- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (October 31, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312327889
- ISBN-13: 978-0312327880
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blue Blood: Duke-Carolina: Inside the Most Storied Rivalry in College Hoops Paperback – October 31, 2006
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About the Author
Art Chansky is an author and sportswriter who has covered basketball on Tobacco Road for more than thirty years. By day, he is a sports marketing executive who developed an all-sports competition between Duke and Carolina called the Carlyle Cup. He has written The Dean's List: a Celebration of Tar Hell Basketball and Dean Smith and Dean's Domain: The Inside Story of Dean Smith and His College Basketball Empire on North Carolina basketball and coach Dean Smith. He lives with his family on the "Duke side" of Chapel Hill.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Tides of March
Under the glint of the newly redesigned 2005 NCAA Tournament trophy, North Carolina’s first in twelve years, many Tar Heel fans could not fully enjoy the moment.
Their latest national championship had been achieved in the unlikeliest of ways—by a second-year head coach, who finally had assuaged the anger he caused from first turning down the UNC job in 2000, leading a largely bastardized team of players that former coach Matt Doherty had recruited.
Roy Williams was back to stay, for sure, despite almost annual offers to coach the in-flux Los Angeles Lakers. But the stepchildren who had won his first NCAA title after four previous trips to the Final Four at Kansas would not be back, that much was almost certain. Three were graduating and the other top four players were underclassmen who were all likely to enter the NBA draft.
Even after their team cut down the nets in St. Louis, returning Carolina to national prominence following a turbulent transition from the Dean Smith era, the specter of archenemy Duke loomed as large as ever. The Blue Devils still dominated the rivalry in recent years, beating Carolina in fifteen of the last eighteen meetings and running up unprecedented strings of ACC regular season and tournament championships.
And, Duke was not losing its entire team. Supposedly, only one starter, senior Daniel Ewing, was departing after All-American and ACC Player of the Year J. J. Redick reaffirmed his decision to stay for his senior year and All-ACC center Shelden Williams, the best shot-blocker and post defender in Duke history, also decided not to test the NBA.
"I want to accomplish some of the same things Carolina did," Williams said in his announcement to return.
Both programs were bringing in stellar recruiting classes for the 2005–06 season, but Duke’s was rated higher, led by McDonald’s All-Americans Greg Paulus and Josh McRoberts. Heading Carolina’s class was Tyler Hansbrough, a big white center like so many others that had anchored Roy Williams’s Kansas teams, but he would have few seasoned players to help his adjustment.
Duke was loaded. The ever-increasing Blue Devil fan base, pervasive everywhere but in the state of North Carolina, was already licking its collective chops over next year’s Final Four in Indianapolis, where the Dukies had won the first of their three national championships in 1991.
As was the case a year before, when after Roy Williams turned down the job privately and Mike Krzyzewski freaked out another first-year Duke president, Dick Brodhead, by publicly flirting with the Lakers (he had done the same to Nan Keohane in 1994 over an offer from Portland), the off-season found both basketball juggernauts in the news.
Tar Heel players Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants, and Marvin Williams, who together with seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel, and Melvin Scott represented 90 percent of their team’s scoring, 80 percent of its rebounds and assists, and all but 20 of its blocked shots, indeed turned pro and were all NBA lottery picks—the first time four underclassmen from the same program had ever gone in the first round.
Duke junior Shavlik Randolph, among the most highly recruited prep players in North Carolina history and grandson of N.C. State legend Ronnie Shavlik, also applied for the NBA draft despite averaging only six points a game. The stunning announcement followed widespread reports of financial trouble in his family. His father, Kenny Randolph (a UNC graduate), had filed bankruptcy for two of the businesses he and his family had inherited from Ronnie Shavlik. Krzyzewski was miffed that Randolph did not follow his advice to stay in school and made plans to go on without him. Randolph went undrafted but hooked on as a free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers, whose general manager was former Duke defensive star Billy King.
In October, just after preseason practice began, Roy Williams got a surprise phone call from high school senior Brandan Wright of Tennessee, a consensus schoolboy All-American. The 6` 9" forward, who had visited UNC the weekend before and attended Late Night with Roy, told Williams he wanted to play for the Tar Heels. Speechless, a rare state for the talkative Carolina coach, Williams had figured that Wright was going to Duke and now had to retract a scholarship offer to Memphis forward Thaddeus Young, who eventually signed with Georgia Tech.
