Davidson and UNC Lose 3 Star Juniors: Coach K Pumps Fist

Posted by nvr1983 on April 23rd, 2009

After arguably being the third best team in the state of North Carolina the past 3 years (behind UNC and Davidson in 2008 and behind UNC and Wake Forest in 2009), Duke may have just ended up with the best team on Tobacco Road and the ACC by simply holding onto its stars this off-season with the possible exception of Gerald Henderson. Let’s run through the challengers for Duke in the state of North Carolina (NC State left out for Sidney Lowe obvious reasons).


Wake Forest? Having lost James Johnson and Jeff Teague to the NBA Draft, Dino Gaudio will be hard-pressed to replicate this year’s success (outside of their embarrassing first round loss to Cleveland State) with just Al-Farouq Aminu returning to lead the Demon Deacons. I’d say they’re going to be worrying more about playing for a NCAA bid than about challenging Duke for the ACC title (although Teague may ultimately return).

Davidson? Although Davidson’s drop-off this year (from a missed Jason Richards‘ 3-pointer at the buzzer away from the Final 4 to a NIT also-ran) made the Wildcats seem like an unlikely threat this coming season, having Stephen Curry in the mix meant that the Wildcats had the potential to threaten any team in the country (even if some people think he isn’t quite all that he’s hyped up to be). However, today in a move that wasn’t surprising to all but the most deluded fans, Curry announced that he will turn pro and hire an agent ending any chance of stealing Pete Maravich‘s career scoring record (done in 3 years without a 3-point line). Good luck playing for a Southern Conference title and a 15-seed for the next few seasons Wildcats.

UNC? Going into the off-season, the Tar Heels posed the greatest threat to Duke next season even with the loss of all-time ACC leading scorer Tyler Hansbrough (I know it sounds weird to me too), Danny Green, and Bobby Frasor (the Deadspin commenters will miss him more than Tar Heel fans will). As all Tar Heels knew the fate of their 2009-10 season hung on the decision of juniors Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington. If either of them returned (both returning was just a pipe dream), Roy Williams would have another national title contender with Marcus Ginyard, Tyler Zeller, and Ed Davis returning and John Henson, David Wear, and Travis Wear (and potentially John Wall) coming to Chapel Hill next year. Instead, both Lawson and Ellington declared for the draft today. Assuming that Ty can hire a designated driver from now until the NBA Draft, I don’t expect to see either of them suiting up in Carolina blue again as they are both at their peak value. The Tar Heels are a shoe-in for the NCAA tournament next year and will probably will be in contention for a top 4 seed particularly if Wall decides to not listen to his handler Brian Clifton and play for Roy.

What does all this mean for Duke, which has struggled to live up to its reputation and ESPN’s infatuation since Chris Duhon left?  Although Coach K will have to wait a year to add Seth Curry, and there has been no official communication from Durham, I’d have to guess that it would look something like this. . .

So for all of you Duke haters, get ready for an unbearable next 11 months (especially if the Devils, and not UNC, garner the services of John Wall). For all the Duke fans, the pressure is now back on. Just making it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament won’t cut it this time.

nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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9 responses to “Davidson and UNC Lose 3 Star Juniors: Coach K Pumps Fist”

  1. The Doc says:

    Coach K was on the Colbert Report last night. Pretty Cool ! He said his daughter was a fan of “the nation”


  2. tallguy says:

    Umm, how was Duke behind Wake last year? They split, Duke finished 2nd in the ACC, won the ACC tournament, and got further in the tournament. Also, Duke did beat Davidson in Charlotte year before last.

  3. Michael says:

    What the hell are you talking about!?

    Duke overacheived last year as it is, with Gerald Henderson. They were shellacked by ‘Nova in that Sweet 16 game. Subtract Gerald Henderson, don’t add a point guard, and only add 2 lanky White guys (just what Duke needed) and they’re a worse team than last year. Even the Sweet 16 is a lofty goal.

  4. Allen says:

    This article is preposterous. While UNC has obviously been better than Duke these past two years, Davidson and Wake Forest have not. Duke is 2-0 against Davidson the past two years and 2-2 with Wake Forest. Additionally, Duke won the ACC tournament this year and made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA, while Wake Forest lost in the first round of both tournaments and didn’t even make the NCAA tournament in 2008. Get your facts straight.

  5. nvr1983 says:

    The Doc–
    I actually made a post about it yesterday (http://rushthecourt.net/2009/04/22/coach-k-trying-to-raise-his-appeal-to-the-13-25-year-old-demographic/), but thanks anyways.

    To the rest of you, I’ll address it by point.

    – As you might note from the second word of the article (I don’t know if they teach reading beyond the title in Durham these days) I said “arguably”, which means it is open to debate (or argument since I know you Blue Devils will try to send me some dictionary definition). I’m willing to give Duke the slight edge over Wake this year, but it’s not that pronounced. I think if they played 10 times the series would be pretty close. As for Davidson in 2008, the regular season win for Duke is nice, but I think Elite 8 trumps 2nd round (there is a nice fact for you Allen). Like I said it’s arguable, but the fact that it’s even close says something about how far Duke has slipped.

    – As for Duke in 2009, (1) the white guy theory is lame so try to come up with something about their games, (2) Henderson played like garbage against Villanova (but but he’s not lanky and he’s not white) so don’t act like he was some kind of savior, and (3) the ACC will be garbage next year and even a very good Duke team should be able to run through the league with the exception of UNC. With the pieces they are putting together for next year, they have their first legit Final 4 team in years.

  6. Michael says:

    I will come up with something – defense. The last half of the season last year, Duke played garbage D, terrible at stopping any penetration. Unless Zoubek somehow transforms into an effective shotblocker, capable of defending the rim, or Nolan Smith or Scheyer steps up their D at the point, Duke will only be a pretty good team next year.

    Henderson wasn’t a savior by any stretch (the team didn’t have one), but he was the team’s best player once ACC play started, not Singler or Scheyer. Elliot Williams will certainly become a better player next year, but this team still doesn’t have a dominant player or the defense to come close to the Final Four.

  7. heavyd says:

    As a ncstate fan I am glad you took a shot at us,lowe is a total disgrace and unless changes are made we will be way down.Did anyone see the espn interview where he say’s many nba teams are calling him ,but he is staying put at state?

  8. heavyd says:

    Why does Sidney Lowe still have a job?

  9. Wolfpack says:

    Im also glad they took a shot at us (im an NCSU student) Lee Fowler, has done a great job of running our athletics program into the ground. Im still amazed Sidney Lowe has a job, but then again knowing fowler he might hire someone worse if he were fired

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