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Thread: Gene Banks

  1. #1

    Gene Banks

    For some strange reason, I was thinking about Gene Banks today. And I have a question. Was his nickname "Tinkerbelle?"

    That seems odd to me. He didn't seem (to me) at all what that nickname implies. He was more of a rip your head off and s**t down your neck kinda guy. The inner city tough guy Duke needed at the time.

    So where did that nickname come from? Or am I just flat wrong about the nickname?

  2. #2
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    Because he could fly, I think. And it was Tinkerbell with no E at the end. (Brill 1986). Check out Bill's 1986 book for a whole chapter entitled "Spanarkel, G-Man & Tink."

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  3. #3
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    Hang time I believe was the crucial point of comparison. He hovered above the rim, like Tinkerbell.

  4. #4
    He got the nickname in high school and brought it to Duke from West Philadelphia.

  5. #5

    Tinkerbell

    "He was more of a rip your head off and s**t down your neck kinda guy. The inner city tough guy Duke needed at the time."

    why would you think that?

    Gene Banks was a tough player, but he did not have a "badass" thing about him.

    He was a smiling, likeable, friendly, engaging person.

  6. #6
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    Chapel Hill
    "He was a smiling, likeable, friendly, engaging person."

    And he still is!!!! Love, Ima

  7. #7
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    NW Durham, NC
    Tink in a Tux w/ Roses

    Still makes me smile thinking about... Gene Banks, on the occassion of his last game in Cameron, comes in wearing a tuxedo and passes out roses to ladies in attendance. Priceless!
    -BuschDevil

    "...Man, who even now finds scarce breathing room on this vast globe, cannot retire from the Old World to some yet undiscovered continent, and wait for the slow action of such causes to replace, by a new creation, the Eden he has wasted".
    -George Perkins Marsh (1864)

  8. #8
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    I was privileged to watch him play in Cameron for two years -- a great talent, fiercely competitive, unbelievably athletic, but a very fine person (no malevolence, whatsoever). Additionally, he graduated from Trinity in 1981 (I believe).
    Last edited by 4decadedukie; 07-09-2007 at 07:44 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 4decadedukie View Post
    I was privileged to watch him play in Cameron for two years -- a great talent, fiercely competitive, unbelievably athletic, but a very fine person (not malevolence, whatsoever).
    Didn't mean to imply that he was . . . just that he was very tough and added a competitive dimension that had been lacking (imo).

    but the nickname throws me . . . and I don't recall him as a great leaper as some of these posts suggests. I guess at my age, the brain cells fail.
    Last edited by dw0827; 07-09-2007 at 09:51 AM.

  10. #10
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    Tinkerbell's Dunks

    Banks was a great leaper and had some of the most ferocious dunks. I recall one game at MD, in the old Cole Fieldhouse, where he was on a breakaway and missed it so hard that the ball went off the back rim and up into the rafters.

  11. #11
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    Raleigh, NC

    Are you merging memories of Kenny and Tink?

    Quote Originally Posted by dw0827 View Post
    For some strange reason, I was thinking about Gene Banks today. And I have a question. Was his nickname "Tinkerbelle?"

    That seems odd to me. He didn't seem (to me) at all what that nickname implies. He was more of a rip your head off and s**t down your neck kinda guy. The inner city tough guy Duke needed at the time.

    So where did that nickname come from? Or am I just flat wrong about the nickname?
    I think the irony was part of the nickname -- "Tinkerbell" hardly conjures up the image of a 6'8" muscular black player, but he could fly!

    I think that the rip-your-head-off player you might be remembering was teammate Kenny Dennard -- Kenny and Tink were a dynamic duo that was so much fun to watch, as they complemented each other so well. Tink -- the chisled, black, inner-city Philly kid who played with a graceful yet fiercely competitive passion. Kenny -- the muscled, white, rural NC kid who played with a passion and total disregard for any pain, truly putting his body and mind fully into every game. With as physical as Kenny played, he still wasn't a rip-your-head-off player. Very, very physical - yes. Mean/dirty? No.

    I had remembered that Kenny still leads in some foul statistical category. So I looked him up. Seems that he's #5 on the all-time personal fouls list at 383. (Shelden-432, Laettner-425, Ferry-394, Alarie-387 are ahead of him). Tink is #10, with 337 (Bilas, Ewing, Mayer, and Snyder take spots 6-9). Memory does fade over time -- I didn't think Gene fouled that much, nor would I have Alarie, Bilas, or Snyder on that list!

    Kenny does lead the list on number of times disqualified. He ties with Willy Hodge at 25 games. The rest of the names are interesting on that list, too: Dick Groat (24), Ronnie Mayer (22), Junior Morgan (20), Kevin Billerman & Danny Meagher (19), Mark Alarie & Jay Bilas (17), and Shelden (16). Only one person since '86...I guess the style of play has changed a bit since Coach K's early years.

    Both Tink and Dog were, and still are, wonderfully warm and kind human beings -- as well as fierce competitors. Gene still likes to be called "Tink." I can't imagine calling him anything else, as it fits.

