Can you smell that? Yup it’s that time of year again, Fall is in the air. Floors have been painted, photo shoots have taken place and now as of Friday practice has officially started. The countdown to college basketball craziness is upon us and I, for one, am ready, excited and thankful.
No Duke fan liked the way the season ended last year. Duke was too talented a team to go out in the first round. The name Mercer will stick with us for a long time, just like VCU and Lehigh. The Devils did have a lot of great moments last year really high highs and some lows that we all hope are converted to fuel to gas the fire and run the engine that pushes this team toward March. While success in March is the ultimate goal Duke cannot get to that point without what happens in October, November, December and every month until nets are cut in Indianapolis.
There are a lot of Duke enthusiasts that are worried about other teams. Duke fans are worried that Kentucky has a team that boasts 2 final four teams worth of talent or that Arizona and Wisconsin look to be juggernauts in their respective conferences and in the tournament. What I am most interested and concerned with are the 10 scholarship athletes in Duke blue and how they grasp the defensive schemes and principles set forth by Coach K. Duke was not a very good defensive team last year, it was a team of a lot of potential and not enough actuating or realization of that potential.
It’s no secret that we as Duke fans are spoiled with the program’s successes, spoiled with its history and spoiled with its national exposure. For all that history, for all that past glory post-season success has eluded Duke recently – it’s almost comical to even type that with a banner having been raised just 4 short years ago. Most programs would still be breathing the fumes of celebration but Durham is different, Duke is different. March for a Duke fan is different. We expect more. We know for all but one team the month of March ends with a saturnine convening within a locker room, tears flowing and hearts broken. For Duke fans this many years between successes just won’t do.
Duke coaches have made the upperclassmen aware that their window of time is short and that there is a very good opportunity to make this class, this year into a special one. Putting on a Duke uniform is no guarantee of a 30 win season, or a championship but what it does afford this team is a very good shot, a very good coaching staff, and all the pieces necessary – it’s up to them to take it. We need to realize that as much as we want it for the team, we don’t want it nearly as much as they do.