Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Duke Can't Spell: Why UNC is Trouncing us on the Recruiting Trail

This was a hard one to read.

Deadspin reported, wrongly, according to some, that PJ Hairston officially announced that he'll be attending UNC.* The kinda sad part of that story is that the recruiting letters Hairston got from Duke spelled his name wrong. The really sad part is that his decision to go elsewhere came about because he thought of the Blue Devil system as 'mechanical.'

Which, you know...he ain't wrong.

It would be hard to argue that Duke has a free-flowing system, especially when compared to UNC. We're not exactly some fundamental Indiana high school squad from 1951, but we're a far cry from 'loose.' Hairston is somewhere 6'4" and 6'6", depending on who you ask, and you can see some highlights here.

The question becomes: did he make the right choice? If you were a swingman like Hairston, someone who could shoot and penetrate, would you rather play for Coach K or Roy Williams? There haven't been a ton of Dukies lately who resemble Hairston. We've had shooters, like Redick, who use the regimented system to come off pick after pick and get their points on shots. We've had players like Nolan this year, who thrived when given the freedom of the point guard position but looked like a flickering shadow of himself when subjected to the restrictions of the 2-guard slot.

But really, who was our last great non-point guard slasher? Please don't tell me Singler. Scheyer doesn't fit the bill, even before he was point. I guess you could argue Gerald Henderson, but he never seemed like he was at ease within the system and his performances were hugely inconsistent. Before that, maybe Deng? If I'm missing someone, let me know, but none are springing to mind at the moment.

What I'm saying is, Hairston probably made the right decision. And if that's true, it's just another example of Roy having a recruiting leg up on the Devils. We already know Duke can't land a big man; why would any promising center go to Durham with the track record they've established over the last decade? Good power forwards have been few and far between, and the failures of players like Shavlik Randolph are more pronounced than any success.

And it's worth taking a deeper look at Hairston's language: 'mechanical.' Is it just me, or is there a pretty obvious racial component to that word choice? Some will agree with me, and some will say I'm stretching, but I think 'mechanical' conveys whiteness. Something restricted, something militaristic, something in opposition to the free-flowing black game where players like Hairston will thrive. And whether you agree with me or not, you can absolutely bet that recruiters are exploiting that angle. Do you think Hairston spent hours studying Duke game tape, or analyzing their set offense? Maybe. But I bet words like 'mechanical' come from recruiters. That's what they whisper in his ear.

And if you're Hairston, hearing that, with your own worries about whether you'll fit in to a stifling Duke culture, maybe the misspelled name becomes a bigger deal. Maybe you see that kind of an error as an indication that Duke just sees you as a cog in a machine, that they don't care enough about your individuality to even get your name right. PJ? TJ? Makes no difference. Unless you're white or the son of an NBA star, you're nothing but a name to fill a position at Duke.

Mind you, I don't think that's true. But I do think it might be easy to convince someone like Hairston of the fact. I don't think the extreme racial perceptions of Jalen Rose persist to the same extent today, but you can bet they linger in a tamer form. Instead of "Uncle Tom," milder words like 'mechanical' are used. But the two are not unrelated, and it's clear from Duke's recruiting record that Coach K (for one reason or another) does not have a foothold in the urban black community. That reality, it seems, is half circumstance and half choice. How aggressively do we pursue those kids anymore? How much was Coach K turned off by swallowing bitter pills like William Avery?

Whatever the mix, Duke is crucially separated from a vast and rich source of basketball talent. Unfortunately, the team's style plays right into the hands of those who would exploit that image of separation. At this point, it seems like Duke's recruiting prowess is limited to excellent point guards and shooting guards.

As I've discussed before, that's good and bad. Good because the style is pretty high scoring and three-point shot heavy. Bad because it creates teams that aren't built for endurance or March success.

If you look at the overall pattern of Duke basketball since 2003, you have to see 2010 as an anomaly. The fortunate and surprising emergence of Zoubek and Thomas as ironclad enforcers underneath, along with a down year in the NCAA, created a perfect storm for a title. This past March looked a lot more like what we've come to expect from Duke, with an athletic team getting hot and sending us home early.

