The theme of the night was imagine and Mike Krzyzewski encouraged his team and the fans to imagine what this team can do if they play together and have the fans support.
It may have been a week later than everyone else’s but Duke’s Countdown to Craziness was no less spirited than any of the midnight madness events from a week ago.
The Blue Devils unveiled their 2012-2013 team to the public for the first time in some live action and while you can’t generally take a lot away from an inter-squad scrimmage there is certainly a lot to be excited about headed into the season. There were dancers and some highly touted recruits in the house including Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Theo Pinson, some top prospects on Duke’s radar.
Duke reveiled its new poster with the word “Fight” featured as the team stood together in a boxing ring. The Cameron Craziness reveled in it all and even went nuts when Duke professor Robert Leftkowitz, who recently was announced as the Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry was presented with his own Duke Basketball jersey.
The night also featured several dance routines, the introduction of the women’s basketball team and a brief message from Duke Football Coach David Cutcliffe who besides giving Mike Krzyzewski and the basketball team praise, encouraged everyone in attendance to show up to the Duke-North Carolina Football game Saturday night.
But everyone was there to see the basketball team and especially the new players. Fans unfortunately did not see Seth Curry or Marshall Plumlee participate due to injuries, though the younger Plumlee may have provided the highlight of the night by essentially break dancing on crutches during his introduction.
Curry who is dealing with a nagging leg injury has been practicing but likely didn’t play to give him some rest.
As for the Blue White scrimmage it wasn’t a matter of keeping score as it was seeing how this team is meshing and what they might look like. It is obviously that Alex Murphy is going to be a significant player on this year’s team. He did just about everything, including shoot, rebound and defend.
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon also impressed on offense with both his shooting and his ability to put the ball on the floor and run in transition.
The old timers like Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee appeared solid as ever, and there was some positive play from Josh Hairston and Quinn Cook. Ultimately Cook is going to be the starting point guard and he showed glimpse as both he and Tyler Thornton both took turns running the first team.
Sulaimon obivously started with the regular starters in place of Curry. Joining him was Cook. Mason Plumlee, Kelly and Murphy. When Curry returns it is likely that he will start but Sulaimon showed at least he is in consideration for big minutes this season.
I did like the hustle I saw out of Amile Jefferson, but he still has some development left and he has to get stronger. Rodney Hood who has to sit out this season due to transfer rules, is impressive and can only make the team better in practice but he is going to be a special player next year once he is eligible.
All and all it was a great night for Duke Basketball but one of the final moments when Krzyzewski addressed the crowd may have stood out the most. He told the crowd about what he tells the players in the huddle and how each time they break they do so saying the words together, each holding a fist in the huddle.
He encouraged each fan to put their hands up in the air at every game during a time out and when the huddle breaks to chant together. One thing that I always have felt that last year’s team lacked was a sense of togetherness and at least for tonight, it was obviously back and in full force. And now the Crazies and the rest of the Duke fans are invited to come along.
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