A few days ago a friend sent me an article that really made my mind turn into the enraged Jackie Chan meme. Then I found another article which continued this reaction and additionally made me laugh in ultimate irony. And God help you all as the readers, I’m going to address both of these events by turning to college basketball. Note: by no means am I done with football or futbol, but these two events needed my strict attention….
An ESPN headline from a little over an hour ago, my time (3:54 pm EST and it’s 4:02 CST for me), reads the following: “Coach K bars Duke players from locker room, bans them from wearing team apparel.” The article then further ascribes this due to the fact that Coach K, in his state of recovery from back surgery, is punishing his team from showing their support of their own team through clothing because they have started the ACC season 3-4…
Really? That is your grand solution to upholding the program that has been solely reliant upon you for 35+ years?
Let’s pull this apart for a minute…
1994-95: the year no Duke fan likes to think. After several successful years of coaching, including two titles and four Final Fours, Coach K had surgery. His interim replacement- Pete Gaudet- guided the Blue Devils to a horrendous 4-15 record. Their final record was 13-18 and Duke failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament….or even a good reputation.
Flash forward to this year, and Jeff Capel is unfortunately the next Gaudet. Wonderfully qualified, but unfortunately the philosophy and atmosphere just aren’t the same. Your coach is gone. Your best player is racking up technical fouls left and right. It’s a bad year. It’ll be okay though. The future is bright as long as Coach K returns. Now when he never returns….there’s the problem for Duke. Their whole franchise is based on him.
But I digress…
As for these comments….REALLY?
You’re not there to coach, so instead you micromanage from afar when history teaches us that Duke struggles when you aren’t there? Don’t get me wrong, man, I respect you, but this is just dumb. Let the kids wear their Duke apparel. Whether the results are what you expect or not, the kids are allowed to have pride. You can’t dictate branding to success alone. Have some spirit!
2 – Mediocrity State….I mean… NC State. (http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2017/1/25/14382916/nc-state-duke-tshirts-bookstore-dennis-smith-jr)
Apparently, 2017 is a momentous year for NC State. They get a point guard they believe will lead them to several years of success and they beat Duke at Cameron Indoor. Seems big, right?
If Duke were good, this would be a different connotation all together. But they’re not. They don’t even deserve to be ranked. For crying out loud, Coach K doesn’t even want them to represent Duke all the time and it took them a whole game against Wake Forest to steal a lead with ten seconds left. So to print T-shirts commemorating this event only shows that NC State has become so lackluster and mediocre that this constitutes itself as a big deal. Valvano is probably turning over in his grave at the idea that NC State treats beating Duke as some monumental task when his teams and earlier decades of Wolfpack success had consistently been a challenge for Duke. Even Sidney Lowe with his record of 86-78 was more of a challenge for Duke than you.
NC State, if you think that this victory was significant enough to celebrate and tout as the victory of the centuries since the last time NC State could even field a team good enough to get to the NCAA tournament and succeed there (1985), you need to move to a different conference. Maybe the Sun Belt or Atlantic Sun? Something more fitting as to how you’re celebrating this as much as you celebrated winning the NCAA title in ’83.
It’s exactly this idiocy that shows why no one in the ACC respects NC State, their ridiculous fans’ standards, and their horrible records in most of their sports. I hear bass fishing is going well though…