    - della

  12. #12
    As a fan, I go back to the late 60's . . . but who in the world is Junior Morgan?

    And yes, maybe it was Dennard who I was thinking of. He was incredibly aggressive.

    And when I mention on-court demeanor, in no way do I imply that it reflects the person he is off-court. I think its perfectly reasonable for a relatively normal, nice guy to turn the motor on competitively and be an animal on the court.

  13. #13
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    In 1980 IIRC Banks went mano-to-mano on a fastbreak with that Ralph Sampson guy. You might remember Sampson, 7'4", 3-time national POY. Banks elevated as high as Grant, Brickey, Maggette, anybody I've ever seen in Duke blue, and just exploded, throwing the dunk down over and through a stunned Sampson.

    This was in Charlottesville, btw. IMO, this ranks right up with Phil Henderson v. Mourning and Grant's dunk in the '91 title game. Banks dunked with a ferocity matched by few. Sheer power.

    Speaking of physical Duke players. . . Dan Meagher.

  14. #14

    Smile

    Kenny Dennard had the most entertaining Dunk, IMO. In the '78 Regionals in Providence, Duke played Villanova. Rollie Massemino called Duke slow and said that 'Nova would run away from them. Gminiski controlled the boards and threw outlets to Dennard and Banks for dunk after dunk. In the 2nd half, with Duke up a bunch, Dennnard had a breakout and was alone with Banks trailing. He looked back, smiled, went up and did a 360° and threw it down. (Don't forget, this was pre-breakaway rims. The rims were fixed to the backboard with no give at all. A dunk was a much more carefully executed play in those days.) Both Kenny and Tink ran back smiling ( ) ...and we Duke fans went nuts.

  15. #15
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    Actually it was Bob Weinhauer, the Penn coach. Duke edged Penn in overtime to advance to the title game against Villanova. Weinhauer compared Duke to a herd of elephants and predicted that 'Nova's speed would be too much for Duke.

    Classic bulletin board material.

  16. #16
    Gene Banks was one of the reasons I went to Duke. Parent's Weekend, Fall of 1978, my sister was a freshman, and I was visiting Duke for the first time as a seventh grader. Some really tall dude in USA sweats was waiting at the main West bus stop for the Central bus (which ran every six or seven hours in those days), and I gathered up the courage to ask him about his sweats. He was a sophomore, and had played in Europe that summer with one of the Team USA teams (U21?), and stood there, the most recent ACC Rookie of the Year, and talked to a pimply faced, freckled, gangly armed skinny 13 year old white kid for about ten minutes about his experiences in Europe. That takes a really nice guy to do that.

    Five years later I only applied to one college.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    Actually it was Bob Weinhauer, the Penn coach. Duke edged Penn in overtime to advance to the title game against Villanova. Weinhauer compared Duke to a herd of elephants and predicted that 'Nova's speed would be too much for Duke.

    Classic bulletin board material.
    I stand corrected. My memory failed me - a more and more common event.

  18. #18
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    Indoor 66,

    Rollie probably felt the same way, he just had enough sense not to say so.

    FWIW, athletes frequently say they don't pay attention to stuff like that but the '78 team has made no attempt to hide the fact that they heard what Weinhauer said and were none too happy about it.

  19. #19
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    Rougemont Nebulae

    I may be reading WAY too much into the whole Banks-Dennard thing

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBill View Post
    Gene Banks was one of the reasons I went to Duke. Parent's Weekend, Fall of 1978, my sister was a freshman, and I was visiting Duke for the first time as a seventh grader. Some really tall dude in USA sweats was waiting at the main West bus stop for the Central bus (which ran every six or seven hours in those days), and I gathered up the courage to ask him about his sweats. He was a sophomore, and had played in Europe that summer with one of the Team USA teams (U21?), and stood there, the most recent ACC Rookie of the Year, and talked to a pimply faced, freckled, gangly armed skinny 13 year old white kid for about ten minutes about his experiences in Europe. That takes a really nice guy to do that.

    Five years later I only applied to one college.
    ...but it was the 70s, it was the South, and it was Duke--after all it's not called the plantation for no reason. Banks, a black kid from Philly, Duke's first notable African-American recruit, Dennard, a goofy white kid from NC--their relationship and on-court comarderie woke the Duke community up a little I think. I give credit to Banks and Dennard for giving birth to the notion that sports can be a valuable part of the college experience, even a college like Duke that aspires to Ivy-league standards. Senior Day was a delight, from Banks passing out roses, to the pre-game introductions under spotlight, Banks and Dennard embracing in the jump circle, to the storybook finish, the Polish Captain's first win over the Nose, a harbinger of many last second miracles to come. Of literally hundreds, it's still far and away my favorite day in Cameron. I only wish Tink now figured more prominently into basketball operations at Duke.
    Last edited by CameronBlue; 07-10-2007 at 02:46 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CameronBlue View Post
    ... Banks, a black kid from Philly, Duke's first notable African-American recruit,
    I suppose it depends on your definition of "notable," but Don Blackman and Wiilie Hodge might take exception to this characterization. We were pretty excited about getting them at the time.

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