Duke took same road as Terps

KEN ROESNTHAL

January 31, 1993|By KEN ROSENTHAL

COLLEGE PARK -- Ten years ago, Duke started four freshmen. Coach Mike Krzyzewski was in his third season. Many Blue Devils fans wanted him fired.

Maryland is now at roughly the same stage of development, buthe good news is, Krzyzewski believes Gary Williams has a better team than he did in 1982-83.

The bad news is, it will take a lot more losses like yesterday'78-62 humbling at Cole Field House before Maryland can even approach Duke.

These things take time, and there is no better example thaDuke. Surely, no one projected Krzyzewski's '82-83 team as the root of a dynasty that has gone to six of the past seven Final Fours.

How bad were those Blue Devils?

Their 11-17 record included a loss at home to Wagner. Their 3-1conference record included a 43-point loss to Virginia in the first round of the ACC tournament.

"It was a long year," Krzyzewski said. "We had a similar situationas far as having a lot of freshmen and seniors. But I think Maryland is playing much better than my team did."

The reason, Krzyzewski said, is that the Terps start three seniors, with two of them -- Kevin McLinton and Evers Burns -- combining for 35 points per game.

Yesterday, McLinton scored 14 points in the first half, anMaryland trailed 41-35 at halftime. He scored only four points in the second half, and Maryland couldn't recover.

The '82-83 Duke team didn't have a blood-and-guts leader like McLinton, or even a veteran banger like Burns.

Johnny Dawkins, Jay Bilas, Mark Alarie and David Hendersowere the four freshmen starters.

Needless to say, they suffered.

"The Maryland freshmen blend in around their seniors," said Bilas, who is now a color man on the Duke radio network. "We were the bulk of the offense. It was a lot tougher.

"It would be the same if we brought in [Johnny] Rhodes and hahim play the point guard. That's what Dawkins did. I was a 6-foot-7 center. My first ACC game was against [Ralph] Sampson."

Rhodes, Exree Hipp and the three other Maryland freshmecarry far less of a burden. Indeed, for as much attention as they receive, they're under considerably less pressure.

Rhodes is the shooting guard, Hipp the small forward, point guard Duane Simpkins the sixth man. Forward Mario Lucas has sat the past four games. Center Nemanja Petrovic is out with a fractured tibia.

Typically, the freshmen are freshmen, superb one game, subpathe next. Yesterday, Rhodes, Hipp and Simpkins combined on 9-for-26 shooting, with eight turnovers and nine assists.

Rhodes scored 15 points, and Simpkins had his moments, with six points and six assists. Hipp, though, turned into the invisible man, with only two points and three rebounds in 36 minutes.

"It's a very tough situation for everyone, but it's something theshould be used to by now," said Williams, who is growing tired of making excuses for his young team.

"I think they can get on the court with Duke and play. But they didn't respond well. There were periods our young guys were intimidated. They knew who they were playing against today."

They were playing, of course,against the two-time defending national champions, the seventh-ranked team in the nation. But clearly, this was a game the Terps could have won.

Instead, they lost by 16 on a day Bobby Hurley shot 4-for-14, day Cherokee Parks and Grant Hill each drew four fouls, a day Hill played hurt with a sprained left foot.

The Terps are now 10-7, and an NCAA bid is starting to look ouof the question. Still, this a team that beat Louisville and Oklahoma, a team capable of a major upset or two in the ACC.

"They have a lot to be proud of, a lot to look forward to," Bilasaid. "The thing they have to do, more than anything, is stick together. They can't listen to what people say.

"We had a lot of people questioning what we were doing, questioning Coach K. It took a lot to ignore that, especially at that age. We were like, 'Whoa, they don't think we're any good.' "

But the Blue Devils were.

The following year, Tommy Amaker arrived to play the point, enabling Dawkins -- the player to whom Rhodes is most frequently compared -- to move to shooting guard.

Two years later, the freshmen were seniors, and the program had developed to the point where Krzyzewski could bring the most highly recruited player in the country (Danny Ferry) off the bench.

Duke made its first Final Four under Krzyzewski that season.

-! Not a bad role model to follow.

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