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K In K-ville

This came to us over the weekend. It's a nice rundown on what went on in K-ville
and Coach K's comments before the game. We didn't have time to get it posted
beforehand, so we apologize for it's being so late. Still a great read, though.

We did stop by Cameron around 2:15 in the afternoon. Most of the players
were there shooting hoops, and Dickie V was shooting a few with them. Shane
was being interviewed for the TV news. About 20 seconds after we entered the
upstairs seating area the same manager who waved us off on Thursday saw us.
She gave us an exasperated but friendly look, so we left and took a walk
around K-ville which was a lot more active than the day before. A lot more
students were hanging a round, a lower percentage of them were studying and
resting than on Thursday, and a bunch of entertainment was being set up - a
truck of video games, a pitching game, a hoop shooting game etc., kind of
like what they do at the ACC tournaments but on a smaller scale of course.
The view from the top of the tennis bleachers was pretty nice. One tent has
the message "Thank You Senior". Another says "House of 17 Horvaths". Still
not sure if it's "House of Horvaths", tent 17, or what. A tent check took
place while we were there, and several tents appeared to be MIA. For the
sake of the tenter responsible, I hope they showed up. I'd hate to be the
one who blew it the day before the big game!

We returned to campus (all four of us this time) around 8:30 last night
since we had read Coach K would address the crowd in Morton Plaza (the plaza
adjacent to Cameron and the Schwartz-Butters building that replaced the
little parking lot that used to be there) at 9 PM. We headed for the tennis
courts because we wanted to show Rob and Cameron the view from the top, but
on the way Cameron spotted (what else) a hoop! It was a kid's hoop but set
up on top of a low wall to give it height, and a bunch of guys were shooting
around with a little kid's ball. Needless to say, Cameron was instantly very
much THERE. He took the ball and missed his first few shots, then took off
his coat and started hitting them big time. He drew a crowd of fans for the
next few minutes, and if you watched the lead story on WTVD (aka Channel 11
News for Raleigh and Fayetteville) last night at 11 you saw him being lifted
up for a dunk. Soon we headed over to the plaza to hear Coach K.

This is the third year we've done this; the first year we happened on the
"pep rally" in Cameron by accident. This is the first year it has been held
outside. When Coach K came out the guy who I think is the Czar of K-ville
(head line monitor) took the microphone and led the unveiling of a blue
"Krzyzewskiville" sign they are putting up permanently. At the base of one
leg of the sign will be a large stone with a plaque in it, and he presented a
replica copy of the stone and plaque to Coach K. Coach K got a fair amount
of mileage out of all of this, i.e. "some places give their Coach an annuity,
here at Duke they give you a rock", and also mentioning repeatedly how upset
he will be if he founds out people have been "doing something" on the rock.
But you could tell he was pleased and he reiterated what he has said before
about preferring not to have a building named for him but rather something
living. He also spent some time teasing his family (he introduced Mickie as
his girlfriend and said his wife was out of town, and he ragged on Debbie for
marrying an Italian) before starting to talk about the big game.

The short version is pretty predictable: 1) this is Cwell's day; 2) lay off
Phil Ford. But as always it was done with Coach K style. He talked about
what a great rivalry this is and how it's always a big game regardless of the
rankings and so forth. He told how when he first came to Duke his daughter
Debbie went to Northern High and took a lot of crap from Carolina fans. He
said "I don't want to say the hatred runs deep, does!" One year
when they lost to UNC she was confronted in the hallway by about 30 kids
banging the lockers and yelling that her Dad sucked. She called home in
tears and asked to come home. He told her she could come home, but only if
she went back to school wearing a Duke sweatshirt, and that's what she did.

He talked a lot about Chris and his career, starting before Chris's arrival
with the 94-95 season when we went 13-18 (did we really? yikes!) and the next
year when we had "a team with less talent led by a guy with great heart,
Chris Collins." Then he spoke of the recruiting class that Chris came in
with, told the story of making him guard senior Tim Duncan at Wake when he
was a freshman, and said the team that year was basically "four guards and
Chris". He talked about this past summer when he was recovering from hip
replacement surgery and some of the kids were leaving the program. One day
the doorbell rang and it was Chris, Shane and Nate. They wanted to see how
he was doing and make sure he knew they were behind him. He spoke of how the
team would be this year, that they would be a good team and how that would
happen, then he said "Do you believe me?" Chris leaned forward and said the
perfect thing: "Coach, if you say it, I believe it." He said Chris is not a
great player, but he's a very good player who has played great. Some great
players never even play great, but Chris sure has. He said this is Chris's
day and we should give him everything he deserves. He repeated what was
reported in the paper that Chris did not know what he was going to say but he
might just start rapping when they give him the mic. Coach K said if he does
that, stop him and tell him to just talk because no way can he rap. He also
said he wasn't worried because he knew Chris would find something to say,
since he's "one of the biggest bullshit artists I've ever known."

He did say in no uncertain terms that there would be no getting on Ford
about alcoholism and he would "take your team off the court" if he hears
cheers or sees signs about it. Someone asked if it was OK to get on Billy
Packer and he said he basically had no problem with almost anything the
Crazies do, but why bring Packer into it when there is so much else to
concentrate on. Someone asked if he had spoken to Elton et al lately and he
gave an update on most of last year's departee's and when he'd last spoken to
them (Burgess not included). Someone asked about retiring Elton's jersey and
he said you have to graduate for that to happen. He said it's harder for
Duke players because Duke is a tough school and although we'd welcome any of
them to come back and graduate it's difficult to do since typically the
players aren't from NC and the time commitment to come back and take the
required classes is pretty big. Agent David Falk was there and got a round
of boos despite Coach K insisting he was a good friend who had given him and
some past players good advice. He mentioned the Duke Legacy Fund they started
to try and endow the basketball program and the fact that Grant Hill just
donated $1 Million, so someone asked whether Falk was going to give a million
too. Falk said he would if he got a round of applause, and the crowd
complied somewhat half heartedly.

People asked about Mike and Coach said he was better, and that 18 women had
come forward to claim responsibility for the mono which was why it was a good
decision to send him home to recuperate. Someone asked how Jason was doing
(the newspaper reported mild bronchitis yesterday) and Coach said "Jason is
fine. Jason just has to have these things so that people will ask him how
he's doing". He spoke of how great Jason has done, and said that after
throwing the ball away 3 times straight in the St. John's game and having
Coach get in his face about it a lot of players would have folded but instead
he went out after that and "almost won the game for us." He said Jason is an
only child and so sometimes he needs a pat on the back or a kick in the ass.

Most of the players came out toward the end of the talk because a brief 10
PM team meeting was scheduled, so we got to give the team a round of
applause. And of course both immediately before and after Coach K's chat the
students engaged in a rousing round of GO TO HELL CAROLINA GO TO HELL!

Five hours until game time so how can I think of anything more than that?
Go to HELL Carolina!