This year’s NCAA tourney, while not full of upsets, has been entertaining. Big comebacks, rallies, chokes, clutch shots, I don’t need to keep running off what has made it so enjoyable. One thing missing has been Duke hate, usually a staple of March for millions. They were done about five minutes into the madness.
The NBA has not been kind to Duke players. Grant Hill was on his way to being on at least the top 50 of all-time list to put it conservatively, and he can’t stay healthy. Elton Brand has put up big numbers on terrible teams for pretty much his entire career, and even this year his team isn’t that good. Those are probably the best two Duke players in the NBA. The school is cursed.
And then there was last night. Carlos Boozer, a career high 41 and 16. Luol Deng, a career high 38. JJ Redick, 12 points off the bench. Shane Battier, doing Battier things in a blowout win over Milwaukee. The only blips on the Duke radar were Rasheed’s 60 footer and Shelden Williams’ role in the Hack-a-Shaq. It may have been the best NBA night for Duke players in years.
And what is the common thread? Who prepared these young men for life? Coach K, that’s who! I really can’t put Boozer over Deng, just because Deron Williams played a pretty big role in getting Carlos the ball. The tourney has been virtually Coach K-less not counting the commercials, but sometimes you have to give it up for people you usually can’t stand. Mike Krzyzewski, you are the Player of the D.A.Y.
Now, there has been some confusion about the time I awarded God the Player of the D.A.Y., because I tied it in to David Lee’s miracle tip that broke Michael Jordan’s courtside-sitting heart. Here is what I wrote back then:
No. Those are both wrong. Michael Jordan showed his face at the Garden last night. You think it’s a coincidence that there was a snowstorm preventing the guy who crossed him up and made cornrows and tats mainstream from playing with the handpicked Brand Jordan spokesman?
The Player of the D.A.Y. is God. Michael Jordan. For postponing the Denver-Phoenix game with his powers.
I can see how it is worded poorly. To clear that up, let’s call it a split between Jordan and God. The reason I am discussing all of this now is because I’m doing it again. To praise Coach K means to sacrifice a piece of your soul, and the word “devil” is a part of his school’s team name.
Today’s Player of the D.A.Y. is therefore a split between Mike Krzyzewski and The Devil.