The Real Duke F-List

Of all the barbs and insults thrown in the direction of Dook University by Tar Heel fans and sensible people alike, how many are truly at the fault of the speaker? The Durham Clown College brings these things on themselves, you see. Even the Dook coeds not associated with the basketball team are not immune to this self-deprecating nature, take the recent “thesis” by one of the lovely ladies there on campus. Because we at The Rafters like to keep things clean, we’ve created our own version of the infamous “F List.” Our “F,” however, stands for fail.

1) Redickulous-ly Gay

This list could start and end with JJ. And where to start? The pouty lip face made after baskets that’s normally reserved for sorority girls trying to look cute? The t-shirt to cover up the atrocious back acne? The poetry is the kicker though.

Sports Illustrated did a feature on JJ back in ’05 where he proudly read some of his stanzas with the nation. Personal favorite?

I can’t see what my future has in store
but I move forth with the strength of a condor

JJ also came out last year saying he was part of a rap supergroup. The group’s first single to be titled “Waste Management” has yet to see the light of day. Here’s to hoping that album makes it to Best Buy soon.

2) For this, there is no alibi

While JJ was able to cover up some of his physical ailments with extra layers, some of his fellow teammates and alums were not so lucky. We’ll limit this list because we’re sure you don’t have all day.

How do heads ripple like Shane Battier’s?

When I think of Cherokee Parks, I think “true grit.”

Somehow this man named Sheldon bagged Candace Parker.

Too many to choose from.

Growing that beard and pretending to be coordinated fooled no one Zoubek.

Some people look bad with either short or long hair. Kyle Singler looks like death either way. Did anyone see the Da Vinci code?

3) The Rat King

Coach K could also be in the above section. The driver of the clown car does many things that warrant an “F,” but the prime example dates back to the 1994-1995 season.

Having lost to Arkansas in the NCAA final in Charlotte the year before, the Duke team was, how do you say, rebuilding? Without going into full detail, the Duke team limped to a 13-18 record and 2-14 mark in the ACC, missing the NCAA and NIT tournaments. How, you may ask, did the great Coach K spend an entire season  on the sideline and watch this happen? Easy, he didn’t. Coach K left the team for elective back surgery and to treat his exhaustion after only 12 games. The team – and subsequent loses – fell on the shoulders of Pete Gaudet. We at The Rafters were in grade school during this episode, but were still able to understand the cowardly move. What also should be noted, one of the greatest games in the UNC-Dook rivalry took place on February 2, 1995 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game features two constant highlights – the Jerry Stackhouse reverse, baseline dunk over two Dookies and Jeff Capel’s half court heave to force a second overtime – and ended in a win for the Heels. Apparently Coach K was too tired to hang around for that one.

4) I got my flippy-floppies

This one can fall onto Coach K as well. By current calculations, Dook spends approximately 30% of practice time taking charges. Unfortunately, not enough basketball players take advantage of Dook’s theater studies major. More often than not, these charges tend to look like this.

Even after stunts like that it’s amazing Dook’s marquee basketball camp still breaks attendance records every summer.

5) Sincerely, Elton Brand #42 NBA

Probably the best letter closing ever comes via a misguided attempt to chastise former Dook standout Elton Brand for leaving school early for the NBA. After one Dook alum somehow got ahold of Brand’s email, Brand shot back with what would make him an honorary Tar Heel in our book. Just read the transcript if in case you haven’t before.

From: Taylor, Jennifer
Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 2:55 PM
To: Brand, Elton
Subject: Leaving Duke

I graduated from Duke last May and just wanted to express my disgust for your decision to leave the Duke program after only two years. As an alum, not only do I hold the school in high regard, but the basketball program as well, especially since both have deservedly garnered such a great deal of respect for their accomplishments.

As part of our basketball program, you represent Duke as a whole. We are first and foremost an academic school, you clearly did not belong at Duke in the first place if this was the extent of your commitment to Duke and a college education in general. You have not only insulted the current students who are putting in four years at a school they love, but also the thousands of alumni who have realized the value of a Duke education and what an honor and privilege it was to be there for four years.

If you do not realize the opportunity you has infront of you to play for Coach K and at the same time attain a Duke diploma, then that is certainly your loss. I just wish that you has spared us the notion that you were continuing in the tradition of being a Duke student-athlete, in emphasizing excellence in both academics and athletics. You will not be considered part of the Duke family, in my mind as well as many others. You have by no means proved yourself worthy of that title.

