We're really pleased that Duke is going to honor C.B. Claiborne, who was Duke's first African-American athlete. He played for Vic Bubas from 1967-69 and it's fair to say that he suffered while he was here.
Duke will also honor Dr. William Turner, Dr. Clarence âC.G.â Newsome, Ernie Jackson, and Bubas at halftime of the St. John's game.
Barry Jacobs as you probably know, has written a book on the first African-American basketball players at each ACC and SEC school. The stories are pretty powerful, and all of these guys went through some very difficult things. He also has an article up at GoDuke.com on Claiborne's journey.
We want to honor everyone who is presented Saturday, not least of all Vic Bubas who did so much to establish what we now think of as Duke basketball. He was an amazing coach and Duke would not be what it is without him.
Turner, Newsome and Jackson, we're quite sure, shared similar experiences with Claiborne.
Our hope, though, is that the Crazies, who ring the court where Claiborne played, will do something particularly special for him. When he was in school, he was just barely accepted; the Crazies may in a few months have the choice of voting for an African-American for president. Things have changed enormously since he was a student, but the fact is that he was never fully accepted, much less shown the adoration that Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Jason Williams and others got without reservation.
Give it to him Saturday.