Forgetting Harrison Barnes: A Duke Fan's How-To Guide

Mike KlineAnalyst INovember 16, 2009

Friday afternoon was a bit of a downer for Duke basketball fans, to say the least.

Not only did the one recruit fans have been waiting on for months spurn their beloved Blue Devils, but he did so for his sworn enemy.


From what I saw the reactions from fans varied anywhere from suicidal to downright nasty.

To quote Jay from the movie Chasing Amy, "Look at these morose mother scratchers (edited for the kids) right here."

And on Friday it looked as if Harrison Barnes had indeed "pooped" (again edited) in Duke fans' collective cereal.

Many Duke fans, like any other group of fans, don't tend to handle rejection well, especially at the hands of North Carolina.

But I believe I've compiled a list of things fans can do to help ease their pain.

Enjoy the New Season

Fans had little time to mourn before getting back to work as the official season tipped off Friday night.

Duke easily took care of business against an over-matched opponent.

And while that doesn't make up for the loss of a prized recruit to North Carolina, it does help to be able to go out and beat the crap out of someone afterwards.

The team looked fairly good doing it, so fans can at least take that point as a positive. Why worry about next year when this year is just getting started?

Look at Who Is Coming

If you must worry, then just look who Duke did manage to bring in for next season.

Sure Barnes would have been the jewel in the 2010 recruiting class, but it isn't like the Blue Devils are bringing in a bunch of slouches. Between Kyrie Irving and Joshua Hairston, Duke has secured two highly-rated players who will be able to add to the already solid nucleus.

Figure in Tyler Thornton, who could prove to be a capable player, and the cupboard is hardly bare.

Look Who Is Coming Back

The Blue Devils figure to bring back a lot of players with a lot of experience. At this point Duke will bring back Nolan Smith, Miles Plumlee, and Mason Plumlee—all starters.

If Kyle Singler decides to stay for his senior year, which may be a big "if" but still a possibility, that would surely help Duke fans forget about Barnes real quickly. Add in Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, and Olek Czyz and the returning nucleus is strong indeed.

How About Some Curry?

Don't forget that Seth Curry, brother of Stephen Curry, will be eligible to play after sitting out this season following his transfer from Liberty. Curry appears to be the real deal and will certainly add more spice to Duke's offensive punch next season.

Add him to the returning unit, mixed in with the incoming freshmen, and that makes for a pretty good looking team.

Ignore the Carolina Fans

The hardest part about Barnes' decision for Duke fans is that it was like losing to North Carolina without even playing them.

Sure, recruiting is at times a competition with the future on the line rather than a game; it shouldn't sting as much as Barnes’ decision does. It absolutely kills the Blue Devil fanbase, but what makes it worse is the contingent of North Carolina fans who will be hell bent on rubbing it in and declaring Duke's demise because of it.

I have news for them; it will take more than the decision of a 17-year-old who can't even drive yet to end the Duke basketball program. Of course it hurts, but the Blue Devils' program wasn't built in a day, and it won't collapse in a day either.

For Duke fans, the best cure is also the hardest. Just ignore Carolina fans. Don't give their jabs the time of day and don't take the bait.

Those fans will try to get you into a who-has-a-better-coach-and-a-better-program discussion, and it just isn't worth the effort.

It’s like that scene in WarGames where Matthew Broderick challenges the computer that is trying to destroy the world to a game of tic-tac-toe.

There can be no winner in that game or the "who's better" debate.

So the best remedy is to turn a deaf ear and wait to see how things pan out on the floor. That is where it really matters anyway.

Don't Worry, There Is Another—Maybe

Mike Krzyzewski had often been criticized for his lack of widespread recruiting. In the past, he would focus his efforts on one guy, and if that guy chose to go elsewhere, there wouldn't be a second option. That has proven less than productive given the recent number of high-profile recruiting misses.

To me that is more of a flaw in the system rather than ability to recruit. So Krzyzewski has changed his system to compensate. After Barnes made his decision, the Duke staff was already in communication with Roscoe Smith, another highly-touted small forward.

Quincy Miller, another big-time recruit for the class of 2011, will be on campus Monday and attend Duke's game against Coastal Carolina.

So Duke fans obsessed with recruiting can ponder those names, and perhaps some others who may fill out an already solid 2010 recruiting class.

There Is No Time Like the Present

With all this obsession on the future, it is time to come back to the present.

This year’s team has played only one game, and there is an entire season left still to play. Enjoy it.

There is need to worry about tomorrow until it gets here. As fans we have no control over it, so it is best to worry only about today.

So if you are one of the Duke fans who is still moping around following Barnes' decision, snap out of it. This year's team needs your support now. No need to write them off, as they might end up being a pleasant surprise.

As for Barnes, the next time you will see him will be in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

I'm sure the Crazies will give him a warm welcome.


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