Duke's season surprises Redick


Published: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 12:55 a.m.
ST. LOUIS - With Duke decimated by injuries and defections to the NBA, J.J. Redick never expected the Blue Devils to finish as one of the top teams in the country.
A player of the year award came as another surprise.
Redick won the Adolph Rupp Trophy as the nation's best player Thursday after leading Duke to a 27-6 record and the No. 3 ranking in the season's final poll.
Bruce Weber, whose Illinois team has been No. 1 since Dec. 6, won the Rupp Cup as coach of the year.
The awards are given by the Commonwealth Athletic Club of Kentucky.
Redick earned All-America honors after averaging 22 points in 37 minutes for the Blue Devils, who lost to Michigan State in the Austin Regional semifinals.
''When this season started, I never dreamed we'd end up with me winning an award with such prestige,'' the junior guard said. ''I'd like to thank my teammates and coaches for putting me in a position to win an award like this.''
The award brought an additional treat for Weber. Phil Martelli, last year's winner, was supposed to present the award, but Saint Joseph's was playing in the NIT championship game Thursday night. So Weber's mentor, Purdue coach Gene Keady, made the presentation. Weber spent 19 years as an assistant to Keady at Purdue and Western Kentucky.
''People always ask, 'Are you prepared for this?''' said Weber, whose Illini play Louisville in Saturday night's first Final Four game. ''I watched him and I learned from him, and that's made it so much easier for me.''
Keady, who retired this year after 25 seasons at Purdue, even donned an Illini-orange name tag in Weber's honor.
''It's like a son getting an award,'' Keady said. ''I've been with him 19 years. All the things we've talked about philosophy-wise, style-wise and all those things, I see them in the system at Illinois, so I couldn't be prouder.''
The awards are named after celebrated Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, who won 876 games and four national titles with the Wildcats.
  • WILLIAMS' WORKOUTS: North Carolina coach Roy Williams follows a regimented workout schedule. He recently went at it 11 straight days - including several two-a-days - before skipping the exercise Tuesday.
    He has a couple of reasons for doing this. One is he likes being able to eat pretty much what he wants, and the other is his golf game. Tar Heels strength and conditioning coordinator Jonas Sahratian supervises.
    ''I told Jonas we were going to have a little workout program,'' Williams said earlier this week. ''So we go three mornings a week for an hour, flexibility, range of motion, stretching. I told him my theme is that my golf game is going to come alive in '05.''
    And if it doesn't?
    ''Then Jonas is fired,'' Williams said with a smile.
    With North Carolina back in the Final Four, the workouts serve another purpose for Williams.
    ''Part of it is to get away from the phone,'' he said. ''It is an escape for me, no question.''
  • CONFERENCE DOUBLES: Michigan State and Illinois give the Big Ten half the Final Four this weekend and it marks the seventh straight year a conference has had two teams in the Final Four.
    The Big Ten started the run in 1999 with Michigan State and Ohio State. It was more of the same the next year when Michigan State returned and was joined by Wisconsin.
    In 2001, the Atlantic Coast Conference had Duke and Maryland. The Big 12 did it the next two years with Kansas and Oklahoma in 2002 and Kansas and Texas in 2003.
    Last year, the ACC had Duke and Georgia Tech.
  • OTHER VISITS: This will be the third time the Final Four has been held in St. Louis and the attendance records are going to be shattered.
    In 1973, UCLA, behind Bill Walton's 21-of-22 effort from the field and 44 points, beat Memphis 87-66 before 19,301 fans at St. Louis Arena.
    In 1978, Kentucky, behind the 41 points of Jack Givens, beat Duke 94-88 in the same building, which was then known as the Checkerdome, before a crowd of 18,721.
    The capacity for this weekend's games at the Edward Jones Dome is 46,500.
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