All of which means that we can probably count on UNC winning another title, even another two titles, before Duke breaks through again. It's impossible to predict how a season will develop, but as of now it would surprise me if UNC wasn't at least in the Final Four next season. It was wonderful watching the Dukies excel behind senior leadership this year, and the win in the ACC title game was glorious, but the truth is that was just a stepping stone for Roy and his young team. You could even call it a good loss. This time in 2012, we might see it as a crucial step in the construction of a championship team.

As we've seen, there's a delicate balance between recruiting college players who are championship caliber and recruiting guys who will stay for more than a year. You don't want to be Calipari, but you also don't want to be stuck with the Greg Pauluses of the world for four years.

Roy, you have to say, has found a way to toe that line and get the best of both worlds. What can you say about next year's Carolina team? Sure, luck is involved; you could argue that Barnes would never have stuck around if his season had started the way it ended. But now, Roy has his perfect mix of four year guys and raw talent. He found an ideal NCAA point guard in Kendall Marshall, a guy who has already proved his excellence at the college level and yet lacks the natural gifts to go early to the pros. He has the best big man tandem in the country in Zeller and Henson, two guys who complement each other's gifts, an offensive and defensive specialist. He got Barnes to return, a guy who could compete for Player of the Year. And he's got a supporting cast of returning players and fresh recruits from which, at any point, a star might emerge.

And he also seems to have perfectly bridged the racial line. He feeds the UNC dixie faithful their Hansbroughs and Zellers, but he also gets the best black players from all walks of life, and he does it while maintaining UNC's strong academic reputation. He's halfway between Coach K and Calipari. Or, better yet, he's standing solidly atop the mountain while those rivals are trying to scramble up the rocky slopes on either side.

Which is why it was so comical to hear UNC fans sound their negativity this season. I know there's never supposed to be a rebuilding year at Carolina, and I know the negative feelings from 2009 were still fresh, but the lack of perspective was still surprising. I wonder if they'd rather have a program like Duke, with its sustained medioxcellence- a new word I just invented to classify a program that is always nominally among the elite yet requires extraordinary circumstances to compete for a title- rather than a team that obeys a natural ebb and flow, riding waves of talent, floundering a bit in the low tide days but finding themselves positioned for a championship at least every three years.

Meanwhile, what do we see for Duke's future? Second in the ACC next season is probably a good bet. Austin Rivers will be the star, and he'll shoot a lot and score a lot of points in some games. Carolina will probably beat us both times during the regular season. Maybe the Heels will lose early in the ACC tournament and we'll win that. Then, in the second round or the Sweet 16, Rivers will go cold for a game and some athletic team will absolutely expose us underneath, and we'll be gone. And we'll sit at home and watch UNC win another title.

Maybe that's how it'll go, and maybe not. But the critical point here is that we expect it play out like that. At least if we're paying attention.

In today's ACC, it's Carolina's world. And Hairston's saga gives us insight into the perception of all the stars that will come into the college game in the near future. Duke is 'mechanical.' Duke is rigid. Duke is, when you get down to it, white. Duke will not allow you the freedom of expression you need to become a top draft pick. Duke is no place for big men, unless you want to end up in Europe or competing for playing time with goofs like the Plumlees.

"Duke is a great school," as Hairston said in a conciliatory gesture, and everybody claims to respect the program. But it's a different kind of great school, and a different kind of respectable program. There's a wide chasm that's been developing for a decade, and both sides seem increasingly accepting of the separation. But while Coach K builds the same kind of team he's built for years and suffers the same noble losses each March, Roy will be laughing all the way to the Final Four.

52 comments:

  1. How did they misspell Hairston's name? I am not supes familiar with the lineup (by name - real good by distinctive facial features, though) but, don't they have a current player with the same last name? You'd think they'd have that spelling in that bag by now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rough to read but you do speak some semblance of truth.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's the sad sad truth but I'm still proud of our program.

    ReplyDelete
  4. PJ freakin grew up in North Carolina. His whole life. No one has taken the HUGE leap to think, "maybe he's watched a few duke basketball games in his life".

    Instead of the negative recruiting shot in the dark.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think in the next couple of years one of our players will be the slasher type. I think our team will be fun next year with Rivers, Dawkins (or is he transferrnig), and Curry. I'm hoping the team will be more free form now that we aren't calling Kyle Singler's play every otehr time down the court to watch him brick a 3 from the exact same spot 5 times in a row.

