Kevin Lewis is a retired NFL linebacker.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Duke is Duke.... 4 a reason!!

Jalen Rose’s outstanding production “Fab Five,” showing on ESPN has exposed old feelings and scars felt by Chris Webber, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, Juwan Howard and himself. The Fab Five were treated like rock stars by many but also hated as well. They were sent hate mail by Michigan Alumni! They were stereotyped in every way imaginable but seem to rise above it all. What struck a chord to many, was the comment made by Jalen Rose about Duke Black players, calling them “Uncle Toms.” He was also critical of Coach K and the Blue Devils recruiting practices. Let me be completely transparent. I am a Duke graduate class of 2000. I also was an athlete at Duke. Having grown up on Mercy Drive, Cross Town, and graduating from Jones High School (all inner city poor neighborhoods and schools), I completely destroy the Uncle Tom statement. But, the more pressing issue is what Rose said a couple days later after the first Fab Five show aired. Rose said that Duke’s recruiting practices lead them to only recruit “affluent kids.” I think I completely destroy those comments as well. Duke doesn’t only recruit affluent kids, but they do only recruit kids who they think will represent our school well. Is this wrong? It can’t be, when you don’t think about this you end up like Lane Kiffin at Tennessee who stated they would only recruit kids who are focused on the NFL. Kiffin ended up with a few “dumb” thugs who went out and robbed a convenience store across the street from campus in their University of Tennessee sweat shirts. Or, you end up like the University of Florida who now has a team arrest record that rivals their number of NFL draft picks. Why should Duke lower their standards to have graduation rates as low as Syracuse, Pittsburgh, LSU, Auburn, UCLA, Maryland, and Kentucky? Duke’s recruiting process is different, it is more strenuous. The first thing the coaching staff wants to know after they find out if the kid is eligible is, can he graduate here. Then they want to know if the kid is a Duke guy. This means can the kid represent the school with honor, dignity and respect. These questions are important and help maintain the image that Duke wants of its school and its graduates. Who wants to be known as Footlocker State University or have the image of the old “The U.” Duke isn’t perfect and actually far from it, but just like BYU’s honor code our recruiting practices shouldn’t be changed just because Jalen and the Fab Five couldn’t get in.

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