ESPN College GameDay is coming to Durham this Saturday, and the question on everyone’s mind is who the celebrity guest picker will be. With numerous notable alumni in sports, entertainment and beyond, the possibilities are plenty. The Blue Zone brings you some of our writers’ predictions:
JJ Redick: There are a number of former Duke men’s basketball players that have evolved into superstars in the NBA, but few are as synonymous with the Blue Devils’ program as JJ Redick. The 6-foot-4 sharpshooter played four years at Duke before being selected by the Orlando Magic with the No. 11 overall pick. His senior campaign was impressive even under the Blue Devils’ elevated standards, becoming Duke’s all-time leading scorer and averaging 26.8 points per game. After his 15-year NBA tenure, Redick has remained involved in the media, appearing on ESPN as an analyst and hosting his own popular podcast The Old Man and the Three. If GameDay wants to bring on a fan-favorite from the Brotherhood, there is no better option than Redick, and his personality and sports knowledge will elevate the atmosphere in Durham. -Dom Fenoglio
Coach K: If ESPN really wants to draw in ratings and make GameDay in Durham exciting, what better way than bringing in the legend himself? Former head coach Mike Krzyzewski hasn’t made many public appearances at Duke athletic events since he rode off into the sunset, but the biggest home football game since early in his tenure could be the motivator he needs. Duke basketball had many high-profile run ins with the Fighting Irish during the Krzyzewski era, especially when his disciple Mike Brey took the reins in South Bend, Ind.. My prediction: the living legend comes out to raucous applause rivaling the interior of Cameron Indoor Stadium, and picks the school he was a figurehead for over the past four decades to pick up a huge win. -Caleb Dudley
Steve Spurrier: While he is not as Duke centric as these other options, few Blue Devil football figures are more well-known and successful than Steve Spurrier. If the GameDay crew decides to stay on the football route, the Head Ball Coach is a great option. His football knowledge is obviously not a question, and he would bring great energy to the atmosphere. Spurrier attended Duke’s 28-7 win against Clemson honoring his 1989 ACC championship team, and this could be his second big appearance at Wallace Wade Stadium this season. Although he was not with the team for a long stretch, his impact on this program is remarkable, winning the Blue Devils their first conference title in over 25 years. Also, he has experience with the GameDay set and is good at being on TV. -Ranjan Jindal
Daniel Jones: What’s special about this moment in Blue Devil history is that Duke has never really been a football school. But every program has its standouts, its legends, its stars — and the closest thing that Duke football has to that is Daniel Jones. The class of 2019 graduate has carried his football career beyond Wallace Wade and built a name for himself in the NFL as the New York Giants’ quarterback. Schedule wise, Jones is free: The Giants won’t play until Monday night. He’s also a North Carolina native; Danny Dimes grew up in Charlotte, not far from Durham, and he might be excited about an opportunity to leave New York for a hometown hello. As far as Duke representation in professional football goes, Jones is the real deal. What better way to build school spirit than to welcome back a popular alumnus who will proudly don Blue Devil blue? -Sophie Levenson
Jay Bilas: It may be a football school for the moment, but Duke is a basketball school for life. As such, getting fans excited and drawing in ratings for GameDay’s historic trip to Durham requires a personality who can encompass Cameron Indoor Stadium. Jay Bilas fits the bill. A player, a coach, and now a broadcaster in the world of college basketball, the Blue Devil faithful will recognize one of their own should Bilas appear on Sunday. On top of that, the analyst is no stranger to GameDay on the basketball side, which means he is already an expert at the workings of the show and will be great on TV. Bilas provides the best of both worlds — a recognizable basketball icon and a seasoned public personality who will fire up Duke Nation. -Mackenzie Sheehy
Ken Jeong: Ken Jeong may be Duke’s most passionate alumnus. The comedian may have finished his undergraduate career in 1990 and moved over to Chapel Hill for his medical degree, but he is not slick about the fact that he still bleeds royal blue. He is known to return for basketball games in Cameron Indoor Stadium and was recently on campus working with various comedy and satire groups for the Arts Welcome Week. Jeong doesn’t seem to pass up an opportunity to make the trek back to Durham, and while he might not be the most avid football fan, he is sure to make a national audience laugh. Saturday will be no different. -Rachael Kaplan
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Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.
Dom Fenoglio is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.
Ranjan Jindal is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.
Sophie Levenson is a Trinity sophomore and sports features editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.
Mackenzie Sheehy is a Trinity sophomore and Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.