Basketball

The Secret Game

Apr 23, 2015
North Carolina College Eagles, 1943-1944, from left to right: George Parks, Aubrey Stanley, James “Boogie” Hardy, Floyd Brown, Henry “Big Dog” Thomas.
Alex Rivera

On a Sunday morning in March 1944, most of Durham, North Carolina, was in church. That's the way basketball coach John McLendon wanted it when his all-black college team from North Carolina Central University (then the North Carolina College for Negroes) faced off against an all-white team from Duke University’s medical school. 

Dean Smith during his conversation with William Friday.
UNC-TV

North Carolina and Duke continue their storied rivalry in men's basketball tonight.

But tonight's match-up in Durham comes 11 days after the passing of legendary UNC coach Dean Smith.  Many Duke fans are expected to wear dark blue t-shirts with the name "Dean" in the place of "Duke."

Dean Smith
UNC-Chapel Hill

Dean Smith, the legendary men's college basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has passed away. He was 83 years old.

"Coach Smith passed away peacefully the evening of February 7 at his home in Chapel Hill, and surrounded by his wife and five children," his family said in a statement. "We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public."

Remembering Dean Smith

Feb 8, 2015
15 Mar 1997: Coach Dean Smith of the North Carolina Tarheels gives instructions to his players during a playoff game against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Tarheels won the game 73 - 56 giving
Bo Gordy-Stith (PBoBS) / Flickr/Creative Commons

Induction into a sports Hall of Fame is a reflective moment for any athlete or coach. Nine Tar Heel players or coaches are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and eight of them either had some connection to Dean Smith or were Dean Smith. And none missed the opportunity to thank him during their acceptance speeches:

Michael Jordan: “Coach Smith… what else can I say about him? He’s legendary in the game of coaching.”

A picture of Mike Krzyzewski.
Duke Photography

Duke Men's Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski now has one thousand career victories.

The Blue Devils defeated St. John's yesterday in New York City, 77-68.  Fans have been on the edge of their seats leading up to this thousandth win. (Twitter exploded with the news, with photos and videos being shared under the hashtag #Coach1K

Coach K in the locker room, 1983. This was his third year as the Duke head coach.
Duke University Archives

This weekend, Duke's legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, or Coach K, might net his 1,000th career win, and there is a lot of buzz.

Coach K has 999 career wins. His first 73 victories came at West Point coaching Army, between 1975 and 1980.
Jeff Tiberii

Mike Krzyzewski leads the Duke men's basketball team into Madison Square Garden this weekend. The legendary Coach K is simply treating it as the 19th game of this season for his Blue Devils. However a milestone is within reach.

The preeminent coach in college basketball was up to the usual this past Monday – glaring at officials, instructing future multi-millionaires and enjoying the home-court advantage his devoted student followers helped create. Duke’s back court played well, helping to end a rare two-game losing streak by polishing off the Pitt Panthers.

A picture of Duke fans holding a cutout of Mike Krzyzewski's face.
goduke.com

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski is now a win shy of career victory one thousand. 

The Blue Devils topped Pitt 79-65 last night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Afterward, Coach K downplayed any special meaning for win 999. 

"It means we’re 16-and-two. That’s exactly what that means," Krzyzewski says. "And hopefully we can be 17-and-two in the next game we play." 

Krzyzewski has more wins than any college basketball coach in men's history. Duke's next game is in New York against St. John's on Sunday.

Ralston Turner takes a shot.
NC State

There was a major upset in men's college basketball on Sunday, when unranked NC State beat the previously undefeated Duke, 87-75.

The Wolfpack's Trevor Lacey scored 21 points, and Ralston Turner added 16. The team overall shot 55 percent.

NC State Coach Mark Gottfried says his team knocked down some tough shots, and kept heavy pressure on Duke's preseason All-American Jahlil Okafor.

Update January 7, 2015:

In the summer of 2014, we heard about a vintage photo that was found tucked away in one of the books at the Chapel Hill Public Library. No one knew how long the picture had been there, but the photo caught our imagination. Who was this Duke Blue Devil?

For a time, the mystery appeared to be solved.  The son of a Duke alum, Donald Brandon, wrote to say, "It looks like Bill Werber."

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