Extra Practice Time Allows Duke a Leisurely Trip to NYC

Posted by Lathan Wells on October 16th, 2013

With the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s college basketball season rapidly approaching, coaches are all striving to find ways to bond and unite their teams. This season, the NCAA was kind enough to grant college teams an extra few weeks of practice time, allowing for preseason workout regimens to begin in late September and allowing for players and coaches to become better acquainted with one another earlier than in years past. With the ACC now expanding its ranks to include Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh, all coaches are looking to use that time to gain a leg up.

Duke Players at NYC's Historic Rucker Park Courts (credit: GoDuke.com)

Duke Players at NYC’s Historic Rucker Park Courts (credit: GoDuke.com)

That competitive edge is not always gained strictly through practice and weightlifting sessions. Often, it’s the extra time spent hanging out together that helps a team gel, whether through playing video games in the hotel or extra face time with the coach. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, always one looking for ways to bring his team together as a unit, used the opportunity this preseason to take his Blue Devils on a Columbus Day weekend trip called “Duke Elevate” to New York City.  According to ESPN’s Andy Katz, among other things, the team visited the Apollo Theatre, the 9/11 Memorial, Broadway, West Point, and the Museum of Modern Art. While a cynic might say Coach K is trying to impress culture on young men who just want to refine their games on the hardwood in hopes of making it to the next level, a realist might argue that it’s these times away from the gym, yet still together as a team, that often forge the best collective units. The NCAA disallowed international travel in the month of October this year, but traveling to see some of our country’s most impressive sights in the Big Apple is a pretty good Plan B.

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Morning Five: 10.03.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 3rd, 2013


  1. So apparently the concept of amateurism still has some supporters in the college basketball world, and it probably won’t surprise you that one of its most ardent proponents is a head coach who has never shied from giving his honest opinion. Venerable Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim told the Post-Standard yesterday that the notion of paying student-athletes is “really the most idiotic suggestion of all time.” His tirade on the subject is well worth the read, and we highly suggest that you trudge through the entire thing this morning. Over the course of several minutes, Boeheim managed to come dangerously close to a Jim Calhoun-esque “not a dime back” moment when discussing his salary; he lobbed a grenade at Chris Webber’s illicit behavior while at Michigan; and he closed things out with an avuncular comment about people “just crying for a cause” [presumably Jay Bilas, whom Boeheim respects, is one of those whiners]. If you read nothing else today, read Boeheim’s diatribe.
  2. Midnight Madness is still a couple weeks away at most schools, but no program’s fans in America take it more seriously than those at Kentucky. With tickets for Big Blue Madness set to release Saturday morning in Lexington, UK fans anticipating the “best recruiting class in 20 years” [according to Rick Pitino] have already built a tent city numbering 650+ domiciles outside the UK ticket office. Fans began lining up on Wednesday morning, some 72 hours prior to sale of the tickets (which are free, actually), and rumors are running rampant about the names of the star-studded lineup that John Calipari will have performing at Rupp Arena this year. For most fans, though, the only performers that will matter are the ones named Randle, Harrison (x2), Johnson, Young and Lee. Everyone in the college basketball world is anxious to see what this group can do.
  3. If you need a head start thinking about the Wildcats, The Dagger‘s Jeff Eisenberg has us covered with a highlight post (along with translations) of John Calipari‘s recent Q&A with reporters (posted in its entirety on CoachCal.com). Eisenberg picked out what he calls the four most significant quotes from the head coach, and it’s clear that he’s well-versed not only in coachspeak but also in Caliparispeak. The most compelling quotes from our perspective were the first, where Calipari tried to explain/excuse last year’s disastrous season, and the third, where he skirts around the notion that Julius Randle could become a bigger version of the national championship team’s heart and soul, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. No matter how this year’s team turns out, Calipari’s mood is a lot different from the one we all witnessed last October when he was contemplating how to run his system without a reliable point guard.
  4. Some tough luck out of the Colorado State program, as redshirt senior Jesse Carr, projected to be the team’s best returning player after losing all five starters, re-injured the ACL in his left knee on Monday this week. Given that he had already received a waiver from the NCAA to suit up for a sixth year, this injury effectively ends his college basketball career. Two seasons ago Carr contributed a nice all-around floor game of 7/3/3 APG as CSU earned its first bid to the NCAA Tournament in nine seasons. Now, head coach Larry Eustachy must try to make do with few experienced returnees, although Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year Jon Octeus is a fine place to start the rebuild.
  5. Speaking of knee injuries, NBA superstar Dwyane Wade made some interesting comments on Wednesday about his ongoing joint issues. Specifically, he blames surgery that he had on his meniscus while at Marquette in 2002 for hampering his professional career. As he put it, the push at the time was simply to get him back on the basketball court as soon as possible: “the way you approach things was different.” His medical team didn’t take a long-term approach to his career, and he believes that removal of the entire meniscus 11 years ago has strongly contributed to the myriad problems that he’s had with the knee ever since. While we’re sure that every successful athlete thinks that they could be even better if XYZ had not happened, the fact remains that Wade has already had a HOF career with three world championships to his name. As Ball Don’t Lie‘s Eric Freeman writes, there’s no guarantee that a longer view of the injury would have resulted in an equally fulfilling career because so many other variables would have then been brought into play. And that’s true with any regret. Well said.
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