By, Josh Stonberg
There is only one man I know that can put what Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has accomplished into words: Barney Stinson. However, all four minutes and 43 seconds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C19US6rqqAo) of Barney Stinson saying the word legendary in this compilation still does not do justice to Coach K’s achievements. With 1000 wins, a man is bound to be part of some pretty unbelievable moments. Here are the most epic, most awesome, and most legendary moments of #Coach1k’s career.
- Speedo Guy
The Cameron Crazies are an integral part of Duke basketball, and during Coach K’s tenure as coach, their legend has grown tremendously. The most epic moment of fan excellence occurred during a game between Duke and North Carolina in 2003. When UNC’s Jackie Manuel stepped to the line he expected to see the normal Cameron indoor crowd: hundreds of kids standing up in blue screaming at him. What happened next shocked him. In a moment of beauty matched only by Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Viking man got the whole Duke student section to sit down, allowing for one man to rise up like a beautiful, blooming flower. Patrick King, in only a speedo, rose up and began to shake his body in mesmerizing fashion. Unable to take his eyes of King’s bodacious booty shaking, Manuel missed the first free throw. He took a deep breath, and attempted to calm himself, but could not shake the image of King’s junk jumping around in his tight-fitting speedo. Two missed free throws and a legend had been born. Speedo Guy helped Coach K to a tight victory over rival North Carolina https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PEXG0mZKcw, while cementing the iconicness of the Cameron Crazies.
- Austin Rivers’ beats UNC as time expires
The tobacco road rivalry has featured many incredible games. Both fanbases go absolutely nuts when these two teams take the court, but on this day the Tar Heels supporters were left in shocked silence. With only two minutes and fifteen seconds remaining, UNC led 82-72. What transpired next was absolute madness. Guard Tyler Thornton pulled up for three to bring Duke within seven. North Carolina proceeded to turn the ball over, leading to a deep Seth Curry trey ball to cut the lead to four. Harrison Barnes was then called for a charge, giving the ball back to the Blue Devils. Ryan Kelly swished a baseline jumper, and just like that it was a two point game with over a minute remaining. After a UNC made free throw, Duke was down three points. Ryan Kelly wanted to play the role of hero, and he chucked up a shot from deep, that looked like it was going to be an airball. Out of nowhere came Tar Heel Tyler Zeller, and he tipped the shot backwards into his own hoop to cut the deficit down to one. Zeller then went one for two at the line. Duke pulled down the rebound with about 13 seconds remaining, and had one chance to send the game to overtime. Austin Rivers, however ( he needed to get home quick because his mom was making her famous spaghetti and meatballs) decided to end the game before overtime. Curling around a Mason Plumlee screen, Rivers found himself one on one with Tyler Zeller, who probably played the worst final two minutes of a game in the history of basketball. Rivers pulled up from beyond the arc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X1ewxVwhug, drained the three, and quickly ran off the court to get home in time for dinner. The Tar Heel fanbase was stunned, in silent disbelief after witnessing one of the greatest comebacks of all time.
- Sean Dockery at the buzzer
On December Fourth, 2005, the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils played host to the Hokies of Virginia Tech. Heavily favored, Duke held a double digit lead with under five minutes remaining in the game. From there, everything began to fall apart for the home team. Virginia Teach rallied to get back into the game, and with 1.6 seconds left Coleman Collins tapped in Zabian Dowell’s miss to give the visiting team a one point lead. But the Blue Devils were not to be defeated on this day. The ref handed the ball to Josh McRoberts under the hoop, and he looked downcourt for the primary receiver on the play, big man Shelden Williams. Scanning the court with the field vision of Peyton Manning, McRoberts threw a pass that earned him an invite to the Jets training camp the following year. Sean Dockery pulled down the catch, turned, put the ball on the floor (seemingly unaffected by the Calvin Johnson rule), and heaved up a deep range bomb that splashed like a fat man hitting the water in cannonball position https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuQ-dlhyfNc. The Cameron Crazies rose in unison to celebrate the spectacular game-winner, and Coach K’s team remained undefeated.
- Jeff Capel forces OT
On February second, 1995, Duke trailed at home to their archrivals from down the street. With as little as eight seconds left in overtime, UNC held a six point lead. The Tar Heels came into the game ranked second in the nation, while Duke was in the midst of one of Krzyzewski’s worst seasons. Come March, they would miss out on the NCAA tournament altogether. But on this night it did not matter. After a Jeff Capel and-one cut the lead down to three points, UNC big man Serge Zwikker stepped to the line for two free-throws. Usually a reliable free throw shooter, Zwikker missed both. With four seconds left Duke pulled down the rebound, and then Capel found himself with the ball in his hands once again. Finally, (trying to procrastinate from all the homework he still had left to do that night), Capel decided he wanted the game to continue. He dribbled across half-court and launched a prayer as time expired. The ball found its way through the cylinder and Duke lived to play another overtime. Though they were defeated 102-100 on this day, but Duke fans will never forget Jeff Capel’s runner from deep https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAZvnJ_sngI, one of the few bright spots in a otherwise horrendous season.