Jennifer Taylor

From: Elton Tyron Brand
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 8:05 PM
To: Taylor, Jennifer
Subject: Re: Leaving Duke

Thank you very much, for reminding me of the reason why I left Duke. People like you can not and will not ever understand my situation. I’m sure daddy worked very hard to send your rich self to college. While real people struggle. I would also like to extend an invitation for you not to waste your or my time ever again. Never being considered a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart. Yeah, right. Because I don’t care about you or your alumni.

Sincerely, Elton Brand #42 NBA

Boom, roasted.

7) OH – VER – RAY – TED

In a typical year, Dook makes the NCAA tournament. It’s also typical for them to draw a preposterously high seed, despite any shortcomings that might be obvious to the casual college hoops fan. I’m sure you’ve said to yourself before, “Gosh darn, Dook is so overrated this year.” Well, you’d be right.

Since 1998, Dook has received nine No. 1 seeds, two No. 2 seeds, one No. 3 seed and one No. 6 seed – NINE No. 1 seeds! With those favorable seedings, Durham Tech reached four Final Fours. For a comparison, let’s use oh, I don’t know, UNC.  In that same time, Carolina has reached five Final Fours with a significant seeding disadvantage. First of all, the Heels didn’t even play in the tourney three of those years: 2002-2003, 2010. For the remaining years, UNC received five No. 1s, one No. 2, two No. 3s, one No. 6 and one No. 8.

Say what you will about UNC not making the tourney, but the point is that the Heels – and any other team for that matter – are seeded realistically, rather than receiving their birthright top seed like their neighbors in Durham. You tell me which team is more overly hyped:


From 1998-2010, 0ut of UNC’s five No. 1 seedings, the Heels never finished before the Elite Eight. They also tallied four Final Fours, three championship game appearances and two national championships.

UNC also reached the Final Four as  No. 8 seed in 2000 – definitely underrated as the No. 8 and 9 seeds are perhaps the toughest in the tourney, with competitive games beginning in Round 1.

Or Dook?

From 1998-2010, out of Dook’s nine No. 1 seeds, they produced four Final Fours, three championship game appearances and two national championships – the same exact clip at which the Tar Heels produced but with almost twice as many No. 1 seedings.  The Devils also made the Elite Eight once. So what did they do with those four other egregiously high seedings you ask? All Sweet 16s. A Sweet 16 as a No. 1 seed means beating a No. 16 (the worst team in the tourney) and then an 8 or 9, then bowing out. Overrated.

Oh, and then there’s 2008 when No. 2 seed Dook beat No. 15 seed Belmont by only 1 point in the first round and then immediately lost in the second round. Clearly not a two-seed caliber team that year. There’s also a personal favorite, when in 2007 No. 6 seeded Duke lost to No. 11 VCU in a highly predicted upset in the first round. Why keep ranking them so high if you expect them to lose, tournament committee?

8 ) Smash Mouth would never write a song about Dook alumni

A strange thing happened last year. For what I’m sure was the first time ever, the number of former UNC and Duke players on NBA rosters was even. Had the reputation of underachieving Dook players finally come to a halt? Hardly. Take some players sneaking onto rosters, examples Josh McRoberts and Shavlik Randolph, or still milking otherwise great careers, Grant Hill, but the curse is still alive and well. Without getting into full career stat breakdowns and awful draft busts – I’m talking about you William Avery -what’s the best way to measure greatness in the NBA? Easy, all-star game appearances.

Dook alums boast 15 total roster spots in all-star games – Carlos Boozer, 2; Elton Brand, 2; Grant Hill, 7; Christian Laettner, 1; Jeff Mullins, 3. Subtract Laettner’s one because he was really a reserve addition and Brand’s two since both he and the Dook community have cut ties (see item 5), Dook’s grand tally equals 12 all-star game appearances.

Michael Jordan has 14 NBA all-star game appearances.


Feel free to take His Airness out of the equation and UNC has still occupied 51 other all-star game roster spots – Vince Carter, 8; Billy Cunningham, 4; NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty, 5; Walter Davis, 6; Antawn Jamison, 2; Bobby Jones, 4; Bob McAdoo, 5; Charles Scott, 3; Lee Shaffer, 1; Jerry Stackhouse, 2; Rasheed Wallace, 4; James Worthy, 7.

I think we’re done here.

9) Dook sucks, this is why.

If for any reason you need more reasons.