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Indoor66
07-01-2008, 08:36 AM
RIP John. My condolences to his family.

Harrell transfered to Duke from North Carolina Central University. John was a quiet, very nice young man. He started at point guard on the '78 team. I remember him as a head up speedster who distributed quite well. In '79 he had a freak accident - injuring his achilles with a step in a hole on campus. He was not the same player after - losing some speed and lateral movement. That really hurt the '79 team.

jimsumner
07-01-2008, 11:02 AM
Wow. This is a kick to the solar plexus. He couldn't have been much more than 50.

John was an invaluable contributor to the '78 team. He was a heady ball handler, who understood that his role was to play solid D, minimize turnovers, and get the ball to Spanarkel, Gminski, and Banks. His finest hour may have been the FF game that year against Notre Dame when he helped hold off an Irish comeback by making all six of his foul shots down the stretch.

John lost his starting job to Bob Bender in '79 because of his injury and wasn't especially happy about it. He declined to come back for his fifth year in 1980. But most Duke fans prefer to remember him in that halcyon year of 1978 when all things magical seemed possible.

So, yes RIP.

CathyCA
07-01-2008, 11:35 AM
Love and prayers to John's family and friends.

This is so incredibly sad.

Windsor
07-01-2008, 01:47 PM
How very very sad. He was a stand out on the 'miracle team' of 78, and a really nice guy. He had some tough breaks with injuries et. al. Much too young to be gone.

My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

hq2
07-01-2008, 01:50 PM
Yeah, he was a pretty good high school player too; when I was at Hillside, he went to the State 4A semifinals. He was a great student, and a great guy.
Truly sad to hear about this.

OZZIE4DUKE
07-01-2008, 01:53 PM
R.I.P. to John and condolences to his family.

I have John's autograph on a dollar bill signed by many of the '78 team members after they beat ND in the first semi-final game in St. Louis, signed as they watched the Kentucky game while sitting in the stands.

Indoor66
07-01-2008, 01:54 PM
Yeah, he was a pretty good high school player too; when I was at Hillside, he went to the State 4A semifinals. He was a great student, and a great guy.
Truly sad to hear about this.

IRRC, John's father was principal of Hillside. Wasn't his mother also a teacher?

Windsor
07-01-2008, 02:01 PM
R.I.P. to John and condolences to his family.

I have John's autograph on a dollar bill signed by many of the '78 team members after they beat ND in the first semi-final game in St. Louis, signed as they watched the Kentucky game while sitting in the stands.

I have his as well..on one of those little souvenir basketballs...has the entire 78 team...sits in a place of honor in my home office (safe from children and dogs)

This is just so sad.

slower
07-01-2008, 03:33 PM
IRRC, John's father was principal of Hillside. Wasn't his mother also a teacher?


I thought that was John Lucas.

Indoor66
07-01-2008, 03:41 PM
I thought that was John Lucas.

I'm thinking after Lucas retired. Though, it may be a case of failing memory! :)

Devil in the Blue Dress
07-01-2008, 04:25 PM
IRRC, John's father was principal of Hillside. Wasn't his mother also a teacher?
My recall is that John Harrell's dad was a professor at NCCU. As for which principal followed Mr. Lucas at Hillside, I think it was Richard Hicks.

MarkD83
07-01-2008, 07:28 PM
If anyone is interested in reading more about John Harrell and the 78 team I recommend "Forever's Team" by John Feinstein.

It is a great story that should be required reading for any Duke fan young or old. I think I may go pick it up and read it again in honor of John.

My prayers are also with John and his family.

devilirium
07-01-2008, 10:49 PM
RIP, Johnny Harrell.

Harrell was part of the first Duke team that I followed. Had a spin to his jump shot (sort of a knuckleball) and his nickname was Johnny Gun. I believe that he transferred to Duke and excelled in math to the point that he was awarded an academic scholarship for it.

My recollection of Feinstein's story is that Johnny loved his teammates, but didn't have a lot of respect for Coach Foster. His experience at Duke was soured to the point that he later said "When Duke's on TV, and if they win, so be it. If they lose, so be it".

He would've benefitted greatly from having Coach K. I don't think Coach Foster was much for reaching back unless you were a star player.

heyman25
07-02-2008, 04:08 AM
Since I am from Durham DBR failed to mention Durham High's Brad Evans who played with Randy Denton a Raleigh Broughton High grad Rick Katherman and Dick Devenzio. Evans was like Paulus because he was an outstanding QB who could have played football instead of basketball.

chrishoke
07-02-2008, 05:39 AM
RIP John. Thanks for the memories and thrills.

Olympic Fan
07-02-2008, 08:56 AM
Since I am from Durham DBR failed to mention Durham High's Brad Evans who played with Randy Denton a Raleigh Broughton High grad Rick Katherman and Dick Devenzio. Evans was like Paulus because he was an outstanding QB who could have played football instead of basketball.

Just for the record, Denton played at Raleigh's Enloe High, not Broughton. His coach was former Duke standout Horward Hurt (one of the stars of Duke's first ACC championship team in 1960).

Brad Evans was a two-sport All-American -- first team Parade A-A in both football and basketball (Parade was just about the only prep A-A team at the time). Bear Bryant really wanted him to play quarterback at Alabama.

Brad played two years of varsity basketball at Duke, coming off the bench in 1969 and starting in 1970 (averaged 9.9 ppg.). He dropped off the basketball team after the '70 season (he wasn't fond of Bucky) and switched to football. Unfortunately for Brad, Duke already had Leo Hart at QB. His second best position was free safety, but Duke had Rich Searl (a three-time first team All-ACC there). Tom Harp played Brad at wide receiver, where he was the No. 2 receiver (Wes Chesson was the main target) for two seasons.

As for John Harrell ... I join in the condolences. He was a fine young man (and his father was a Math professor at NCCU ... don't recall him ever being principal at Hillside).

throatybeard
09-23-2011, 11:27 PM
I missed this when it occurred. Jeez. What happened to him?