    I think 2 of our recruits next year, outside of rivers, are supposed to be athletes as well. Although I remember one being described as having the most basketball sense in the country, which I don't think translates into good college player.

    Also, I'm hoping that this Marshall Plumlee will finally be K's new Dunleavy-Laettner player. On that note, what are the chances all 3 Zellers and all 3 Plumlees end up on the Pacers in the next 10 years? Has to be close to 100%.

    As for swing-men in the past, I think Daniel Ewing played that roll well when Duhon was point. And, didn't Ewing end up with our like only triple-double in the last 15 years or something when he ran point? or come close?

    ~Sean

    ReplyDelete
  6. It wasn't yesterday, it was like 2 years ago when he committed.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 8/3/09 to be exact, but many of the points still hold...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Agreed. I think the whole post is pretty spot on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm proud of the program and the team attitude that most players exhibit (Black - battier, brand, thomas, smith or White - hurley,
    dunleavy, singler, zoubek). While I agree we have missed on several bigs (patterson, monroe and likely tony parker), your focus on the few things that are wrong with the program are what's wrong with the fan base in my opinion.
    There is no entitlement to the best players, especially if you don't bend to the whim of every 18 year-old superstar. What the program has accomplished in the past 20 years is nothing short of amazing. Yet, every time we fail to win the tourney, it's because K can't recruit or his bench is too short. I'd rather be "medioxcellent" than a whore to talent. While Coach K is at the helm, what you see it what you get. Take the good with the bad or simply choose another team to cheer for. fuqua 2000

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd also like to add that if the 3 Plumlebees and 3 Zwellers were all on the Pacers with Hansbrough and McBob, I think the entire NBA would implode.

    ReplyDelete
  11. While I can't completely that there isn't any racial aspect to this story, I think there is a simpler reason why an 18-year-old kid chose UNC over Duke.

    If you read the original profile in the GNR (http://www.news-record.com/content/2011/05/13/article/time_for_growing_up, Hairston is a kid that likes to do whatever he wants. He got shipped off to a military academy away from home to clean up his act. While he learned some things and grew up a little bit, it's clear he didn't enjoy it too much. It didn't fit his personality.

    Hairston was already primed to dislike rigidity and "being a cog." I think recruiters picked up on this and began to reinforce the "Duke is mechanical" meme every chance they got. I'm sure he heard it repeated over and over. Take that along with his predisposition and his mind didn't stand a chance. The choice became framed as "Being myself, like I used to be" versus "Having to fit i, like I've been forced to the last year."

    With that in his head, there was really no other choice PJ could've made.

    ReplyDelete
  12. William, didn't he just announce officially this past weekend? That's what the Deadspin article says...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just changed the first sentence, William, thanks for catching. When I dip my toe into recruiting waters, I'm bound to make a mistake or two. Hopefully this doesn't call the entire thesis into question...

    -Shane

    ReplyDelete
  14. Although Roy's system is more "free", the offense (secondary break) is designed for point guard and post success. 2's and 3's are generally afterthoughts. Both systems have strengths and weaknesses. Certainly you can focus on 2010 as being an aberration, but you must also realize that UNC's 2005 and 2009 runs were aided by ungodly hot streaks by heretofore role players--May and Ellington.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think the future success of Duke recruiting has to do with packaging kids. When AAU kids are able to play with their friends at Duke on a national stage I definitely think they will want to come. Also if Duke could get a hot new coach like Shaka Smart to come in that could also help.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Not trying to be a jerk, but I don't understand this 'officially announced' stuff. This guy committed in 2009 and signed a LOI in 11/2010: http://northcarolina.scout.com/2/1020884.html
    The deadspin article is faulty. Good read today Shane with good points, but I think you are being a just little too hard on Duke

    ReplyDelete
  17. Funny...

    you say a few things that need to be addressed:

    1. You connect "mechanical" with "whiteness". You're reading FAR too much into that statement as PJ has said MANY times he was a Duke fan until around 10th grade. He liked the way you guys play. As far as connecting the system with a skin color: way to racially stereotype.

