Smith says he'll return

Duke's Singler still undecided

Robbi PickeralApril 6, 2010 

  • *Kyle Singler, Duke

    Nolan Smith, Duke

    Jon Scheyer, Duke

    Shelvin Mack, Butler

    Gordon Hayward, Butler

    *Most Outstanding Player

Duke junior Nolan Smith said after his team's national championship victory over Butler on Monday night that he plans to return to Durham for his senior year.

Junior Kyle Singler the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player has not yet decided.

"No idea," Singler, who scored 19 points, said when asked about next season. "I'll just talk to Coach and get his opinion, talk to my family. ... I'm just going to let myself be open to what Coach has to say, because he has my best interest [at heart]."

Underclassmen have until April 25 to enter their names into the draft and until May 8 to pull out - as long as they don't hire agents.

Smith, who scored 13 points in the title game, said, "I'm definitely not even considering going. Unless somebody said, 'Nolan, you're going to be the No. 1 pick,' and John Wall has that on lock.

"This squad, coming in next year ... it could be something special. Back-to-back champs could be our future."

Fans at Cameron have a great time: A massive gasp rose from the crowd in Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham as Butler's last shot hit backboard, then rim. When it bounced off, Duke's Cameron Crazies stormed the court to celebrate the Blue Devils' latest national title -- just as if they were at the game.

"Disbelief and absolute elation," said freshman Bailey Parks, her hands trembling minutes after Duke's 61-59 win against Butler in Monday's NCAA title game. "It's completely indescribable."

Duke's "Cameron Crazies" got the chance to cheer on their Devils to another title from afar, gathering in the program's venerable home arena to watch the game being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. And the 4,500 or so fans in Cameron got quite a scare, with Butler missing two shots for the win in the final seconds before Duke's victory was secure.

Many of the students -- who had cheered as though it was a normal game -- ran onto the court when Gordon Hayward missed the first shot for the lead with 3.6 seconds left. Then, after Duke's Brian Zoubek made one of two free throws, fans stopped their celebration and watched nervously as Hayward's final halfcourt heave fell oh-so-close.

Then came the roar.

Some sprinted around the edge of the court and screamed toward the rafters that will soon hold a fourth championship banner. Others poured out of Cameron and headed up campus to celebrate around a bonfire into Tuesday's early hours.

"To all the alumni that never got to experience this, this one's for them," said David Piccirilli, a junior political science and history major from Tampa, Fla., who went running out of Cameron screaming and wearing a Duke jersey. "This one's for everybody in the Duke community everywhere. People said we couldn't do it and it feels so good. It just feels so good."

The Associated Press

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