Obama Honors Duke With Rose Garden Ceremony

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kyle Singler snapped pictures with his digital camera, Brian Zoubek clutched a much-needed water bottle on a blisteringly hot morning and Reggie Love received ovations and cheers and rounds of applause... just for putting the president's speech on the podium.

Yes, it was Duke day at the Rose Garden in Washington, D.C. today. The Blue Devils were honored around 10:30 a.m. by President Barack Obama in a celebration that Richard Brodhead fittingly called "the icing on the cake" to their season. In his remarks, Obama lauded Duke for their teamwork and progress and even threw in a well-received Krzyzewskiville joke.

"You know, when I woke up this morning and I saw a few hundred students camping out on my lawn, I remembered that today is Duke day," he said after shaking each players' hand and even calling Chicago native Jon Scheyer "my homeboy."

The president made light of his "fight" with Krzyzewski last year— the one that occurred after Krzyzewski said Obama should focus more on the economy than his bracket.

"Now, I know that all of you remember last year, when I filled out my bracket, I picked North Carolina to win it all," he said. "It wasn’t anything personal. Just trying to win some money. I was right. Coach K wasn’t too happy. He basically told me to stick it.

"And then, this year, he went out with all these guys and he won, so he could come to the White House and crow about it. Payback is sweet, isn’t it, Coach?"

After the remarks, Scheyer and Zoubek presented Obama a Duke No. 1 jersey.

"You know Reggie is going to make me hang this in the Oval Office. Take down Lincoln or something," he said.

Krzyzewski also handed Obama a wooden copy of the 2010 bracket, complete with a large Blue Devil logo in the middle.

"You see that, it says 'Duke'," Krzyzewski said, pointing at the line where the national title winner is scribbled in. Obama could do nothing but laugh.

Check back later for pictures and video from the event.


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