Friday, July 27, 2007

DUKE FANTASY IS AN ADULT REALITY

Luciana Chavez – Raleigh News Observer

DURHAM - When Duke touts its annual basketball fantasy camp as a chance to learn what it's like to be a Duke player, the only thing missing is hearing a full volume rant in your ear from Mike Krzyzewski himself.

"The coaches do [get loud]; you'd be shocked. During games there is a lot of competition," Krzyzewski said Wednesday while opening the fifth annual K Academy at the Emily Krzyzewski Family Life Center.
"Unlike me, guys are yelling at the refs, standing up, getting tech fouls. The behavior is not as good, but it's very intense."

Krzyzewski, joking on his own reputation for colorful behavior during games, doesn't coach a team at the fantasy camp.

He leaves that to former players such as Johnny Dawkins, Jay Bilas, Chris Carrawell and J.J. Redick.
"I'm not coaching, so I'm interacting," he said, adding that a postcamp glass or two of wine keeps him even more relaxed. "It's a lot of fun."

Krzyzewski said the academy raises $700,000 to 750,000 per year, money that funds basketball scholarships and the Emily K Center.

This year, 87 male campers -- minimum age is 35 -- dropped $10,000 each for the right to stay at the Washington Duke; study film, dress in the Duke locker rooms and play in Cameron Indoor Stadium; and get the skinny behind the Duke program from the 60-year-old coach himself.
According to the camp media guide -- yes, you heard that right -- campers come from as far as Switzerland and England.

The camp staff goes all out to make it real. They even "recruited" players a few years ago. Several weeks before the camp, campers received letters from Krzyzewski and Duke saying he was looking forward to seeing them play. The campers arrived to find faxes under their doors.

"Yeah, we say things like, 'I saw you tonight; those two points you got were unbelievable,' " Krzyzewski said. "Then at the end, we had them all sign letters of intent and we framed them."

This year's "senior class" -- anyone with four years at the academy -- will be honored at a senior banquet.

And when the championship team is crowned Sunday, players will go to the podium to receive their trophy as the NCAA Tournament theme song, "One Shining Moment" plays in the background.

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