Smith Shines At Hoops Kick-off Event

Nolan Smith scores a game high 25 points at the First Annual Countdown to Craziness event hosted by the Duke Basketball Program.

DURHAM, N.C. - Five, four, three, two, one... cue the craziness.

The Countdown finally ended culminating in Craziness Friday night with the official start of the Duke men's basketball season, in what was a spectacular night filled with energy, emotion, the greatest fans in the world and even a little humor.

The first ever Countdown to Craziness presented by Duke Army ROTC, featured surprise guest coaches Bobby Hurley and Christen Laettner, the Blue/White game, player introductions featuring legendary announcer Michael Buffer, a slam dunk contest, videos and live performances from the Duke University Improv group as well as DefMo and the Crazy Choice Awards.

"It was amazing, a great atmosphere," Nolan Smith said. "The team was very excited and the coaches [were too], and I think we went out and played a great game. Both teams played hard."

Both teams did play hard in the two 12-minutes scrimmages.

The White Team took game one 40-17, which featured Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, Nolan Smith, Jordan Davidson and Steve Johnson.

Smith led the way for the White squad with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting including three from long range. The junior guard also handed out two assists without committing a turnover. As a team the white squad shot 16-of-31 (.516) from the field and 4-of-10 (.400) from three.

"I was just being aggressive," Smith said. "My teammates were looking for me and the coaches are looking for me to be aggressive, and I was being aggressive trying to get in the flow of the game. If you can get into a flow early then that gets you going for the rest of the game."

The Blue Team won the second 12-minute scrimmage, once again behind the strong play of Smith, who teamed up with Seth Curry to each score 10 points in the 33-31 victory.

With the game tied at 31 Casey Peters corralled the ball on the blocked Singler shot and raced down the court in the waning seconds trying to make the game winning bucket. His attempt rolled off the front of the rim, but Smith there to draw the foul on his tip in try with .08 seconds remaining.

Smith brought the crowd to a frenzy before hitting his game clinching free throws.

"I can be in that situation against another team," Smith said. "I wanted it to be loud and not quiet."

A dunk contest was held following the second game with both Andre Dawkins and Olek Czyz being named co-champions. Czyz and Dawkins led after the first two rounds and met in the finals with both receiving perfect scores in their head-to-head matchup. The judges, Kevin White, Joanne P. McCallie, Jason Williams and the Blue Devil Mascot, decided to declare the dunk contest a tie.

Also competing in the dunk contest was Smith, and both Mason and Miles Plumlee.

"It was really cool," junior Duke student Melanie Plageman said. "It was fun to see the players giving commentary, and then seeing coach K watch it and enjoy it. It is something that is fun and stress free. It also gets the freshman players used to being in front of a crowd and that is good for everyone."

Fans were also treated to the unveiling of the 2009-2010 Duke basketball poster and the brand-new Duke Hype video featuring music from Mike Posner, the introduction of Duke women's basketball team and the always fantastic Duke band and cheerleaders all working to create one of the greatest atmosphere ever on display inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"It was really fun to see the players getting to have fun and the students starting to get into the season with the energy between the team and the crowd," Plageman said.

Another crowd pleaser was the Duke University Improv videos. The Duke organization created two videos, featuring the acting talents of the men's basketball team, and gave a live performance before the game started. The men's team stared in "Season Cancelled" and "Great Moments in Cinematic History" which saw the Blue Devils reenact scenes from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Godfather, Titanic and Gladiator.

"We enjoyed doing them [the improve videos]," Lance Thomas said. "The videos were very funny. I hope the crowd enjoyed seeing them. We saw bits and pieces of them tonight and will see the rest of them later."

The Crazies Choice Award Winners

  • The Most Electric Cameron Chaos : A first half run by Duke thrills the Cameron Crazies as the Blue Devils take down North Carolina 90-76.
  • The Best Comeback Win: Duke comes from behind thanks to a final miracle minute to force overtime and eventually defeat Maryland 98-96.
  • The Best Dynamic Duo: - Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner.
  • The Greatest Buzzer Beater: - Christian Laettner's buzzer beating shot over Kentucky in the 1992 East Region championship from the Spectrum in Philadelphia.

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