DURHAM, N.C. -- My right knee is the color of Duke's alternate road unis and puffier than a croissant. The back of my calf feels like it's been thwacked with a car antenna. And you don't even want to know about the goop under the nail of my smashed middle toe.
I've got more bruises than a week-old banana. The four on my left arm form a Hawaiian Islands-like chain of black and blue. The three on the right are bundled together like the Belt of Orion. Just for fun, there's one on my left rib cage and another on my left hip.
Meanwhile, scabbing has commenced on the two semi-juicy strawberries on my left elbow and on the three below the knee. There's a four-inch scratch mark near my right shoulder and my wedding band does a U-turn every time I try forcing it over the cotton ball-sized knuckle on my ring finger.
In short, I look like I went body-surfing on a gravel road. Forget about the Miracle On Ice; how about the miracle of ice? During a recent five-day span I spent more time with frozen cubes than a cocktail straw.
Anyway, the Dookies weren't kidding when they said the K Academy (Duke shorthand for the Mike Krzyzewski fantasy hoops camp) had some meat on its basketball bones. I had my doubts until I almost required a MedEvac helicopter to get out of bed yesterday. And -- God's truth -- I had to walk down the stairs backwards today because my right thigh was suffering post-traumatic stress from getting knee'd by another camper.
And yet, here I am trying desperately to figure out a way to play in next year's K Academy. That's how ridiculously and torturously fun it was.
It's just like I was telling President Obama's "body man" Reggie Love, a former Duke basketball and football player -- well, more on that later.
But first the flashback sequence.
Tuesday, June 1
I'm sitting on a wooden park bench on the Duke campus. Directly in front of me is Krzyzewskiville, that thin plot of land known best for housing college basketball's largest undergraduate refugee camp. It's vacant during the first of two summer sessions.
To my right is Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke's stone-encased house of hoops pain. Seventy-five years ago Eddie Cameron and Wallace Wade supposedly drew the original plans on a book of matches, which figures since the place is about as big as a matchbook. It is the claustrophobic capital of the sporting world (capacity 9,314) and any list of iconic American arenas and stadiums that doesn't include Cameron Indoor is crap.
When you think Cameron Indoor, you think Cameron Crazies, an obscene 395-55 home record under Krzyzewski and a nonconference home win streak that now stretches more than 10 years. What you don't think is Geno, his fallaway baseline jumper and his negative first step.
I remove my K Academy folder from my backpack. A disturbing cover letter from Rachel Curtis, an associate director in the Duke basketball office, haunts me.
Everyone here in the Duke Basketball program is excited to have you attend the eighth-annual K Academy! As you can imagine, we are all really excited to share the thrill of being the 2010 National Champions with you! (Rachel is big on exclamation points!) I am enclosing a stretching and exercise routine that Coach K and Will Stephens, our strength and conditioning coach, have developed. It is similar to a routine that our current players use and one we hope you find useful in your preparations for camp.
As it turns out, I find it useful much in the same way I find speaking the Kenyan tribal language of Bantu useful. Sadly, I was a late K Academy enrollee. So the idea of me using a similar six-week conditioning routine as, say, Blue Devils star Kyle Singler, is going to present some challenges. That's because I got the workout sheets 11 days ago and didn't open the packet until six days ago. So I'm pretty much Dead Camper Jogging.
I review the nine-page workout program. There are seven recommended jump rope training routines. I thought I was playing basketball, not training to fight Manny Pacquiao.
There are three separate elliptical and treadmill interval running programs.
There are eight different interval workouts for the track, including 110-, 220-, 440- and 880-yard runs. Uh, Coach K and Will: I drive to my next-door neighbor's house.
There is a weekly 12-minute run program. "Each time you run this try to increase the distance." What do you mean, each time?
