Cameron Indoor a unique place to play
By Kori Frederick
February 5, 2011
It's easy to understand why Duke is the most hated school in all of college basketball. The guys on the court look like some of the last guys you'd want on your team if you were playing pick-up ball, and the guys in the stand look a lot like the kids that got shoved into lockers in high school.
At tonight's Duke-NC State game, chants of "Old McDonald," "Culture [vs] Agriculture," and "Big High School," rang out loud and clear across Cameron Indoor as the Duke students taunted what they refer to as a "safety school." The Cameron Crazies, Duke's infamous student body, are not only proud of their team, but proud of their school. As well they should be, Duke has always been a bastion of intellectuals. But these kids aren't just nerds, they know their hoops.
All game long they berate the refs, the opposing team and its head coach. Coach K could probably take a night off from giving the refs his two cents and just let the students take over. The intensity at which they cheer in a lot of ways matches the intensity that the Duke players have on the court. These kids are in the stands, jumping and yelling the entire game. Literally, the entire game. Before opening tip the floor starts to shake with all the bouncing and doesn't stop until the end of the game.
There really is nothing like Cameron Indoor in all of college basketball. The gym is about the size of a high school gym and plays host to a sell-out crowd almost every game. Students camp out for weeks at a time to be able to attend one of the biggest rivalry games in sports, the Duke/Carolina game. In typical smart-kid fashion they have one of the most organized campgrounds of all time, complete with numbered tents, line leaders, and late-night chant sheet sessions where they meet to go over scouting reports of opposing teams so they can better heckle them during the game.
It's easy to see why kids want to play at Duke. The fans revere the players. When Seth Curry hit Mason Plumlee with a long lob on the break for a slam, the entire building erupted. When Nolan Smith got out, beat two State players out on the break, took it in for a slam and the saluted the crowd on his landing, the place went nuts. It's one of the most electric atmospheres in basketball because the fans share the teams' passion for the game.
Television doesn't do the place justice. You can't feel the spit on the back of your head from the screaming fans sitting behind you. You can't feel the floor shake during the timeout after Duke converts on back-to-back transition buckets. You don't get to appreciate the effort the fans put in to knowing the opponents as well as the Duke coaching staff does, simply to be able to make fun of them. No, Cameron Indoor is one place you simply have to experience for yourself.