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Set The Wayback Machine To 1977 And The Debut of Mike Gminski

A look back at a time when Duke was struggling and mostly irrelevant. Mike Gminski would help change that.

NCAA Photos Archive
Mike Gminski getting a shot off against Kentucky in the 1978 national championship game

As we like to say from time to time, though the Krzyzewski era was astonishing and stands up to any body of work in NCAA history this side of John Wooden, Duke did play basketball before he got here and there were some great teams and players.

This article is from 1977, from the Washington Post archive and it’s about freshman Mike Gminski.

A lot of people know that G-Man came to Duke early, before they even called it reclassification. And when he got to campus, one of his teammates said with great relish that he was so big that he blocked out the light behind him when he stood in a doorway.

What you may not have known is that former Blue Devil Terry Chili had a key role to play in his recruitment.

Very few people knew that Gminski would be eligible to graduate as a high school junior, but he did tell Chili, who passed it on to then-coach Bill Foster.

A few months later, 16-year-old Gminski was starting at center for Duke and on his way to an ACC Rookie Of The Year campaign.