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30 Reasons for Duke Fans to Be Thankful

Banner Hunters | Photo: Chris Summerville
Banner Hunters | Photo: Chris Summerville

At the beginning of November you will see some people on social media platforms, such as Facebook, post what they are thankful for each day of the month.

It’s a pattern of behavior I’ve noticed on social media the last few years. With that said, there are plenty of reasons Duke fans should be thankful. Here is a list (in no particular order) of things that should make Duke fans thankful.

November 1st: Duke Trainers & Medical Facilities

I am going to start this article with a topic that has been on the minds of many Duke fans over the past week. There was a scare last week when Jayson Tatum went down with an injury during a practice in front of NBA scouts. Fortunately, we later learned it should just be a minor injury for the talented freshman.

Duke has had its share of injuries over the past few years with guys such as Amile Jefferson, Ryan Kelly, and Kyrie Irving to name a few. One thing is for sure though – Duke has the best trainer in Jose Fonseca on the bench ready to help players when needed. And we all know Duke University is well known for its medical facilities located in Durham. Duke fans can be thankful the trainers and medical facilities are there to support the program and its athletes.

November 2nd: The Plumlees

How did the Plumlees make the list?  You have three brothers who all chose to play at Duke, from 2008 to 2016. That’s a long timeframe for a trio of brothers to leave their mark on Duke basketball. All three brothers left Duke with a national championship and all three currently play in the NBA. It’s quite a family legacy.

November 3rd: 1982 Duke Basketball Recruiting Class

The 1982 recruiting class that included players Jay Bilas, Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, and David Henderson led Coach K to his first Final Four. Without that class, who knows if Coach K would have remained at Duke and accomplished what he has?

November 4th: 1991 National Championship

The first national championship banner that hangs in Cameron Indoor Stadium is from 1991 when Duke beat Kansas in the national championship game by a score of 72-65 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. Coach K won his first national championship with a squad led by Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, and Grant Hill. Most college bases would kill just to have one banner. 1991 was the first of five (and counting…) for the Blue Devils.

November 5th: Krzyzewskiville

Krzyzewskiville is the tent city that forms outside Cameron Indoor Stadium in the winter weeks before the rivalry game with North Carolina. Students are required to follow specific guidelines and be at tents at certain times of the day for checks. For any fan who attends a Duke game between January – March, I recommend taking a walk through Krzyzewskiville and talking with the Cameron Crazies. It is an experience you won’t forget.

November 6th: Durham Restaurants

With Durham being voted one of the “South’s Tastiest Towns” by Southern Living, Duke fans have many options when choosing a restaurant to grab food after a game. If you are looking for a late night burrito, check out Cosmic Cantina. If you want some North Carolina BBQ, head to Bullock’s BBQ. If you want to get food and be surrounded by Duke memorabilia, plan a visit to Satisfaction restaurant. Duke fans can be thankful for the abundance of different types of restaurants they can choose from before or after a game.

November 7th: Duke Basketball Museum

This 6,600 square-foot museum is where you will see the five national championship trophies, as well as numerous other trophies ranging from ACC Tournaments to player accomplishments. This area also celebrates the Hall of Fame players and 26 other sports at Duke. On one wall you will see the tenting rules listed for Kville. The museum also has an interactive area feature where a fan can enter a 3-sided enclosed section and hit a button to hear the sounds of what it is like in Cameron Indoor Stadium for a game.

November 8th: Christian Laettner

Christian Laettner is arguably the greatest college basketball player of all time. He helped lead Duke to four Final Fours and two national championships. Laettner had a swag about him that opposing fan bases hated and his retired jersey hangs in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium. ESPN even created a 30 for 30 documentary called I Hate Christian Laettner, highlighting the way he tortured the opposition.

November 9th: Duke University Chapel

You can easily see the Duke Chapel from the highway as you are driving toward the university. It is located at the center of campus and was built between 1930-1932. The chapel seats about 1,800 and stands 210 feet tall. This is a cool landmark that Duke fans can check out as they are visiting for a game.

