Devils Kick Off 2003-2004 Season

The 2003-2004 college hoops season is officially underway as the Blue Devils took the court at midnight for Am Mayhem in hopes of starting down the long road to a fourth national title in the last dozen years.

The event kicked off with video presentations of some of the better moments in Blue Devil hoops history before Jason Williams made his way to center court under his own power to address the crowd.

Williams thanked the crowd for their continued support and then stepped aside for "the new wave of superstars".

At 11:59 the scoreboard began the count down to the season complete with entrance music and video screens on opposite corners of the stadium. When the clocked reaches 0:00, the Devils took the court and broke into lay-up lines with Deng starting things off with a 360 jam as his first public points in Durham.

The team continued lay-ups and their share of throw downs before moving to mid range jumpers for the next twelve minutes. Perhaps the most impressive dunks came from Daniel Ewing, who at 6-foot-3, was easily throwing down windmills and reverses. Not to be outdone, J.J. Redick surprised the crowd with a couple of authoritative two hand jams.

After the initial warm-ups, the Devils separated into two teams and took the floor for a twelve-minute scrimmage.

The Blue team featured Shavlik Randolph. Deng, Sean Dockery, Redick, and Michael Thompson while the White team featured Shelden Williams, Nick Horvath, Daniel Ewing, Chris Duhon, and Lee Melchionni.

For the White Team Duhon took the reigns and seemed to return to the form of his freshman and sophomore seasons, looking to get everyone of his teammates involved instead of looking for his offense. He made a couple of sizzling no-look passes, but the highlight of the game had to be an alley-oop to Ewing who threw it down after getting his head above the rim, sending the Crazies into a frenzy.

In the paint the White team got solid play from Williams and Horvath who both bulled their way around inside and boxed out well. Williams had a couple of authoritative throw downs, while the fifth year senior Horvath seemed to always be right in the thick of things to grab rebounds and alter shots.

Meanwhile for the Blue team the stars of the show on this night were Randolph, and eventually Deng. The newly bulked up Randolph finished unofficially with seven rebounds and seven points in just twelve minutes of action. His newly added muscle allows him to hold his position inside and his knack for judging the ball off the rim allows him to seemingly always be in the right position for the rebound.

After his dunk to open the event, Deng started slowly for the Blue team. He seemed unsure where to look for his offense early on, electing to pass on a number of open looks in favor of dishing it off to the open man. However, soon after intermission, Duke fans had a chance to see what all the hype was about. Luol began handling the ball, and isolating his man on the wing before putting it on the floor and going to the basket where he finished in a number of ways including pull up jumpers, floaters, and lay-ups. Unofficially Deng finished with eight points and a handful of rebounds and assists.

Other notable performances included Melchionni knocking down a few left handed perimeter bombs and playing tough defense. Redick was his usual deadly accurate perimeter threat, and Dockery ran the Blue team efficiently and under control. Inside Michael Thompson had a couple of jams in traffic off of deflections and loose balls.

Final Score: Blue-30, White-23

Once the scrimmage concluded, the team remained divided to compete in shooting contests, offering three pairs of fans to compete with the Devils for cash and prizes.

Once finished, Coach K took the microphone and addressed the crowd, but not before speaking directly to Williams.

"Normally I would go to center court, but that's reserved for Jay. I speak for all of us when I say I can't wait to see him back on the court next season."

Krzyzewski then spoke on the importance of the Crazies to this year's team before inviting them all down to the floor to take a team picture to conclude the event.

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