Dukies Take the High Road
So yeah, of course I asked Coach K about yesterday's reports of massive prank callsterism directed in Duke's direction during their hotel stay in greater College Park. He turned it into a song of praise for Maryland fans, Maryland basketball players and, especially, Gary Williams. That's called taking the high road. His full response:
"I think there was something on a fan Web site, but we took care of that," he said. "I mean, look, things happen on the road, not just here. People would be naïve to think that over the years, that people don't try to do things, you know? But we had no problems.
"My relationship with Gary is the best. I admire Gary Williams and what he's done with this program, and I admire the Maryland fans. I mean, here's a team that's 6-6, I think 17 wins, you know, they're fighting and they're out here as hungry as can be. I admire that. I'm not gonna pay attention to if Jon's picture is up. I admire their intensity and I admire Gary's team for what they're doing. I mean, they're fighting like crazy. And that's what he's done here for, I think he's been here 20 years. You know, we're the same age, we came in together and all that. I think a lot of him. I think he's as good a coach as there is."
His players were equally high-road minded. Greg Paulus just laughed when he was asked about the phone calls. Then he waited for a minute, and came up with this.
"They do what they do," he said of Terps fans. "It's a tough environment. They definitely make it as hostile as possible."
So, were there actually calls, or what? Paulus laughed again.
"A couple calls," he said. "But we've been here a few times and we understand what the deal is."
Kyle Singler? "We got a couple, but we had our phones turned off," he said.
Jon Scheyer? "To be honest with you, I didn't get any," he said. "I think other guys did, but I didn't."
Only Gerald Henderson was willing to discuss the specific ways of the pranksters.
"Oh, we got a lot of calls, a LOT of calls," he said. "It's been happening here probably since Coach Dawkins played here. You know, it gets old, but that's what they do."
So what actually happens on such a call
"They ask for you, tell you 'You suck,' tell you 'You're gonna lose tomorrow,' and then you hang up on them," Henderson said.
As for Operation Scheyerface v2.0, more high roadism. Some teams keep their locker rooms closed and only allow you to interview their players on a stage with PR people hovering nearby (ahem, Hoyas), but Duke has enough faith in their players to turn them loose, and they managed themselves quite well, thanks.
"They need to come up with something new, it's getting old," Henderson said of the Scheyer signs. "I mean, you can't help but notice them, but they've been doing that since our freshman year. I think personally they need to come up with something different. You know, they can do something with me, that's fine with me. We're just focusing on the game."
"You see them in the beginning, but when the ball's tipped up, you focus in on the game," Paulus said. "When the game and the action is flowing up and down the way it is, you're thinking about defensive assignments, offensive assignments. You don't really pay much attention to signs and posters and all that other kind of stuff."
"I mean, I have nothing to say about that," Singler said. "I've got no comment."
"To be honest with you, it's not really a big deal," Scheyer said. "I thought they'd be a little more creative. It was the same stuff we had freshman year. It wasn't a big deal at all. We knew this was a big win, not because, I don't care about the crowd. It's because we knew they were coming off the win against Carolina, they're a different type of team, and for us, we wanted to stay in second place. That's what the win was about, it's not about doing anything for their fans. If they want to do stuff, that's good for them."
A reporter from the Diamondback also asked Coach K about the "crap" Maryland students were giving to Scheyer, and whether the guard's big three-pointer at the end of the game was a fitting response. Yeah, that's right, you know which road he took. It wasn't Route 1.
"You know, I have no idea what crap there is," he said. "I don't pay any attention to that. I'm sure he doesn't either. Are they giving him crap? I don't know. They might like him. They probably like him a lot. Maybe he was teasing them, I don't know. Our guys, they don't pay any attention to that.
"You never play the crowd. You know, you play the people who are on the court. If you play the crowd, then you usually don't win. When I'm in a situation, I never even look at the crowd. I mean, what could they say that would hurt me? 'You stink?' Well, I know I don't. I mean, 'Your mother is something?' Well, I know that's not true. I'm sure that's how players feel.
"Whatever is said, you just don't pay any attention to it. In saying that, in spite of all that, it was a huge three. I don't think he hit it because of the crowd. I think he hit it because of the nature of the game. I guess that's the point. If I was being graded for this paper, I'd say, 'Would you get to the point' The point is he hit it."
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