july 1, 2010
sportswrap ONE AND NOT DONE?
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2 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
from the editor
Editor: Andy Moore Managing Editor: Jeff Scholl Features Editor: Laura Keeley Online Editor: Scott Rich Photo Editor: Margie Truwit Associate Editors: Chris Cusack, Alex Krinsky, Patricia Lee, Jacob Levitt, Andy Margius, Stuart Price, Danny Vinik, Tim Visutipol Senior Associate Editors: Sabreena Merchant, Felicia Tan, Dan Ahrens, Ryan Claxton, Harrison Comfort, Caroline Fairchild, Kevin Fishner, Vignesh Nathan, Jason Palmatary, Nicholas Schwartz.
10-11... New quarterback Sean Renfree takes the reigns after the graduation of Thaddeus Lewis
Special thanks to Chronicle Editor Lindsey Rupp, News Editor Taylor Doherty, Online Editor Christina Pena, Managing Editor Toni Wei, News Photo Editor Melissa Yeo, staff member Patricia Lee, and former Sports Editors Gabe Starosta, Ben Cohen and Meredith Shiner for their help in production of this issue of sportswrap. Founded in 1983, sportswrap is the weekly sports supplement published by The Chronicle. It can be read at:
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ATTENTION NEW DEVILS!
- AND -
3 The Chronicle’s Andy Margius and Chris Cusack kick off things with the point/counterpoint that asks one of the most important questions of this Sportswrap: Will Duke Basketball repeat?
10-11 The Chronicle gives you the ultimate guide to Duke’s upcoming year, including profiles on the Brothers Plumlee, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, and a feature on the similarities between Duke in 1992 and 2010
5 Duke Women’s Soccer sports one of the best recruiting classes in the program’s history. Find out which incoming freshman was recently named Gatorade player of the year
8 Blue Devil men’s soccer will have three different captains —Cole Grossman, Nick Tsipis and Christian Ibeagha—this season New Ad revised.pdf 1 5/11/2010 4:56:59 PM
Jasmine Thomas, who has kept busy this summer interning with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, now boasts a different perspective on the professional game Former Managing Editor Sabreena Merchant imparts the wisdom gained at her time at Duke to the freshman Class of 2014
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I’ve had a somewhat charmed tenure so far as sports editor of The Chronicle. On April 5, five minutes after Butler’s Gordon Hayward launched a nearmiracle shot that careened off the rim, I found myself on the court in Indianapolis, interviewing Mike Krzyzewski’s fourth national championship team. And a few weeks ago, I stood outside of a locker room in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium as a joyous lacrosse team exorcised their demons of the past, with what Max Quinzani called a “voodoo dance” around the national championship trophy. If you’re counting at home, the 2009-10 season was the only time in Duke history two different teams have captured their sports’ highest honors. It was a Andy pretty good time to cover these teams as a reporter. It was an even better time for you—the student, the fan. But now that season is complete. Which leaves a simple question at the heart of this 28th installment of Sportswrap: What’s next? How does Duke Basketball mount a successful title defense? Where does Duke Football turn after its most prolific passer in history graduated? Thankfully, the answers to those questions are not known now. We certainly don’t have them. The answers are instead found with the progress of each team’s season, when we all get to sit and watch together to see what will happen. That’s the really great part about sports. It’s why we all read previews like the ones to be found over the next 20 or so pages. Director of Athletics Kevin White explained to me Duke’s goal in all sports is a constant strive to get “bigger, faster, stronger.” Since White borrowed a Kanye West lyric (albeit most likely inadvertantly), I’ll welcome you to the 2010-11 Blue Devil season in a similar fashion: “Good morning, on this day we become legendary.”
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THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 | 3
opinion: dueling columnists
Will they or won’t they?
The Chronicle’s Chris Cusack and Andy Margius debate whether the Blue Devils have the tools to repeat as national champions.
Lack of frontcourt depth spells doom There’s no doubt about it: the 2010-11 Blue Devils will be one of Mike Krzyzewski’s most prolific scoring teams ever. Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith are back for another year, Seth Curry and Kyrie Irving are here to replace Jon Scheyer, and Andre Dawkins and Mason Plumlee have their up-anddown freshman years behind them. All the pieces seem to be in place for another banner in Cameron. Duke’s fans certainly feel that way. Excitement for 2011 Chris was palpable just minutes after leaving Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis last April—supporters shouted farewells to each other in the darkness, each ending with, “Same time next year!” and “We’ll meet you in Houston!” Then all of the sudden they realized Brian Zoubek was just another 7-foot stiff, Scheyer was a poor man’s J.J. Redick and Lance Thomas was simply a filler player with an awkward jumper. The performance of the seniors was reevaluated, and people forgot the qualities the 2010 team possessed that made them champions—traits like ex-
perience, efficiency and rebounding. Why won’t the 2011 team be the same? The lack of an imposing inside presence. Duke has never won a title without strong fourtcourt players, and the Blue Devils will simply not have the size or strength this season to compete in March. Every one of Duke’s national championship teams has had a significant post presence: Christian Laettner in ’91 and ’92, Carlos Boozer in ’01 and Brian Zoubek in ’10. True, Zoubek only became a high-quality player with a few weeks remaining in his career, but he was invaluable down the stretch. In this upcoming season, however, there will only be three true power forward/centers on the roster, all with varying levels of immaturity and raw talent. Miles Plumlee has the most in-game experience by default, but a career average of 16.4 minutes per game does not make a veteran. And while he is much more athletic than Zoubek, Plumlee has yet to learn the intricacies of the game that made opponents “Fear the Beard.” Mason Plumlee has even more athleticism and raw talent than his brother, but so far See cusack on page 4
New blood, old champs are here Despite the departure of starters Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek, Duke remains the overwhelming favorite this year to cut down the nets in Houston. After all, the Blue Devils broke out the scissors last year in Reliant Stadium after winning the South Regional. Why not do it again? Duke’s roster is loaded. Kyle Singler, who spurned the NBA Draft to play for the Blue Devils as a senior, could be in for one of the most notable years in recent Duke basketball history. Averaging 19.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the last month of the season, Singler may well live up to the hype of being a preseason All-American. Then there’s Nolan Smith. The second member of the Triple-S combo of a season ago, the senior co-captain serves as another formidable scoring threat, capable of shouldering the offense load on the nights when Singler doesn’t shine. Stepping up in big situations, such as the South Regional championship game in which he
dropped a career-high 29 points, Smith gives Duke a second clutch option in close games. Junior Seth Curry kicks off the street clothes this year to provide another perimeter weapon for head coach Mike Krzyzewski. With Curry, Singler and Smith—not to mention a more experienced sophomore Andre Dawkins— Duke may well have the deepest 3-point shooting team in the country. Yet who will pass the ball to all these lethal shooters with Andy Jon Scheyer gone? None other than the top point guard recruit in the class of 2014: Kyrie Irving. Praised as a passer that can make an immediate impact on a quality team, Irving is the most talented natural point guard Duke has had since at least Jay Williams. He has speed, explosiveness, court vision and a knack for rising to the occasion. His ability to find others will heighten the Blue Devil attack in the 2010-11 season.
