Four years ago, following Duke basketballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s weakest season since I enrolled there in 1997, my dad and I got really excited about the potential of the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s incoming freshman class.
In late 2007, right after my second marathon, my dad — who isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really a sports fan, but got into Duke basketball when I started there — surprised me with Beckett-graded basketball cards he had won on eBay of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Taylor King in McDonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s All-American jerseys. We arranged the cards under the glass of my coffee table with some other Duke cards weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve collected over the years, a sort of makeshift micro-Hall of Fame.
And we began to follow their careers together.
I go to high school games to catch a glimpse of the future, to see future college and pro stars develop before my eyes. And with a matchup of two future stud point guards, I lucked into a special game on Saturday night.
The Dunn Center at Elizabeth High School was packed to the rafters to see St. Patrick (No. 3 in the nation) face off with St. BenedictÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (No. 10). Besides the elite coaches involved Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Kevin Boyle and Danny Hurley, two guys who could find themselves in the college ranks before too long Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the marquee matchup was at the point, where Duke-bound Kyrie Irving of St. PatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s faced off with St. BenedictÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s junior Myck Kabongo, who is heading to Texas.