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Why You Should Be Rooting For Duke

HOUSTON - MARCH 28: Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates a win with a teammate over the Baylor Bears during the south regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium on March 28, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Duke defeated Baylor 78-71. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Allie PeckContributor INovember 29, 2016

Duke is probably the most hated team in sports history.

Why?

- They are just so good.

- They have players like JJ Redick and Christian Laettner that are so good it makes people mad.

-You hate that Duke has a spotless NCAA record; you hate that they consistently recruit high school All-Americans; and you hate that Coach Mike Krzyzewski does everything right and just keeps winning

Okay, fair enough, even us Duke fans understand all that, but this year's team is different. It is a completely new kind of Duke team. As a lifelong Duke fan, I've seen many squads come and go.

I have followed this team more closely than any other team that I can remember. I have become incredibly attached to this team because they are such a likeable group. Here are the reasons you should root for them

1. Nolan Smith is Playing In The Memory Of His Father

Nolan's mother is the reason my dad and I have sat behind the bench at 2 games in cameron then met the players after, and gone to a barbeque restaurant with Nolan, his family, Josh Hairston, Kyrie Irving, and Tyler Thornton and their family.

You can't hate Nolan. 

His dad died tragically of a sudden heart attack on a cruise and ever since Nolan has been playing in memory of him

 

2. Whether you like it or not, Duke has the BEST COACH.

Coach K has led Duke to 3 championships and 12 Final Fours. Also, he represents our country in the USA basketball team!

 

3. Andre Dawkins and his struggles.

Andre's parents were driving up to see him play and his sister died in a car accident.

He also left high school a year early!

 

4.  Brian Zoubek stepped out of the phone booth and became Zouperman.

Seven-foot-one Zoubek was a McDonald's All-American. Three years into his career at Duke, he had been posting numbers that don't seem like an All-American stat line: 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

I might also add that he probably (this is purely from observation) led the league in traveling, turnovers per possession, fouls, and disqualifications.

Since Zoubs was inserted in to the starting lineup for the home game against Maryland, he has averaged 6.6 points and 10.1 rebounds a game—including 5.9 offensive boards a game. And that's while playing only 23.1 minutes a game!

He's learned how to play smart defense—without fouling—and has become one of the best passers on the team.

Zoubek was essential against Baylor's 2-3 zone, grabbing offensive boards and kicking the ball out to wide-open shooters.

I almost can't believe it myself, but Zoubs might just be more important to this team than any of the "big three."

You gotta feel great for the kid though, because he's such a good person, an academic all-american, and one of the toughest guys in the ACC.

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