Countdown to Craziness—Duke fans know it, they love it and they wake up well before dawn to get tickets for it.
As the weeks are dwindling down into that chilly season, an air of excitement inevitably creeps onto campus. Basketball season. To kick off this season, Countdown to Craziness serves as the ultimate hype-up event, pushing all Duke students, families and faculty to get into the quintessential Cameron Crazie mindset. Ahead of the 2021 installment of Countdown to Craziness Friday, let’s take a look at the top five moments that have made prior Countdowns unmissable:
The beginning of it all
What would Countdown to Craziness be without its debut event? In 2009, the Crazies packed Cameron Indoor Stadium to celebrate the first annual Countdown to Craziness. One of a kind, this launch featured live music, games, special video footage, the Blue-White scrimmage and the highly anticipated dunk contest. The event notably took place at the beginning of Duke's title run featuring Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer. Fans owe everything they see today to this very first Countdown, as the anticipation, excitement and overall event only grew.
A uniting banner unveiling
In 2010, fans got to witness the banner unveiling for Duke’s fourth national championship. As it dropped, the Cameron Crazies felt a true sense of community—they were witnessing something special together. The crowd was witnessing the hard work and dedication of a special team, but more importantly, they were witnessing the rewards of being a Crazie and supporting their school through the highs and lows of its athletics program.
The 2014 installment left fans stunned—with flashing lights and music, the event started as the annual events often do. However, everyone in the crowd was shocked to see that the whole team was located on the upper level of Cameron. Each player was standing at an entrance, with a singular blue light flashing a quick sneak peek of them, before everything went black and the Blue Devil stood on the center of the court. It was one of the more hyped-up moments of all Countdowns to Craziness—and another deserving season kick-off for a title-winning team.
Grayson Allen’s shining moment
What could be better than a 6-foot-4 guard from Jacksonville, Fla., leading the Crazies in singing and dancing to “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada? According to Duke fans, nothing. Senior Grayson Allen’s introduction in the 2017 Countdown was a moment fans will never forget. The arena went dark, solely lit by the blue devil horns on everyone’s head. The music started to play, a spotlight shone down on him, and the slow clap began. The team joined, the crowd followed, and soon, he had the entire arena jumping to the beat of the unofficial Duke song. There was such an electric energy in that moment—an unmatched camaraderie that will go down in Countdown to Craziness history.
The Zion fandom
Zion Williamson was the star of the 2018-19 basketball season, and unsurprisingly, fans began obsessing over him before the regular season tipped-off.
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The Blue Team in the 2018 scrimmage featured R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Marques Bolden, Jack White, Justin Robinson and Mike Buckmire, while the White Team included Williamson, Tre Jones, Javin DeLaurier, Alex O’Connell, Antonio Vrankovic, Joey Baker and Brennan Besser. The highlight of the game came fast—six minutes into the scrimmage, Jones drove in toward the hoop, looked for the shot but was double-teamed, so he passed to the waiting Williamson at the free-throw line from under the basket for a one-handed dunk to electrify the crowd. That moment fittingly represented the rest of Zion’s career at Duke, previewing his total domination throughout the year. It was a Countdown to Craziness moment that no one wanted to miss—especially the students who missed out on tickets even after waiting for hours.
As everyone prepares for Coach K’s final season, Monday's ticketing lines are sure to be the longest in event history. Additionally, this year's Countdown will be the first time Crazies will pack Cameron Indoor since March 2020. It will most definitely be a memorable start to a very special season which tips-off in just over four short weeks. The clock is ticking.