex. http://m.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/tiger-woods-sex-scandal-golfer-treated-sex-addiction-mississippi-rehab-author-article-1.458887

Sorry for the lame source. There's plenty more out there.

pfrduke
04-20-2015, 10:53 PM
Imagine Shaun Livingston, JJ Redick, Luol Deng, Kris Humprhies and Shelden Williams with Daniel Ewing, Greg Paulus, Josh McRoberts and Shavlik Randolph off the bench. You could erase that 2005 Unc championship before the Ncaa gets to it.

Livingston, Redick, Deng, Humphries, Williams, Ewing, Paulus, McRoberts, Randolph is not a roster that could have existed for the 2005 championship, given that McRoberts and Paulus did not matriculate until the 2006 season. It's not a roster that could have existed at all given that Ewing graduated in 2005.

BD80
04-21-2015, 03:48 AM
Livingston, Redick, Deng, Humphries, Williams, Ewing, Paulus, McRoberts, Randolph is not a roster that could have existed for the 2005 championship, given that McRoberts and Paulus did not matriculate until the 2006 season. It's not a roster that could have existed at all given that Ewing graduated in 2005.

Even still, they went to more actual classes than the 2005 "championship" team did.

jv001
04-21-2015, 05:37 AM
I've always ranked Dawkins as the third most important recruit in Duke history, with Banks No. 1 and Art Heyman No. 2. Heyman was a UNC commit who de-committed after his stepfather and Frank McGuire had a violent disagreement on a Heyman visit. Vic Bubas snagged Heyman within days of Bubas becoming head coach. Heyman jump-started Bubas' program and more than any other player was responsible for Duke moving from regional power to national power.

Of course, recruiting wasn't a spectator sport in those days and freshmen weren't even eligible for varsity competition. Coaches knew how good Heyman was but I suspect there wasn't all that much anticipation amongst the rank and file.

For me personally, I really looked forward to Mickey Mantle joining the Yankees. I was only 11 months old at the time but I knew that Joltin' Joe's time was running out. :)

My first three as well. Then it's close with Laettner, Ferry, Hurley, Mullins, Battier, Irving and Brand. What a list of great players. GoDuke!

Reilly
04-21-2015, 06:00 AM
... I really looked forward to Mickey Mantle joining the Yankees ...

Mantle's 1954 contract -- for $21,000 -- is on display at the Delray Beach, FL public library.

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-03-22/news/fl-delray-mantle-watch-20140321_1_library-staff-library-collection-delray-beach-public-library

JBDuke
04-21-2015, 07:43 AM
As others have observed, how one answers this question is largely dependent on their age and what sports teams they were following. I can absolutely see that Gene Banks's arrival on Duke's campus was hugely anticipated, but I was not a Duke fan at the time, and Tinkerbell wasn't on my personal radar.

I'm a 1989 Duke grad, but I grew up a UVA fan. We lived closed to Charlottesville, and my father had long been a fan of the Cavaliers. He actually had basketball season tickets in the late 70's and early 80's, and I went to a few games with him. So, my biggest anticipated debut from my childhood was Ralph Sampson at UVA. He was a local recruit, and I had seen him play for Harrisonburg High School. I even remember Terry Holland and Dean Smith being at the game to watch Ralph play. Harrisonburg was ~30 miles north of where I was going to school and Charlottesville was ~30 miles east. Holland never had a track record for competing successfully for top-notch recruits, so Sampson was - by far - his biggest recruiting signing. You can imagine the hype.

As a Duke fan, the most anticipated Duke debut for me was probably Danny Ferry. During my HS years, I was aware of Duke as a fan of a fellow ACC school, but I didn't become a Duke fan until my junior year, when I was looking at where I would go to school, and Duke was an increasingly inviting option. Coach K's '84 and '85 teams had been good, but with almost everyone back, and with Ferry, the #1 recruit in the nation joining a veteran Duke squad, I was pretty pumped to see if Danny would help take Duke to the next level in 1985-86. I don't think I appreciated how good Duke's returnees were, so I was anticipating a bigger role for Ferry than he actually ended up playing. He was a key player, of course, as a part time starter (while Bilas was injured) and then supersub on Coach K's first Final Four team. But that fall, as a freshman on campus myself, and with all the enthusiasm of a freshman Duke basketball fan looking forward to a great year, I was super-pumped to see Danny play. I have since been more excited by our big recruiting classes as a group more than for any one individual. The Burgess-Brand-Battier-Avery class, the Dunleavy-Boozer-Williams-Sanders class, the Redick-Williams-Randolph-Thompson-Dockery-Melchionni class, and this year's crop of freshman all got me super excited to see how they would transform Duke, moreso than any one individual signee.

