FCToo Headlines || Kyrie, yes or no?? || Grant Hill, Christian Laettner respond to Uncle Tom slur in Jalen Rose ESPN documentary.

✔ ✔ ✔ No one knows. Everyone's talking about it. That sums up the Kyrie Irving situation, will he or will he not play?

“I can’t really put a percentage on it,” Irving told The Charlotte Observer. “It all depends on how I feel, and if the medical staff feels good about it.”

The following quotes were put together by the New York Times.

Eamonn Brennan, ESPN.com: “It’s a huge risk-reward proposition: With a healthy Irving in the lineup, the Blue Devils are probably the favorite to win the NCAA tournament. But if Irving gets hurt, or even if he throws a bit of a wrench into Coach K’s well-oiled machine, the Blue Devils could very well under perform their already-high tournament expectations. …After all, it’s March Madness: As every coach in the country knows, all it takes is one haphazard game to end your season for good.”

Andy Staples, SI. com: “…Krzyzewski said the Blue Devils are “far away” from making a decision on Irving, but the idea of a return certainly adds intrigue. Irving was considered one of the nation’s top point guards before he ever played a college game. In the eight games he played, Irving more than lived up to his advance hype. If he could come back, a very good Duke team would get even better.”

✔ Just in time for the tournament, an IPad App specifically for Duke fans:


You are reading Fact Checker Too. A compilation of shorter stories of interest to Dukies, most of which you are unlikely to see anywhere else. The traditional FC essays on compelling topics will continue. Scroll down for the latest: how Fuqua is expanding all over the globe, too much, too fast.

✔ Nothing imaginative in President Obama's pick for the Final Four. All the first seed teams. The bloviators on right wing talk radio had a field day, since they believe the President should never look up from the serious business of his job.

FCToo does not cover competitive sporting events. Yet. Probably not for another 18 months. But we do include items of interest.

✔ Hurry. Hurry. The travel agency selling seats to alumni and other Duke basketball crazies says the 200 passenger charter 767 jet that will take the team to China and Dubai is filling up fast. So fast that when we called for basic information on Wednesday, we were not even asked our name or contact information for a follow-up. That's unusual when dealing with a travel agent.

So far 160 seats are claimed. We could not find out how many by the team, support staff and official hangers-on.

The all inclusive package is for the truly devoted: including airfare, luxury hotels, all meals, all shuttle buses, sightseeing and of course game tickets. Singles: $13,465, Doubles $11,995.

This is on the high side, particularly when you consider those prices get you a back-of-the-plane economy ticket, maybe even a middle seat. Configuration 2-3-2. Members of the team will fly business class, not a whole lot better on a 767. In typical configuration a 767 has only six first class seats.

The team will not stay in the city of Kunshan, which has only one hotel with stars (and its current status is shaky since it was sold last month.) Rather everyone will be in the Fairmont out in lake country, said to be quite beautiful.

In Shanghai it's the Portman. In Beijing it's the Peninsula. and in Dubai the Jumeirah Madinat resort.

Departure August 14. Return August 27 or 28. There will be four games in China: Kunshan, Shanghai and Beijing. Then one game in Dubai.

What's interesting to FC is that the team will stay at one hotel near Kunshan and then move to one in Shanghai. Haven't we been told by the Brodhead administration that Kunshan is right next to Shanghai, only 9 minutes away by train? If this is so, why the move?

✔ ✔ The ESPN documentary with Jalen Rose and two other Fab 5 (Michigan in the early 90's) grabbed headlines because of remarks about Duke's shunning black street kids and going for Uncle Toms. But Christian Laettner also came in for a personal attack as a "soft, over-rated pretty boy" and far worse.

In Michigan for a basketball clinic, Laettner had a low-key response, noting Duke defeated Michigan in the regular season and in the 1992 national championship game.

“When you’re competing against people, trying to cut their heads off and beat them, you can’t expect them to love you — or even like you," Laettner said. "All you can ask is they respect you after the game and say the game was decided fair and square.

“Jalen Rose has always been a good guy to me. Chris Webber has always been a good to me... But I don’t expect them to love me. I can’t even get Grant Hill to love me all the time.”

✔ ✔ Grant Hill also has a response, appearing as a letter to the New York Times:

The Fab Five,” an ESPN film about the Michigan basketball careers of Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson from 1991 to 1993, was broadcast for the first time Sunday night. In the show, Rose, the show’s executive producer, stated that Duke recruited only black players he considered to be “Uncle Toms.” Grant Hill, a player on the Duke team that beat Michigan in the 1992 Final Four, reflected on Rose’s comments.

I am a fan, friend and longtime competitor of the Fab Five. I have competed against Jalen Rose and Chris Webber since the age of 13. At Michigan, the Fab Five represented a cultural phenomenon that impacted the country in a permanent and positive way. The very idea of the Fab Five elicited pride and promise in much the same way the Georgetown teams did in the mid-1980s when I was in high school and idolized them. Their journey from youthful icons to successful men today is a road map for so many young, black men (and women) who saw their journey through the powerful documentary, “The Fab Five.”

It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me. I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its premiere. I am aware Jalen has gone to some length to explain his remarks about my family in numerous interviews, so I believe he has some admiration for them.

In his garbled but sweeping comment that Duke recruits only “black players that were ‘Uncle Toms,’ ” Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle-class families. He leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today.