And then there is my favorite: the so-called "Basketball Court Conditioning Ladder," which is a euphemism for, "Run 'Til You Ralph." I ran my last Suicides in college and I see no reason to end my 30-year streak for the K Academy. I mean, it's a fantasy camp, right? We'll play some hoops, drink some adult beverages, schmooze with the coaches and contribute some money to the Emily Krzyzewski Center, the locally based foundation named after Krzyzewski's mother and created to assist economically disadvantaged students. With the exception of the Emily K Center, that's mostly how it was at the Michael Jordan Senior Flight School 10 years ago.
In fact, on the family tree of elite fantasy basketball camps there are only two branches: Jordan's Senior Flight School and the K Academy. With the Flight School, you get Vegas, some MJ (though, recent campers tell me Jordan doesn't lace it up much anymore), Hall of Fame coaches, medium-intensity hoops and premium swag. With the K Academy, you get Cameron Indoor, a Hall of Fame coach, more days of hoops, Duke assistant coaches, Duke star players, Duke managers, Duke trainers, Duke video assistants, Duke sports information officials, Duke athletic director, Duke campus and Duke swag.
As for the basketball, I've heard it's competitive (but in a good way) and that even the coaches in the camp hate to lose. Really? I just can't see Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski getting worked up if one of the campers doesn't hedge out on a high pick-and-roll screen. So, yeah, I'm skeptical.
One of the doors to Cameron is open, so I go inside. Other than the slivers of light that sneak through the blue stained-glass windows and the second-level concourse openings, the place is nearly pitch black. A side stairwell leads me up to the concourse, where photos and posters of famous Duke basketball players, moments and records cover the walls like ivy on Wrigley Field's outfield walls.
I drive back to my hotel, change clothes and head to the first-floor gym. The conditioning packet has unleashed a primal paranoia. I do what anyone in my situation would do: I look for a jump rope.
Wednesday, June 2
Number of Years Game of Basketball Set Back: 2
Times Yelled At: 0
Minutes Spent in Trainer's Room: 0
Ice Bags Used: 0
Geno Stats: 0
Compliments Given By Krzyzewski: 0
The camp hotel is the Washington-Duke Inn, located about 20 Grant Hill-to-Christian Laettner ¾-court passes to Cameron Indoor. I register at 10:30 a.m., meet Rachel, as well as Debbie Savarino (Coach K's daughter, who, among other things, is a member of the camp organizational team), give my credit card number for the upcoming Emily K Center fundraising auction (I sort of forget to mention the credit card thing to my wife in a later phone call) and then pick up my swag bag. You get golf shirts, jerseys, shorts, sweats, T-shirts, a backpack, a sippy cup and a pair of basketball shoes. J.J. Redick's jump shot is not included in the bag.
Even more disturbing than the conditioning program is what's on Page 4 of the K Academy Media Guide. Yes, a media guide -- and it's more comprehensive than some guides I've seen for actual Division I teams. Player stats, team stats, all-time records, photos, rosters, coaching bios, player hometown info it's all in there. So is the aforementioned Page 4 photo of a camper dunking the ball, as Bill Raftery would say, "with authority!"
This year's camp includes players from 21 states and three countries. There are 23 "freshmen" campers such as myself. At least one of those rookies (me) can't even tie his shoes with authority.
Nothing is scheduled until the 1:30 optional pickup games with camp coaches at the Krzyzewski Center (the Duke basketball practice facility next to Cameron Indoor). So I hit the lunch buffet line at the hotel meeting room designated for K Academy players and coaches.
You know how there are some things, because of age or state law, that you'll just never do, like walk on Saturn, get your nipples pierced or steal a police car? Yes, well, the camper sitting to my right does a MacGruber and blows my theory into little bits and pieces. Turns out at a Motley Crue fundraiser, he drunkenly -- and successfully -- bid $14,000 to have a date with both a porn star and a Penthouse model.
We're supposed to wear our game jersey and shorts to the practice facility for the pickup games, the K Academy group photo and for the all-important evaluation games. I unfold my personalized jersey and discover I've been assigned No. 67.