And outside of Duke, I'll have to agree with the poster that named Stephen Strasburg's debut for the Nationals. I had jumped on the Nats' bandwagon pretty much as soon as they came to town, but several years of mediocre to flat-out bad baseball had whet my appetite for success. All those hopes were bundled up into the pool of talent that resides in Strasburg's right arm. Even through the TV screen, the excitement was palpable on July 8th, 2010, when he took the mound in DC for the first time and proceeded to strike out 14 batters. It was an awesome night for Nats fans.

Reilly
04-21-2015, 07:55 AM
... my biggest anticipated debut from my childhood was Ralph Sampson at UVA. He was a local recruit, and I had seen him play for Harrisonburg High School. I even remember Terry Holland and Dean Smith being at the game to watch Ralph play. ...

As I recall, during the recruitment, UVa flew Ralph in a helicopter over University Hall, where they had painted "Ralph's House" on the roof.

Bomar
04-21-2015, 08:04 AM
Jason Heyward with the Braves in 2010. Hands down. It only made it more exciting that he crushed a homer in his first at bat.

The same day that Duke won the Natty vs. Butler. What a day!!!

superdave
04-21-2015, 08:21 AM
Livingston, Redick, Deng, Humphries, Williams, Ewing, Paulus, McRoberts, Randolph is not a roster that could have existed for the 2005 championship, given that McRoberts and Paulus did not matriculate until the 2006 season. It's not a roster that could have existed at all given that Ewing graduated in 2005.

Paulus and McRoberts would have re-classified. All the cool kids are doing it.

Jarhead
04-21-2015, 08:52 AM
I am a member of the Gene Banks camp. His decision to attend Duke was fantastic news.

I'm with you on Gene Banks, but i have to mention his playing partner, Kenny Dennard, They were a dominating pair. Their senior year was played under rookie coach Mike Krzyzewski. Another great recruiting success was Art Heyman. He was mentioned earlier in this thread where it was stated that he had already signed with UNC. My recollection is that he was originally signed with NYU, but decided to join Vic Bubas instead right about the time that Coach Bubas was appointed as coach at Duke. It was about 1960, so it's hard to remember. UNC thought they had Heyman, though.

Henderson
04-21-2015, 08:58 AM
As I recall, during the recruitment, UVa flew Ralph in a helicopter over University Hall, where they had painted "Ralph's House" on the roof.

You might be thinking of Lefty Driesell's fly-over recruitment of Danny Ferry with the "Danny's House" sign on the Cole Fieldhouse roof.

https://books.google.com/books?id=drQg7CxGWqQC&pg=PA237&lpg=PA237&dq=%22danny%27s+house%22+ferry&source=bl&ots=9mBQZl0wKb&sig=-Hb8Oq7KDFBwtWMLznZt2qFWrws&hl=en&sa=X&ei=o1Q2VaP2KczpsAW6mYHoCg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%22danny's%20house%22%20ferry&f=false

If Terry Holland had already done it for Ralph a few years earlier, that might explain why it didn't work on Danny. But I've never heard the story in connection with Sampson.

Reilly
04-21-2015, 10:16 AM
I recall it from when it happened. Seems to be confirmed by google:

“He was a legend long before he arrived in Charlottesville, so much so that when he was given a helicopter ride across campus on a recruiting visit, he looked down and saw the words Ralph’s House on the dome of the basketball arena, University Hall.”

ACC Basketball Book of Fame, by Dan Collins

https://books.google.com/books?id=cJZMlwx7ZWIC&pg=PT182&lpg=PT182&dq=ralph+sampson+%22ralph%27s+house%22+university+ hall&source=bl&ots=XLM0v_FByw&sig=IXrR5povWjjOAzXt2nWzl5h6Q5A&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2Gg2VYH6Ou7jsASPnYHgBQ&ved=0CEoQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=ralph%20sampson%20%22ralph's%20house%22%20univer sity%20hall&f=false

devildeac
04-21-2015, 10:27 AM
The same day that Duke won the Natty vs. Butler. What a day!!!

Cool. One Heyward connected that day and the other (Hayward) didn't ;).