See margius on page 4
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4 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
cusack from page 3
ian soileau/Chronicle file photo
Will the Blue Devils have a scene like this—Kyle Singler playing in the national championship game—next year? Or will they fail in their repeat bid?
his game hasn’t matured for college basketball. He has no finesse around the rim and instead tries to dunk over anyone in his path. Both brothers also need to vastly improve their interior defense. Last year, they seemed more interested in blocking shots—and often fouling in the process—than altering them. Even if both Plumlees make strides, there remains the issue of not enough bodies to bang down low; Duke fans may soon realize that they took last year’s frontcourt for granted. Zoubek and Lance Thomas were a highly effective tandem for about 25 minutes a game, but they couldn’t have sustained that level of play for 35 minutes per game. That just might be what Coach K asks of the Plumlees. The most obvious solution to the numbers problem would be a move by Kyle Singler back to power forward, but I can’t imagine he would have returned for his senior year if he wasn’t going to be playing at small forward—his future NBA position. That leaves only two equally cringe-worthy options. The first is to play the Plumlees 30-plus minutes a
“There are too many question marks for Duke to expect another NCAA title. Cancel your reservations at the Motel 6 in Houston... Blue Devil fans.” — Chris Cusack game with Josh Hairston coming off the bench. This would represent a huge increase in minutes for the Plumlees—one they haven’t proved they deserve—and dependence on a freshman, something Coach K is rarely willing to do. This option would help the Blue Devils keep up on the glass, but Duke would have to pray for refs who hold the whistle, as well as no Plumlee injuries to keep the wins coming. The second, more likely solution, is to alternate the Plumlees and Hairston on the inside and play three shooters, with Singler on the perimeter around them. This would create space for the drive-and-kick offense that the core of this team has embraced, but it would cost Duke on the boards. With the rebounding battle lost, the Blue Devils would be especially susceptible to a loss in the one-and-done NCAA Tournament format, where a jump shot-first team can be eliminated quickly by a cold performance. So there you have it. All the pieces look great from a distance, but after a closer look there are too many question marks for Duke to expect another NCAA title. Cancel your reservations at the Motel 6 in Houston and tone down the trash talk, Blue Devil fans. This won’t be the year.
margius from page 3 On the inside, the Blue Devils have a more skilled and knowledgeable 6-foot-10 duo of junior Miles and sophomore Mason Plumlee. While they provided moments of brilliance last year, Miles and Mason should give Duke a more consistent performance on the boards this season. Though both can score, rebounding and defense will be the brothers’ focal points in the repeat campaign. Not only do the Blue Devils sport one of the best teams on paper this season, their competition has seen better days. Every single player who was a consensus first or second team All-American in 2010 has either graduated or declared for the draft. Kentucky sent virtually everyone but John Calipari to the NBA. West Virginia and Kansas lost most of their starting five. Butler’s Gordon Hayward, Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh, Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors, Georgetown’s Greg Monroe, Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson and Ohio State’s Evan Turner all left early. The only top player that didn’t leave was Purdue’s Robbie Hummel—and that’s because he was injured! With the talent lacking in the NCAA at the moment, and Duke boasting its most talented team in years (yes, even more so than last season), there is no reason that the Blue Devils should not put a fifth banner in Cameron this year. Lastly, there is an X-factor for the season—the charmed number of the Class of 2014. Think about it: If luck equals seven and repeating equals two, then by the multiplication property, the class is just what Duke needs to see its first successful title defense in 19 years.
THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 | 5
Church retools with elite recruiting class by Nicholas Schwartz THE CHRONICLE
After making two straight Elite Eight appearances in 2007 and 2008, Duke bowed out in the first round last year. Head coach Robbie Church and the rest of the squad hope they have found the recipe to return to their winning ways. Church has assembled one of the premier recruiting classes in the nation for 2010, with five of the nine incoming players ranked in the top-100 by TopDrawerSoccer.com. The Class of 2014 will provide Duke with a slew of versatile athletes across the field, something that Church covets in the recruiting process. “We like versatile players, players that can play multiple positions,” Church said. “We’re not scared to play a player as a back for half a game, and then as a forward for the second half.” Perhaps most importantly, the Blue Devils welcome a pair of superlative strikers to help fill the gaps in attack left by departing seniors. This fall, Duke will be without two of the most prolific offensive players to ever play at Koskinen in Elisabeth Redmond and KayAnne Gummersall. Redmond finished her career with the second most assists in school history while Gummersall scored 34 goals to finish fourth on Duke’s all-time chart. With a combined career-total of 252 high school goals, however, Laura Weinberg and Mollie Pathman could provide the scoring that the Blue Devils desperately need. Weinberg, a native of Boca Raton, Fla., has consistently torched defenses in her young career. Named the Gatorade player
of the year in Florida as a junior, Weinberg gives the Blue Devils a boost in attack, an area where Duke regularly failed to capitalize on chances in 2009. While the Blue Devils often outshot opponents, Duke forwards made a habit of leaving goals on the field. For all her hype, though, Weinberg stays humble. “I’m just going to try to keep my head on straight, be motivated, work hard… and try to earn a spot on the team,” Weinberg said. She will have just that opportunity once the preseason kicks off in August, as Church has already made it known that every spot on the field will be open for competition. Weinberg’s elite speed could make her an effective option off the bench, if she can penetrate the physical ACC defenses. “She’s just an out-and-out goal scorer, and I think she’s going to see plenty of time, plenty of minutes and have a major impact on our program,” Church said. Though Duke’s nine incoming freshmen come from all over the country, Church didn’t have to look far to find Pathman. A graduate of Durham Academy, Pathman enters Duke as one of the most decorated players in team history. Recently, Pathman was named Gatorade National girls soccer player of the year, following a campaign in which the striker tallied 29 goals and 10 assists in just 13 games. “She’s got an extra gear,” Church said. “I think people really enjoy watching [Pathman], especially on the attacking side of the ball.” Pathman should be coming to Duke courtney douglas/Chronicle file photo
See W. soccer on page 8
Head coach Robbie Church gets ready for the 2010 season with one of the best recruiting classes in Duke history.
