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Krzyzewski credits student with an assist

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

DURHAM, N.C. -- Andrew Humphries was distraught when he heard Mike Krzyzewski might leave Duke to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Duke student, a Blue Devils fan since he was a kid, felt helpless. But he knew he had to try something to help persuade the Hall of Fame coach to stay.

So he did what any die-hard basketball fan with a connection to the Internet would do -- he sent Krzyzewski an e-mail.

It was impressive enough that Krzyzewski singled out Humphries when the coach held a news conference Monday to announce he was staying with the Blue Devils.

"In the tiniest way, I was able to become a part of that history and lore that is Duke basketball," Humphries, 19, said Tuesday. "I'm not going into the record books or anything, but somewhere in there, my name is in the mix of things that happened in Duke basketball. So it's really special in that way."

In the e-mail sent last Thursday night, Humphries, a junior biology major who grew up in Waynesboro, Va., recounted playing basketball in his driveway as a kid, pretending he was hitting shots to win the national championship for Krzyzewski and Duke.

Eventually, he realized that he would not play for the Blue Devils. But once he came to Duke, Humphries began camping out to attend games at Cameron Indoor Stadium as one of the "Cameron Crazies."

Even though he doesn't score points or grab rebounds, Humphries wrote, he feels he is part of the Blue Devils basketball family.

"I got to Duke. And discovered that, yes, I am going to play for Coach K," Humphries wrote. "I am going to be his sixth man.

"We get to Duke and we realize you are our coach. Not just the coach of our team, but you are also our coach, because you believe that we give you something no one else can and we know that you give us something that no one ever could."

Humphries closed the e-mail with his plea, "Please still be my coach."

Krzyzewski said the e-mail brought him to tears and reinforced the bond he feels with the school he had led to three national championships in 24 years.


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