DukeandMdFan
04-21-2015, 10:36 AM
I'm with you on Gene Banks, but i have to mention his playing partner, Kenny Dennard, They were a dominating pair. Their senior year was played under rookie coach Mike Krzyzewski. Another great recruiting success was Art Heyman. He was mentioned earlier in this thread where it was stated that he had already signed with UNC. My recollection is that he was originally signed with NYU, but decided to join Vic Bubas instead right about the time that Coach Bubas was appointed as coach at Duke. It was about 1960, so it's hard to remember. UNC thought they had Heyman, though.

I thought the story was that Heyman's step-father got in an argument with Frank McGuire. http://www.newsday.com/long-island/obituaries/art-heyman-former-knick-dies-at-71-1.3932511

But, the flexibility to renege on commitments at that time did not always work in Duke's favor as Bill Bradley committed to Duke and then went to Princeton. I saw a 30-for-30 and, apparently, Bill Bradley's first game with the Knicks was also highly anticipated.

wilson
04-21-2015, 11:37 AM
Among non-basketball athletes, Freddy Adu really comes to mind for me. I remember his MLS debut as a 14 year-old...the one and only time a MLS game has ever been appointment viewing for me. Adu was supposed to be US Soccer's epiphany; the Johnny Dawkins of American soccer, if you will. Due to a host of factors, probably including hubris and inordinate pressure, he never panned out that way. He's actually still only 25, so there's theoretically still time for him to catch on, but it's a long way up from the Finnish league (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2435696-usmnt-watch-freddy-adu-makes-first-start-in-finland).

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
04-21-2015, 11:57 AM
Derryk Thornton, hands down.

;)

Richard Berg
04-21-2015, 12:03 PM
Overall, Tiger.

At Duke, the Paulus/McRoberts combo. I watched the McD game just to see that tandem together for the first time, and was blown away. Never bothered since.

OldPhiKap
04-21-2015, 12:05 PM
Derryk Thornton, hands down.

;)

I can get behind this.

gotoguy
04-21-2015, 12:08 PM
For me it was Tinkerbell. I had read all the hype about Gene in Street and Smith, in those days the preseason bible for college hoops. I was studying in the library in med school in 1977 when a friend and ND grad came up to me and said that he had signed with Duke over the Irish. I was ecstatic.

Some talk in this thread about Strasburg reminded me of Fernando mania back in 1981. I was doing my residency in ATL and a friend got us tickets for a Braves Dodger game that Fernando Valenzuela was slated to pitch. Everyone was excited about the Dodger rookie with the screwball and there was a big turnout for the weeknight game around 27,000. Attendance normally would have been <10,000 in those days. The excitement was well deserved as Fernando was 8-1 in 9 starts with 5 shutouts. I had to look up the score. The Braves won handing Valenzuela his 2nd loss, HOFer Gaylord Perry getting the win.

Then I thought about The Bird in 76 pitching for the Tigers. That was crazy too.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
04-21-2015, 12:08 PM
I can get behind this.

At least for today!

Oriole Way
04-21-2015, 03:14 PM
My most anticipated players for Duke since I was an undergrad: Jason Williams, J.J. Redick, Shavlik Randolph (one of the most intense recruiting battles Duke has ever been part of, and he was one of the most hyped recruits of the modern era - and hence also one of the biggest busts ever), Kyrie Irving, Jahlil Okafor. The next one for me (I expect) will be Harry Giles.

overthehill
04-21-2015, 03:33 PM
Being of a certain age and from Boston, I would say definitely Larry Bird and then, sadly, Len Bias. For Duke, I would say Bobby Hurley, Kyrie Irving, and Okafor. Otherwise, Tiger Woods turning pro was highly anticipated for sure.

EKU1969
04-21-2015, 03:33 PM
I will go along with Gene Banks as number 1, but being an old man from NJ, Bob Verga was huge for me. But my all-time most anticipated recruit was in football and that was Jay Wilkinson, son of Bud Wilkinson of Oklahoma fame. For some reason, the fact that the son of one of the best college coaches of all-time would commit to Duke just made me sit up and take notice. I had been a Duke fan for several years prior to that, knew a little about Heyman, but Wilkinson was the kicker!

BD80
04-21-2015, 03:40 PM
The MOST anticipated is ...

jimsumner
04-21-2015, 03:47 PM
I'm with you on Gene Banks, but i have to mention his playing partner, Kenny Dennard, They were a dominating pair. Their senior year was played under rookie coach Mike Krzyzewski. Another great recruiting success was Art Heyman. He was mentioned earlier in this thread where it was stated that he had already signed with UNC. My recollection is that he was originally signed with NYU, but decided to join Vic Bubas instead right about the time that Coach Bubas was appointed as coach at Duke. It was about 1960, so it's hard to remember. UNC thought they had Heyman, though.

