Local News

Duke Fans Live Out Fantasy at Coach K Academy

Posted July 25, 2007 3:17 p.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2007 8:16 p.m. EDT

— Some basketball-star wannabes are getting a couple of floor burns this week under the watchful eyes of Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and some well-known past Blue Devils.

About 80 campers from across the country have paid $10,000 a piece for the five-day Coack K Academy, where they are treated like authentic Blue Devil athletes – drills and all – by the Hall-of-Fame basketball coach and former players like J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon and Jay Williams.

"I'm the old basketball junkie, so this is right down my alley," said Edward Cramer, a 46-year-old retiree who is at the camp for a second time.

Krzyzewski said the fantasy camp is about fun and family while raising money for a good cause.

In its fifth year, the academy's proceeds go partly to the Emily Krzyzewski Family LIFE Center – named in honor of Krzyzewski's late mother. The center helps at-risk elementary- and middle-school children achieve in academics and leadership skills to prepare them for college.

Money also goes into a scholarship fund at Duke.

So far, the camp has raised about $750,000 each year, Krzyzewski said.

And although it's for a good cause, Krzyzewski said, play can get competitive.

"Unlike me, guys are yelling at referees, standing up, getting technical fouls," he said.

Many of the former Duke stars act as coaches during the camp, but Duhon, a guard for the Chicago Bulls, admits the camp is also a good networking opportunity.

"We make contacts. It's kind of like rubbing elbows," he said.

Former Duke star Jay Williams said he is at the camp because Krzyzewski taught his players the importance of giving back to the community.