Duke the Despicable: 6 Reasons to Hate Duke Right Now
If you’ve followed college basketball for any length of time, you know there are two incontrovertible truths: First, you’re not fooling anyone, UC Santa Cruz. No one knows what the heck a banana slug is. And second, Duke is the most hated team in the sport—maybe in any sport.
MSNBC did a poll back in 2005 about the most loathed team in basketball, and the Blue Devils came out on top with 53 percent. Think about that for a second. There are 342 schools playing Division I roundball, and for a single school to garner more than half the votes is downright astonishing. Fidel Castro used to win Cuban “elections” by smaller margins.
But it makes sense. Duke is like the Darth Vader, or more accurately, the Citigroup, of the NCAA. Unless you went to or are affiliated with Duke, you don’t like Duke. It’s as simple as that.
There are so many reasons to despise the Blue Devils, you could fill a book. And we* have done just that. Duke Sucks: A Completely Even-Handed, Unbiased Investigation Into the Most Evil Team on Planet Earth is available now, and it builds a pretty damning case against those guys in Durham, if we do say so ourselves.
The bottom line is that people hate Duke because Duke deserves to be hated; from the flopping, to the obnoxious fans, to the players under-performing in the NBA. It’s all in there, along with other fascinating stuff, like stats proving Duke big men (the most worthless thing this side of a male nipple) actually get worse playing for the school, and a hard-hitting investigation into whether Coach K dyes his hair.
But the really wonderful thing about being a Duke hater is, it’s the hobby that keeps on giving. Most schools could only manage to do something truly awful once every other season, tops. We’re talking something that makes you cover your face with your hands and mutter, “God, these a-holes,” under your breath. Duke does something every week. Every. Single. Week.
I mean, have you seen this video?
We’ll let its terribleness speak for itself, except to say that it was commissioned and paid for by the university. Duke: the only school that has to produce its own fan-made videos. Someone put that on a bumper sticker.
The point is, even without reaching into the past and bringing up Wojo or “The Stomp” or Coach K’s penchant for threatening to jump to the pros when he wants a raise or all that other really awful stuff, there are still reasons to hate Duke right this second. Many, many reasons. In the interest of brevity, here are six.
*Tucker co-authored the book with Andy Bagwell. Tucker is a staff features writer at the New York Post. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Bagwell is a former member of Selected Hilarity, one of the top college comedy acts in the nation. He lives in Cary, North Carolina. The two host the “Tar Heel Bred, Tar Heel Dead” podcast, an obsessive, occasionally humorous look at UNC basketball.
1. The Cameron Crazies Suck
The craziest fans in all college basketball? Hardly.
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
If you’re anything like us, you’re sick of hearing that Duke fans are “the best fans in all of sports.” Dick Vitale repeats the sentiment every broadcast like some sort of bald parrot.
The stone-cold truth is, Duke fans are not the best in sports, especially this season. Attendance at Cameron has been dropping consistently over the last five years. And yes, it was even down the year Duke won the national championship in 2010. Just 650 undergrads show up to each home game, Duke’s student newspaper recently reported.
Six-hundred and fifty. There are more people in line for hot dogs at Rupp.
The cratering attendance has become so bad that the university has resorted to selling more tickets to the general public.
Want to talk about crazy, Cameron Crazies? That’s crazy.
2. Austin Rivers Sucks
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Thank God the much-hyped guard chose to go to Duke, because he made us realize something important. All these years, we’ve been trying to destroy Duke from the outside, when really the best method is to take them down from the inside.
And here’s hoping Austin can do just that.
Rarely in the Coach K era has a more selfish and egotistical freshman come along. He’s so terrible that he gave himself a nickname, “Sub-Zero.”
How long until Rivers completely destroys team chemistry with his behavior? He’s leading the team in shot attempts (at press time, he had three fewer shot attempts than all three Plumlee brothers combined), but he’s in last place in field goal percentage, unless you count someone named Todd Zafirovski, who’s played a grand total of nine minutes. How many more of his ill-advised one-on-five drive attempts will his teammates tolerate?
The Rivers magic is already working. Coach K took the unusual step of benching him earlier this month for laying a four-point, zero-assist egg at Clemson, and Sub-Zero responded by lashing out at his fellow Dookies and getting in fights at practice.
Oh, and he also walks a lot.
3. Coach K’s Record Sucks
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Unless you’re living on a dusty highland in Afghanistan or something, you’ve surely heard that Coach K broke some sort of record this year. Great. Congratulations. Someone bust out a really expensive bottle of bubbly that only a Duke student could afford.
The American Express shill supposedly became the winningest coach in basketball history with his 903rd W against Michigan State back in November.
The only problem is, by any fair-minded measure, he’s not quite there yet. He should have had 37 wins subtracted for playing the entire 1998-99 season with an ineligible player, Corey Maggette.
Maggette, you’ll probably remember, was accused of receiving cash while in high school from an AAU coach with the unfortunate name of Myron Piggie. The coach was sentenced to 37 months in the federal pen for fraud, and Maggette ultimately admitted he took the money.
And yet, the NCAA did nothing. The organization took nearly four years to investigate the incident and ultimately ruled that neither Duke nor Maggette knew about the payments. Huh?
Similar cases crop up every once in a while in college basketball, and with very few exceptions, teams with ineligible players are forced to vacate their wins. It happened to Memphis, who had to void its entire 2007-08 season, its NCAA banners removed, after Derrick Rose was determined to have been involved in some academic funny business. Why not Duke?
Coach K’s record is bogus, and if you’re counting at home, he’s (as of the Jan. 26) really at 879 wins, tied with Dean Smith. He should actually pass Bob Knight some time next season. Let the real countdown begin!
4. The Plumlees Suck
Harry How/Getty Images
There are now three of them on the team. Three.
5. Duke’s Coaching Tree Sucks
Capel, one of Coach K's assistants, left Oklahoma on bad terms.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
While other vaunted college programs have produced legions of great coaches (cough, UNC, cough), Duke has produced jacksquat.
Their coaching tree is a crusty, brown stump. Most of Coach K’s assistants head out into the wide world of head coaching and get fired for poor performance or because of some sort of violation. Which is when they’re welcomed back to Durham.
Check out Duke’s newest hire this year, Jeff Capel. The former Dookie was fired by Oklahoma last March and came slinking back to the Duke bench after one of his Sooner players was accused of taking $3,000 from a financial adviser linked to one of Capel’s assistants.
Is that who they really want molding young minds in Durham?
6. Duke’s Ethics Suck
Coach K has conducted unethical recruiting practices, Tucker suggests.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
And speaking of violations, you know that other popular Dookie V mantra about how you never hear about them at Duke? Well, you may not hear about them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen.
Take the latest possible infraction, which the university sheepishly announced not-so-coincidentally on a Saturday last July when they hoped no one would be paying attention to the news.
Apparently, Coach K offered prospect Alex Poythress a scholarship during a period in which the NCAA rules forbid contact. Anyone hear this being brought up in telecasts this year? Anyone expect Duke to actually get punished?
Oh, and Poythress? He committed to Kentucky. Smart man.