November 10th: 1992 National Championship

The second national championship banner that hangs in Cameron Indoor Stadium is from 1992, when Coach K led star players Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, and Christian Laettner to back-to-back national championships. The Blue Devils beat the Fab Five of Michigan in the national championship game by a score of 71-51 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

November 11th: The 2016-17 Season Begins

The 2016-17 basketball season begins on Friday, November 11th when Duke hosts Marist. Fans have been anxiously awaiting the start of the 2016-2017 season even before last season ended. Well, the wait is no more. On November 11th, Duke basketball is officially back!

November 12th: 1991 Final Four Game vs. UNLV

In 1990, Duke lost to UNLV in a beatdown in the championship game by a score of 103-73. In 1991, UNLV looked to be unstoppable as the reigning national champions and entered the NCAA Tournament with an unbeaten record. Duke and UNLV faced off again in the Final Four where Duke won the rematch by a score of 79-77 and the program went on to win its first national championship.

November 13th: Bobby Hurley

Bobby Hurley was a point guard at Duke from 1989-1993. He helped lead the team to three Final Fours and two national championships. Hurley is also the NCAA all-time assists leader with 1,076 assists, and his No. 11 jersey is retired in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Last spring, ESPN released an E:60 documentary called “Hurley” that featured his basketball career.

November 14th: The Duke University Store & The Duck Shop

Need some cool Duke gear while in town for a game? Head to the Duke University Store or The Duck Shop just off 9th Street to get the latest Duke basketball apparel.

November 15th: Champions Classic & Early Season Tournaments

Preseason tourneys match up top teams against each other and Duke has won its fair share of these events over the years. On November 15th of this year, Duke will play Kansas in the Champions Classic. Duke is No. 1 and Kansas is No. 2 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches poll, meaning this game should make for an epic matchup.

November 16th: 2001 National Championship

The third national championship banner that hangs in Cameron Indoor Stadium is from 2001, when Duke beat Arizona 82-72 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Duke was led by two guys whose jerseys are retired in the rafters of Cameron in Shane Battier and Jason Williams. Those two, along with players like Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer, and Chris Duhon, helped Duke win its third title in a dominant tournament run.

November 17th: The Miracle Minute

Duke and Maryland took part in some epic battles over the years. One that stands out to me is the game from January 27, 2001. Duke was playing a road game at Maryland and was trailing by 10 points with less than a minute to go. The Blue Devils were led by Jason Williams in an epic comeback that would later be called “the Miracle Minute.” Duke was able to erase the 10-point deficit in the final minute of regulation and send the game to overtime, where the team would go on to beat Maryland by a score of 98-96. It’s still talked about as one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of college basketball.

November 18th: Recruiting

Duke is on top of the mountain when it comes to recruiting players. There was a time (not many years ago) when Duke had difficulty landing elite big men and it was a regularly discussed topic among the fanbase on message boards. Duke has righted the ship, so to say, and is bringing in No. 1 (or close to it) recruiting classes these past few years. And with those recruiting classes, Duke is landing elite big men such as Jahlil Okafor, Harry Giles, and Marques Bolden. Fans should be very thankful for the countless hours the coaches spend in recruiting players who continue to sustain the level of excellence in the program.

November 19th: Grant Hill

Grant Hill was a small forward who played at Duke from 1990-1994. He helped lead Duke to three Final Fours and two national championships. Hill was the first player in ACC history to get more than 1,900 points, 700 rebounds, 400 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocked shots. He was the total package and that’s why his jersey is retired in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

November 20th: J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick is Duke’s all-time leading scorer, and he was known for draining 3s and was as solid as it could get at the free throw line. He had an impressive four year career at Duke where he set many records, including being one of the best performers in the history of the ACC Tournament. Like Christian Laettner before him, Redick had a swag about him that opposing fanbases hated. His #4 jersey is retired in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

November 21st: The 2016-17 Team

Every year, Duke fans should be thankful for the players that play their hearts out for us. This year, we look to have a special team that will do the same. Duke has leadership in guys like Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, and Grayson Allen, as well as elite freshman talent in Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Frank Jackson, and Marques Bolden. As well all know, when you combine leadership with talent, the sky is the limit. Just look back to the 2015 team.