Nobody in the history of Duke basketball -- perhaps in the history of college basketball -- has worn No. 67. In fact, no Blue Devils hoops player has worn anything higher than Brian Zoubek's No. 55. You put on No. 67 and you instantly feel like the guy who can't do anything but set picks, inbound the ball or stand in the corner while they run a play for someone else.
A shuttle bus takes me from the hotel to Cameron Indoor. As we drive past the front entrance and onto the sidewalk, there are about a dozen small tents set up in a small patch of grass that the graduate students usually use to camp out for game passes. Except that these tents have posters attached with names and logos, such as Chase's Chargers. The driver tells me you get a tent and a poster in your name after you've attended the camp five times.
The K Academy started in 2003 with 40 campers. It has 81 this year, at $10K a pop. All profits go to the Duke Basketball Legacy Fund, which helps endow basketball scholarships. For most of these campers, $10,000 isn't much of an issue.
One of the campers, Fred Perpall, helped design the 56,000-square-foot Duke practice facility. Like I care. What really matters is that Perpall can dunk.
There are no half-court games with the K Academy coaches. Either everyone is too worried about embarrassing themselves, or they're saving their energy for the pre-draft evaluation games. Instead, we shoot around for an hour until Krzyzewski arrives. And by the way, I can't miss. Just about everything from 20 feet and in drops through the net. I've got the waving-goodbye shooting follow-through mastered.
Krzyzewski welcomes us to the K Academy and reminds us that Ws matter, "unless you're a sicko and your fantasy is to lose. The fantasy should be to win and to win together."
The camp, he says, is a chance to be a guy again. "To dive for a ball," he says. "To take a charge. To get that feeling again. Most people have never had that feeling. Those who have had it, want to get it again. Where do you get it? Here."
Championship watches are presented to the winners of the 2009 K Academy. Then the coaches are introduced:
Team Charlotte (each city represents a Duke Final Four appearance) -- Kenny Blakeney, Chris Collins and Jordan Davidson
Team Dallas -- Jay Bilas, Marty Clark and Dave McClure
Team Denver -- Jason Williams, Billy King, Alaa Abdelnaby and Steve Johnson
Team Indianapolis -- Mark Alarie, Kenny Dennard, Shavlik Randolph
Team Minneapolis -- Mike Gminski, Wojciechowski and Marty Pocius
Team San Antonio -- Chris Carrawell, Sean Dockery, Robert Brickey and Chip Engelland
Team Seattle -- Elton Brand, Ricky Price and Quin Snyder
Team Tampa -- Gene Banks, Nate James and Casey Sanders
Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner, who are regulars at the Academy, were last-minute cancellations.
But this will work. The coaching staff includes 13 1,000-point-plus scorers, two retired jerseys, two national players of the year, six All-Americans and more combined Final Four appearances than I can count. The coaches are applauded warmly, but the biggest cheers, oddly enough, go to the Duke trainers. Hmmm. A few minutes later we're on the practice courts for our group picture, stretching and warm-ups.
I'm 53. The last time I stretched was to reach for a beer from a vendor at Wrigley. I play hoops once or twice a week, lift weights about three times a week and ride the elliptical machine when I can. It's not exactly training for the Ironman.
We each play three five-minute halves as the coaches watch from the sidelines and baselines. I miss my only shot -- a put-back bunny that kisses wildly off the glass -- but none of the guys I guard score either. I run around a lot, but like John Wooden once said, "Never mistake activity for accomplishment."
I ask Krzyzewski if he saw any similarities between me and any of the Duke All-Americans.
"You're male," he says.
Dinner at Cameron Indoor starts at 8:30 p.m. Krzyzewski takes the stage near midcourt, welcomes everyone and then introduces five campers making their fifth consecutive appearances at the K Academy. One of the five, Moe Mlynski, is Krzyzewski's best friend since childhood. I'm close enough to the stage to see their eyes mist up when they hug.
