Have the Duke Blue Devils’ Floor Slap Gone Too Far?
The Duke Blue Devils have plenty of good things going for them over the years. Since Mike Krzyzewski has taken over the program many moons ago, Duke is a perennial favorite to be a major factor when the madness hits the fan in March. The program has also seen its fair share of stars go through the program–as well as some lovable(Depending if you love Duke or not) role-players over the years. Regardless of their greatness, the Blue Devils are the most polarizing basketball program in the nation.
That’s what happens when something is regularly great. It is the same in every other major sport–if a team is great over a long period of time, then folks who do not love the team will eventually grow to hate them. I am not saying that it is right, but it certainly isn’t wrong.
One of Duke’s most memorable players was Steve Wojciechowski. Wojo wasn’t a world renown anything. However, he was fair in a lot of aspects of the game–and more importantly–an extension of Coach K on the court.
Whether it was the birth-child of Krzyzewski, an of-the-moment doings of Wojciechowski, or born in some other wildly boring fashion(!)–the floor slap was brought into Duke basketball. While now synonymous with Duke basketball, it was actually Wojo’s signature as a player. Wojo, who was about as beloved and hated a player can be at the same time, is now an assistant with the Blue Devils. So the “Wojo” slap has not only never left Cameron Indoor Stadium, but has endured.
Now opposing teams(Miami Hurricanes) are quick to pounce on the opportunity to show-up the Blue Devils. It has as much to do with the slap as the perceived arrogance Duke possesses. Nearly every program in the country thinks that Duke players, coaches, alum, etc, feels they are better than their counterparts. True or false, that perception not only resonates with players but with fans as well.
In Duke’s revenge win over Miami, Quinn Cook did some revenge floor slapping. Here is what he said about doing it:
“I just looked at Wojo and that was Wojo’s signature thing. It’s just something that slapped in my head.”
“The fans love it, my Twitter followers love it. They always want me to bring it back. When I did it against Presbyterian my freshman year, they was just saying they wanted to see it every game.”
Not only is nice to see that Cook gives his Twitter followers what they ask for, but also knew some of the floor slap’s history. To give Cook some credit, he did later state that he was okay with Miami doing it to Duke–“They deserved to do it. They were up 30.”
But clearly, the Wojo Slap has gotten to the point of annoying. When it is done, regardless of the situation, everyone involved knows that it will agitate the other side. Duke–and Duke apologists–are quick to complain when things aren’t going their way. Yet, they refuse to adapt when things are clearly an annoyance to another.
I am not saying the floor slap was born out of ignorance or that it’s being done out of either. However, the floor slap has joined the ranks of rushing the court for things that have become so cliched that it has lost any true meaning to the doers and has become exclusively an agitation for the people it has been done to.
No, this is not some more fancy anti-Duke rhetoric. But as Coach K is (Rightfully) complaining( But ill-timed) about teams rushing the court against his squad, he needs to look in the mirror. Rushing the court was meant to celebrate the home team’s win–as floor slapping was meant to preach hard defense. Both have become so overdone that the original meanings have been lost in translation.
Full Disclosure: Even with saying all of that–I don’t want either to ever go away.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone