After we read this article about Grayson Allen always wanting to attend Duke, we had to stop and think: how often have we heard this?
We seem to remember hearing it about Rasheed Sulaimon, and you'd think for second-generation guys like Clay Buckley or Lee Melchionni, it's almost bound to be true. But it's more than that.
Shane Battier never really admitted to it when he was being recruited, but when he got to campus, he was totally geeked up to see Cameron.
After he saw Christian Laettner's shot against Kentucky, JJ Redick told his parents he was coming to Duke.
Rodney Hood, too, though he wasn't offered out of high school. Jamal Boykin really, really loved Duke; he just couldn't get on the court. Going back a ways, as a native of Durham, Stu Yarborough might have dreamed of playing at Duke. We've heard of others, but can't recall them at the moment.
Just as interesting are the guys who grew up loving other schools but who realized Duke was a better fit: Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and Jason Williams all loved UNC growing up. The Plumlees have family ties to Purdue. Shavlik Randolph's grandfather is Ronnie Shavlik of NC State fame, but other family members are UNC grads. Danny Ferry was supposedly tipped to go to UNC.Â Andre Buckner's brother went to Clemson. The ebullient Nolan Smith's dad won a national title at Louisville, and Smith pulled hard for the Cards this spring. Jason and Jeff Capel grew up in the state and knew all the schools well and chose quite differently. And Mike Dunleavy's dad supposedly pushed UNC.
Then there are guys like Chris Carrawell, who was a Michigan fan growing up; he idolized the Fab Five. He pulled for Vegas in the Final Fours where they played Duke and really had no interest in Duke until it came time to look for his own school.
He told us, pretty memorably, that once he got to Duke, and found that people were really friendly, and that it was a gracious campus with trees and birds and interesting buildings, that he totally fell for the place. Beat the heck out of St. Louis.