Hannukah came early this year, but Christmas is finally here.
After its traditional holiday break, Duke basketball will finish its nonconference schedule against Eastern Michigan and Elon.
Before that, allow me to take a moment to get into the holiday spirit and give a few gifts to the Blue Devils.
Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood—To Duke’s duo of stars, I gift something quite personal, something I typically only share with close friends, something my brother gave to me, something I’ve added to during my three-and-a-half years here as a student. The present: my personal collection of easy and interesting classes.
Parker may be the top selection in June’s NBA draft if he chooses to go pro, and some project Hood as a potential lottery pick. Any player should go pro if they deem that’s what they want and that’s what’s best for them. If any NBA team wanted to select me in the first round, I probably would’ve left school early. (Note to NBA GMs: The offer is still on the table in June, but after that I may retire early and pursue other career paths).
But if it’s any incentive to stay at Duke for an extra year or two, I promise a list of classes that won’t be too taxing and will actually be interesting. I also won’t share it with too many other people so that the classes don’t fill up too quickly during registration. Hopefully it’s just another bit of incentive to stay, along with the prospect of playing next season on what could be the most talented team in the history of the program.
Alex Murphy—As far as transfers go, it seems that Murphy’s decision to go to Florida was as amiable as it gets. He felt he needed to play more, which given his sparing playing time is pretty understandable.
There was a time, though, that Murphy looked like he might be a star at Duke. He started as a freshman during the team’s 2011 trip to China, before a concussion derailed his season and sent his career as a Blue Devil on an alternate path.
Because our best hopes for Murph came from that China trip, I give him my fondest memory of the voyage: A framed copy of the picture of Marshall, Mason and Miles Plumlee wearing the conical Asian hats outside the Great Wall of China. I’m not sure there’s a better way to remember that journey.
Andre Dawkins—Everybody missed Dawkins during his year away from the game, and lately he’s shown people how incredibly useful he can be. He’s averaging eight points in only 12.1 minutes per game, and ‘Dre-All-Day chants can be heard ringing in the halls of Cameron once again. Fa la la la la, la Dre All Day.
To Dawkins, I’m going to re-gift something… poor form, I know. But I clearly make poor use of the electronic razor that my mother gave me, because much to her chagrin I still usually end up walking around with some scruff. As incredible as Dawkins’ comeback story may be, I don’t see the need for the my-first-mustache on his upper lip. We could both probably use some facial hair advice from Josh Hairston, who may be the most neatly groomed, bearded Blue Devil since Zoubeard himself.
Coach K—In an earlier column this year, I jokingly introduced the Doghouse Power Rankings, which at the time were 1. Rasheed Sulaimon 2. Andre Dawkins 3. Alex Murphy 4. Quinn Cook. Those were clearly wrong. At his next press conference, head coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “None of my guys are in the doghouse,” and to me he added, “You know who’s in the doghouse? You are.”
While Sulaimon continued to struggle and see limited minutes, with Coach K noting, “He has not had a good fall,” in that press conference, people continued to write about ‘Sheed in the doghouse. Did they not hear Coach K?
"I have one dog, his name is Blue, and he doesn't even live in a house," Krzyzewski said.
So, in the case that people need to keep on throwing around this word doghouse, I want to try and make it work by giving Coach K a doghouse. Don’t worry, I’ll be the first to spend time in it.