- Gene Banks ties it up
Coach K’s first season in Durham did not go as well as many would think. The Blue Devils struggled to a record of 17-13, winning less than half their ACC games (6-8). None of this seemed to matter on senior night though, as Gene Banks celebrated his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in style. He began by wearing a tuxedo to pregame introductions and throwing roses into the crowd. Banks would then go on to hit two extremely clutch shots. The first came at the end of regulation, following two made free throws by Tar Heel Sam Perkins. Duke was inbounding from mid court with one second left in the game. Banks flashed to the elbow and received the ball, swishing a mid range jumper to tie it up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV1B2Bp0EIg. Then, in overtime, he banked home the winner for his 24th and 25th points off the night. This was Coach K’s first of many victories over North Carolina, and set the tone for how competitive these games would be during his tenure as coach.
- #500- Duke takes down UNC
On the morning of February 28th, 1998, Coach K sat at 499 career wins. On senior day, his number one ranked Blue Devils would face the third ranked Tar Heels who would obviously be excited to spoil the ending of Duke’s season. Earlier in the year, these two teams had face off in the Dean Dome, where UNC had defeated Duke by 24 points in a one vs two matchup. Early in the second game it appeared as if the outcome would be the same. With 12 minutes remaining, the Tar Heels led by 17 points. The game was on path to be a blowout. But senior Steve Wojciechowski was not prepared to lose his final game at Cameron Indoor, and freshman star Elton Brand scored 16 to help the comeback effort. With a minute left Duke scored to take the lead 77-75, and that score would hold until the final whistle. Not only was this game a milestone for Coach K (#Coach1/2K was trending on twitter that day), it may have been the most legendary installment in the classic Duke vs UNC rivalry.
- The Miracle Minute
If you have not seen the miracle minute, then click on this link right now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeI82rqx2QU. For any basketball player, it will undoubtedly give you the chills. For the lazy ones, I will describe it in detail. With under a minute, Duke trailed Maryland by ten. Point guard Jason Williams, who had been struggling all night, hit a layup with 53.5 seconds left to cut the lead to 90-82. Maryland turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass and Williams was there to scoop it up. He took one dribble to his right before pulling up for three to cut the lead to five. Following a timeout, Duke fouled Maryland before the ball was inbounded. Drew Nicholas stepped up to the line trying to keep the lead out of reach. An 80% free throw shooter, he missed both. The ball fell to Williams again, and he drained another three to make it a two point game. Maryland called a timeout to regain composure. With 40.4 seconds left play resumed and Maryland inbounded the ball to star player Juan Dixon. Three Duke players swarmed him, and he turned the ball over! Duke worked the ball around until it reached sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy Jr. who missed, but teammate Nate James was fouled while trying to tip the ball in, and he made both free throws to tie the game. Maryland missed a shot at the buzzer, and the game went to overtime where Duke came away with a 98-96. This was one of four Duke-Maryland matchups that season, including a final four game where Duke trailed by 22 points before coming back to win, and eventually go on to capture their third national championship. The miracle minute will forever live in Blue Devil lore, and now that Maryland has moved out of the ACC, this game is how their rivalry will be remembered. It was a vital win for Coach K’s squad, on their journey to cutting down the nets.
