There are a few sports events and venues that stand out among the rest. There is a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, a Packers game at Lambeau Field, an Alabama game at Bryant Denny Stadium, a Kentucky basketball game at Rupp Arena, a race at Daytona or Indianapolis that the true die-hard sports fan would put at the top of his/her list should money and time no longer becomes an issue.
Duke basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium surely fits among these. Duke is one of college basketball’s most prestigious programs. They take a back seat to no one, not UCLA, not Kentucky, not North Carolina. Duke is the current national champion, a title they have won five times since 1991, three times since 2001. They have also be the runner-up on six other occasions.
They’ve been to the Final Four an eye-popping 16 times, the Elite Eight 20 times, the Sweet Sixteen 28 times and the NCAA Tournament 39 times. They also have made five trips to the NIT.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a record of 945-251 in his coaching career, the vast majority of which has been as Duke’s head coach. He has been the Blue Devils coach since 1980, and before his arrival Duke had no national championships, two runner-up finishes and four Final Fours.
Cameron Indoor Stadium opened in 1940. In all that time the Blue Devils have won over 84% of the games played in the venue. Cameron Indoor Stadium holds a little over 9300 fans, which is a very small arena for a program of this magnitude. It would be expected that Duke would have built a new 20,000 person arena by now, but if they did, much like the Cubs, Sox and Packers, it would be a shame to lose this sports icon.
Cameron Indoor Stadium is most known for the Duke student section, otherwise known at the Cameron Crazies. They stand the entire game and are known for chanting taunts at the opposing players. To become a Cameron Crazy, one must survive Krzyzewskiville which is a “tent city” set up outside Cameron where students must camp out to be first in line to get their spot at the game. If there is a more avid fan in sports than a Cameron Crazy fan, there are not many.
The ACC is the top conference in college basketball with North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Florida State, and now they have made their conference even better in recent seasons with the additions of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville.
So it really does not matter which Duke game you attend at Cameron Indoor Stadium, you will be watching future NBA stars in action. Some of the Duke greats that have gone on to NBA stardom include Grant Hill, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Mike Gminski, J. J. Redick, Christian Laettner, Danny Ferry, Shane Battier, Kyrie Irving, Luol Deng, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Jabari Parker, Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Austin Rivers and Shelden Williams. Others have made their name in coaching such as Bobby Hurley and Tommy Amaker.
So many others may not have fared too well in the NBA or perhaps played in other pro leagues but were fantastic players at Duke include Cherokee Parks, Jon Scheyer, Chris Carrawell, Jason Williams, Chris Duhon, Steve Wojciechowski, and Kyle Singler.
Duke basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of the most excellent sports events in the nation. It is one for any stadium traveler’s to-do list. Every seat at a Duke game is a great seat no matter where you sit. This season’s home game will include Siena, Bryant, Yale, Utah State, Indiana, Utah, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Syracuse, NC State, Louisville, Virginia, FSU, Wake and North Carolina.
The Duke-North Carolina rivalry may be the biggest in any sport, not just college basketball. If there are tickets available for this game, do not pass them up. Do not miss out on any of the excitement of Duke basketball this season as they defend their national championship.
image courtesy of goduke.com