Framed jerseys are presented and then, one by one, the campers' jersey numbers and names are unveiled on banners from the Cameron rafters. My jaw bounces against the floor until Krzyzewski reminds everyone that the banners hang only during the camp dates. Can you imagine Dick Vitale doing a game here in February and telling an ESPN TV audience, "And there they are, baby, all the greats in the rafters: Laettner, Hurley, Dawkins, Heyman, Battier Mlynski?"
I sit at the same banquet table as Duke assistant Wojciechowski and his wife, Lindsay. Team Charlotte's staff announces its players first. No Geno.
Team Dallas goes next. No Geno.
Player after player is introduced and still no Geno. I'm beginning to think I'll have to go overseas to play. I turn to Wojciechowski. "Well, am I playing for you?"
"You went before I could get you," he says. "You were a first-round pick."
Me? That's impossible. I missed the bunny in the eval game. I wear No. 67, for crissakes.
When he's picked, each player's mug shot appears on the overhead scoreboard with his jersey number, height, hometown, school and K Academy "class." If you've been here before you even get the star treatment: a slickly produced scouting video.
Cut to canned B-roll video of Bilas on the ESPN set of a recent NBA draft show cue new Bilas voice-over tracks cut to footage of just-drafted K Academy player.
Bilas on a camper who is based in India: " has lived on every continent on the planet, but can't score on any of them."
On a camper seen running aimlessly on the court: " does the work of three men on the court: Moe, Larry and Curly."
On a camper whose shooting form is suspect: " if he's open, there's a reason."
On one of the younger campers (35 years and older here): " the only player in the field who hasn't had his prostate checked."
By the way, Wojciechowski wasn't lying. When Williams, a former Duke national player of the year and now an ESPN colleague, eventually calls my name for Team Denver, he tells the crowd that I was a first-round pick. Except by now I realize that everyone is described as a first-round pick. It's K Academy draft doctrine. That way nobody's feelings get hurt.
Anyway, you walk up the stage steps (dear God, don't let me trip), shake hands with your new coaches, get handed a Duke ballcap and then pose for a picture -- just like at the real draft. Abdelnaby looks at me with concern.
"You wear glasses?" he says.
Thursday, June 3
Number of Years Game of Basketball Set Back: 5
Times Yelled At: 1
Minutes Spent in Trainer's Room: 7
Ice Bags Used: 4
Geno stats: 4-for-9 from the field, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 turnovers, 4 steals
Compliments Given By Krzyzewski: 0
Our team includes a Silicon Valley venture capitalist (Tom McConnell), a Chicago trading company owner (Chuck Whitman), a California ad sales executive (Andy Salvas), a New York real estate developer (Ken Bergstol), a Duke sports information director (Art Chase), a Florida private equity fund director (Ashton Hudson), a Duke team doctor (Jeff Bytomski), a sportswriter (me) and two honorary assistant coaches (Ty Miller and Jim Dahl). Salvas and me are the only two rookies. Whitman was part of the 2009 K Academy championship team.
We practice early in the morning, where it takes more than 30 minutes to install just two plays. The first play is called "LA," where you have a guy in the high post or low post, and then another guy screens down, and then another guy curls toward the elbow and -- ah, forget it. Williams says the Blue Devils used the play to win the 2001 NCAA title. The second play is an inbounds stack play.
Our first game is at noon, against Bilas' Team Dallas. During layup drills, I jog back toward my line. Williams barks at me like a junkyard dog.
"C'mon, Wojciechowski, pick it up!"
This is semi-surreal. I covered Williams during that 2001 Final Four. I interviewed him as he attempted his NBA comeback from a gruesome and ultimately career-ending motorcycle accident. Now he's on my butt for jogging?