    2. You say Kendall doesn't have the talent to go pro early, correct? Tell that to ALL the mocks that have him going after his JUNIOR year. Is that not going early? Does going early now mean one and done?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think some are forgetting we were easily the best team in the nation before Kyrie got hurt. If that didn't happen and we repeated as expected, than this article and/or conversation wouldn't exist. Duke has been recruiting quite nicely if anybody has been paying attention. A lot of unc targets actually are coming to Durham. Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook, Michael Gbinije, Marshall Plumlee, Alex Murphy, Rasheed Sulaimon were all unc targets. Our recruiting is fine outside of the big man perception. However, that seems to be coming around as well. Our style and game plan has changed a bit from the classic golden days of duke and recruits are liking that. The reality is a lot of kids can't get into duke but no one wants to talk bout that. Fact of the matter is all that's happening here is Duke and unc are trading places from last year. Last year we were the favorites and unc was the young, talented, and dangerous team. This year is just going to be the opposite. But if my memory serves me correctly, the young team went further in the tourny than the num 1 seed. I don't think its clear cut that unc wins it all next year while duke is sitting home watching.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "You don't want to be Calipari, but you also don't want to be stuck with the Greg Paulus' of the world for four years."

    Disagree. Clearly Paulus was never at the PG caliber of, say, a Jason Williams, but his leadership, work-ethic, and heart for his school and his teammates went a long way in those four years. Give me a Greg Paulus any day.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My money is on the K man, his recruiting class, Capell to help coach underneath,Duke's team flow concepts and defense. I pick Duke to wear the ACC down and surpass The Heels again next season. Tom

    ReplyDelete
  21. one word: Shabbazz Muhammad

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ladies and Gentleman, a Greg Paulus fan! Rare indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  23. PJ will admit he grew up a duke fan, But when you get letters from a school thats recruiting you and on the letter it says "TJ Harrison", thats a big deal.

    And duke fans, we are not getting Muhammad, his dad doesn't really like coach k

    ReplyDelete
  24. Justin, he had already committed to UNC before he went to Hargrave. And the reason cited for going there was not to "clean up his act" so much as it was to play with/against tougher competition on a regular basis.

    I don't think he enjoyed the lifestyle there per se, but he speaks very highly of his experience and his improvement on the basketball court.

    ReplyDelete
  25. May and Ellington role players? Wow

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your fan base can't spell either, get ready for 3 beat downs if you make the ACCCG

    (or is he transferrnig)

    Go Heels

    ReplyDelete
  27. You're a good writer, and I enjoy your blog, but you're definitely reaching with the question of whether race has anything at all to do with Hairston's commitment. In fact, he grew up a Duke fan, so he definitely knows the style of play, so he wouldn't need someone to whisper in his ear negative things on style of play, he can watch the games.

    To Justin: he did not transfer to Hargrave because he's a bad or wild kid, he transferred to work on his body and add discipline. How many kids choose that? I'd argue you have to have some self-discipline to even make that choice. It also allowed him to play against much tougher competition than what Dudley offers.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh, and by the way, it would be "Greg Pauluses", not "Paulus'" because there's nothing being possessed by Paulus.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for the comments, guys. Comment above me is grammatically correct, unless we want to treat Paulus as a fungus and say the Greg Pauli of the world. Could be harsh, though.

    Classifying May and Ellington, I agree, is a stretch.

    Clearly there were a couple errors in this post, with Marshall's prospects of going pro early and the specifics of Hairston's commitment chief among them. My bad on that, I'll try to be more careful in the future.

    This was interesting from the Dukie above: "I'd rather be "medioxcellent" than a whore to talent. While Coach K is at the helm, what you see it what you get. Take the good with the bad or simply choose another team to cheer for."

    Not a bad point, and I've heard that one before- basically, you choose a style and go with it. I can agree with that and admire it to an extent, but what really prompted this post was thinking about how Roy seems to have the best of both worlds. And that's where I really and truly think (though many clearly disagree) that Duke is seen as at the very least unfavorable to the urban black player. I mean, wasn't DukeBluePlanet launched to counteract that image? I don't think I'm making things up from nothing here. Most of the evidence is soft rather than hard, but I'll stand by the theory.

    -Shane

    ReplyDelete
  30. That second sentence should read "classifying May and Ellington as role players is, I agree, a stretch" in reference to a comment above.

