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2 Duke The Blue Devils figure the quickest path to another title is defined by their two points

Nov. 20, 2000
Nov. 20, 2000

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Nov. 20, 2000

College Basketball 2000-2001

2 Duke The Blue Devils figure the quickest path to another title is defined by their two points

Sept. 25, 1999, may someday be regarded as a momentous date in
Duke's history, and not because Vanderbilt defeated the Blue
Devils 31-14 that afternoon in the homecoming football game in
Durham. Earlier that morning, at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke's
basketball team played pickup games that involved two of the
finest point guards in the nation--6'1", 186-pound Chris Duhon,
a visiting recruit from Slidell, La., and 6'2", 196-pound Blue
Devils freshman Jason Williams. Duhon's mother, Vivian Harper,
who had cautioned her son against committing to Duke because she
feared he might ride the bench behind Williams for as many as
three seasons, watched intently from the stands. Duhon, who grew
up a Duke fanatic, decided to make his college decision based on
how well the pickup games went.

This is an article from the Nov. 20, 2000 issue

Though NCAA rules prohibited Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski from
watching the action, he told forward Shane Battier to make sure
Williams and Duhon played on the same team. Duhon fed Williams on
the break. Williams found Duhon for threes. Williams alley-ooped
to Duhon and vice versa. Duhon missed just three shots that day,
and his team won six games in a row. The duo roomed together that
night, and Williams assured Duhon that Krzyzewski envisioned them
playing together. With his mother's blessing, Duhon committed to
Duke the next day without making his other four college visits.

Duhon and Williams play a game as closely matched as their jersey
numbers, 21 and 22, respectively. Williams is marginally a more
natural penetrator and distributor; Duhon, who easily won the
three-point shooting contest at the 2000 McDonald's All American
game, is a slightly more gifted shooter. Krzyzewski calls Duhon a
"sixth starter" who will run the point when Williams rests and
roam the wing looking for shots when he and Williams are on the
court together. "I see Chris as an understudy to the star of a
Broadway show," Krzyzewski says. "He'll have to be ready to take
over the lead role at any moment."

Operating with virtually no backup last year, Williams averaged a
stellar 14.5 points, 6.5 assists and 2.4 steals but also
committed an ACC-high 139 turnovers in a withering 34 minutes per
game. "Watching on TV you could see times when Jason was tired,
and all I could say was, 'Wait till next year,'" Duhon says. "Now
that we're together, it's exciting because neither of us has ever
played with another point guard this good before."

Duhon's presence is the primary reason why Krzyzewski is
reinstating the Blue Devils' trademark pressure defense, which he
scaled back last season because of a thin bench. That lack of
depth also contributed to the team's third-round NCAA tournament
loss to Florida. With seniors Battier and Nate James and emerging
sophomores Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy, Duke brings
back largely the same core of players who led the nation in
scoring (88.0 points per game) a year ago and finished the
regular season atop the rankings. This season Duke could add to
an impressive run that has seen the program rated No. 1 at some
point during 10 of the last 16 years. However, it's been eight
years since the Blue Devils owned that ranking at the end of a
season. "You can't keep saying, 'We'll win it all next year,'"
James says. "Some of us have run out of next years."

--Tim Crothers

COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO HELP'S ON THE WAY Fatigue was the only thing that could stop Williams last year, but now he'll have an evenly matched understudy to help lighten his load.

STARTING LINEUP

POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT

SF Mike Dunleavy 6'8" So. 9.1 ppg
PF [*]Shane Battier 6'8" Sr. 17.4 ppg
C [*]Carlos Boozer 6'9" So. 6.3 rpg
SG [*]Nate James 6'6" Sr. 11.0 ppg
PG [*]Jason Williams 6'2" So. 6.5 apg

1999-2000 Record: 29-5 Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 4
[*]Returning starter