We lose by 10 and get outrebounded by a million. "LA" doesn't work because someone usually forgets their assignment. The inbounds play melts into a disaster. But I will say this: Bilas and Williams chirp at the refs, at each other and at us players for the entire 28-minute stop-action game.
After the two 14-minute halves, my lungs are hanging out of my mouth. I see Steve Wojo and ask him if the court is regulation length, because it feels like it's 164 feet long, not 94.
"You're right," he says. "Plus, when you're running back on defense, the court is on a 15-degree incline."
Oh, I get it: mock the sportswriter. Wojo, the 1998 national defensive player of the year, mentions that before he tore up his knee about two years ago, he was playing 3-on-3 at Cameron, full court, first one to 120 points wins.
In other words, quit my bitching.
Instead, I ask him if the wattage of the overhead lights is correct and if someone could move all those banners in the rafters; they're affecting my depth perception on shots. He walks quickly away.
Just to be on the safe side, I stop by the trainer's room to get some ice on my knees (the right one has an old school 12-inch scar from ancient ACL surgery). Head trainer Jose Fonseca saran-wraps the ice bags into place.
In our second game of the day, it takes a desperation, last-second leaner jump shot by Chase to beat Team Seattle in overtime (Brand had guaranteed a win when I saw him at lunch). When the shot drops, I imitate Thomas Hill after Duke beat Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional final on Laettner's buzzer-beater -- hands on the back of my head, face scrunched in disbelief, muttering, "Oh, my God."
Nobody gets the joke.
Seattle has already lost its first two games and, incredibly, two players to torn Achilles. Another player has an injured knee. Replacements from inside the Duke athletic department staff are arranged. Anyway, Brand's team is cooked.
Cocktails and dinner at Duke athletic director Kevin White's mini-manse that night. White's finished basement is bigger than my entire house.
Friday, June 4
Number of Years Game of Basketball Set Back: 3
Times Yelled At: 3
Minutes Spent in Trainer's Room: 16
Ice Bags Used: 5
Geno stats: 1-for-7, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Compliments Given By Krzyzewski: 0
Krzyzewski is scheduled to give an 8:30 a.m. lecture, so I take the shuttle from the hotel to Cameron. The fleet of camp shuttles are driven by Duke basketball managers, as well as several Duke players, including star forward Singler. According to one of the campers, Singler supposedly drove his van into a small ditch during the drive to White's house the previous night.
I learn some things at the lecture.
I learn that Krzyzewski doesn't use organizational charts because they put people in confined categories.
I learn that All-American Jon Scheyer was a "no-maintenance guy," and that Krzyzewski cries every time he watches Scheyer's senior video (he tears up after this morning's viewing too).
I learn that Krzyzewski teaches his players to project strong body language, that he wanted the new practice facility to have lots of windows and natural light so his players could sense time and seasons (as opposed to Cameron), and that one of the campers (6-7 Scott Walker) has grown a Zoubek-like beard for the games.
I learn that today is Krzyzewski's 41st wedding anniversary. He and Mickie were married on the same day of his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy. "Our anniversary gift to one another is I get to spend the day with you," Krzyzewski says.
It might be corny, but Coach K loves the "One Shining Moment" video montage CBS airs moments after the national championship game. He tells us to find "our moment" this week. I want to roll my eyes, but the truth is, he's right. It's just a fantasy camp, but how many times do you get to play hoops at Cameron? It's like you don't want to desecrate it with crummy effort.
Chase almost outscores our entire team in the early-afternoon win against Wojo's squad. In the handshake line, Wojo gives me a firm but quick handshake. His team is 0-3 and he's genuinely ticked off.
My lungs are no longer in full revolt, but I got knee'd in the right thigh during a scramble for the ball. Between games I duck into the trainer's room. My gosh, the place is more packed than Pure on a Saturday night at Caesar's in Vegas. Fonseca's staff is in full triage mode.