    -Shane

    ReplyDelete
  31. ______ (PJ Hairston / Quinn Cook) grew up a fan of _____ (Duke/ UNC) , and went to _______ (Hargrave / Oak Hill), a basketball-focused virginia boarding school. However, despite being highly touted, he was not impressed by _______ (Duke's / UNC's) recruiting efforts, so he went to _____ (UNC / DUKE) instead.

    ... you're reaching, Shane.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Let me get this out of the way.. Tar Heel Fan here.. I would not be too upset about not getting Hairston. Reggie Bullock had more to do with his decision than anything else. They are best friends and wanted to play together. For the record, your recruiting is just fine... unfortunately

    ReplyDelete
  33. for the record... this is us getting killed by UNC in recruiting:

    http://insider.espn.go.com/ncb/recruiting/classrankings?&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fncb%2frecruiting%2fclassrankings

    ReplyDelete
  34. Duke has had as many, if not more wings get drafted than any other college in the last 20 years. Grant Hill, Shane Battier, Roshown McLeod,Mike Dunleavy, Corey Maggette, Dahntay Jones, Luol Deng, and Gerald Henderson all played the SF/WF at Duke and were first round picks. Hopefully we can add Kyle Singler to this list. I agree with some of the other comments that if you want to talk about the struggles Duke has had recently get a legit back to the basket post presence, that is fair but I think it is just incorrect to say Duke has been unable to recruit athletic wings. Next year, Duke has Mike Gbinije and Alex Murphy coming in who both fit this exact profile in fact.

    I do agree that Duke and K have gotten an unfair reputation for having a mechanical system. Duke and K probably do exert more control off the court then most other programs but on the court is a different story. Consider UNC two years ago, they had 8 MCDonalds AAs but could not make the NCAA tournament because the players could not fit the system Roy prefers to run and Roy did not change his system one bit. We have seen Coach K change the way the Duke team plays numerous times over the years to highlight the specific ability of each individual team. Just in the last ten or so years, Duke has gone from feeding the post with Brand on the team to basically a dribble drive offense with JWill and Duhon to a slow down half court game with very little transition where most of our offense comes off of the pick and roll and jump shooters curling off of picks to get their shot with Scheyer running the point.

    ReplyDelete
  35. UNC didn't give a scholarship offer to Quinn Cook, Marshall Plumlee or Michael Gbinije. Well known fact Cook and Gbinije both wanted and waited for what never come.

    ReplyDelete
  36. may and ellington as mere "role players" is simply a joke of a comment. was may not the man who tipped the balance in the scales of the rivalry back towards unc with his 26 point, 24 rebound performance at the dean dome in 2005? and while ellington may have been shooting lights out during the 2009 tournament, ty lawson was the one who was going on an ungodly run and was the key to the team...the entire year, except for when his toe was hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Probably a little alarmist, but mostly on the money. I see Roy Williams winning two more championships before it's over and putting some separation between UNC and Duke, mostly because of the perception that has developed about Duke in the last decade. They used to be feared; now they're sort of a joke that other teams want to meet and take down. UNC meanwhile has developed the reputation as a place to go if you want to run and score and play the sort of basketball kids want to play. And let's face it, the 'elitist' image of Duke basketball doesn't help.

    ReplyDelete
  38. UNC is overrated already. Let's see: they were preseason #4 in 09-10 and ended up 11th in the ACC and in the NIT. Preaseason #8 last year and went unranked for a considerable portion of the season and only made the Tourney due to the weakness of the ACC. dUNCe will not be champions this year. Barnes is overrated, Seller is a flopper, and Marshall is garbage once he meets a worthy defender.

    ReplyDelete
  39. ^
    If only UNC could of been preseaon number and lost in the Six 16 like dook.

    Say whatever you want about Kyrie, dook was beating Arizona with Williams.. have fun watching the heels win another title this year with all their over rated players..

    ReplyDelete
  40. *wasnt beating Arizona

    ReplyDelete
  41. "We've had players like Nolan this year, who thrived when given the freedom of the point guard position but looked like a flickering shadow of himself when subjected to the restrictions of the 2-guard slot."

    wtf are you talking about? I believe he was pretty good on a national champion team playing the 2.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I would think articles like this would stop after we won the championship in 09. How are we getting "trounced" by UNC in recruiting? We have a better 2011 class and had by far the best freshman in the country last year. I don't understand how this P.J. Hairston situation has caused a sky is falling type of article regarding recruiting.
    This is how I feel about what I just read. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEkWH8DB7b0

    ReplyDelete
  43. "Why UNC is Trouncing us on the Recruiting Trail"

    is the first of many fallacies in this article.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Any chance there is really a letter with TJ Harrison's name misspelled? Or does this kid need a little attention. Me thinks this is all a little fishy. It is a good story...but I think the truth works better for me. I WILL BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT!

