At the end of every game, the Blue Devil players run in a single-file line down the sideline high-fiving the Cameron Crazies before entering the locker room. After Monday’s victory against N.C. State, however, the Crazies were treated to something extra special.
Less than six weeks after scolding the students in Section 17 for their “Jeff Capel, sit with us cheer,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski reiterated his appreciation for the Crazies by making a rare appearance at the front of the handshake line. Cameron was electric against the Wolfpack behind a rare spark from Justin Robinson and a dominant second half helped Duke snap a two-game losing streak.
“They gave us great support,” Krzyzewski said of the Crazies’ after the victory. “In the tent village—Krzyzewskiville—they’ve had so much rain, cold, it’s been amazing and I see them almost every day…. These kids are terrific. It was just ‘thanks’, not to motivate.”
Krzyzewski’s decision to lead the team shocked not only the Crazies, but also his own players. Despite insisting there were no intentions to motivate either his team or the crowd during the postgame press conference, senior captain Jack White had a different interpretation of the gesture’s meaning.
“I’ve seen him get emotional and try to rev up the Crazies, but I’ve never seen him run through the handshake line like that—maybe we can call it a little more of a jog,” Jack White said. “It’s great to see. It gives us a lift and just reminds us that he’s 73 years old and he’s putting his heart and soul into every minute he’s coaching out there on the floor. It’d be a disservice to him if we didn’t go out there and do the same, so we just try to give each other energy.”
Regardless of the meaning, Krzyzewski’s decision to run with his team certainly excited his team and represented another attempt to bond with the Duke students after previously meeting with tenters and celebrating his birthday in Krzyzewskiville. Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils will certainly need all the crowd energy possible Saturday for Duke’s regular season finale against rival North Carolina.