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Dunleavy's Decision

Not surprisingly, we got a lot of mixed reactions on Mike Dunleavy's
departure for the NBA.

Some people said they felt betrayed, and some said they understood. We
felt sad about it, but betrayed? No. We've been pretty clear on our
emphasis on education and how it is valuable in and of itself. But you
know, being the #3 pick in the draft would be an enormous temptation for anyone,
not least of all Dunleavy. People tend to forget that this is a kid who
grew up playing pickup with Magic Johnson and guys like that. Ok, true,
there aren't many guys like that, but you get the point. Dunleavy
has been a lifer since he was dribbling. A guy like Jason or Carlos
understands the NBA only gradually, and it's not immediately clear that they can
be there. For Dunleavy, he's known what it's about, and he's known his
skills are NBA skills.

Even so, for him, this was clearly a difficult decision, and one he may
regret next season, depending on how things work out and where he ends up.
We had a lot of empathy with Mike as he went through this, because it was
obviously a wrenching decision.

While we wish he had stayed, and while he is giving up some important stuff
for money and the right to be slammed to the floor by 35 year old veterans,
we've never been in the position of turning down millions of dollars - much less
for something we've been involved with since we were 12. Moreover, he
seems to have really gone over this carefully, and used his leverage (will he
stay or go) to maximum advantage.

When Elton broke the ice and left early, there was a general feeling that he
was wise to do so, even though it was distressing. Avery's decision was
disastrous in the long run, as Coach K suggested at the time, and Maggette's was
just foolish.

Dunleavy, Williams, and Boozer were in the freshman class that replaced those
guys. During their time here, they have represented Duke very well.
Certainly graduating early, in the case of Williams and Boozer, is exceptional
(particularly given the demands of their sport), and Mike has always been humble
in victory and gracious in defeat. In many respects, these guys were all
you could ever want from Duke players. The fact that they're leaving early
doesn't really change that. Duke fans have been enormously blessed to have
these kids around.

They've each given an immense amount to Duke, and we can say this with some
perspective, are among the best kids to come through Duke. Period. We'd be
thrilled to have any of these boys as our own sons. Jason Williams is one
of the nicest, most decent people you can imagine. Carlos is a quiet guy,
but also eminently decent. Dunleavy has always been a class act.

In their departures, there is none of the sense of shabbiness that surrounded
William's and Corey's decisions. Like his teammates, Dunleavy thought it
through and made a rational decision. We wish he had made an emotional decision,
but so be it. It means he'll have a job instead of a scholarship. It
doesn't mean he's a bad kid. He's the same guy who has been a rock for his
teammates. He's going to be a great NBA player, as Magic Johnson
predicted, and he's going to continue to represent Duke wonderfully. All
we can say to Mike is we treasured your time here, and we hope you can help bring
some life back into the NBA, because right now, it's a crashing bore.