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6 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
Receivers adjust to quarterback’s departure by Jason Palmatary THE CHRONICLE
Last year, Duke fans grew accustomed to watching receivers Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon running loose through opposing secondaries, snagging bullet after bullet from quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. This year, they’ll have to make the adjustment to being targets for first-year starter Sean Renfree. Renfree will have the luxury of transitioning into the starting role with two players who finished among the top 10 leaders in receiving yards for the ACC. Varner, the leading returning receiver in the conference, and Vernon have been quick to help their quarterback prepare for his first year. The new signal caller appreciated the assistance. “They are both fast, great athletes, and have tremendous ball skills,” Renfree said. “But the thing that goes really unnoticed with these two is how hard they work. They are always willing to go out and run routes and catch balls for me.” Even though they will miss Lewis, who became only the second passer in ACC history to top 10,000 yards for his career, the receiving corps is more than confident that Renfree will be a capable thrower. In fact, they see much in common between the quarterback and his predecessor. “I see a lot of similarities between Thad and Sean [rather than] differences,” Varner said. “It starts with the work ethic and desire with both of these guys. But, they’re also great leaders and know where to put the ball as passers.” Just as Varner doesn’t think much will be different catching from Renfree, the offensive game plan will likewise undergo little change. The coaching staff has been high on Renfree’s ability ever since the beginning stages of his recruitment, believing he can do everything Lewis did— and more. “Our system is our system,” offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said. “In this offense, you have to be able to throw
the football, and we know Sean is a guy that can play the game from the pocket.” That mentality is why Vernon, Varner and the third member of the starting group, Austin Kelly, were able to combine for 2,418 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns last season. While each of the receivers have individual talents, whether it’s Varner’s ability in the slot or Vernon’s knack for winning the jump ball, the one trait the group has in common is the ability to make plays after the catch. “You have to have guys who can turn easy completions into big plays,” Roper said. “It’s comforting to a quarterback to know that we can make a big drive shorter due to the explosive plays.” While much will be made this season of the change at the quarterback, the receiving corps continue to stress that for them, football is football. They will continue to run their routes, catch the ball, and look to make the most of their playmaking abilities. And if Renfree is as talented as popular opinion suggests, the wideouts will have plenty of opportunities.
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Donovan Varner makes the transition to a new quarterback this year.
THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 | 7
Healed from his ACL tear, Sean Renfree prepares for the spotlight by Jeff Scholl THE CHRONICLE
On the first passing attempt of his collegiate career, Sean Renfree rolled left out of the pocket and picked out tight end Brett Huffman for a 17-yard completion. Touchdown. Renfree had entered the game against Army midway through the third quarter after the Blue Devils recovered a fumble at the Black Knights’ 19 yard line. The backup quarterback was thrown right into the action for the first time while wearing a Duke uniform. Not that it mattered. Renfree kept his poise despite the short notice, and his pass to Huffman gave the Blue Devils a 14-10 lead over Army that they would never relinquish. He also connected with Donovan Varner on a 31-yard scoring strike early in the fourth quarter to put Duke up by eight. On a day when senior starter Thaddeus Lewis struggled under center, Renfree completed seven-of-eight passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns over the span of just a quarter and a half, leading the Blue Devils to their first win of 2009. While the members of Duke’s coaching staff had complete faith in Renfree’s ability to manage the game, even they were impressed by his instant offensive production. “You always have great expectations, but he did an outstanding job in the Army game and made a lot of plays that you can’t just always guarantee,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper said. Renfree threw passes in four more games after the victory over Army and ultimately finished the season with 330 yards in the air and four scores, completing 68 percent of his passing attempts. His campaign was cut short, however, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Georgia Tech Nov. 14. Renfree was limited in spring practice as a result, and he participated only in individual, non-contact drills. Nevertheless, he will enter fall camp as the no. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, having made remarkable progress in his rehabilitation over the past seven months. After suffering one of the most severe injuries an athlete can face, Renfree is running, throwing and lifting weights again. He will continue rehab work throughout the summer and fully expects to be 100 percent healthy when practice starts in August.
