Just when we thought the Duke Blue Devils were waning as an elite college basketball program, Coach K got exceptional production from his upperclassmen, slipped into the national championship game and cut down the nets in Indy just a few weeks ago.
A freak accident? With the early departures of Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse, it's OK to say that Duke "stole" a title in 2010, but it's not their fault those #1 seeds couldn't hang around.
Now, on the heels of their fourth national title, the Blue Devils will enter next season led by Kyle Singler who announced that he's sticking around Durham for a fourth season, looking to take advantage of "all the great things to come in a senior season," according to him.
Singler was a projected late first-round pick by most online scribes, with some scouts telling ESPN's Chad Ford that he would probably struggle defensively at the next level. Those same NBA dudes will probably giggle at Singler's motion to remain in college, citing it has a sure sign he doesn't have the confidence, or the game, to cut it in the pros.
I say eff em. We all lauded Tyler Hansbrough for it, and thought it was pretty cool that 'Dem Gator boys wanted to defend their crown together, so let's do the same for Mr. Singler. The 6'8" swingman will lead a predominately young team that features one of the nation's top high school point guards in Kyrie Irving, a transfer guard with good genes in Seth Curry, and the Plumlee brothers who proved to be more than formidable in the frontcourt down the stretch this season.
Basically, Duke is your 2011 national champion favorites, and you're all just going to have to deal.
Recently I yearned for the days of Boozer & Brand, Battier, Dunleavy, etc. etc; villains who were always on television and always winning. As Krzyzewski closes in Bob Knight for the all-time win mark, Duke is back to being the envied enemy. And Singler gets to be a kid for one more year.