If you don’t know anything about the annual Coach K Academy then you probably aren’t really a Duke fan or you just don’t pay much attention to anything Duke related off of the basketball court.
Essentially it is a big-kid fantasy camp for those with enough cash to go and have a week long immersion into the world of Duke Basketball. Not only do you get to interact with the coaches, Mike Krzyzewski included, you get to meet and work with former and current Duke players. If you are a fan of Duke Basketball this is basically a dream come true.
The 10th annual camp took place this past week and there is always a lot of buzz among former players who get to go back and see former teammates and coaches. All shower the program, especially Krzyzewski, with praise and give credit to the school and the program for molding their lives in basketball and beyond.
As a Duke fan I obviously would love to participate, and get the chance to play some basketball in Cameron Indoor Stadium. I’ve seen games from the stands but have never shot on those rims or even walked on that court. I would considering it an honor.
I didn’t get to see my first game in Cameron until I was 22 years old, and having been a Duke fans since I was 7 it was a dream come true at the time. I was sick with a temperature over 100 but I had tickets to an exhibition game and I was determined to go and I did. I likened the experience to the scene in the movie Rudy when Rudy’s father got to Notre Dame Stadium and said it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
I’m not sure I used the word beautiful but it was pretty damn awesome. I’ve been to several games since, and only under the most dire circumstances do I miss a game on television. But that first game ranks up there as a great moment for me personally. If I were ever to have the opportunity to participate in the Coach K Academy that would certainly be one of the greatest experiences of my life.
The chance to meet and talk to the greatest coach in the game today, and meet some of my favorite players; guys I grew up watching would be sensory overload for me as I’m sure it is for most of those who participate now.
Alas I am currently not 35 yet and as a school teacher by day, it isn’t likely that I will have $10,000 to throw down to play around at a fantasy camp. Can’t really budget for that, so I’ll watch from a distance with a tinge of envy at those guys who do get to participate.
The Academy itself is a wonderful event simply because it is for charity and not just to pad Duke University or Mike Krzyzewski’s wallets. It ends up being a fun way to give back to a good cause while living out some life-long fantasies.
It is also a great recruiting tool for Duke. It allows recruits, some of whom were in attendance, to see the Duke Basketball family come together and the links that fans will go to in order to be a part of it. That is certainly something that could be a big draw for potential Blue Devil players.
Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood, who is considering Duke, apparently or at least was supposed to visit this past week during the Academy. Duke class of 2013 target, small forward Semi Ojeleye was also scheduled to make an unofficial visit. What better way to display the history and passions of Duke Basketball than by showing off its history.
It, I’m sure, is a bit overwhelming, but an overall wonderful experience for anyone visiting.
Perhaps one day I’ll win the lottery and can afford to go. Until then perhaps I need to hit up Diddy Combs up for some money since he is going to be saving on UCLA tuition thanks to his son’s football scholarship.
Then again since he has no idea who I am, I’m not sure he’d be that interested in being my benefactor but a guy can dream right?