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OFFNY

Before Mike Krzyzewski, there was Gene Banks, Jim Spanarkel, Mike Gminski, and Bill Foster

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As a freshman in the 1977-78 season, Gene Banks (along with Mike Gminski and Jim Spanarkel) helped lead Duke all the way to the National Championship game against Kentucky for the first time since 1964.

That just begins to tell his story, and his legacy.

 

How Gene Banks Paved the Way for Duke Stars

(By Daryl Bell)

https://theundefeated.com/features/before-zion-how-gene-banks-paved-the-way-for-dukes-stars/

 

 

 

Image result for Gene Banks vs. Kentucky oooooooooooooooo Image result for Gene Banks Duke

 

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High School All-Americans Signed by Duke (All-Time List)

 

Gene Banks - 1977 

Vince Taylor - 1978

Johnny Dawkins - 1982

Tommy Amaker - 1983

Martin Nessley - 1983

Danny Ferry - 1985

Quin Snyder - 1985

Alaa Abdelnaby - 1986

Phil Henderson - 1986

Greg Koubek - 1987

Christian Laettner - 1988

Crawford Palmer - 1988

Bobby Hurley - 1989

Bill McCaffrey - 1989

Grant Hill - 1990

Cherokee Parks - 1991

Chris Collins - 1992 

Joey Beard - 1993 

Trajan Langdon - 1994

Ricky Price - 1994

Steve Wojciechowski - 1994

Taymon Domzalski - 1995

Nate James - 1996

Shane Battier - 1997

Elton Brand - 1997

Chris Burgess - 1997

Corey Maggette - 1998

Carlos Boozer, Jr. - 1999

Mike Dunleavy, Jr. - 1999

Casey Sander - 1999

Jay Williams - 1999

Chris Duhon - 2000

Daniel Ewing - 2001

Sean Dockery - 2002

Shavlik Randolph - 2002

J.J. Redick - 2002

Michael Thompson - 2002

Luol Deng - 2003

DeMarcus Nelson - 2004

Eric Boateng - 2005

Josh McRoberts - 2005

Greg Paulus - 2005

Gerald Henderson, Jr. - 2006

Jonathan Scheyer - 2006

Lance Thomas - 2006 

Taylor King - 2007

Kyle Singler - 2007

Nolan Smith - 2007

Elliot Williams - 2008

Ryan Kelly - 2009

Mason Plumlee - 2009

Kyrie Irving - 2010

Quinn Cook - 2011

Marshall Plumlee - 2011

Austin Rivers - 2011

Amile Jefferson - 2012

Rasheed Sulaimon - 2012

Matt Jones - 2013

Jabari Parker - 2013

Grayson Allen - 2014

Tyus Jones - 2014

Jahlil Okafor - 2014

Justise Winslow - 2014

Brandon Ingram, X - 2015

Chase Jeter - 2015

Luke Kennard - 2015

Marques Bolden - 2016

Jackson, Frank2016

Jayson Tatum - 2016

Wendell Carter, Jr. - 2017

Trevon Duval - 2017

Gary Trent, Jr. - 2017

R.J. Barrett - 2018

Tre Jones - 2018

Cameron Reddish - 2018o

Zion Williamson - 2018

 

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Any reason why Gene Banks is highlighted in red?    His first two years at Duke were my two years at the school (I transferred there as a junior).     He was a terrific player and absolutely fearsome in crunch time of close games.    Duke went from being the worst team in the ACC in 1976-77 to going to the national championship game in 1977-78, Banks’ freshman season.   That was really exciting.   

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3 hours ago, Frobby said:

 

Any reason why Gene Banks is highlighted in red? His first two years at Duke were my two years at the school (I transferred there as a junior.) He was a terrific player, and absolutely fearsome in crunch time of close games. Duke went from being the worst team in the ACC in 1976-77 to going to the national championship game in 1977-78, Banks freshman season. That was really exciting.   

 

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Yes. He was the first ever for Duke (high school All-American), and he is the focus of the OP.

The article asserts that Banks largely paved the way/started a long line of Duke success in basketball, and helped put Duke on the map for the first time since Art Heyman, Jeff Mullins, and Jack Marin and company made it to 3 Final Fours in 4 seasons in 1963, 1964, and 1966, including making it all the way to the National Championship game in 1964. My highlighting of him is a salute to his legacy, of sorts.

 

I initially wanted to title the thread, Before Mike Krzyzewski, there was Gene Banks and Bill Foster", but I couldn't leave out Spanarkel and Gminski, both of whom (in addition to Banks) were largely instrumental Duke's ascension to the elite level of college basketball at that time.

 

o

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1 hour ago, OFFNY said:

o

 

Yes. He was the first ever for Duke (high school All-American), and he is the focus of the OP.

