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P.J. Hairston Signed with North Carolina After Duke Kept Misspelling His Name

P.J. Hairston is a pretty easy name to spell and remember. It’s two initials and a simple last name — P.J. Hairston. Pretty easy, right? You would think so, but apparently that was not the case for Duke.

Hairston is a 6’4″ guard from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia who signed to play basketball for North Carolina. He says he was considering Florida, Georgetown, Wake Forest, and Duke in addition to Carolina, but he ultimately decided he wanted to stay close to home. So how did he choose between Carolina and Duke? A recurring error by the Blue Devils certainly helped sway his decision.

“The thing about Duke was, every time they sent me a letter, they wouldn’t spell my name right,” Hairston told the Greensboro News & Record. “They would have ‘T.J. Harrison’ or something like that. And I’m like, ‘OK. How can I go here? You can’t even spell my name right.’ It’s only two letters and HAIR and STON. I’m trying to figure out how that’s so hard.”

Yeesh, that’s a pretty bad mistake. I understand that Duke probably is following hundreds of recruits and sending out a thousand letters, but you have to pay closer attention to details. If there’s any school that can afford to make a mistake in recruiting, it may be Duke which can practically pick the players they want, but that’s still pretty embarrassing. The good news is Hairston at least took matters into his own hands compared to Kendrys Morales who waited five years before correcting people.

Chest bump to Eye on College Basketball

Duke Alums Criticize Cameron Crazies for Lack of Passion

Normally when college alumni speak out about their alma mater’s student section, it’s to let them know they need to show more class.  This is especially true of high profile basketball programs.  I can remember numerous times during my four-year career at UConn that the message from former students was quite clear: tone it down.

For Duke University graduates Dennis and Elizabeth Chen, the opposite is true.  From the Duke Chronicle via Deadspin comes a letter that the alumni wrote to the university, expressing their discontent with the lack of passion the Crazies showed during Duke’s win over Michigan on Sunday.

“The Wolverine fans unarguably out-cheered the notorious ‘Crazies’ from beginning to end,” the letter said. “As hard as the Duke cheerleaders and pep band tried, they weren’t able to get the Crazies off their butts for the first 25 to 30 minutes of the game. Coach K needs to focus 100 percent of his time on his players and the game, and he shouldn’t have to personally pump-up the crowd like he did in the second half.”

The Chens also went on to reveal that they will be holding a contest that will pay for the airfare and admission of the “most passionate Duke student” to the remainder of Duke’s NCAA Tournament games.  Yipee!

The bottom line is the Dukies are the defending NCAA Champions, and it’s only natural for their fans to feel entitled.  Sunday’s game against Michigan was as big as any, but considering the Wolverines were an 8-seed the Crazies were likely frustrated Coach K’s crew allowed them to hang around.  When your team is that good, it’s a natural reaction.  If it’s publicity the Chens are after — mission accomplished.

Bobby Hurley: Jalen Rose Might Have Had a Hard Time Finding Minutes at Duke

This past weekend there were two documentaries on significant college basketball teams to help get fans in the mindset for March Madness. HBO ran a special on the star UNLV team from the early 90s, while ESPN ran a special on the Fab 5 from Michigan. One of the main targets in the Fab 5 documentary in particular was Duke, which lost to UNLV in the finals in 1990 before winning it all in ’91 and ’92, beating Michigan for its second title.

Former Michigan player and current NBA analyst Jalen Rose spent a part of the documentary trashing Duke. He expressed the sentiment that Duke didn’t recruit the type of players Michigan did, going so far as to call black players who went to Duke “Uncle Toms.” That didn’t sit well with former Duke point guard Bobby Hurley.

Hurley played at Duke from 89-93, went to three Final Fours, and was the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player in 1992 when the Blue Devils beat Michigan in the finals. He joined The Dan Patrick Show Monday and talked about the Fab 5 documentary, responding towards Jalen’s criticism.