“I don’t think about [the knee] really any more at all and showing guys how they have to work,” Renfree said. now,” Renfree said. “I definitely don’t expect to think “People are getting hungry to win and that’s what they about it during camp.” want to do.” While Renfree is healthy now, it remains to be seen Renfree still has room to improve, and there may be whether he can fill the gaping hole left by his graduated no better place for him to continue his progression than predecessor. Lewis set 48 school records during his time at Duke. Head coach David Cutcliffe has a reputation for as a Blue Devil, establishing new standards in pass comple- developing elite quarterbacks, having coached Peyton tions, touchdown passes, 300-yard games and touchdown- Manning at Tennessee and his brother Eli at Ole Miss. to-interception ratio. His 10,065 career passing yards Renfree was Cutcliffe’s first four-star recruit after he rank second in ACC history, trailing only the mark set by took over the program, and the coaching staff identified current NFL Pro Bowl quarterback him as someone who could Philip Rivers. thrive in their system. Ren“I don’t think about [the Roper said Renfree has the abilfree, for his part, thought knee] really any more at all Duke would be the best place ity to make any throw on the field and thinks he is on the same level as for him to reach his full ponow. I definitely don’t exLewis in terms of arm strength. The tential. 6-foot-3, 210-pound pocket passer “I saw a lot of character in pect to think about it during may not be as mobile as his predeCoach Cut and a role model camp.” cessor, but he makes up for his runfor me to look up to while I’m ning deficiencies with superb aerial — Sean Renfree here,” he said. “I’ve grown a precision. lot and there’s still a lot more “He can throw the ball very, places for me to grow in.” very accurately—that’s what we’ve got to have,” Roper said Renfree’s ability to play at a very high speed Roper said of the new starter. “You’ve got to have has been his most notable physical change since arriving somebody that can put the ball into really tight at Duke. But his mental development may be just as vital spots in a really fast manner, and so hopefully for positioning the team to win football games. he’ll do that.” “I think his biggest quality is his mental toughness: his Renfree learned much under the tutelage ability to compete and to persevere through tough situaof Lewis, and he appreciates the opportunity tions and battle,” Roper said. “I think he’s got some great last year afforded him to learn from such a leadership qualities to go along with his physical abilities.” talented mentor. He said above all Lewis And even if Renfree has yet to start a game for the Blue taught him the importance of mental prepa- Devils, he certainly won’t lack for confidence when Duke ration. He now understands how to maintain takes the field Sept. 4 in the home opener against Elon. his focus over an entire game, something “The team looks great right now,” he said. “Everybody he believes will be indispensable for the up- feels this year is going to be a special year, and we’re plancoming season. ning to win every game. “ Renfree knows he has a responsibility to build upon the winning culture Lewis helped create over the past two seasons after almost a decade of futility. Even though Duke still finished with a losing record in 2009, the five Blue Devil wins were the most the team has accumulated since going 8-4 in 1994. “Thad kind of started that his last couple of years here—getting the winning mentality in here
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8 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
Duke moves into 2010-11 with three captains by Danny Vinik THE CHRONICLE
Santosh Shanmuga/Chronicle file photo
Senior Nick Tsipis, despite not playing a minute his first two years, will captain for the second straight year.
w. soccer from page 5 in peak form, after being selected to train with the Under-23 U.S. Women’s National Team. Though she plays defense for the national team, the experience from competing with the best players in the country will prove invaluable as the grueling ACC season progresses. Weinberg and Pathman will join the
other 27 Blue Devils in just over a month to quickly prepare for the early season matchups. Church won’t have to wait long for his team to be tested, as Duke faces NCAA tournament participant Georgia in its opening game, before contests against Missouri and 2009 national runner-up Stanford.
Duke looks to improve on a solid season in 2009, and its three senior captains—two of whom are filling that role for the second straight year—are ready to lead their team to new heights. Seniors Christian Ibeagha and Nick Tsipis were both captains on last year’s Duke squad that finished 14-7 and lost to Wake Forest in the third round of the NCAA tournament. After a full season of leading the team, Tsipis now has a much better understanding of the skill and work needed to be a captain. “As a captain, you have the responsibility of knowing what every individual on the team is going through at the time,” Tsipis said. “You need to know what you can say or what you can do to help them out on an individual basis.” After a full year of working with head coach John Kerr as a captain, Tsipis knows how he handles the team and what his expectations are. But the senior goalkeeper still has more to learn. “I’ve learned a lot but I still have a long way to go,” Tsipis said. “I think last year helped not only me, but Christian and other guys who maybe they don’t have the title of captain, but they have to take on a leadership role on the field like Cole [Grossman].” Grossman started 20 games for the Blue Devils last season and will serve as the third captain alongside Tsipis and Ibeagha this year. Like many of the Blue Devils from last year’s team, he will take
ion Reser vations t a u d a r for rG u o 20 eY 1
on an added responsibility this year, but is now ready to do so. Last year, Duke had an influx of youth, but lacked experience. The Blue Devils started three freshmen and two sophomores in their final game against Wake Forest. With everyone a year older and three seniors leading the squad, Duke is ready to build upon last season’s progress. “The nice thing about having three senior captains is that we’ve experienced a lot over the last three years, and we’ve shared those experiences, especially with our younger teammates,” Tsipis said. “It’s nice to have a good mix of youth and energy and all that experience of the older guys.” Grossman, Ibeagha and Tsipis have very different roles on the team. This is evident not just on the field, but off it as well in how each person handles his responsibilities as a captain. “Cole’s an offensive minded player,” Tsipis said. “He’s one of our biggest offensive threats so the way he leads is very different than the way Christian leads his back line. I don’t play as much so that carries with it its own different kind of role.” The three captains may perform their duties differently, but it’s the way that they come together that is the most powerful aspect of this trio. “We have our own different leadership styles, but they mesh well into one cohesive leadership idea and focus for our team mission,” Tsipis said. “It’s a nice combination. We’re similar in that we’re all very passionate about the team and we all have a fiery intensity to it.”
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For more information contact Kim at 684-1109 or email@example.com
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GROUP FITNESS class
Classes are available 7 days a week at both Wilson and Brodie Centers. It’s like having a fun and challenging workout appointment whenever you need it! • Bhangra • Body Tone • Boxing Boot Camp • Cardio Dance • Cardio Tone • Kickboxing Bag • Pilates • Spinning • Step • Turbokick • Yoga • Rotating specialty classes on the latest trends!
