Bill Miller and Alan Silber, Duke graduates of 1960, have been producing the Duke Basketball Playbook (DBP) since the 2009-10 Championship Season. For years prior to that, it was just casual phone calls and email exchanges about each game between two friends, who love Duke University and the game of basketball. Over time, friends received copies and shared it to others. When Torrey Glass (’74) started distributing the blog to the Duke Alumni Club of Hilton Head, the readership expanded exponentially to a following of almost a thousand alumni and their friends. That changed the tenor of the blog to a less casual, more serious, and crafted analysis. Bill always opens with a game narrative, followed by “Alan Adds”, which emphasizes statistics and critical plays. The goal has been to have DBP offer a more in-depth analysis than newspapers have the time, space, or inclination to undertake.
Our interest and enthusiasm for Duke Basketball is based primarily on the fact that we have many fond memories of our time at The Gothic Wonderland and admiration for the kind of program Mike Krzyzewski, college basketball’s most successful coach, has built over the last four decades. Following the team on television and seeing the images of the Duke Chapel, Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the campus in general reminds us of those formative years. However, it is much more than that. We are sports fans who enjoy watching games being played the “right way”–respecting the game and your opponent, playing smart, playing hard, playing fair, and never giving up.
Moreover, analyzing Duke Basketball teams and program has life lessons worth absorbing, such as responding to adversity, success and failure and “how to treat those twin imposters just the same”. The other major components are the coach and the players. Year in and year out, we marvel at Coach K’s ability to consistently get the most out of his players who are recruited from different socio-economic backgrounds and geographical regions, who look and act like other Duke students, and who graduate– or become NBA instant millionaires– at the same 90% rate. Then, there is the enjoyment of following the development not only of the stars like Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, J.J. Redick, Elton Brand, Jason Williams, Shane Battier, and Zion Williamson but also the progress and evolution of valuable role players like Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas. It can be illuminating and pleasurable to follow the careers of the players after graduation — whether it is in the NBA, coaching, announcing, or real world pursuits.
The project has evolved into a much larger and complex undertaking than originally intended, in no small part because the joy of the collaboration has deepened and enhanced a life-long friendship.
Should anyone wish to refresh their memory or be curious about any Duke game of the last ten years, there are links on the right to those seasons.