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Duke Basketball: A Look Back at Countdown to Craziness

Cameron Crazies | Photo: Chris Summerville

Countdown to Craziness is the annual Duke Basketball event that kicks off the season. This isn’t your normal basketball scrimmage. As it’s grown, the event has included some fascinating introductions of the team.

Countdown to Craziness is Duke’s event for a midnight madness.

Midnight Madness started in 1971 when then-Maryland coach Lefty Driesell (a former Duke basketball player) invited fans out to a team run. Kentucky upped the ante in 1982 when the Wildcats started their own midnight madness event and included entertainment acts.

Over the years, other colleges started their own midnight madness events. ESPN has realized the popularity of these events and now has a show where its commentators are at select campuses, discussing the upcoming college basketball season and showing video footage of the midnight madness.

Duke will have its 10th annual Countdown to Craziness on Friday, October 19th.

The event usually has inflatable games and a D.J. outside prior to the action in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Events at Countdown to Craziness from past years include skits, fan contests, player introductions, introduction of the Duke Basketball team poster, the blue/white team scrimmage and a dunk contest.

Countdown to Craziness is the ultimate fan experience. Over the years of going to CTC, I have met several Duke fans who have become good friends of mine. I have been to every CTC since its start in 2009 as well as the 2008 Blue-White Scrimmage.

The following is a recap of some of my favorite highlights and experiences over the years of attending CTC.

2008 – Duke Basketball and Duke Football come together
In 2008, Duke had a Blue-White Scrimmage. Fans got a first look at the 2008-2009 Duke basketball team. The teams played two 15 minute scrimmages. Both teams started the scrimmage with a score tied 45-45. The White team won the first scrimmage by a score of 97-74 led by Gerald Henderson, Kyle Singler, and Jon Scheyer.

A highlight for me was when the Duke Blue Devil football team did their traditional Blue Devil Walk in Cameron Indoor Stadium under first year head coach David Cutcliffe. This happened during a break in the first scrimmage. The football players and coaches shook hands with the basketball players and Coach K. This was a cool site to see. Ten years later we all have had the opportunity to witness how coach David Cutlcliffe has turned the football team around having them competing in the Coastal division and winning bowl games.

In the second scrimmage the Blue team, led by Nolan Smith, won by a score of 79-70 over the White team.

2009 – The start of the CTC experience
2009 marked the start of Countdown to Craziness. Duke added on to the Blue and White scrimmage by introducing events such as live music, games and face painting in Krzyzewskiville before Cameron opened its doors. Inside Cameron, fans got to see events such as videos, contests and performances. The 2009-2010 Duke Basketball poster was also revealed to fans inside the stadium. The dunk contest was a fan favorite as well. I left the first CTC that year feeling like I was the “6th man” as fans, players, and coaches all came together to experience a great event.

2010 – A Banner Year!

Photo via Duke Basketball

The highlight I will always remember from 2010 was the unveiling of the 4th national championship banner for Duke Basketball in Cameron Indoor Stadium. To see this in person was an amazing experience.

Another highlight for me was the dunk contest this year. I was able to capture this dunk by Kyrie Irving in the dunk contest that almost had judge Jason Williams fall out of his seat. With over 100,000 views, my guess is many Blue Devils, Cavaliers, and Celtics fans have enjoyed this dunk over the years.

2011 – Introducing the Theatrical Stunts

2011 was another fun CTC. The highlight for me was when Duke had a Nike “Duke Basketball Never Stops” banner and started at mid court with people running in every direction spreading the banner over the entire length of the court. To be in the stands and see this happen is still one of the top events for me. I even bought a canvas wrap of this picture that hangs in my home.

2012 – The Curtain Drops

The 2012 highlight for me was when Duke had a huge white curtain that hung from the top of Cameron all the way to the floor. The curtain displayed player images and other Duke Basketball images. At the end of the introductions, the curtain dropped and the players came out from under the curtain.

2013 – Coach K Court Video Display

The highlight for me from 2013 was when Duke used Coach K court to display a video of player introductions. I left the event in amazement of how they used the court in this unique way.

2014 – The Team Shocks the Fans

2014 was another awesome experience. Once again, Duke used Coach K court to display video footage. At the beginning, the Duke Basketball players were all located at the upper level entrances in Cameron Indoor Stadium, which took fans by surprise. The video footage on the court was again exciting to see, especially the four national championship banners.

2015 – DE5TINY

As expected, the 2015 CTC was a memorable one. The main highlight was when Duke Basketball hung its 5th national championship banner in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke continued to use the Coach K court to display player intros and the team poster.

2016 – Coach K Court video display taken to another level
How could Duke Basketball possibly improve on what has been an awesome CTC intro with the court video graphics display? Well… make the fans a part of the experience. Before CTC started fans were given Blue Devil horns that would light up in the dark. When the lights went out in Cameron and the intros started, Cameron Indoor Stadium was lit up like never before.

Another highlight that many fans remember was Chase Jeter’s bottle flip intro. Chase Jeter pulled off the bottle flip trick in his intro as the players and fans in Cameron went crazy.

2017 – Everytime We Touch

Duke Basketball once again handed out Blue Devil horns to the fans before CTC. The lights went out and Cameron Indoor was lit up again in a cool display. The highlight for me and many fans was Grayson Allen’s intro. A senior Grayson Allen came out to the song often heard in Cameron Indoor Stadium – “Everytime We Touch.” Everybody in Cameron went crazy as Allen had the fans excited for another season.

What will the 2018 Countdown to Craziness have in store for Duke fans? Your guess is as good as mine! One thing for sure will happen – fans and the Cameron Crazies will be ready to kick off the college basketball season.

These are just a few of many highlights and memories I have experienced at CTC since it first started in 2009. What is your favorite highlight/memory from CTC? Comment below and let us know.

You can follow Freddie on Twitter @Skeelow22