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The Next Game

9:25 AM, Apr 2, 2012 • By DAVID WOLFFORD
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The book also goes inside Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, Coach K’s recruiting of big man Christian Laettner, electric guard Bobby Hurley, and the two Hills—Grant and Thomas. More telling is the author’s description of the Blue Devil’s team dynamics, especially with the overbearing and complicated Laettner. Readers may be surprised by the all-star’s humble roots and two-sided persona. He earned the nickname “A--hole” from his own teammates (and a variety of other monikers from UK fans that year), while he also earned a massive respect for his determination to push these same teammates, arguably harder than their own coach.

By March of 1992, UK had acquired power forward Jamal Mashburn, who became the centerpiece for the Wildcats. Christian Laettner recalls the irony of the alleged mismatch years later with the author, “It’s these little white kids from Kentucky, and Mashburn, and I’m worried.” It turned out to be an evenly matched contest that no one in the Spectrum or in CBS’s broad television audience will ever forget. Both teams earned over 100 points and took the game into overtime, with Duke winning by a point. As you watch Kentucky and Kansas tonight, consider making The Last Great Game your next great read.

David Wolfford teaches government and politics in Cincinnati.

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