I love Brian Zoubek. Seriously. He really embodies what we should look for in a Duke basketball player---he's an insightful kid that does well in school and always tries his hardest on the court. With that in mind, I called up my friend from 2028 and asked him what Zoo's future looked like. You know, because I was curious. Anyway, what he told me made my jaw drop. I asked my friend to write a letter about it, and this is what he wrote:
Hi. Welcome to the future. Durham, N.C., 2028 and I'm telling you it's great here. The air is clean. The water's clean. Even the dirt is clean. Bowling scores are way up. Mini-golf scores are way down. And we have more excellent water slides than any other planet we communicate with. I'm telling you this place is great. But it almost wasn't.
Luckily, Coach K finally unleashed Brian Zoubek--or as we in the future call him, Seven-Foot Jesus-in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
It started the summer before the Tournament. Zoo traveled all over the world, meeting with the masters---Pete Newell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Dalai Lama, various feng shui gurus. They worked on his sky hook, honed his shot blocking technique and focused his chi.
Anyway, Zoo had been sand-bagging it all year---Coach K's orders. The coach didn't want anyone to find out how much of a force Zoo had become until the Tournament. Basically, Krzyzewski knew that once the real Zoo came out, it would be the end of basketball as we know it.
So Coach K instructed Zoo to behave like his old self and Zoo obliged--he dove on the floor, played decent defense, traveled only a little. Towards the end of the season, Coach K let out the reins a bit, and told Zoo to give everyone a taste of what was coming. So Zoo gave them a taste. He's nothing if not a team player.
But in the Tourney was when Zoo really shined. It was a gradual thing-13 points and seven boards against Belmont, 10 and nine against Arizona, 16 and 14 against Xavier, 10 and 10 against UCLA while holding Kevin Love to a mere six points and three boards.
Then, Duke won its Final Four game and was matched up in the National Championship against Georgetown and Roy Hibbert. And Coach K said to Zoubek, "Go get it, kid. Show everyone what you can do." And Zoo said, "Sure thing, Coach."
He came out against the Hoyas like a man possessed, scoring on all 15 of Duke's first 15 possessions and blocking Hibbert's shot on all 15 Georgetown possessions. The crowd roared. On the 16th Blue Devil possession, Zoo threw down a windmill-tomahawk-360 dunk for his 32nd point in the first seven minutes. The Hoyas dribbled down-court and fed Hibbert the ball. And Zoo rejected his shot so hard that all of the air came out of the basketball.
At that moment, every fan in attendance wished so hard for a T-shirt that said, "Brian Zoubek has a posse" that suddenly and miraculously they were all wearing one. In their delight, they started thunderously chanting: "ZOUBEK! ZOUBEK! YES HE CAN! ZOUBEK! ZOUBEK! YES HE CAN!" You could hear them in El Paso.
Zoubek did the Dikembe Mutumbo finger waggle, then started high-stepping down the court making noises like a choo-choo train. I know it doesn't sound like the type of thing Zoo does on a regular basis, but he was taken over by the moment. (Don't worry, he hasn't done it since.) Normally Coach K would have been furious, but he knew that Zoo just couldn't be stopped.
And Taylor King was waving his arms on the bench, and Greg Paulus was fist pumping, and Jon Scheyer was making funny faces, and Chris Collins was doing his "2 Legit 2 Quit" dance, and Marty Pocius was wearing his black-on-black magician outfit and pulling rabbits out of his hat, and Chris Duhon was skipping a Chicago Bulls shootaround to be there because "I haven't been playing a lot anyway."
And Kyle Singler was bleeding, and Lance Thomas was clapping, and Bob Ryan was immediately regretting his decision to call Zoo a "mediocre player" on television, and at least 27 students on Duke's campus were sitting in Bostock entirely oblivious to the fact that Duke Basketball was in the Final Four, and Tyler Hansbrough was searching for his contact lens, and Josh McRoberts was sitting in the Red Roof Inn in Tulsa, Okla., the night before the Idaho Stampede played the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA Developmental League, watching the game on a television with an antenna and a fuzzy picture and wondering why he ever left Duke in the first place.
The referees blew their whistles and stopped the game before Zoo hurt someone, and all of the fans rushed the court and lifted Zoo onto their shoulders. And all of them with cancer and heart disease were miraculously cured just by touching Zoo.
NBA teams started actively losing games to get Zoo in the draft even more than they did for Greg Oden the year before. Commissioner David Stern intervened to stop the madness by declaring Zoubek ineligible to play in the NBA for life.
But Zoubek didn't care because he's generally good-natured and, after all, he could cure cancer and heart disease just by touching people. That's why we call him Seven-Foot Jesus.
And knowing there was a market for this type of thing in China, the commissioner of the Chinese Basketball Association signed him up and placed him on the Yunnan Honghe Running Bulls.
All of the NBA players clamored just to step on the same court with Zoo in China, and they all left their teams to sign with Chinese teams. The Yunnan Honghe Running Bulls had their pick of all the best players in the world and have won the past 20 championships-one for each of Zoo's years. Having the best basketball league in the world in China tilted the balance of global power towards China and away from the United States.
In the year 2028, the whole world speaks Chinese, and it's all due to Zoo. On the bright side, his basketball prowess brought about worldwide peace and harmony (kind of like the Wyld Stallions' music did in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) when he refused to play as long as there was any war or crime. No one has any diseases, because Zoo can cure them with just his hands. The world is a better place, and it's all due to Brian Zoubek.
Talk about a March Madness upset.
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