Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To a Nation Disliking a Regal Institution, Duke Are National Champs

With all apologizes to those residing eight miles away from Durham, NC or even those bitter critics hating an institution for its prestige and arrogance, now is the time to accept the Duke Blue Devils and respect what they have accomplished in a bittersweet tournament.

Here in America, one of the regal universities withstands disdain each season as skeptics scorn well-educated athletes with pure athleticism.

It figures that Duke confronts antipathy more than any other collegiate program, belittled and strongly targeted when the nation senses and postulate goodness by a school disparaged.

Never mind it being a well-educated, bright campus with student-graduates. Never mind it being a superior school, fulfilling a strong commitment with an academic agenda.

Never mind it being an environment where many student-athletes have raised their status and obtained a lifelong dream by making a transition to the NBA.

Needless to say, people across the nation despise Duke.

Except now, we must live with the perception that the Blue Devils are national champions, celebrating after a bittersweet win and cutting down the nets in Indianapolis ruining a beautiful sequel.

It’s unusual that a cute sequel ends with humanity and reality, in which Butler fell short of originating its own ‘Hoosiers’ script, but encountered its stiffest competition and was vulnerable to perish against Duke.

Earlier in the year, the Blue Devils struggled to win games, dropping a serious quantity on the road, which many thought meant that they weren’t qualified to return to the national stage or earn a Final Four berth.

Finally, late in the season, Duke lifted its swagger and rode a hot winning streak, taking pride in a sport the population are accustomed to.

Every Spring, Duke’s students and alumni expect the Blue Devils to dominate the tourney, rise to the occasion, and inherit national titles.

Yet the animosity surrounding a splendid program in college hoops, it will always foil an entire university.

Viewed as villains, Duke is accustomed to and fine with the pathetic bashing of haters and doubters, particularly when the Blue Devils are known as champions, cutting down nets, hoisting trophies, watching confetti fall from the rafters at Lucas Oil Stadium, and lastly, getting the last word.

At this point, Duke has prevailed smearing a near-miracle and feel-good story. It doesn’t take an envious or angry individual to postulate that the Blue Devils have returned to prominence.

To some extent, no one deserves more nods than Mike Krzyzewski, the one coach proclaimed as an evildoer and berated in collegiate sports. For the first time in nine years, he measured up to conventional standards and guided the Blue Devils to a national title.

For the first time in a long time, he celebrated with his players, smiled with his players, and cut down a net to finish a season on good terms.

By example, Coach K is one of the greatest role models in the game, a mentor athletes idolize and adore playing under. He’s not the root of all evil or a hideous villain, and though it may seem like he’s a scoundrel, he demands physical and mental toughness from his players, teaching all of his athletes useful principles to advance and establish a knowledgeable future outside of basketball.

He’s disliked even though he runs a legit program, with no criminals or one-and-done players.

It’s a rarity anytime his players depart as underclassmen for the pros.

After all, not everybody loathes Coach K. For instance, most of his players contemplates before making a transition to the next level, unsure of their status and zests an opportunity in playing for an adviser and perfectionist.

With the Butler feel-good story, it was a way to root against Duke.

This loss marks a disappointing finish in a classic championship, a near-close win to upset the world’s most hated program.

This was a redemption stage, a moment for Krzyzewski to plead a case. He finally was successful advancing past the Sweet 16, after people pointed the finger and blamed him for constant struggles and failures.

He has called this the most exciting team he has ever coached, proud to have had the privilege of molding a talented group of guys.

Whatever the ill-tempered population thinks of Krzyzewski, with each of his players he has developed a strong bond and a relationship that has been contagious for years.

In a game that will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time, ending one of the most surprising and craziest runs in college basketball, Duke survived the madness.

The irony is some are jealous of Duke’s history and exaltation, jaded hearing the Blue Devils mentioned as the Gods of college basketball.

By now, most college basketball loyalists are discontent with the finish. Given that Duke was the greatest No. 1 seed to reach a majestic platform, they were almost victimized and suffered the biggest upset in collegiate sports.

While Butler earned respect from all those critics scorning Duke, fortunately the Blue Devils preserved a title.

If the shot Gordon Hayward launched from 50 feet dropped in without hitting the backboard and bouncing off ending a miraculous season with a heartbreaker, instead Duke would be taking the criticism.

The Bulldogs had nothing to lose, while the Blue Devils had much to lose. This is rated as a traditional and winnable program with high expectations, in which winning each season is vital.

There were Duke fans in attendance, taking part in an incredible finish.

When the buzzer sounded an estimate of 6,000 wearing seas of blue sighed relief and roared, all electrified to survive a nerve-racking evening of competitive basketball.

In many ways, Duke is ripped and hears malign bickering for comprising of the highest budget in the sport, at $13.8 million yearly.

But we witnessed one of the greatest Duke teams in history, a team with unity, tenacity, and heart. Throughout the years, Duke has had big-name athletes such as Jay Williams, Carlos Boozer, Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, and J.J Redick, quality players that have elevated their games on the NBA level, becoming high-caliber superstars.

“This team will really be brothers forever. It’s as close a team as I’ve had,” Krzyzewski said. “You want great things to happen for people who are great with us. I mean, they’ve been spectacular to coach. I’m ecstatic about it. I can’t tell you how happy I am. They have suffered from comparisons, which shouldn’t happen. It absolutely shouldn’t happen…It’s a different landscape. They haven’t been given credit along their careers for what they are doing or for what they are trying to accomplish. I’m really pleased for them, especially my senior class. They’ve been great kids to coach and true competitors along the way.”

Perhaps, winning the national championship is a good way to leave on top as a senior. Not too many college athletes are privileged to depart their senior year on top. But it’s not the case for center Brian Zoubek, Lance Thomas, or Jon Scheyer, whom all will leave with great memories and ecstasy. In the last three seasons, they battled much adversity, but stayed together as a cohesive team.

Despite their travails, much of the year we saw the Blue Devils legitimize their talent. The unstoppable three-point shots that Scheyer buried were extraordinary, extending leads and taking over when necessary.

They also excelled with Zoubek’s ability to take advantage of his muscular body grabbing rebounds in traffic and organizing second-chance points.

Yet the players are running the hardwood and making incredible plays, much love goes to Coach K, a father-figure who has done a wonderful job assembling and developing young stars.

And, of course, that gives all of us reason to hate the Blue Devils, glancing at a remarkable track record and seeing them in the tourney every year. That's an explanation to Duke’s triumph, coached and taught under a powerful man with the desire to stand as the games perfect model.

His book is called “The Golden Standard," a story which talks about his experience while coaching Team USA basketball.

Honestly, it’s hard to dislike Coach K, someone who’s a good role model and kind citizen, living the true meaning of humankind. Hate all you want, but Duke was good all along.