As Williams continued rebuilding the Carolina program, the Wright commitment marked the first player he had landed that Duke also wanted but clearly lost to the Tar Heels. Williams had been closely aligned with Hansbrough since he started recruiting him for Kansas, and fellow freshman Marcus Ginyard was scouted but not offered a scholarship by the Blue Devils. Wright, together with point guard Ty Lawson and shooting guard Wayne Ellington, gave UNC its second recruiting class of three consensus top-ten players in four years or since Felton, May, and McCants enrolled in 2002.
Duke, of course, still had its own studly list of commits who would sign letters of intent that November, including 6` 6" Jon Scheyer from Glenbrook, Illinois, who had played for the brother of Illinois coach Bruce Weber, and Ellington’s Philadelphia high school teammate Gerald Henderson. But Wright’s decision left Krzyzewski and his staff scrambling to fill the spot earmarked for a strong forward. They immediately turned their attention to unsigned New Jersey forward Lance Thomas, who had originally committed to Arizona but said he’d wait until the spring to sign.
In late October, Krzyzewski was named coach of the USA Basketball team, an appointment that promised to keep him in the headlines through the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He was the first college coach to hold the position since the United States began using NBA players in the Olympics, and it fulfilled another lifetime goal for the Army graduate who always had loved international basketball, long before serving as an assistant to Chuck Daly (a former Duke assistant coach himself) on the original 1992 Dream Team in Barcelona.
With other ACC teams also losing key players, Duke was a landslide favorite to win the league. They lived up to their top-ranked billing by sweeping the preseason NIT before routing second-ranked Texas in a made-for-national-TV game at the Meadowlands behind 41 points by Redick. The Blue Devils weren’t threatened until they needed a forty-footer from Sean Dockery at the buzzer to stave off a home upset to Virginia Tech. Their best early win might have been breaking a three-game losing streak to Maryland, before which Krzyzewski pulled one of his forever-hokey but famously effective motivational ploys. The entire team signed the Duke logo on Coach K Court in Cameron Indoor Stadium, publicly indicating their intention of defending their home court against a team to whom they had lost to on that floor last season and three straight times overall.
Carolina, picked to finish sixth in the ACC, needed an ugly three-pointer by David Noel, the only returnee with any experience, to defeat low-major Gardner-Webb in its opening game. After a close home loss to Illinois in a national championship rematch for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Carolina upset then tenth-ranked Kentucky in Lexington but went into the holiday break on a blowout loss at Southern Cal that did not bode well for the ACC season. However, several unsung players were emerging to help Hansbrough, the team’s top scorer and rebounder. Junior forward Reyshawn Terry showed flashes of NBA talent and former walk-on guard Wes Miller started draining three-pointers with reg
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The only negatives I found were Chanksy writing in an amateurish manner, neglecting the fans that really make the rivalry, and omitting his personal opinions and reflections on the rivalry. Chansky's writing style can sometimes be a little cliche-ridden, and boring-- what you may expect from a sports writer who did a book. He also gets bogged down in the details and draws out game accounts that could be summarized in a much more succinct manner. Chansky also glosses over the fans of the rivalry. He has a couple of hazing anecdotes (e.g. Jordan's jersey being stolen from the Dean Dome), but doesn't get into all the juicy stuff like message board vitriol, crowd antics, and personal accounts from students and fans. That would have been very fun. And finally, Chansky, who has covered both teams for nearly three decades, doesn't lend much insight or opinion on the rivalry. He pretty much states facts and recounts various anecdotes and controversies. I would have loved to know what he thought about certain topics (e.g., Krykewski's perceived arrogance and phoniness, Dean's perceived God complex, etc.). Oh well, I guess I have to wait for Will Blythe's book for that ("To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever...").
All-and-all, Chansky's book is a very worthwhile read for those who follow either program or for true hoops lovers. It may lack in panash and the plight of the fan, but it does an exemplary job in covering the rivalry history and mixing in some interesting stories along the way.