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HOW TO REPEAT... by Andy Moore THE CHRONICLE
Brian Davis still remembers how he felt after Duke won its first ever national championship. He, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill had just beaten Kansas by seven. The Blue Devils were not expected to have gotten that far, and he and the rest of the team were overjoyed. But the feeling lingered with the media and much of the general public that the win was a fluke. An accident, if a happy one. How did Davis feel about that? “We didn’t appreciate all the s—t everyone was talking about us,” Davis said. “[Christian and I] were pissed, and Grant was pissed, and we felt we had something to prove. We said to ourselves, ‘We’re going to win this s—t again.’” This year’s Duke team is experiencing the same circumstances. Both it and its 1992 counterpart went from underdogs to the No. 1 team in the country. And as the days pass and the time comes for the Blue Devils to mount their title defense, they can learn much from the guys who pulled off the repeat. Lesson one: Expect, and embrace, the hype. “When you’re the returning champs at Duke—you’re always going to get that rock star treatment,” said Thomas Hill, a starter on the 1992 team. “We have great fans, and Duke’s either really popular—or it’s hated.” Time will tell if Duke, the 2010-11 squad, faces the hype that the 1992 team did. It certainly will be difficult to match. At Notre Dame February 1, Bobby Hurley was carried in a laundry bag from the Edmund P. Joyce Center to the team bus stalling outside, hoping to avoid a horde of autograph seekers who had just seen their team fall by 29. “That was pretty unique,” he said with a laugh. On March 4, a mob hundreds large stood screaming outside of Littlejohn Coliseum after Duke beat Clemson, waiting for the Blue Devils to make their walk to the Duke bus. The bus was surrounded on all sides. “It’s a mob scene. There’s no way to get to the bus. And they’re all Duke fans!” Jay Bilas said at the time. According to Bill Brill, who reported the above quote in his book “A Season is a Lifetime,” “It was like traveling with The Beatles. I don’t know any other athletic team that was ever like that.” Duke will always face more scrutiny and expectation than the average team. Its recent success, plus a perceived impression by many of elitism in the past, ensures that. The key this year will be how the Blue Devils deal with even more hype than they’re used to. Like the 1992 team, this year there won’t be any sneaking up on anybody. “They came in under the radar [last year],” Seth Davis, CBS Sports analyst and Trinity 1992 graduate, said. “If they thought last year was long, this year is going to be twice as long. Fortunately, they’re being directed by a guy who’s not in his first rodeo.” See repeat on page 16
...BY THE 1991-1992 BLUE DEVILS graphic by melissa yeo/The Chronicle. 1992 photos courtesy of duke sports information
Singler and Smith take leadership positions by Patricia Lee THE CHRONICLE
With the departures of Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas—three seniors who developed into respected leaders during their ultimately successful tenures at Duke—the 2010-11 Blue Devils now look to a new corps of leaders. And as forward Kyle Singler and guard Nolan Smith enter their final year as Blue Devils, both look forward to the challenge of guiding their team, albeit with a different style than their predecessors. “Our leadership will definitely be different from last year’s under Jon and Lance,” said Smith, who finished last year third on the team in scoring with 17.4 points per game. “Kyle and I are probably the more quiet and laid-back type, and though Jon was the laid-back type, Lance was a vocal leader and an emotional leader. We had two great leaders last year, and we’re looking back on
what they did for us last year and going by instinct. “It’s really exciting having the chance to lead this year’s team, and we just have to remember to be vocal.” Smith and Singler will serve as cocaptains of the Blue Devils. Singler, who spurned a possible first-round NBA draft selection to return to Duke, realizes that one of the most important parts of his job will be to guide the stellar freshman class. “I think we’re just going to have to make sure that everyone’s integrated into the team, and we’ve got some young players that are going to be playing a lot of minutes, so it’s on us to make sure that the transition’s easy,” Singler said. “We feel fine about [leading] because we’ve been in the program for the past few years, and we were with Jon and Lance, and we were friends with them, so we were learning from them
throughout the year, so there isn’t any pressure on us to fill their shoes. We just have to be ourselves.” And after a season that was at times unpredictable and ultimately triumphant— with double-digit losses to North Carolina State and Georgetown midway through the season and a national championship in April—the players know to take nothing for granted. “One thing that we learned last year was that a lot of people overlook us, and this year, we’ll try to have the same mentality that we always have—to play every game like it’s our last game,” Smith said. “It gets better as the year goes along, but we need to take it step by step. That’s what we did last year, that’s what we’re really looking for this year, and as long as we’re at our best, we’ll be ready.” This year, however, the leaders will have more difficulty instilling their team
with that underdog mentality, as Duke is projected to be No. 1 or No. 2 in most preseason polls. Liberty transfer Seth Curry and incoming freshmen Kyrie Irving, Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton give the Blue Devils one of their most talented rosters ever on paper. But Singler and Smith try to shift their focus away from the hype. Following in the footsteps of former Dukies Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, who won back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992, requires a hunger that only comes from staying grounded. “A lot of the guys from last year know what it takes to win the championship, and the new guys coming in are going to be hungry, but we have to remind ourselves to be humble coming into the season,” Smith said. “If we play together well, it’ll be a very together group, and we’ll go as hard as we can.”
The Brothers Plumlee prep for the spotlight by Scott Rich THE CHRONICLE
When Mason Plumlee enrolled at Duke last year, many Blue Devil fans dreamed he would soon join his brother Miles in Duke’s starting frontcourt. The brothers, fans hoped, would become the athletic, high-flying and skilled big men sought after for years. That didn’t become a reality last year. The dream of a national championship, however, did. The Plumlee brothers won’t complain about a reduced role last season, even if
a preseason wrist injury knocked Mason out of the starting lineup and a resurgent Brian Zoubek also relegated Miles to the bench. “Whatever happened was the right thing, so that was the best team we could be last year,” Miles said of the Blue Devils’ national title run. “I have no regrets.” But with Zoubek and Lance Thomas now graduated, the Plumlee brothers don’t have to look over their shoulders this season. They will, in all likelihood, enter the fall as Duke’s starting front-
court. Only sophomore Ryan Kelly and freshman Josh Hairston—who currently plays for U.S.A. Basketball’s U-18 Team— provide backup in the paint. Less depth may mean more pressure, but also a tantalizing opportunity to deliver the dream of ultra-athletic post players, albeit a year delayed. “Just going into this year knowing that [I’ll start], it’s a big confidence booster and it’s also a big motivator,” Miles said. The brothers know, though, that transitioning into the starting lineup will require them to alter their playing style.
Last season, the Plumlees were asked to provide energy in quick bursts off the bench. Now, they’ll be called upon to play at least 20 minutes a game without the security provided by experienced big men like Zoubek and Thomas. The added minutes will necessitate restraint on defense in a way that wasn’t required last year. Miles had more than four fouls 14 times last season, while Mason had more than three fouls 13 times despite averaging only 14 minutes See plumlees on page 14
12 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
Come see us this Fall! Engaging the MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT through RECREATION The Department of Campus Recreation is divided into four unique areas for students to work and recreate. These areas include Aquatics, Intramurals, Outdoor Adventures, and Sport Clubs. Each specific area offers a variety of programs and services for the Duke University community. Campus Recreation provides numerous student employment opportunities throughout the year such as officiating in our intramural program, life guarding, climbing wall monitor and much more.
The mission of Duke Campus Recreation is to provide the University community with diverse programming to engage the mind, body, and spirit by promoting healthy lifestyles and education through recreation.