On one of the five cushioned tables is Bergstol the real estate developer (and one of two players to have ever beaten Jordan one-on-one at the Senior Flight School). He pulled his groin, which means we're down to a seven-man rotation. This isn't good.
The veteran campers tell me everything is about seeding for the Sunday tournament -- that, staying healthy and pacing yourself. The rookies, they say, are the knuckleheads who busted it during the evaluation games. The rookies are the ones who didn't conserve some of their energy during the Thursday games.
I'm one of the knuckleheads.
We have a 30-minute film session in the Duke locker room (impressive digs), where we discuss rebounding and offensive execution. And then we do none of those things during an early evening loss against Collins' Charlotte team, which has only six healthy players (including one guy who was on the U.S. Airways flight that Sully Sullenberger landed in the Hudson River in January 2009). I'm virtually useless and get ripped for A) not getting rebounds, B) not taking open shots, C) general suckiness. The criticism is well-deserved.
You could grill brats on the foreheads of our coaches. Abdelnaby, as carefree of a person as you'll ever meet, paces angrily in a Cameron stairwell as Williams verbally vaporizes us. Then Abdelnaby and King take their turns. We play tired and with no heart, says Williams. We're weenies, say Abdelnaby and King. By the time they're done, I need to ice my ears.
I return to the trainer's room for more ice. If it was any busier you'd need a velvet rope and a bouncer. But I like listening to the chatter. It's the Starbucks of the K Academy.
I notice some bruising on my arms and some missing skin on my elbows and knees. No biggie. But I'm a little concerned about some tightness in my right calf. One of the trainers, Summer McKeehan, has me do some stretching exercises.
We're 2-2 after four games and trending down. My body feels like Bobo Justus from "The Grifters" just walloped me with a bag of oranges. I dump my sweaty game uni with one of the van drivers, take a quick shower and then catch another van to the University Club for our designated team dinner.
Ty Miller, one of our honorary team coaches, sits near the back with me. A fourth-year camper, he suffered a tibia injury a few years ago that basically ended his playing days. But he keeps coming back to the K Academy for the comradery, for the Emily K Center and for the coaches (even though he's a Clemson grad).
"In 2007, before I got hurt, Johnny Dawkins calls me in and shows me a video of Wojo when he played here," says Miller. "He says, 'See how hard he plays?' You're not giving enough heart.' Pretty cool."
In 2008, Miller was in an ankle-to-hip brace, but he still showed up for the camp. When his team won the Academy championship, his teammates gave him a piece of the net and had him pose in the victory photo. Pretty cool.
At dinner, Williams, King, Abdelnaby and Johnson tell Krzyzewski stories. King played in the mid-1980s, Abdelnaby in the late '80s, Williams in the early 2000s and Johnson in the late 2000s (he just won a national title), but they all have heard Krzyzewski tell them about his mom and her purse. Every Duke player under Krzyzewski has heard about the purse.
It goes like this: Krzyzewski comes into the locker room and he's steamed. He says his mom, the hard-working and modest Emily Krzyzewski, used to scrub floors at the Chicago Athletic Club at nights. One night she took the bus home, got off at her stop and a mugger tried to grab her purse. Emily refused to let go and hung on to the purse with all her might.
"And she didn't have any money in the purse," Krzyzewski tells his players. "That's how tough she was. But you guys can't even hold on to a rebound."
To which one Duke player once said under his breath: "Well, if she has any eligibility left, we could use her."
Just before the dinner ends, King checks his BlackBerry and delivers the sad news. John Wooden has died.
Saturday, June 5
Number of Years Game of Basketball Set Back: 10
Times Yelled At: 0
Minutes Spent in Trainer's Room: 45
Ice Bags Used: Countless
Geno stats: 0-for-3, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover
Compliments Given By Krzyzewski: 0
I am human bruise mark. If you've ever seen the movie, "North Dallas Forty," I'm Nick Nolte getting out of bed after a game. I walk like there's shrapnel in my hip. My right calf wants a divorce.
