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Thursday, February 1, 2001
Cameron's Craziest

Page 2 staff

Over the years, Duke's Cameron Crazies have earned a reputation as the rowdiest, wittiest, best-organized college basketball fans in the land. Though they've calmed down quite a bit in recent years, mostly due to the steadying influence of Coach K -- "Before games, he'll talk to them and remind them to 'Be classy," says ESPN's Jay Bilas, who played for Duke in the early '80s -- for many years their chants and antics turned Cameron into a hellhole for visiting players and coaches.

Page 2 has compiled a list of the Crazies' 10 "best" moments. A word of warning: If you are not a professional, don't try these at home.

10. Still crazy after all these years
Yes, the Crazies are calmer, but they're not dead yet. In 1996, a skinny Lehigh player in goggles and knee-high stretch socks was serenaded at the free-throw line -- a highly favored ambush site -- with chants of "Urkel, Urkel."

9. Time to breed
When Calvin and Janet Hill attended Grant's last home game, the Crazies chanted, "One more kid."

8. Yes, butt ...
During his LSU career, Shaq was, of course, an irresistible target. Alternating cheers of "Shaq can't dunk" and "Boomshaqalackalacka" would bounce back and forth throughout warmups. But they saved their best for the game, showering the frustrated All-American with "Shaq's got a big ol' butt, oh, yeah!"

7. Golden Olden
After suffering allegations of plagiarism, Virginia's Olden Polynice suffered again at the hands of the Crazies, who greeted him with "Where's Olden? At the copy machine."

6. They begged to differ
"After a bad call, they used to yell, 'The refs, they suck, they really, really suck,' " Bilas says. "And when (referee) Dick Paparo would come in and make a bad call, they'd chant, 'You suck, Dick!' "

This infuriated Coach K, who insisted that the Crazies cease and desist. After the next bad call by Paparo, the crowd chanted, "You suck, Richard."

5. Hale to the victim
The game after North Carolina's Steve Hale suffered a punctured lung, the compassionate cry was "In-Hale, Ex-Hale." Rumor has it that even Hale couldn't resist smiling.

When Maryland's Herman Veal was alleged to have sexually abused a fellow student -- he was disciplined, but never formally charged -- the Crazies showered him with more than 1,000 panties, and one student held up a sign that read, 'HEY, HERM, DID YOU SEND HER FLOWERS?'
  

4. Long arm of the Crazies
"Sam Perkins, from UNC, had really long arms," Bilas remembers. "One of the kids dressed up in a replica jersey, to which he had attached these fake arms, which were probably 10 feet long. Then, before, the game, he came out and played one-on-one with the ballboy."

3. Short, but to the point
Over the years, the Crazies have reserved some of their best material for the vertically challenged.

To Spud Webb, a 5-7 N.C. State guard: "Hormones, Spud, hormones."

Wake Forest's Muggsy Bogues, all of 5-3, was routinely referred to as "Webster."

During an exhibition game against an Australlian team, a 5-7 visitor, preparing to shoot free throws, was serenaded with "Shrimp on the Barbee!"

And when Virginia's 5-10 Ricky Stokes, was at the line, the Crazies used to chant, "Stand up, Stokes! Stand up, Stokes!"

2. Respect your elders
Needless to say, coaches -- especially from the ACC -- have been favorite targets. However, much to the appreciation of the Crazies, rival coaches often gave as good as they got.

When Lefty Driesel, then with Maryland, would visit, a large group of Crazies would wear skinheads and pantomime the histrionics of the volatile Lefty. However, Lefty was capable of endearing himself to the Crazies, once by taking out a comb and running it over his bald head, another time by leading the Crazies in a round of "Simon Says" before a game.

Once, when N.C. State was being investigated for -- among other things -- sneaker violations, the Crazies covered the floor with cheap sneakers when Jim Valvano walked out. Another time, early-arriving Crazies started chanting, "Down with Valvano! Down with Valvano!" But Valvano won them over by squeezing between a couple of students and leading them in "Down with Packer! Down with Packer!" cheers when TV analyst Billy Packer walked out onto the floor.

1. Legal eagles
But the ultimate in catnip over the years has been the unfortunate visitor fresh off a confrontation with the legal system.

"Adrian Branch had some problem offcourt, maybe a marijuana arrest," Bilas says. "As he was getting ready to shoot a free throw, Duke students behind the basket all stood up and yelled, 'Freeze! Police!' Even the other guys on his team had to laugh."

When Maryland's Herman Veal was alleged to have sexually abused a fellow student -- he was disciplined, but never formally charged -- the Crazies showered him with more than 1,000 panties, and one student held up a sign that read, "HEY, HERM, DID YOU SEND HER FLOWERS?" (After this incident, Lefty Driesel once again distinguished himself as a good sport and worthy foe. When asked if he was upset by the sign, Lefty said, "No, I can't read. I went to Duke.")

Following the arrest of Lorenzo Charles of N.C. State for stealing pizzas, his pregame introduction was greeted by a shower of pizza boxes that practically covered the court. If the Crazies' purpose was to throw Charles into a funk, they failed miserably. "He was pissed, and he had his best game," remembers Bilas. "He was just a monster to deal with. I know. I had to guard him."