In a new feature, the Confidential will attempt to bridge the gap between yesterday and today by providing some publicity for ACC events from the past. Today, the Confidential takes a look at a regular season game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
On January 19,1983, exactly 29 years ago, Wake Forest traveled to Duke. Admittedly, there is nothing particularly historical about this game. It was a basketball matchup between two private, North Carolina schools that lurked in the shadows of the state flagship school, the North Carolina Tar Heels. And 1982-1983 was no different, with North Carolina (led by Michael Jordan) and Virginia (led by Ralph Sampson) each finishing 14-2 in conference play.
Instead, what is notable is just how bad Duke was in 1982-1983. The college basketball world is familiar with Duke and its successes in the past few decades. In 1982-1983, however, Duke finished 3-11 in conference and 11-17 overall. Mike Krzyzewski was in his third season as coach, after five years of coaching at Army (73-59 record there). By the end of the 1982-1983 season, Coach K would be 38-47 as a head coach of Duke, giving him an overall record of 111-106. Today, he would likely have been fired. But he was not. Instead, 1982-1983 was the lowpoint, as he would win at least 23 games a year for the next 12 seasons, en route to breaking the all-time wins record.
Still, January 19, 1983, was not his night. Instead, the night belonged to Wake Forest, who traveled to Duke and won 88-84. The win was part of a 7-7 conference slate, resulting in an overall record of 20-12. Wake Forest would head to the NIT, where it won three games, before losing to Fresno State in the semifinals.
The Demon Deacons were led by Junior Anthony Teachey’s 29 points and 11 rebounds. The rebounds were not a surprise, as only stars Ralph Sampson and Sam Perkins averaged more rebounds per game than Teachey in the ACC that year. From a scoring standpoint, Wake Forest had significant balance, with six different players averaging between 10.4 and 14.8 points per game in conference games, led by Junior John Toms. With 10 points, Toms was one of four other Demon Deacons to score in double figures for Wake Forest against Duke , including Teachey (29), Senior Alvis Rogers (17), Junior Danny Young (11), and Freshman Kenny Green (10). For more on Anthony Teachey, go here.
The Blue Devils were led by some familiar names. Freshman Johnny Dawkins led Duke with 21 points, while Freshmen Jay Bilas and Mark Alarie added 16 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore Danny Meagher scored 14 points. The youthful talent was on full display. Bilas led the team with 8 rebounds, while Dawkins added 5 assists. Bilas, of course, has had ample success in his work for ESPN as a basketball analyst. After spending 9 seasons in the NBA, Dawkins has turned to coaching and he is now the head coach at Stanford. The 1982-1983 season was just the beginning for that young Duke team and its “mediocre” head coach.
So, the next time you are watching a below average team being coached by a .500 coach and losing to an NIT bound team, bear in mind that you never know if you are watching a legend. Nobody would have thought that on January 19, 1983. And they all would have been wrong.
Do you remember this game? Please feel free to share any details…
This Day in History is a feature that relies heavily on information obtained from Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Games, Michael O’ Hara, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2008). Special thanks to that fine publication.