- Duke defeating UNLV in the 1991 final four
Hockey has USA’s miracle win over the Soviet Union. Football has the New York Giants taking down the undefeated New England Patriots. College basketball has Duke beating UNLV. There have been some crazy upsets in March Madness, so it seems odd to say that a two seed defeating a one seed in the final four was the biggest one ever. But in this case, it is hard to argue the contrary. In the 1990 NCAA championship game, Duke faced off against Jerry Tarkanian’s runnin rebels, and it was not pretty. UNLV won 103-73 setting the record for the biggest margin of victory in the tournament’s finale. The next year UNLV was undefeated entering the final four, a perfect 34-0, and absolutely demolishing everyone along the way. They scored a ridiculous 98.3 points per game and were beating opponents by an average of more than 27.5 points. The 1991 final four featured a rematch of the 1990 national championship game. Duke, a two seed, had played a relatively easy path through the tournament, and was expected to have no chance against a UNLV team being dubbed as one of the best of all time. Duke had become a constant final four team (it was their fourth straight) but Coach K was yet to capture his first national championship. The runnin rebels were not only one of the best college basketball teams ever, they were one of the most intriguing due to their constant bouts with the NCAA. They played with an anger, an us against the world mentality. Going into their final four matchup against Duke they were on a 45 game winning streak (dating back to the previous season). But on this day Duke would prove to be the better of the two. With two and a half minutes remaining UNLV held a five point lead. Duke would climb back, and eventually take the lead with an and-one with one minute remaining. All tied up at 77, Christian Laettner went to the line and knocked down two free throws to put Duke ahead for good with 12 seconds left. Duke-UNLV was so much more than just a game. It was a battle of two different types of teams. There was UNLV, who were boastful, brash and portrayed as being “hoodlums.” Then there was Duke, the team of Christian Laettner’s and Bobby Hurley’s, the type of players everybody loves to hate. It was perceived as a matchup of slums vs upper class. Rule breakers vs goody two-shoes. There is so much backstory to the matchup that it is impossible to fully capture the meaning of the game in one piece. For Coach K, it also meant something special. It finally got him over the hump. Duke went from being perpetual almosts to the team to beat. It truly redefined his career, and it is impossible to think about win number 1000 without thinking about possibly the most important game of Coach K’s career.
- Gordon Hayward’s half-court heave rimming out
Coach K’s fourth national title came in 2010, against Butler in the national championship game. This squad was probably the least talented of his four title winning teams; the 1991 and 1992 teams featured greats Christian Laettner (Wooden award winner), Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill, and the 2001 lineup had future NBA players Jason Williams, Chris Duhon, Carlos Boozer, Shane Battier (Wooden award winner) and Mike Dunleavy Jr. This is not to say Duke’s 2010 roster was all too shabby however, as Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singer were all college stars. Duke had a relatively easy path to the final four that year, facing off against a Baylor team in the elite eight that did not give them much trouble. They were the only one seed to make the final four that year, and faced off against West Virginia for a spot in the national championship. The Blue Devils jumped out to a ten point lead with five minutes still to go in the first half, and though West Virginia cut into the lead at times, it stayed around ten points for much of the game. When Mountaineer star player Da’Sean Butler got injured with about nine minutes remaining the game was pretty much sealed. Their final against Butler, however would not be as easy. Butler, the five seed in the west region, had made their way to the title game by defeating the one seed in the region, Syracuse, the two seed in the region, Kansas State, and then Michigan state in the final four. The cinderella vs powerhouse matchup was being hailed as a David vs Goliath game, Duke obviously being David. Butler was a tiny little school in Indianapolis, with only 4,000 students. The last Butler bulldog chosen in the NBA draft had been Ralph O’Brien in 1950. Their run to the national championship game had been nothing short of astonishing. But Duke, the team everybody loves to hate, was ready to end another feel good story. The game stayed close throughout, and with 35 seconds left, Butler had the ball down one point, 60-59. They let time run down until there was only about ten seconds left. Star player Gordon Hayward drove down the right side, and attempted a fadeaway jumper over the outstretched arm of Duke big man Brian Zoubek. The shot hit the back iron and Zoubek pulled down the board. A 55% free throw shooter on the season, Zoubek was sent to the line with only 3.6 seconds remaining. He drained the first free throw to give Duke a two point advantage, but missed the second. Hayward pulled down the rebound for Butler and started sprinting up the court. Big man Matt Howard set a vicious screen on Duke’s Kyle Singler, freeing Hayward up for one final shot. He hoisted a runner from where the halfcourt line meets the sideline. For a second, it seemed destined to go in. The ball hit the backboard and came down on the front rim, but then Butler’s magic ran out. Coach K had won his fourth, and probably most nerveracking, title. John Brenkus of sports science broke down how close the shot was to going in for those who do not remember it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQs-d_9iJ14
- The Shot
There is no need to put any other title for this play than “the shot” because every college basketball fan has seen it a thousand times by this point. Whether in March Madness hype videos, Duke videos, or UPS commercials, watching “the shot” gives me the chills https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3_IT622Sbc. With 2.1 seconds remaining in an elite eight game between college basketball powerhouses Duke and Kentucky, the Blue Devils trailed by one. Inbounding from under their own hoop it seemed as if their only chance would be a half court heave. But one certain guy on Duke’s bench was pretty smart, and he really wanted to win this game. Who is that guy, you ask… Coach 1k. He masterminded a play designed to free up Laettner at the free throw line, and it was executed with perfection. Grant Hill threw a dart straight to Laettner, who took his iconic one dribble to the right, before half-spinning back left to free himself, and putting up a fadeaway jumper that would etch itself into college basketball lore forever.