Trust me, it was Carolina. I'm sure NYU recruited him. They were a national power in those days. In fact, they defeated Duke in the 1960 East Region title game, Bubas' first year at Duke. Heyman was on the freshman team.

There was no national LOI in those days. But Heyman was a UNC commit. Until he wasn't. Heyman told me that he had to physically intervene to keep his stepfather and McGuire from coming to blows. It was heated.

The way Heyman recalled it, McGuire has made some comment that implied that he was owed Heyman simply by virtue of the fact that Heyman was from the Greater NYC area and that McGuire owned NYC. Heyman pere thought this was disrespectful and it spiraled downward from there.

Heyman also told me that his step-father made the decision to de-commit and played a large role in deciding where to go next.

So, thanks for tempers. :)

Edouble
04-21-2015, 03:51 PM
I started following recruiting in the early 1990s.

For me the most anticipated player was Shav, and it's not even close. Coming in with JJ, Dockery, and Williams, I thought that Shav was a Laettner-like centerpiece for a recruiting class that would win at least one, if not multiple, National Championships while at Duke.

His recruitment was epic.

OldPhiKap
04-21-2015, 03:53 PM
The MOST anticipated is ...

Tell me, tell me!! The suspense is killing me!!!!!!!!!!!



(Must wait to re-spork apparently)

duke blue brewcrew
04-21-2015, 04:42 PM
Banks, by a wide margin.

You have to remember the context. Duke was coming off seven mediocre to bad seasons in a row, while Banks and Albert King were considered the top prep players in the country, a smidge ahead of Earvin Johnson.

Banks had picked Duke over North Carolina, Notre Dame, UCLA and local favorite Pennsylvania. He was Duke's first inner-city superstar. The leap of faith Banks took to come from West Philly to a struggling Duke program was astonishing. A transformative recruitment.

Prior to Banks, anyone could buy Duke season tickets and there was a ticket office for single-game purchases. A few weeks after Banks signed, Duke sent out a letter to season-ticket holders informing them that, due to increased demand, season-ticket purchasers would have to join the Iron Dukes. That restriction has remained in force ever since.

Think about that for awhile. That policy didn't change because of Bill Foster or Mike Gminski or Jim Spanarkel. All had been at Duke in 1977, when Duke won 14 games. It was due to one recruit, so eagerly anticipated that Duke had to change its policy for distributing tickets.

Gene Banks is at the very beginning of my basketball memories as a kid. I had no idea about this story, thanks for sharing. For me, the following were my most anticipated:

Duke Commits:
1. Dawkins, Bilas, Henderson and Allerie - they kicked off this whole thing we now call the Coach K era, and were a breath of fresh air on the court!
2. Brand, Battier, Burgess & Avery - It was an unimaginable MONSTER class
3. Loul Deng - I still remember Dicky V hyping him as the greatest player on 3 continents not named LeBron James - I was pumped!
4. Okafor, Winslow, Jones and Allen. Who knew they would win it all, but it was easy to see they were going to be fun to watch!
5. Jabari Parker - I couldn't wait to see if he would live up to the hype - HE DID!

Greatest Losses on the Trail:
1. HB - Kyrie was the greater need, but I just knew he was coming
2. Vince Carter - what a stud
3. *Billy McCaffery - technically a transfer, but loved his game and was bummed when he left

Reilly
04-21-2015, 10:01 PM
... Then I thought about The Bird in 76 pitching for the Tigers. That was crazy too.

When Monday Night Baseball was appointment TV ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMSDo3BX5Ds

jipops
04-21-2015, 10:16 PM
Having been born in the early 70's I knew of Banks but did not grasp his importance. But growing up in the 80's I understood the buildup of Ralph Sampson coming into Charlottesville (which was actually '79). He was the 2nd coming of Wilt & Kareem but at 7'4". And other than not grabbing sheet while at UVA he really did not disappoint as one of the most dominant college players of that era.

Edit: actually he did make the Final Four one year.

Nesto
04-22-2015, 01:37 AM
Larry Bird! Celtics drafted him and we had to wait a year for him to play his final season at Ind St! (Then the Bird rule came.) The 79 final was the first NCAA game I ever watched in full, despite being a huge Celtics fan.