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Favorable Calls Tipped Baylor Game in Duke’s Favor

Pete Gillen famously mused that Duke is “on TV more than Leave it to Beaver reruns.” Perhaps his statement should be amended to say, “Certainly Duke is Duke, they get more favorable draws and favorable calls than anyone,” because that’s how I feel after seeing the Blue Devils advance to their latest Final Four. Give the Blue Devils credit for having an excellent regular season and winning four games in the tournament but I can’t get past a couple of issues.

The first issue is one about which I complained on Selection Sunday and many times before — Duke got a favorable seed and favorable draw. They were the third number one seed — ahead of Syracuse despite the Orange’s undisputed more impressive resume — and they somehow avoided the top two number two seeds in Ohio State and West Virginia. Not only did they receive a struggling Villanova team in their bracket (losers of five of seven entering the tourney), but they also got Purdue as their four seed — a team that struggled to score once they lost Robbie Hummel to a knee injury. The NCAA took care of their part, Duke did theirs.

The second issue is one that tipped the South Regional finals game in Duke’s favor — favoritism from the refs. Although I felt like the game was called evenly the first 35 minutes or so, three calls in the final five minutes helped take the ball out of Baylor’s hands and give Duke more opportunities for victory. Let’s go over each one.

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Duke Deserves a Banner Taken Down

cameron-indoor-stadium-banners

With Memphis crying over having to take down one of its finest banners in program history because of the Derrick Rose SAT scandal, some people are saying the NCAA isn’t handling punishments evenly. Contributor JS emails in with a story from Gary Parrish at CBS Sports who says Duke got away with having Corey Maggette on their Final Four team in 1999 even though it was found out that Maggette took money while he was in high school. Duke still has the banner hanging at Cameron Indoor and Coach K still has all the wins on his record.

I’m guessing the NCAA just wants to be sympathetic because it’s reflective of the last time Duke was any good, but it really does show their selective enforcement of violations. If Maggette took money from AAU corrupter Myron Piggie (remember him, UCLA fans?), why wasn’t that season stricken from the Duke records? And an even better point (though extremely more difficult to gauge enforcement) is made by JS: why doesn’t the NCAA return the money it made off Memphis and Duke those years? Perhaps that’s why they’re so slow to dole out punishments.

Hey Duke, Thanks for Playing!

Duke came out on Thursday night in the Sweet 16 and did what they’ve done best lately in the tourney — they lost early. Yes, Duke got hammered 77-54 by Villanova, a loss that was so bad it managed to make UCLA look semi-decent. The Dukies shot 16/60, only 27% from the field, and an even more pathetic 19% from 3-point land. That makes it five straight years the vaunted Blue Devils haven’t been able to escape the Sweet 16. Yes, that means Duke hasn’t won more than two games in the tourney since ’03-’04. The Blue Devils are totally overrated and they showed it once again. I’m just trying to figure out what was more overrated this year — Duke, or the ACC.

Sure, you can tell me that Duke had an off night, the kind that can happen to any team. But I was saying it from the start that a team reliant on three point shooting can go cold at any point and be doomed. Conversely, Pitt hasn’t played its best but still advanced because of great rebounding and timely clutch shots. Duke did have solid non-conference wins at Purdue and at Xavier, but the Blue Devils showed that they were just like every other ACC team — overrated. Clemson, Wake Forest, and Florida State were all middle of the pack conference teams, just like the ones in the Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, etc. Because of the hype surrounding the conference, they got higher seeds and higher rankings than they deserved.

Now the ACC is down to one team standing — UNC. The Heels have even been overrated, considering people made it seem as if they were the best college basketball team ever, able to drop 100 on anyone at any time. They’re no doubt that they’re a good team and potentially our national champions, but as good as they were made out to be, they shouldn’t have lost four games. So once again Duke got high rankings and high seeds all throughout the year. Once again, the Blue Devils proved they couldn’t get it done in crunch time. When will they stop getting the benefit of the doubt? When will Dukie V. see the light?

What Josh McRoberts Will Be Missing

When he leaves Duke for the NBA (prematurely).  Although I have a feeling that won’t be McRoberts’ only premature action after he sees these fans sitting courtside

There you have it, the breast best things about Duke all in one picture.

Click here to watch the entire video, it’s well worth it, courtesy Hoops Odyssey.

(chest bump SportsbyBrooks)