I saw the report on DBR and I was honestly shocked. Now let me be clear, 10 years ago I wouldn't have been, but honestly the respect and admiration from the Kentucky side, towards Duke is at a high in my lifetime. After Laettner was such a great sport and hilarious coach in Lexington this summer with the "Heroes vs. Villains" games. Hurley is well respected and seen around the Bluegrass all the time. Matt jones at KSR and Bomani Jones always spend time speaking about the similarities in the programs. In truth, UK fans have been largely supportive of Duke and its team. Why? We both understand great coaches and teams. Seriously, look at our old favs on the UK side. Not a lot of NBA stars, more team based, and a place that once held the record Coach K now has. As much as we love Calipari's recruiting, and pray to the good Lord he isn't cheating, we love our teams (like the no name "Unforgettables" that hang in the rafters at Rupp, from the 1992 classic) that love our school.
Wall, Cousins, Knight, those guys that left, but they still talk about UK much the way old Duke players speak of Coach K. We love that devotion to a coach and style that we see at Duke. K set the bar in that regard.
I'm on an email chain with a bunch of Kentucky fans and the commentary all week was actually about the respect we all have for Coach K as a coach. Do we want to win big if we play them? Do we hate the Jedi mind trick power he seemingly has on Karl Hess? Of course, but, do we have some seething hatred for Duke and its fans? No. Honestly no. Not like the 1990's.
We talked about how great K is at getting his teams to gel, about how we appreciate the style he plays and the defensive level that his teams reach in February, much like Calipari's old Memphis teams. This was a legit thread on how K is the best in the game and we all agreed hands down.
So I saw that post and am disheartened because I have really enjoyed interacting with Duke fans. They are knowledgeable and passionate. Unlike UNC fans which is definitely in our wheelhouse these days (they know so little about the game and when times get rough the bail, check the attendance during Dougherty years).
We have rednecks. No doubt, it's just how it is with my home state, but they usually aren't hateful. They usually want to talk ball and hear about your recruiting class.
I was at the Garden Tuesday night. My section didn't boo Coach K. They clapped. They may have booed Bob Knight but thatâs a different story. IU-UK was a big rival and he will always get it from us.
But, long story short, those fans that heckled that guy and apparently booed, if that did happen, it sure as hell isn't the sentiment of the fan base and wasn't the sentiment in the Garden Tuesday. We can't wait to play in Atlanta next year. And we can agree wholeheartedly on one thingâ¦we despise UNC.
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