Duke Claims Title
April 9, 2015
You never would have known they were freshmen.
Led by Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, and Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s talented group of potential one-and-doners played like seniors down the stretch, outscoring Wisconsin by 14 points over the final 13 minutes Monday night to grind out a 68-63 victory for the program’s fifth national title.
Okafor, the likely first pick in the NBA draft if he decides to leave, got outplayed by Badgers senior center Frank Kaminsky most of the night but came through mightily when the pressure was highest.
The 6-foot-11 freshman made two straight buckets over Kaminsky, sandwiched between a pair of 3-point bombs from Jones, to help the Blue Devils (35-4) turn a deficit into an eight-point lead with 1:22 left.
A furious Wisconsin rally ensued, but it came up short. Then it was like déjà-vu all over again in Indianapolis. Remember, it was in Indy back in 2010 when the Blue Devils last won a national championship. And how could anyone forget the 1991 title in Indianapolis with Christian Laettner and Grant Hill?
One has to believe that Coach K likes Indy more than Tony Stewart. Krzyzewski now has five titles, alone in second place on the all-time list, behind only John Wooden.
Chances are you will not be seeing this team again. Okafor will be leaving for the NBA and you have to think Winslow, who finished with 23 points and was named MVP, will also jump. Jones may make the move also.
Duke & Coach K celebrate their win
But a new name emerged Monday night. Grayson Allen may have saved the title for Duke. You guessed it. Allen is also a freshman. The difference with him though is that he was only averaging four points a game coming into the title game.
But, with Duke down and having Okafor and Winslow in foul trouble, Allen came through with multiple key buckets while recording 16 points off the bench. He tallied eight straight points after the Badgers went up by nine points.
Yes, it looked like Wisconsin was about to finish the deal Monday night, two days after upsetting undefeated Kentucky in the semis. A Kaminski layup with 13:23 remaining gave the badgers a 48-39 lead. Then along came Allen who clearly inspired his more celebrated freshmen teammates.
And then came another trophy in the Duke trophy case.
One And Done
It did not take long for the Duke-haters out there to find something to criticize the Blue Devils program for after Coach K and company captured their fifth national title Monday night.
Less than 24 hours after Duke edged Wisconsin to win the national championship, there was a great deal of media outcry of how the Blue Devils have become a ‘one and done’ program.
Krzyzewski answered by rejecting the claim that his key players are simply recruited for a year before they turn professional.
The questions are being asked as Coach K’s championship squad was loaded with freshmen including Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor, who is widely expected to be one of the top picks in this year’s NBA draft.
Krzyzewski, as expected, shot back by saying he has great kids who go to school, live with other students, and love Duke.
The questions started within minutes of the final buzzer as Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan commented that he does not rent players and prefers to build teams over a period of time.
There has been debate regarding the age minimum for entering the NBA draft, which currently stands at 19 and requires anyone entering to be at least one year out of high school. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has gone on record as wanting to further raise the age limit to 20 years old. But the idea has faced harsh reaction from the NBA Players Association.
As a side note, you would think the union would fight for the veteran players over college players. After all, the rookies take away spots on rosters from veteran players. But that is another story.
Coach K let his feelings be known on the subject. He would like to see players be eligible for the draft straight out of high school. However, he added if a player does go to school, “I would like to see them there for two years, so they’d be halfway towards a degree, probably more than halfway with summer school.”
I am with Krzyzewski on this one.
Wilkesboro Dragway Kicks Off 60th Season
By Kevin Thorne
Wilkesboro, NC - A little leftover winter chill in the air didn't make any difference as racers from all over the southeast came to Wilkesboro Dragway to help in the celebration of the start of the 60th season.
Robbie Draughon (c) Kevin Thorne
In Top ET for the first time in over four years, one of the hometown favorites, Wild Bill Ferguson drove his Thunderbird to the winners circle.
Ferguson has been a threat to win many times before, but could never put it all together. Ferguson's trip to the winners’ circle was the result of a red light win, when the dragster driven by Kalem Hicks left .01 second too early.
Robbie Draughon was pulling double duty racing in the Classic Gear Jammers as well as Modified ET.
Draughon didn't fare as well in the Gear Jammers, but took home the top prize in Modified ET. Draughon was matched up with young Catrina Shannon in the finals.
Bill Ferguson (c) Kevin Thorne
In Street Eliminator, Jim Goddard and his Pontiac G8 took on and beat former IHRA Champion Stuart Smith and his Honda Civic.
Brandon Pilgram and his Mustang traveled all the way from Clemson, SC, to take the Classic Gear Jammers victory. Pilgram had to face one of the toughest racers there is, the Mad Max Mopar of David Gambrel. This was Pilgram’s 1st Classic Gear Jammers win.
Thursday, April 9, the ever popular Test N Tune night gets underway for the 2015 season. Only $10 gets you in the gate to watch, or if you feel like a racer, you stage up and can go down the track and see if you are! Gate will open at 5:30pm.
Brandon Pilgram (c) Kevin Thorne
Then on Saturday, gates will open at 9 am for the "Tom Watson Memorial" $10,000 to win race. The best of the best bracket racers from all over the Southeast will be vying for that 10K prize! If you love bracket racing, you don't want to miss this race! For more info, visit www.wilkesborodragway.com or call (336) 973-RACE (7223)