    ReplyDelete
  45. whoa whoa whoa....d00k had "by far the best freshman in the country last year"? Barnes was ranked number 1, which certainly holds water. but what really matters more is that he literally went out and WON GAMES while Kyrie was on the bench. I'm not dissing Irving, but he didnt do ANYTHING. Saying you were the best before he got hurt is a joke....all he did was tear up some non-conference schools early on. get out of town.

    To the guy who said we won in 09 because of a lucky hot streak by sean may....do you know anything about basketball? Did you watch a single game that year?

    And most of all, to the idiot that said UNC is a "talent whore." Your mother is a cock-sucking whore. Did we offer a scholarship to John Wall, the most talked about recruit PROBABLY of the decade? Not a chance....kid was a loser, and Roy has VERY high standards when it comes to character. Everyone was shocked we declined to offer him $, then 2 weeks later, he gets arrested for B&E.

    ReplyDelete
  46. wow I now feel less intelligent after reading this. If top five recruiting classes every year are wrong then I don't wanna be right. Hairston has been a UNC kid for over a year now. This is a non issue. Don't talk about things you have no clue about...

    ReplyDelete
  47. Duke usually, but doesn't always, runs a motion offense. That puts a premium on reads, dribble-drive, and improvisation. It flows when you have superior talent, skill, and decision-making, and flows less when you don't.

    Suggesting that Singler isn't a slasher just sounds like you are still grinding the anti-Singler ax. True, he looked like a fish swimming upstream when he drove this year, but a quick look at the stats will tell you that he couldn't buy a call all year and the word got out.

    If there's anything to the claim "mechanical" it is this. "Mechanical" is what you call a white guy who repeatedly scores on you even though you look at him and think he shouldn't be able to, because even your most basic visual perceptions of basketball are colored by American racial obsessions.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Ummmm....duke didn't offer PJ a scholarship...look it up. Maybe THAT'S why PJ didn't come to duke.

    duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    ReplyDelete
  49. Blogger,

    You are a very good writer and I enjoyed reading your posts for some time but I am becoming disenchanted by your bitter tone as of late.

    I have to wonder what Duke needs to do in order to get your 'stamp of approval' for the year. There's obviously a laundry list of accomplishments over the past 3 years that rivals any other school. You have even started to put down the championship year as a 'mediocre team' pulling a fluke. If that's true, I wonder how you label half the championship teams of the past decades.

    Duke won't get every single recruit. They aren't going to win every game. Neither will UNC. To pretend that Duke should is going to make it so you can't enjoy the ride. It just sucks that I know there is a hardcore Duke fan that is already putting down the 2010 championship team only a year after. I am have my worries too but the negative spin on everything must stop.

    ReplyDelete
  50. The fact that you think PJ Hairston "officially announced" that he is attending UNC last week is poor reporting. I too think that UNC has outrecruited Duke over the recent past but to say that they are 'trouncing' duke is going a little too far.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Duke's girls are ugly.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I agree with most of your breakdowns other than your statement that "mechanical" is in reference to the high number of white players. He called the system mechanical which is more of a knock on K and his preferred style than the players in it. Elite coaches recruit the players that can play well within their system and make minor adjustments each year given the guys they have. You were right in saying that the Duke system does not appeal to many athlete/slasher wings, but that does not mean PJ was playing a race card.

    Additionally, PJ grew up a huge Duke fan in NC, so I think it is safe to say that he watch his fair share of games to build his own opinion. Sure there were probably recruiters out there feeding to this to him as well, just like Duke plays to guys like Singler that are 6'8" and are more suited on the wing then down low.

    Things at Duke will not change in this respect until K hangs it up. He is a legend and in the top 5 coaches of all time, but unless another fluke season like 2010 arrives, I don't see Duke getting another championship (other than ACC Tourney) while K is still coach. The program will continue to be top 10 without the right mix to win 6 in a row in March and April.

    ReplyDelete