I bacame a Duke fan when I started there in 1981, so I had to put up with all my older Duke friends bragging about how awesome Gene's game vs UNC was. Fortunately, Vince Taylor had some special games for us 85ers,who went through two years of... Ugh.

Johnny Dawkins was my Duke #1 anticipated. But as much as we enjoyed his first game, it was another year in the basement before we started really enjoying good basketball again.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
04-22-2015, 05:44 AM
Gene Banks is at the very beginning of my basketball memories as a kid. I had no idea about this story, thanks for sharing. For me, the following were my most anticipated:

Duke Commits:
1. Dawkins, Bilas, Henderson and Allerie - they kicked off this whole thing we now call the Coach K era, and were a breath of fresh air on the court!
2. Brand, Battier, Burgess & Avery - It was an unimaginable MONSTER class
3. Loul Deng - I still remember Dicky V hyping him as the greatest player on 3 continents not named LeBron James - I was pumped!
4. Okafor, Winslow, Jones and Allen. Who knew they would win it all, but it was easy to see they were going to be fun to watch!
5. Jabari Parker - I couldn't wait to see if he would live up to the hype - HE DID!

Greatest Losses on the Trail:
1. HB - Kyrie was the greater need, but I just knew he was coming
2. Vince Carter - what a stud
3. *Billy McCaffery - technically a transfer, but loved his game and was bummed when he left

A lot of people here thought the program was in unrecoverable turmoil when we missed on John Wall.

arnie
04-22-2015, 06:13 AM
The MOST anticipated is ...

For me it WAS Banks which culminated in the SI cover after we won ACC championship in 1978. But now has obviously been supplanted by Brandon Ingram.

duke blue brewcrew
04-22-2015, 12:15 PM
A lot of people here thought the program was in unrecoverable turmoil when we missed on John Wall.

Funny how things work out don't they? If memory serves, Duke was able to muddle through the 2010 season just fine without Wall.

flyingdutchdevil
04-22-2015, 12:24 PM
I was a freshman in 2003 (my first year of true Duke basketball love), so I've been very lucky in terms of Duke success. But the years between 2006-2009 weren't vintage "Duke" years. Yes, we made the tourney every time. We even won a few ACC titles and ACC tournies. We had great players. But we weren't the best in the ACC. That was UNC, and it felt like we were playing second fiddle to them the whole time.

At the beginning of the 2009-2010 season, things were looking grim for a spoiled Duke fan like myself:

-UNC just won another NCAA Tournament
-Duke hadn't been to a FF since 2004
-HWSNBN committed to UNC
-Kentucky was becoming the next hot team

The one silver lining was that Kyrie Irving, a supposedly stellar PG, committed to Duke. So, for me, the most anticipated Duke player is Kyrie Irving, because many of us saw Kyrie as a "savior". Then, a bunch of awesome things started happening.

So, while Kyrie was the most anticipated player for me, he wasn't the "savior", because the 3 Ss, LT, and Zoubs decided to play some of the best team basketball ever played at the college level. Lovely...

Edouble
04-22-2015, 01:41 PM
I was a freshman in 2003 (my first year of true Duke basketball love), so I've been very lucky in terms of Duke success. But the years between 2006-2009 weren't vintage "Duke" years. Yes, we made the tourney every time. We even won a few ACC titles and ACC tournies. We had great players. But we weren't the best in the ACC. That was UNC, and it felt like we were playing second fiddle to them the whole time.

At the beginning of the 2009-2010 season, things were looking grim for a spoiled Duke fan like myself:

-UNC just won another NCAA Tournament
-Duke hadn't been to a FF since 2004
-HWSNBN committed to UNC
-Kentucky was becoming the next hot team

The one silver lining was that Kyrie Irving, a supposedly stellar PG, committed to Duke. So, for me, the most anticipated Duke player is Kyrie Irving, because many of us saw Kyrie as a "savior". Then, a bunch of awesome things started happening.

So, while Kyrie was the most anticipated player for me, he wasn't the "savior", because the 3 Ss, LT, and Zoubs decided to play some of the best team basketball ever played at the college level. Lovely...

I'll add that a big part of the grimness was losing Hendo to the pros and EWill to transfer during that offseason. Even with Dawkins's reclass, it looked like we were going to have to duct tape together a backcourt.

I'll also add that while the 3 Ss, LT and Zoubs did end up playing some incredible team ball, Kyle Singler to that point had been a total bass*ss and a complete player. He had held the program on his shoulders, with some help from Jon for a few seasons.