Georgia State vs. Duke

If there is a player on the Georgia State men’s basketball squad who can tell you what it’s like to play Duke at the Cameron Indoor Stadium, your guy is forward Manny Atkins.

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Markus Crider finishes against Life University.

As a former Virginia Tech Hokie, Atkins is the only member of the team who has played a collegiate game at the Blue Devils’ home.

“Cameron Indoor is a very lively environment and probably one of the toughest places to play in college basketball,” Atkins said.  “The noise level there is crazy because the gym is so small and there are so many rallied up students in there. They love to yell at you from when you step on the court till you walk off the court.”

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He logged 26 minutes while scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds in a March 2011 game versus the Blue Devils.

“I have definitely told a few guys on my team about playing Duke . . . it’s just a name on their jersey,” Atkins said.  “They just can’t wait to step foot on the floor to be able to play Duke and upset them at home.”

If the Panthers do pull the upset it will be the first time in over a decade that Duke has lost a home game versus a non-conference opponent.  The last time Duke lost such a game was Feb. 26, 2000, versus St. John’s.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the all-time wins leader in men’s college basketball, has been the basketball general at Duke since 1980.  Ron Hunter, Georgia State’s head coach, was still in high school in 1980.

“All I’ve ever known about Duke had everything to do with Coach K,” guard Devonta White said.  “Coach K is arguably the greatest college coach of all time so I have the upmost respect for him and everything that he has accomplished with Duke.”

As if having one of the nation’s best coaches wasn’t enough advantage for one team, Duke also boasts one of the most boisterous, creative and informed student sections in the country—The Cameron Crazies.

“The student section at Duke is probably the craziest group of people I’ve ever seen,” Atkins said.  “They know everything about you, even your personal info. They are so close to you on the court that they are almost touching you on the shoulder from out of bounds.”

Al Featherston, a local Duke beat writer, summed up the student section in the 2007 article “Cameron Crazies” on the school’s athletic department website.  “Duke’s crowd may or may not be the best student section… but it is the standard by which all others are measured.”

The Nov. 9 tilt will be televised on ESPNU and could be an opportunity for the program to make a name for itself around the nation.

“We want to prove to everyone in the nation that we belong with teams that are held on that level,” White said.  “We are also motivated because we know that if we don’t come to play then we will get embarrassed because they are a very good team.”

1 Comment

  1. It’s cool that these Panthers get to go to one of the most famous stadiums in the country and it gives them a chance to see how they match-up against a top tier team. GSU stands virtually no chance of winning but it they were somehow able to pull it off it would garner national attention and be the biggest win in GSU history.

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