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Next Up - NCCU

Next up for Duke is the second and final exhibition game, and the most
dangerous as well. As Wake Forest found out the other night, scheduling a
local team, which makes sense under the recent rule changes concerning
exhibition games, guarantees an intense response. Whether NCCU has enough
talent and heart
to take on what could be a D-1 juggernaut is uncertain, but
after Wake's experience, you can't discount the possibility.

Odds are certainly heavy that Duke will dominate Central. They don't
have an answer for big men Shelden Williams and Josh McRoberts, much less the
smaller J.J. Redick. Chances are they'll have trouble matching up with
DeMarcus Nelson or anyone else, for that matter. Duke's resources dwarf
Central's, and the talent gap is immense.

It wasn't always this way, of course. In the old days, before
integration, NCCU had one of the most innovative coaches in basketball history
and a number of superb players, including Sam Jones, who later went on to a Hall
of Fame career with the Celtics.

Integration was long overdue, but for any change there are prices to be paid,
and one of the prices was the athletic programs of historically black schools.
Forty years ago, they could still produce an Earl Monroe. By the end of
the sixties, that day was largely gone, and now, the odds are against a player
from a traditionally black school making it to the NBA.

Last year, Duke dominated the Eagles, winning 95-58, and that team had a
number of seniors. This year, they have five new starters and a much
younger team. Seven of their new players are transfers, something
you won't see every day.