Krzyzewski does another lecture at Cameron. This time he takes us through the final 3:16, play by play, of the national championship game against Butler in Indianapolis. It's like Warren Buffett taking you through his stock portfolio.
I originally saw the game in an Augusta, Ga., bar during Masters week. The sound was off, so it was hard to get a feel for it. Now I get Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Krzyzewski.
Bottom line: Krzyzewski says that had the game gone past regulation, hometown Butler would have probably won.
"Overtime? Are you kidding," he says. "In that place? No way."
Krzyzewski reminds us of the K Academy tournament.
"Tomorrow's one and done," he says. "You lose and you go home and you don't have your moment."
My moment? I'd settle for getting my body back. McKeehan puts a heat pad on my calf. As I lay face down on a table, I hear another camper groan with each step. "I'm so sore," he says, "I can't move my teeth."
We win our final "regular season" game despite scoring six -- six! -- points in the first half and completely botching our opening play (as the ball sails out of bounds, Williams turns to the bench in disbelief and mutters, "Oh, s---."). I feel like someone has duct-taped a cinder block to my leg, but strangely I don't care. We're 3-2, the No. 2 seed in the tournament and the ice machine still works.
That night at the Emily K Center fundraiser, I try to bid for some items in the silent auction. The millionaires peel back and totally pummel my bids. But that's OK. Some of these same guys are going back to New York and putting on a mini-K Academy-like camp in August -- The Andrea J. Will Foundation Memorial Basketball Tournament -- in memory of the wife of camper Richard Rosenzweig and benefitting the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Krzyzewski wants us to look for moments? That one works for me.
Another moment comes when I see Steve Wojo. He can barely squeak out a word because his voice is so hoarse.
"Aired 'em out before, during and after the game," he says.
I had heard about Wojo's K Academy intensity, but didn't quite believe it. I do now, especially after Lindsay tells me about the time Wojo got into the grill of a camper who wasn't hustling during a game. The flustered camper finally whimpered, "But Coach Wojo, I'm just a dentist."
Before I limp back to the hotel, I hear veteran camper and auction emcee Jesse Itzler describe an early morning call he received in his hotel room. It was from fellow camper Brian Goldman.
"Goldie, what's up?" said Itzler, worried that something might be wrong.
"You're not going to believe this," said Goldman, breathlessly, "but Singler's doing my laundry!"
Sunday, June 6
Number of Years Game of Basketball Set Back: 0
Times Yelled At: 0
Minutes Spent in Trainer's Room: 20
Ice Bags Used: 0
Geno stats: 1-for-2, 2 points, 7 rebounds, 1 turnover
Compliments Given By Krzyzewski: 0
I can't walk very well, but I do have breakfast with President Obama's personal assistant, Reggie Love. He's the equivalent of Charlie Young in "The West Wing." It's just a thought, but Obama can sub for me if he wants.
McKeehan puts some sort of heat balm on my calf to loosen up the muscle. At this point, I'm in favor of amputation.
Chase tears his Achilles three minutes into our first-round tournament game. Abdelnaby and Bytomski confirm the injury.
"He's done," says Abdelnaby matter-of-factly. "OK, let's forget about it."
We try, but Chase's points are hard to replace. With Krzyzewski sitting at courtside (he's been at virtually every game), we let a six-point lead slip away in the second half and lose 32-28. No excuses.
Brand's Team Seattle, which began the week 0-3, goes on to win the championship. T-shirts are distributed. A team photo is taken with Krzyzewski posing with the winners. The net is snipped away from the rim as "One Shining Moment" plays on the Cameron PA system.
I'm not sure why, but I stand and applaud. Then I notice someone doing the same to my right. It's Mickie Krzyzewski.
"I never get tired of hearing this song," she says.
Yeah, I got to figure a way to get back here in 2011.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear Gene's podcasts and ESPN Radio appearances by clicking here.