The article asserts that Banks largely paved the way/started a long line of Duke success in basketball, and helped put Duke on the map for the first time since Art Heyman, Jeff Mullins, and Jack Marin and company made it to 3 Final Fours in 4 seasons in 1963, 1964, and 1966, including making it all the way to the National Championship game in 1964. My highlighting of him is a salute to his legacy, of sorts.

 

I initially wanted to title the thread, Before Mike Krzyzewski, there was Gene Banks and Bill Foster", but I couldn't leave out Spanarkel and Gminski, both of whom (in addition to Banks) were largely instrumental Duke's ascension to the elite level of college basketball at that time.

 

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LOL, I hadn’t even realized this wasn’t the other Duke thread.   

Spanarkel and Gminski were terrific players.    Spanarkel was in my graduating class, Gminski (who was almost a straight A student) was the year behind me.   Both of them do color commentary on NCAA games now, in fact, Gminski did the UVA game today.    

There’s an excellent book by John Feinstein about the ‘77-78 team called Forever’s Team.    It’s in a similar format to The Boys of Summer, with the first half recounting that season and the second half revisiting what those players were doing later in life.    Feinstein was the sports editor of the Duke paper in the ‘77-78 season and has a real soft spot for that team.   

The ACC was awesome in those days.  8-team league and they were all good or great.    

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4 hours ago, Frobby said:

 

LOL, I hadn’t even realized this wasn’t the other Duke thread.   

Spanarkel and Gminski were terrific players. Spanarkel was in my graduating class, Gminski (who was almost a straight-A student) was the year behind me. Both of them do color commentary on NCAA games now, in fact, Gminski did the UVA game today.    

 There’s an excellent book by John Feinstein about the ‘77-78 team called Forever’s Team. It’s in a similar format to The Boys of Summer, with the first half recounting that season and the second half revisiting what those players were doing later in life. Feinstein was the sports editor of the Duke paper in the ‘77-78 season and has a real soft spot for that team.   

The ACC was awesome in those days. 8-team league and they were all good or great.    

 

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Believe it or not, the ACC was actually a 7-team league when you were a student there as a young man, and Banks, Spanarkel, and Gminski were returning the program to the elite status that it had previously enjoyed in the early-to-mid 60's.

I remember when I was a kid in the late 70's at the time, and the 1st place team in the regular season actually got a bye directly into the semifinals of the conference tournament, while the other 6 teams played each other for the remaining 3 spots in the semis.

It was until the 1979-80 season when Georgia Teach joined the conference, giving the ACC an even 8 teams overall (and no longer a bye for the regular season 1st-place team in the conference tournament.)

 

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8 hours ago, OFFNY said:

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Believe it or not, the ACC was actually a 7-team league when you were a student there as a young man, and Banks, Spanarkel, and Gminski were returning the program to the elite status that it had previously enjoyed in the early-to-mid 60's.

I remember when I was a kid in the late 70's at the time, and the 1st place team in the regular season actually got a bye directly into the semifinals of the conference tournament, while the other 6 teams played each other for the remaining 3 spots in the semis.

It was until the 1979-80 season when Georgia Teach joined the conference, giving the ACC an even 8 teams overall (and no longer a bye for the regular season 1st-place team in the conference tournament.)

 

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You’re right, I forgot that!    It was a fairly brief window between when South Carolina left the ACC (1971) and Georgia Tech joined (1979).

Anyway, in ‘77-78 the Tar Heels had Phil Ford, Mike O’Koren and Al Wood.    The Demon Deacons had Rod Griffin.   NC State had Hawkeye Whitney.   Maryland had Albert King.  UVA had Jeff Lamp.   Clemson had Stan Rome.   It was a great time to be a fan.    It also was in a period where the NCAA tournament was only 32 teams so only two ACC schools made the NCAA tournament - the regular season champ (UNC) and the tournament champ (Duke).     Only the tournament champ was actually guaranteed a spot.    And just a few years earlier, when the NCAA tournament was 16 teams, only the ACC tournament champ went.    Talk about a pressure packed tournament!

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2 hours ago, Frobby said:

 

You’re right, I forgot that! It was a fairly brief window between when South Carolina left the ACC (1971) and Georgia Tech joined (1979).

Anyway, in ‘77-78 the Tar Heels had Phil Ford, Mike O’Koren and Al Wood. The Demon Deacons had Rod Griffin.   NC State had Hawkeye Whitney. Maryland had Albert King.  UVA had Jeff Lamp.   Clemson had Stan Rome.   It was a great time to be a fan. It also was in a period where the NCAA tournament was only 32 teams so only two ACC schools made the NCAA tournament - the regular season champ (UNC) and the tournament champ (Duke). Only the tournament champ was actually guaranteed a spot. And just a few years earlier, when the NCAA tournament was 16 teams, only the ACC tournament champ went. Talk about a pressure packed tournament!

 

o

 

You make some great points, although it was actually a 40-team tournament in 1977-78 and 1978-79, and then increased to 48 teams in 1979-80. The tournament was rapidly increasing its member participation from the mid-70's onward, until they went with the full 64 teams/6 rounds system  in 1984-85.

