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No NIL Money, But The Chicago Trip Seems Like A Major Success

Something special could be happening with this Duke team

MLB: APR 20 Astros at White Sox
 CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 20: A view of the Chicago skyline, north view of the stadium, prior to a game between the and the Houston Astros the Chicago White Sox on April 20, 2018, at Guaranteed Rate Field, in Chicago, IL.
Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As far as we can tell, the main reason for Duke’s Chicago trip, an NIL payday, was nullified by the NCAA for reasons best known to the cartel itself. But that doesn’t mean the trip was a bust. Far from it. There appear to be two really great benefits from it.

First, the long term/big picture: the players got to go to the Chicago Board of Exchange and to see, up close, how that works. It’s a major part of the economy and relatively few people get to experience it that way.

They also got to meet traders and titans of industry, including the CEO of McDonald’s, Chris Kempczinski. And they got to meet former secretary of education, Arne Duncan, who shares some things in common with them. He’s quite tall - 6-7 - and played college ball at Harvard and professionally for some time, primarily in Australia.

Duncan tweeted (X’d?) that he was impressed with the team and saw this trip as a chance to build chemistry and trust.

And that’s the second part.

It didn't really sink in right away, but there have been a number of tweets posted showing this group just doing silly things together. None of them were major or important by themselves, but taken together, what it demonstrates is a) they had a good time and b) this group seems to have excellent chemistry.

You can recruit great players, but if they don’t get along, as we saw at UNC last year, talent isn't as helpful as it could be.

Of course it’s still July and there’s a long way to go. But starting off with a group that likes each other, as this team obviously does, is a major advantage.