Congratulations Women’s Club Snowboarding for winning the 2010 National Championship!
Socialize, compete & Have Fun witH Sport clubS! What is a sport Club?
he Sport Club program is designed to promote and develop the interests and skills of individuals in different sports or recreational activities. The program provides competitive, instructional and recreational activity for students. The program emphasizes student leadership, the development of a sense of community, and provides fun and enjoyment. With a wide range of activities students are given ample opportunities to compete from the local to the national level. Each club is organized and managed by students with assistance from the Department of Campus Recreation. ort Clubs Duke university sp Badminton men’s rugBy BaseBall men’s soCCer CyCling men’s tennis danCing devils men’s ultimate equestrian men’s volleyBall Field HoCkey men’s waterpolo golF outing iCe HoCkey raas iCe skating raCquetBall martial arts roadrunners men’s BasketBall sailing men’s Crew ski team men’s laCrosse soFtBall
swim taBle tennis triatHlon women’s BasketBall women’s laCrosse women’s rugBy women’s soCCer women’s tennis women’s ultimate women’s volleyBall women’s water polo
For additional inFormation contact:
miKe ForbeS | director of Sport clubs & intramurals | firstname.lastname@example.org | (919) 613-7517
soCCer, basketball & more!
ntramurals offers a variety of fun and unique opportunities to students with diverse abilities through our men’s, women’s, and co-ed recreational sporting options. Whether you are a recreational or competitive sports enthusiast or someone looking for a daily source of exercise, Intramurals provides programs, leagues, and tournaments for all skill levels. 2010-2011 INTRAMURAL SPORTS
7-A-SIDE SOCCER CO-ED BASkETBAll FlAg FOOTBAll INDOOR SOCCER OUTDOOR SOCCER
BASkETBAll DODgEBAll SOFTBAll VOllEYBAll
For additional inFormation contact:
matthew Holdren intramural coordinator email@example.com
Make some money!
We have a number of job opportunities in the following areas: • Lifeguards • Climbing Wall Supervisors • Referees • Intramural Supervisors • Office Staff For more information, contact us at 613-7518 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For aDDitional inFormation on Campus reCreation or stuDent employment ContaCt:
FeliCia tittle | managing Director of Campus recreation | email@example.com | (919) 684-1153
THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 | 13
Engaging the MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT through RECREATION
Come see us this Fall
Wilson Recreation Center • Brodie Gym Sunday through Thursday 7 a.m. to Midnight Friday & Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
looking For an outDoor aDventure?
We have What you are looking For! wHat iS tHe outdoor adventure program? he outdoor adventure program is a student-centered program with a goal to provide high quality outdoor activities to duke students.
What We oFFer
Climbing Wall Within the Wilson recreation Center is our indoor climbing wall with 11 top-ropes and 30 foot climbs for all climbing abilities. group rentals the climbing wall is available for private use if a group or organization is looking for team building activities or just for a way to have some fun! Climbing Competition each year a climbing competition is held on an annual basis bringing the Duke climbing community together for a day of friendly competition. outDoor trips • Camping • Backpacking • Sea kayaking • Hang gliding in the Outer banks • Kayaking trips to local rivers
CliniCs • Kayaking (monthly to bi-monthly) • Climbing • Mountain biking
FOR AddITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT:
Levi dexel | Outdoor Adventure Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org | (919) 613-7536
Come make a splash!
oin us at the 4 lane 25 yard Brodie Pool located in the Brodie Athletic Center on Duke’s East Campus for open swim, stroke clinics, private and semi-private lessons and aqua aerobics. Our 8 lane 25 yard Taishoff Pool, located on Duke’s West Campus in the Wilson Recreation Center includes deep water diving well, in addition, Taishoff offers lap swimming, swim clinics, and private and semi-private lessons. For additional challenge to your swim add a water belt, fins, or a kickboard. FOR AddITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jan Ogilvie | director of Aquatics | email@example.com | (919) 949-3208 Bonnie Adams | Coordinator of Aquatics | firstname.lastname@example.org | (919) 613-7537
14 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
plumlees from page 11 per game. “You definitely have to play a lot smarter when you’re playing longer minutes,” Miles said. “You can’t come in and get as many fouls. That is something I have to adjust to, playing smarter on defense.” But while the Plumlees have big shoes to fill on the defensive side of the ball, they may make their greatest impact on offense. Last year’s defensive-minded tandem of Zoubek and Thomas led Duke to be a half-court oriented team, with a majority of the frontcourt’s scoring coming from offensive rebounds. Miles and Mason, though, rely on athleticism and agility to get their points, along with a budding toolbox of post moves. That should allow this year’s Blue Devils to pick up the pace and challenge their opponents on the fast break. “I think with the way we play [this year], we’ll get some easy baskets for them, because they can really run,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I think we can spread the court more and have some runs to the offense, get some dunks and easy buckets.” But the Plumlees won’t be fully responsible for Duke’s new identity, as freshman point guard Kyrie Irving’s ability to create on the break should fuel the new-look Blue Devils just as much as the new, athletic frontcourt. “We all have high hopes for [Kyrie] and high expectations,” Miles said. “It’s different having a point guard like him who can create easy buckets for the big guys whereas last year we
meet the class of 2014 In the wake of a national championship-winning season and the departures of Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas, Duke looks to retool with an elite recruiting class. Ranked No. 6 in the nation by ESPN, the class features point guards Kyrie Irving and Tyler Thornton alongside athletic forward Josh Hairston. Irving, seen by many as the gem of the group, is expected to have a huge impact during his freshman year. “They are bringing in a player that can change the complexion of their team, [and] potentially alter talent in the league,” said Scout.com’s National Recruiting Director Dave Telep. “Kyrie Irving is as big an ACC recruit as you can have. He gives this class... all of its swagger.” While fans may lament the loss of Scheyer, who ranked fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, Telep believes Irving has the talent to pick up where the senior left off as the Blue Devils’ starting point guard. “When you lose a guy like Jon Scheyer, the guy has to be replaced, and now he has been replaced with a guy that has even relied a lot on the motion offense for that.” With a new point guard and a new offensive mentality, the brothers are itching to prove that Duke can win another title with them starting in the post. And if that isn’t enough motivation for Miles and Mason to break out this season, well, there’s always the brotherly rivalry. “It’s natural that you always want to do better than your brother,” Miles said. “So I think we keep it in perspective, but it definitely matters.”
