We shared 69 games together in the world's best gym. I didn't even count the games when I was injured and couldn't play. 69 times I was able to lay it on the line with the best fans and the best teammates. We won 67 of them.
As I walked off Coach K Court for the last time as a player, I was so happy we got that W. All night, Coach K had told Matt and me to get caught up in the emotion of winning. It wasn't that hard to do because I've never been in any environment more unifying than Cameron Indoor. It's a place all about togetherness and the W's. I can't thank you guys enough for five years of amazing support. Every day, you guys make our experience as Duke Basketball players so much more special with all the love you show on campus, in K-Ville and of course in Cameron on gameday.
Five years together! All of them were great but this year was the best. Cameron was on another level and we all appreciated it every night. It was an honor to play in there. Senior Night was an unbelievable final memory for us and you guys did so much to make it amazing. Even tenting out! It was such an honor to leave it all out there one last time in front of the world's greatest fans.
After the game, Matt and I got all the usual Senior Night questions from the media and the word I kept coming back to was "blessed." I've experienced almost everything in college basketball and it has made me appreciate Cameron and the Crazies even more. I will never forget the feeling of running up and down the court with you guys jumping all over the place after a big bucket or a huge defensive play.
Over my five years here, I've played in domes. I've played in a ballroom. I've played in hostile road environments. I've played in at least 10 NBA arenas. Let me tell you guys why I think Cameron is the best place to play basketball. Spoiler alert: It's because of all the things you guys do as our Sixth Man.
Here we go:
*THE VOLUME. We will go on the road and get that scoring run, and you can hear the crickets in there. In Cameron, the Crazies stay loud, blowing the roof off the place when we need it most. It's never quiet. You guys turn up when we need it. And together, we deliver almost every time. That's what we do.
*THE LOVE. Cameron is all love. We feel that support. We see the signs and hear the chants and cheers. On the road, the fans often get into cheering against us more than for their guys.
*THE TENTS. Every day we see those tents in K-Ville during the season, we get excited. We have that extra jump in our step to win for Duke. No one goes as hard as you guys.
*THE INTIMACY. We love having you guys so close to the court and in the gym early before the games. Cameron has an amazing vibe even 60 minutes before tip as we get ready. The vibe builds, the stands fill in, the gym gets louder and louder. We feel such a powerful connection in there. We've played in places that get really loud, but there is never the intimacy and emotion we have in Cameron.
*THE TRADITION. I know all of us players and fans feel a part of something special every time we step foot in Cameron. We think of all the passionate people and big moments that have defined the gym. We are inspired to leave our own mark. I am proud to say five years later that we all continued one of the most special traditions in sports: Duke Basketball. Cameron. Winning our way.
All of those reasons involve the Crazies. With you guys, it's a different place. A small, simple gym comes alive. It's amazing feeling to be out there playing. I tried to lay my heart out on the floor every time I’m in Cameron because that’s what our fans, program and Duke deserve.
Thank you again for your commitment of time and passion. It meant a lot to me personally and to all of our teams. I will never forget sharing the gym with the Cameron Crazies. When I get a lot older and I am reminiscing on a rocking chair with my old grey beard with my family, I will still be telling the stories of playing in Cameron with the Crazies by our side. It was truly a dream come true for me, and all of us who get to wear the Duke jersey. Thank you.
Let's Go Duke,