I am beyond fortunate to have two parents who are still working well into their 60s. They received great educations and use them every day. My parents taught me a personal ethic I try to live by and pass on to my children.

I come from a strong legacy of black Americans. My namesake, Henry Hill, my father’s father, was a day laborer in Baltimore. He could not read or write until he was taught to do so by my grandmother. His first present to my dad was a set of encyclopedias, which I now have. He wanted his only child, my father, to have a good education, so he made numerous sacrifices to see that he got an education, including attending Yale.

This is part of our great tradition as black Americans. We aspire for the best or better for our children and work hard to make that happen for them. Jalen’s mother is part of our great black tradition and made the same sacrifices for him.

My teammates at Duke — all of them, black and white — were a band of brothers who came together to play at the highest level for the best coach in basketball. I know most of the black players who preceded and followed me at Duke. They all contribute to our tradition of excellence on the court.

It is insulting and ignorant to suggest that men like Johnny Dawkins (coach at Stanford), Tommy Amaker (coach at Harvard), Billy King (general manager of the Nets), Tony Lang (coach of the Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins in Japan), Thomas Hill (small-business owner in Texas), Jeff Capel (former coach at Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth), Kenny Blakeney (assistant coach at Harvard), Jay Williams (ESPN analyst), Shane Battier (Memphis Grizzlies) and Chris Duhon (Orlando Magic) ever sold out their race.

To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous. All of us are extremely proud of the current Duke team, especially Nolan Smith. He was raised by his mother, plays in memory of his late father and carries himself with the pride and confidence that they instilled in him.

The sacrifice, the effort, the education and the friendships I experienced in my four years are cherished. The many Duke graduates I have met around the world are also my “family,” and they are a special group of people. A good education is a privilege.

Just as Jalen has founded a charter school in Michigan, we are expected to use our education to help others, to improve life for those who need our assistance and to use the excellent education we have received to better the world.

A highlight of my time at Duke was getting to know the great John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor of History and the leading scholar of the last century on the total history of African-Americans in this country. His insights and perspectives contributed significantly to my overall development and helped me understand myself, my forefathers and my place in the world.

Ad ingenium faciendum, toward the building of character, is a phrase I recently heard. To me, it is the essence of an educational experience. Struggling, succeeding, trying again and having fun within a nurturing but competitive environment built character in all of us, including every black graduate of Duke.

My mother always says, “You can live without Chaucer and you can live without calculus, but you cannot make it in the wide, wide world without common sense.” As we get older, we understand the importance of these words. Adulthood is nothing but a series of choices: you can say yes or no, but you cannot avoid saying one or the other. In the end, those who are successful are those who adjust and adapt to the decisions they have made and make the best of them.

I caution my fabulous five friends to avoid stereotyping me and others they do not know in much the same way so many people stereotyped them back then for their appearance and swagger. I wish for you the restoration of the bond that made you friends, brothers and icons.

I am proud of my family. I am proud of my Duke championships and all my Duke teammates. And, I am proud I never lost a game against the Fab Five.

Grant Henry Hill
Phoenix Suns
Duke ‘94

✔ First team All-American honors to Kate Van Buskirk '11,
who came in second in the mile at the NCAA Championships. Second by 7/100ths of a second. Time: 4:33.71, beating the Duke record held by Olympian Shannon Rowbury.

Duke will celebrate the life of the late Reynolds Price '55, James B. Duke Professor of English, on May 19th with readings, performances and remembrances in Duke Chapel. That's four days after graduation, a timing FC will not comment on.

Edward (Ted) Kaufman '60 has a new career. For much of his professional life, he tracked Delaware senator Joe Biden as a top staffer. When Biden became Vice President, Kaufman was selected to succeed him in the Senate, an assignment that ended when Kaufman decided not to seek election to his own term. This week Kaufman told a hometown newspaper in Delaware his primary focus now is to help Duke University expand its law program in Washington where the school offers a chance for its second- and third-year students to work with government agencies and special interest groups.

Research: audiologist Becca Price reports success in treating patients with tinnitus, a gnawing ringing in the ears. With a device that looks like an MP3 player, she trains the brain to ignore the high frequency ringing.

✔ Most times when we hear students are heading to Texas for spring break, it's South Padre Island, the wonderfully warm strip of beach on the Gulf. This year, some Dukies -- we do not have their names -- led off a three week effort to help Habitat for Humanity build homes in El Paso. Duke for week one, University of Wisconsin students for week two. And University of California for week three. No publicity locally, lots at the other schools. Hmmm.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled against a Duke Hospital security guard who was convicted of a February, 2009, sexual assault on a hospital nursing assistant in a dark spot near the Emergency Department. Imran Shafiq-Khan, the guard, was assigned to sitting with suicidal patients. Technically he was not a Duke employee, getting his job through the On Premises Agency.

The defendant's lawyers said that because the victim did not run screaming from the crime scene, did not sustain any physical injuries and did not report the crime for a few days showed that prosecutors had insufficient evidence. Court ruling: nice try. Unanimous.

✔ From NC State, word that there is a working nuclear reactor right in the middle of campus. A small one, but it glows nonetheless. It's 40 years old, giving 300 engineering students hands on experience. Last year NC State won a federal grant to increase the power of its nuke.

✔ Next week on Fact Checker: Part two of a special report on Duke in China.