November 22nd: Duke Blue Planet & @DukeMBB

Duke Blue Planet is a multimedia platform with a presence on all the major social media networks. Headed by Dave Bradley, the Duke Blue Planet platform gives the program their own voice and stage to connect with fans and supporters. With over 679,000 followers on Twitter, @DukeMBB and DBP have provided fans a closer look at the program.

November 23rd: “The Shot”

Ask any Duke fan where they were when “The Shot” happened on March 28, 1992 and they will tell you. Not only is it a legendary play for Duke fans, The Shot is one of the most iconic moments in sports. Duke trailed Kentucky 103-102 with 2.1 seconds remaining in the East Regional final when Coach K came up with the legendary play that still haunts Kentucky fans 24 years later.

Grant Hill inbounded the ball across the court to Christian Laettner, who caught the pass around the free-throw line. Laettner then faked and turned to drill the most famous shot in basketball history to give Duke the win, which would help propel the Blue Devils to their eventual second national championship.

November 24th: 2010 National Championship

The fourth national championship banner that hangs in Cameron Indoor Stadium is from 2010 when Duke beat Butler 61-59 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. That team was led by Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler in helping Duke capture its fourth national championship. Fans will never forget Gordon Hayward’s half court shot that was just inches from going in as the buzzer sounded.

November 25th: Tom Butters

Tom Butters was the Director of Athletics in 1980 who hired Coach K. At that time many didn’t know who Coach K was, let alone attempt to spell his last name. Butters remained confident in Krzyzewski in his first few years coaching, despite the team’s struggles. Butters’ confidence in Coach K paid off with Duke basketball winning 5 national championships, 12 Final Fours, and 13 ACC Tournament championships during his time with the program.

November 26th: The Rivalry

The greatest rivalry in all of sports is Duke vs. North Carolina. The two schools are just 10 miles apart from each other off Tobacco Road and there have been some epic games over the years when these two teams play. From the beatdown Duke gave North Carolina in Cameron Indoor Stadium by a score of 82-50 in 2010 to the Austin Rivers buzzer beater at the Dean Dome in 2012, Duke fans can be thankful for the rivalry and all the amazing moments it’s provided.

November 27th: 2015 National Championship

The fifth national championship banner that hangs in Cameron Indoor Stadium is from when Duke beat Wisconsin 68-63 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Duke was led by senior Quinn Cook (who had yet to hang any type of banner in Cameron) along with the incredible freshman class of Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, and Jahlil Okafor. The Blue Devils also received a stellar performance from another freshman, Grayson Allen, in the 2nd half of the national championship game to surge to a comeback victory over Wisconsin.

November 28th: Cameron Crazies

The Cameron Crazies are the most passionate and innovative fanbase sports. As the 6th man for the Duke basketball program, the crazies are known for being clever and funny with their antics. They are often imitated by other fanbases, but never duplicated. Whether it’s the invention of the “airball” chant, Speedo Guy’s legendary dance behind the backboard during free throws in a UNC vs. Duke game, dances, chants, and impressive research on visiting players, the Cameron Crazies always bring their A game.

November 29th: Cameron Indoor Stadium

With just over 9,000 seats, Cameron Indoor Stadium is not considered a big arena, but it’s still a very intimidating environment for opposing teams.  Section 17 is the student section that holds the Cameron Crazies and it’s located at court level, making for a very hostile atmosphere. Sports Illustrated placed Cameron Indoor Stadium at No. 4 on its Top Sporting Venues of the 20th Century.

November 30th: Coach K

I saved the best for last. One would think the above 29 spots either wouldn’t be listed or not be impacted the way they have if it wasn’t for Coach K. The all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, 5 national championships, 6 gold medals, 90 NCAA tournament wins, 12 Final Fours, 13 ACC tournament championships, and 53 NBA draft selections are just some of Coach K’s accomplishments. He is the reason Duke basketball is where it is today and Duke fans can be thankful there’s only 1K.
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Should something else be added to the list?  Let us know in the comments section below.

You can follow Freddie on Twitter @Skeelow22.

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