Duke students' most creative attempt at vintage craziness this season will not come to fruition.
Former UMBC point guard K.J. Maura, who planned on coming to Duke's game against Virginia Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium after his Retrievers stunned the top-seeded Cavaliers in the NCAA tournament last March, will no longer be in attendance, Head Line Monitors Steve Hassey and Peter Potash wrote in a post in the K-Ville Nation Facebook group.
"UMBC’s coach got wind of his arrival, and he wants their squad to move on from the greatest NCAA Tournament upset of all time," Hassey and Potash wrote. "Ultimately, he called Coach K multiple times, and [Mike Krzyzewski] had to request that KJ not be in attendance."
Maura had 10 points to help lead No. 16 seed UMBC past top-seeded Virginia 74-54 for the first such upset in the history of the tournament, but the Retrievers, led by head coach Ryan Odom, are struggling to recreate that magic this season and sit at just 9-9.
A GoFundMe campaign spearheaded by Hassey a month ago reached its goal of $555 to fund a round-trip flight to Durham for Maura, who graduated from UMBC last spring and now plays professionally in Puerto Rico. Hassey wrote that all students and fans who donated will get their money refunded.
Section 17 will now have to try to cheer a shorthanded top-ranked Blue Devil squad to victory against unbeaten No. 4 Virginia without Maura standing front and center.
"Despite this piece of bad news, we are so thrilled with the overwhelming support we received from current students and alumni in this process," Hassey and Potash wrote. "The ordeal has shown that Craziness is alive and well in the Duke student body. And we have complete confidence that if we bring that passion to Saturday's game, we can remind UVA about UMBC all day long."