The 18 Most Hateable Moments in Duke Basketball History

The stadium scene.
March 12 2012 6:40 AM

Worse Than Laettner

The 18 most hateable moments in Duke basketball history.

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1992: All-American Christian Laettner has a perfect game in the Blue Devils’ classic regional final against Kentucky: 10-10 from the floor, 10-10 from the free throw line, 1-1 on kicks to freshman Aminu Timberlake’s chest. Instead of getting ejected for stomping on an opponent and strutting away from his prone body, the refs merely give Laettner a technical and let him play on, allowing him to hit his infamous game-winner. “That’s just part of the game,” Laettner says of the altercation after Duke’s victory. His teammate Cherokee Parks’ take: “It's such a Laettner move to do something like that.”

1995: During an atypically lackluster season, Krzyzewski takes a leave of absence, citing back pain and exhaustion. Long-time assistant Pete Gaudet takes over in Coach K’s stead, guiding the Blue Devils to a 2-14 ACC record. Contrary to the practice at other schools, these wins and losses stay on Gaudet’s permanent record. “I think I should have been credited with all the losses,” Coach K says in 2007. “It must be difficult for Mike Krzyzewski to influence the Duke athletic department,” Deadspin’s Emma Carmichael wrote earlier this season, “because the losses stayed where they were.”

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski, center, of the Duke University Blue Devils sits with his assistants during a NCAA game against the University of Illinois.
Krzyzewski and Pete Gaudet (to his right), one month before Coach K left the team.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

1999: Duke alum Jennifer Taylor emails star forward Elton Brand to “express my disgust for your decision to leave the Duke program after only two years,” explaining to Brand that “he will not be considered part of the Duke family, in my mind as well as many others.” Brand’s response: “Thank you very much, for reminding me of the reason why I left Duke. … Never being considered a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart.” In 2001, the then-Chicago Bull confirms the authenticity of the email exchange to Slam Magazine, cementing Taylor’s position as the ultimate Cameron Crazy.

Elton Brand #42 of the Duke Blue Devils tries to guard Brendan Haywood #00 of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Brand, during his days as part of the Duke family.

Craig Jones/Getty Images Sport.