Since I've got a little time now that I can stop switching between Duke/State (boring, but relevant) and Cal/UCLA (Bruins Nation commenters, feel free to commiserate with the guys at Turtle Soup) I figure I'll comment on the latest craze sweeping the sports internet - ranking your most hated Duke players. The folks at Dave Sez, Uncertain Principles, and Tar Heel Fan have all weighed in, so who am I to refuse? My list:
- Steve Wojciechowski
- J.J. Redick
- Christian Laettner
- Shane Battier
- Chris Duhon
- Bobby Hurley
- Jay Williams
- Danny Ferry
- Everybody else to ever wear the Duke jersey except...
- Grant Hill and Daniel Ewing
Wojciechcoski get's the top spot for all the reasons everyone has already mentioned. The floor slapping. The constant praise for his "Scrappiness" when he had no more hustle and no less talent than a host of other people on the floor. The subtle fouling, the blatant media sucking up, and sticking around as a coach to further irritate us all.
(Random interlude - which pep band, Duke or State, has an arrangement of Apache, the most sampled song in history? That rocks.)
My favorite Wojciechcoski moment ever, by the way, came in a Carolina game at Cameron, when he, as expected, bent down to slap the floor, only to have Ed Cota drive by him with blazing quickness like he was, well, a jackass slapping the floor instead of playing defense. Good times.
Laettner and Redick are essentially equally hatable, both with a huge sense of entitlement and generally dispicable personalities, but J.J. gets the nod for whining so much about being hated. Listen, if you play for Duke, you have no moral high ground to criticize any insults hurled by another team's fans. Get thy own house in order first.
Hatred of Shane Battier is entirely a result of the sainthood he was awarded as a player. He is, by all accounts, a respectable and even likeable guy, but Jesus Christ himself would have at least had a blocking foul called on him every once in awhile. I do respect his stance on paying college athletes though.
My dislike of Chris Duhon is apparently one only I hold. I cannot explain it, although a couple of game-ending plays in victories over Carolina doesn't help. Plus, the name "Duhon" irritates me in some way.
Bobby Hurley and Jay Williams, I probably hated more in college than I do now, but their NBA injuries mitigate some of that. Being a point guard on Duke is always going too generate too much media adulation and a proportionate dislike from me. (And yet, I don't hate Greg Paulus. I don't know why.)
My dislike of Danny Ferry goes back to my youth and the first resurgence of Duke. It's been added to by my continual surprise for many years that he was still in the NBA. A quick Wikipedia check shows he stuck around through the Spurs' 2003 championship season, and is now the Cleveland Cavalier's general manager, where he is slowly killing LeBron James's will to live.)
(Interlude two - N.C. State is hanging around longer than I thought they would, and has now built up a four point lead with three minutes to play. It didn't help that De Marcus Nelson, instead of playing defense chose to execute a Battieresque flop that was rightly ignored.)
Now here's the thing about my Duke hatred. I have a lot of it, and don't really discriminate much on which Duke players I hate, so most of them are just well, hated. Remembering their names is more effort than I'm willing to exert on Duke, so I can't come up with ten names.
That being said, I always like Grant Hill and Daniel Ewing. Couldn't really tell you why.
In the effort of equal time, I'll point out that Dave and Chad both had lists of Carolina players they disliked. I can understand most of their choices, but really, who hated J.R. Reid? And why?