 

Also as you pointed out, college basketball once had a fundamental problem with their playoff system in that a team had to win its conference championship in order to make the NCAA tournament. That led to situations such as what happened in 1970, when South Carolina was the #3 team in the nation but did not get to go to the tournament because they lost to North Carolina State in the ACC tournament. And in 1974, when Maryland and North Carolina State were both Top-5 teams in the country, but only David Thompson's Wolfpack went to that season's tournament because they defeated Len Elmore's Terrapins in the ACC Championship game in overtime, 103-100. They remedied that fundamental problem by allowing more than 1 team from each conference to be admitted to the NCAA tournament the following season.

 

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3 hours ago, OFFNY said:

You make some great points, although it was actually a 40-team tournament in 1977-78 and 1978-79, and then increased to 48 teams in 1979-80. The tournament was rapidly increasing its member participation from the mid-70's onward, until they went with the full 64 teams/6 rounds system  in 1984-85.

You’re killing me here pointing out all my inaccuracies!    I had recalled that the tournament expanded to 40, but thought that was in the ‘78-79 season.   

I actually liked the 32-team format better than the current one.    I’m not a big fan of letting the fifth-best team in some power conference get hot in the tournament and win it, like UConn did in 2014.   I do like it when the Butlers of the world get their shot, though.   

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You guys can reminisce all you want, but the ACC was best when Florida St was added as the ninth team (Sura, Cassell).  Sixteen game balanced schedule, Thursday night play in game.  That's when the league was best.

BTW, geography lesson, Louisville is nowhere near the Atlantic Coast. Haha.

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34 minutes ago, backwardsk said:

 

You guys can reminisce all you want, but the ACC was best when Florida St was added as the ninth team (Sura, Cassell).  Sixteen game balanced schedule, Thursday night play in game. That's when the league was best.

BTW, geography lesson, Louisville is nowhere near the Atlantic Coast. Ha ha.

 

o

 

I didn't make a claim about when the ACC was and was not the best. There's no reason for you to be antagonistic about our nostalgic conversations. If want to assert

that Florida State's 2 seasons in the early 90's was the best of times in the conference's history, you're welcome to start a thread about it.

 

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Easy there.  I'm not trying to be antagonist, sorry if it came across that way.  Just saying the ACC was best in that format.  

Sticking to your topic, one man not to be forgotten is two-sport star, former number 3 overall pick, former NL MVP, Dick Groat.

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I grew up in Raleigh, a State fan. My uncle has season tickets for a few years in that era (and maybe before, I seem to remember Tate Armstrong being a Duke regular before that) and I got to see all those Duke guys in their early road games at Reynolds Coliseum. I remember Gminski doing something kind of impressive, maybe a hook shot or something, and someone yelling out with admiration "that was a senior move!" Duke had been so mediocre in the years before that lots of us Wolfpackers kind of adopted them as our poor cousin and would pull for them when they were not playing the Pack. In those days the intense rivalry was UNC and State (allegedly Roy Williams still has a special fire to beat NC State). Duke was an afterthought for UNC and State before those guys in this thread's subject line got here. 

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On 3/3/2019 at 8:15 AM, OFFNY said:

o

 

You make some great points, although it was actually a 40-team tournament in 1977-78 and 1978-79, and then increased to 48 teams in 1979-80. The tournament was rapidly increasing its member participation from the mid-70's onward, until they went with the full 64 teams/6 rounds system  in 1984-85.

 

Also as you pointed out, college basketball once had a fundamental problem with their playoff system in that a team had to win its conference championship in order to make the NCAA tournament. That led to situations such as what happened in 1970, when South Carolina was the #3 team in the nation but did not get to go to the tournament because they lost to North Carolina State in the ACC tournament. And in 1974, when Maryland and North Carolina State were both Top-5 teams in the country, but only David Thompson's Wolfpack went to that season's tournament because they defeated Len Elmore's Terrapins in the ACC Championship game in overtime, 103-100. They remedied that fundamental problem by allowing more than 1 team from each conference to be admitted to the NCAA tournament the following season.

 

o

And I think the year before NC State won it all with David Thompson, they had gone undefeated, but were banned from the NCAA tournament due to a recruiting violation. I was a State fan through and through, but Maryland was truly a scary team. I dreaded them more than UNC in the early 70s. 

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On 2/26/2019 at 10:13 PM, OFFNY said:

 

Image result for Gene Banks vs. Kentucky oooooooooooooooo Image result for Gene Banks Duke

o

This first photo reminds me of one of my minor gripes about how Duke Blue has really changed in the last 40 or so years. I know there's an official name in their marketing (Pantene something or another - it's on their PR page or Wikipedia) but it really looked Navy Blue in those days and it's now much closer to Royal Blue. I miss the old colors. And that era of ACC basketball, really. 

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