Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Steve Wojciechowski, JJ Redick, Grayson Allen: these are the Duke players who have generally driven most of the Duke hating over the past several decades as the Blue Devils grew into a dominant program under Mike Krzyzewski.
You can probably add Kyle Filipowski to that list now too. Or rather, he just added himself.
The talented 6-11 Duke forward - actually, Duke lists him at 7-0 now - was interviewed on Duke’s new Brotherhood Podcast and hilariously said this: “I did experience some (hate) last year, just hearing a lot of bad talk about me. That’s what happens when you’re a really good player playing for a really good team. ... I use it as fuel to the fire. It makes me laugh because I’m like, ‘You guys are talking s—t to me while you’re watching me play. You’re spending your money to watch me beat your ass.’ It’s very entertaining for me.”
As Cameron Salerno points out here, Filipowski is taking on the mantel of the most vilified Duke player. It’s a tradition that the above-mentioned players embraced for the most part, although Redick said a while back that he really struggled with it and nearly quit basketball over the pressure it put on him.
For the most part, although he just drew a target on his own back, Filipowski seems pretty comfortable with it. It’s one thing in the summer though; it’s quite another when fans are breathing down your neck, finding your cell number or talking about your young sister, as Maryland fans did to Redick.
Still, it’s good to have players with personality, although sometimes the coaches have to reel you in a bit. Shortly Jason Williams committed to Duke, we heard him on a radio interview talking about UNC. He was unhappy that the Tar Heels hadn’t recruited him more aggressively and said he was looking forward to making them pay, or words to that effect.
As we recall, no doubt encouraged the the coaching staff, he made some bland, conciliatory comments after that. Fiery is one thing but you don’t want to give your opponents fuel.
Still, the fact that Duke has always trusted players with social media, and now podcasts, is quite a refreshing change from programs that monitor every move and even occasionally ban players from social media or, in extreme cases, we believe a handful of coaches actually collect phones for a bit to enforce control. In 2023, that’s just a ludicrous thing to do. It’s nice that Duke trusts players.