more basketball talent,” Telep said. “He’s a multi-handed player in the lane, he’s starting to shoot the ball exceptionally well. This is the best point guard they have had come into their program in a while, and he will be expected to deliver and he will deliver. He’s got big shoes to fill but he can handle it and he’s ready to do it.” Irving’s physical skills have drawn rave reviews around the country—but for former Duke star and current ESPN analyst Jay Williams, his mental toughness stands out. “First of all, he has drive,” Williams said June 2. “Secondly, he has a very old school mentality. He’s very explosive and very quick, but he understands how to change speeds. He has the [youth] of someone his age with the mentality of that guy in the park that’s 35, 36 [that] understands how to play, which is phenomenal for somebody his age.” While Irving is the headliner, fellow newcomers Hairston and Thornton will also be counted upon this season to produce for the Blue Devils. Hairston, currently ranked No. 19 in his class by ESPN, has also been pegged
for the USA Basketball U-18 team, where he will play alongside Irving. Hairston sports a 6-foot-8 frame and promises to give opponents fits with his ability to play both inside and on the perimeter. “He is a very versatile player; [he] can play inside and out.... [He] has developed into a very solid perimeter player,” said Stu Vetter, Hairston’s coach at Montrose Christian School. “He plays very hard. He plays with a lot of passion. I think he will come in and make the adjustment to the college game. I think he has the ability to be a very good player for Duke.” The 6-foot-2 Thornton will spell Irving for minutes this year. Thorton, who faced off numerous times against incoming North Carolina and McDonald’s AllAmerican Kendall Marshall during his high school career, will not be fazed by ACC play, according to Telep. “He’s a guy who’s going to have a nice career at Duke,” Telep said. “He’s going to be a team-first guy who understands his role, who is going to be great in the locker room. He’s going to fight.” — by Alex Stuart
We’re updating our blog with the latest Duke sports news all summer! Find it at: dukechroniclesports.com
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THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 | 15
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16 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
repeat from page 10
Photo courtesy of duke sports information
Brian Davis thinks Smith and Singler resemble himself and Laettner.
Still, the expectations may prove debilitating. Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith especially, as the unquestioned leaders of this team, will see a jump in hype rare even for Duke players. Greg Dale, Director of Sports Psychology and Leadership Programs for Duke Athletics, said that the increase can be dangerous—but a focus on taking it game by game will prevent the expectations from causing too much harm for Duke. “You can’t control what everyone’s expectations are,” Dale said. “But you have to be committed to playing hard every night against a nameless, faceless opponent.” If Smith and Singler ever struggle to keep that singular focus, they have a coach that works to eliminate the external pressures. According to Hill, in 1992, Krzyzewski never let the team know that they were out to defend their title. “Coach dealt with it and [made it] so we didn’t feel any pressure,” he said. “We kept a vibe that we weren’t the de-
Five Years in a Row!
fending champions. Psychologically, that makes it more fun—you’re pursuing [the title], rather than defending it.” In 1992, despite a non-conference schedule that Brill called the hardest Krzyzewski has ever assembled, Duke was undefeated until February 5. This year, if the Blue Devils beat Butler and a few other non-conference opponents, the “unbeatable” tag will be there, and it’s unquestionably tough to handle. Hurley thinks they will actually benefit from losing a game, eliminating that extra pressure. “When you’re in a tight game and the game pressure is on you, I’m not sure if [being undefeated] doesn’t factor in,” he said. “Now, when you’ve already lost a game and eliminated that from the equation, you’re not dealing with that element.” And there is one thing Duke must always remember, according to Hurley. “Enjoy the journey,” he said. “A lot of guys don’t have their opportunity. I know they’re going to be hungry to try and do it again. It’s something [they] should cherish.” It’s tempting to draw similarities between the two teams. Both have two senior co-captains who played the summer before their title defense with the U.S. National Team, and both duos are known for being friends off the court. Brian Davis feels each has similar leadership styles. “Nolan and Kyle, they remind me of me and Christian,” Brian Davis said. “We were very laid back off the court and aggressive on the court.... These guys have the ability to repeat, because they have great leaders. And I think Nolan and Kyle are monsters.” Both teams also have an underdog’s mentality. Davis said his squad played with “not a chip on our shoulders, but a boulder.” And Smith hasn’t forgotten that Duke wasn’t placed among the sport’s top teams last year. “A lot of people overlooked us [last year],” Smith said. “This year we’ll still have the same mentality that we have to play every game like it’s our last game, get better as the year go along, take it step-by-step.” Still, though, there are glaring differences. The 1992 team had very little turnover, losing only one player who averaged over six points per game—Bill McCaffrey, who transferred to Vanderbilt. Duke in 2010-11 returns only two starters, after Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas all graduated. But Krzyzewski doesn’t feel that the relatively high turnover between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 teams necessarily means this year’s edition will fall short of 1992’s success. In fact, he thinks Duke has a better situation now. “It’s a different team [now],” he said. “[In] 1992, we were the same team. 2002 was essentially the same team. I think this is better. We have a really good, mature team.” Hurley agrees, saying that the different playing style of the 2010-11 squad can be a good thing. “It’s going to be up to Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith to lead that team,” he said. “But I like the idea of bringing in a player like Kyrie Irving, as good as he is, I think it adds something. The players that are returning are going to get a real boost from him.... I think it’s going to help them.” Another difference, perhaps more glaring even than the varying degree of turnover between the teams, is the difference in talent. 1992’s Blue Devils had three players whose numbers now hang in the dusty rafters of Cameron. Time will tell if this year’s team also boasts such accomplishments. “The ’92 team was obviously better,” Seth Davis said. “Look at the talent that was on that team. And I don’t know if this team is going in as the prohibitive No. 1 like ’92 was.” Fortunately for the 2010-11 Blue Devils, they’re not playing against Laettner, the Hills, Hurley and Brian Davis. They’re just trying to beat everyone else in the country. Easy, right?
Interested in writing for sports? E-mail email@example.com for more information.
THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 | 17
Thomas interns for her future with WNBA by Ryan Claxton THE CHRONICLE
Not unlike many Duke upperclassmen, senior Jasmine Thomas has spent her summer interning in her future career field. However, while many Duke students have migrated to the financial sector of New York or the political hotbed of Washington, Thomas has found her niche in the marketing department of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, as she pursues a future career playing professional basketball. While sorting faxes and making copies may not seem to translate well into court skills for the Blue Devils’ leading scorer, the rising senior has gained perspective from her summer experience. “Being on the opposite side of it and seeing all the things that go into it made me really appreciate playing,” Thomas said. “And let me know that I can definitely do that and that’s something I can strive towards.” The Mystics provide an excellent example for her to follow. As well as being Thomas’ hometown club, the team boasts three Duke alums in Alana Beard, Monique Currie and Lindsey Harding. “They’re always joking with me and making fun of me,” Thomas said. “It’s weird to see a Duke basketball player on the business side of it, but it’s cool seeing them and being around. They’re always willing to help me if I need anything [when] trying to get to the next level.” Thomas noted that playing in the high-profile Blue Devil program provides
preparation for the off-court expectations of the WNBA. With a recent emphasis on community service, the WNBA has worked lately to ensure its athletes give back to their communities. At Duke, the emphasis on communityoriented experience has been very much the same. “[Sports Information Director Lindy Brown] always has us involved in doing interviews and doing community activities,” Thomas said. “He’s always trying to promote that and show that we’re involved in other things besides basketball and that’s really big in the WNBA—showing that they’re very community-oriented and family-oriented.” While Thomas has learned much about the professional game, she has had one thing nagging at her all summer. “I’m coming back to Duke for second session now,” Thomas said. “I was going to be in [Washington] D.C. all summer but I can’t fight the anxiousness that I have to get back and start working out.” Thomas has good reason to be excited for the upcoming season. The defending ACC champion Blue Devils return three of their top five scorers from last season, including Thomas, and bring in a top recruiting class that features three McDonald’s All-Americans. Duke loses three seniors who all averaged more than 20 minutes a game, but Thomas is confident that turnover will improve the squad for the upcoming season. “Any year the team has a different look,” Thomas said. “People get better, you get new players and I think just
losing our three seniors, losing some rebounding, some good defense and some scoring... just opens up new opportunities for other players who have been waiting. Our freshmen class coming in, we’re getting five girls who are just great, who have done great things in high school and already can’t wait to get to Duke and start working out and start their college careers.” The Blue Devils should have plenty of weapons to share the scoring load with Thomas, who led the way last season with a team-leading 16 points per game to go along with 146 total assists, nearly 30 percent of the team’s total. After averaging 9.6 points per game in her junior campaign, Karima Christmas has established herself as a strong scoring option. Rising sophomore Allison Vernerey could be poised for a breakout year after showing flashes of brilliance in the post during the 2009-10 campaign. Add in the stellar recruiting class and the Blue Devils seem to be in prime position for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Duke’s season came to a disappointing halt this past spring as Brittney Griner and Baylor squeaked past the Blue Devils in the NCAA Regional Final in Memphis. But with a fresh start and an injection of new talent, Thomas sees potential for this year to be different. “I just think we have to stay focused,” Thomas said. “We have to know that we are just as capable of doing what we did last year and even more.... That’s definitely something we’re striving to do this year— make it to the Final Four again.”
Tel: (919) 490-0229
Melissa yeo/Chronicle file photo
Thomas has learned much interning with the Mystics.
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18 | THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010 the chronicle
Duke in the World Cup Duke athletes hail from far and wide—including several countries currently competing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. More can be read online at dukechroniclesports.com graphic by melissa yeo/The Chronicle
Gretchen Miller, a senior central-defender from Fairport, N.Y., has been hard at work this summer in Beaverton, Ore., at an internship with Nike, but the nine-hour time difference between South Africa and Oregon didn’t keep her from following the United States’ magical run to the round of 16. This transcript comes from a phone interview conducted on the eve of the United States’ loss to Ghana. Where were you when the group-clinching goal against Algeria was scored? I was at work, and my manager actually didn’t come in that day, so a bunch of us went into his office to watch the game. We were kind of freaking out because the game was coming down to the last two minutes [with the US needing a goal to advance], and the people I was with didn’t really follow soccer, so it was pretty interesting. But when Landon scored, you could hear screams from the hallways and everyone was high-fiving. There have been a few questionable calls and disallowed goals in the tournament, but FIFA has continued to take a stand against implementing any kind of replay system. Is that something you would like to see in the international game, and perhaps even at the college level? If you look at the other major sports [in America], they have replay systems in place. Referees are human, and they make mistakes. The game moves so quickly that having something where they can look at [plays] again and slow them down, like in the NFL, I think would be beneficial. However, I think that soccer’s such a free game that’s quick and on-the-move, that replay might take something away. Aside from the soccer, one of the biggest stories of the Cup, at least in the American press, has been the Vuvuzelas. Do you hate them, or would you like to see them in Koskinen this fall? I think it might add a bit of flair to Koskinen… ,but it might not help us out on the field too much. From everyone I’ve talked to, people just can’t stand them. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not noticing them, because [the sound] is so constant.
Duke Tennis’ Alain Michel, a rising senior, competed in 13 singles matches this year, as well as many doubles matches with partner Torsten Wietoska. Michel hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil, whose team was last seen dismantling Chile 3-0. How closely are you following this 2010 World Cup? I usually watch two out of the three daily games, so I would say very closely. Who’s your pick? I would still say Brazil, for its experience in the tournament. What would’ve been the national reaction if Brazil had lost that game to the US in the Confederation Cup? It would have been pretty bad, and the press would be very harsh about it, but what people care about most here in Brazil is the World Cup. The whole country stops to watch it, and that is all people talk about during the month. When or if Brazil loses in the WC then the whole population feels depressed for the next few months. We don’t expect anything but winning it. Much has been made of Dunga’s approach to international football— that he focuses too much on the result and not enough on the traditional flashy football, especially after he left Ronaldinho and Neymar off the WC roster. If Brazil wins ugly, is that okay with you? Yes, despite enjoying watching some very talented players from our country playing the beautiful soccer they can, I only care about the win. With such a focus placed on winning with style in football, is that something you think about with tennis as well? Not really, tennis is a very different game where one single point can change the whole match, so there is not too much space to focus on winning with style. You just have to win.
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