The most successful collegiate basketball team of the past 25 years is set to visit Dubai for the first time as part of a playing tour of China and the UAE. The Duke University men’s basketball team, popularly known as the Blue Devils, will play the UAE national team at Al Wasl Club in Dubai on 25 August 2011.
The playing tour to the UAE is organized in part by Duke University’s top-ranked Fuqua School of Business, which has its regional office at the Dubai International Financial Centre [DIFC]. Duke University is collaborating with the UAE Basketball Association and the Dubai Sports Council to bring the Blue Devils to the UAE.
"We are excited about the opportunity to visit the UAE and experience the rich mix of culture and landmarks for which the country is known,” said Mike Krzyzewski, the Duke University Men’s Basketball Team Coach, popularly known as Coach K. “Basketball is fast becoming a popular sport among young Arabs and we believe that they have the potential to compete alongside the best teams from around the world. We are looking forward to an exciting game against the UAE national team.”
The tour will mark the beginning of Coach K’s 32nd year at Duke. With 900 career wins, Coach K is three wins away from being the most winning men’s basketball coach in NCAA Division 1 history. He also led the US men’s basketball team to gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championships, and will coach the US team for the 2012 London Olympics. Coach K is also well known for his work on leadership and ethics in collaboration with the Fuqua School of Business.
As part of the team’s visit to the UAE, Coach K will facilitate an open practice for basketball coaches’ development on 24 August to share critical insights and experience on the game.
“We are thrilled to be hosting one of the most successful basketball teams in the world along with the legendary Coach K; it is a first in this region and most certainly an effective way to accelerate the development of basketball in Dubai and the UAE at large,” said Dr. Ahmed Al Sharif Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council.
“We hope this will inspire similar collaborations between regional teams and the world’s finest basketball teams.”
The Duke Men’s Basketball team is named ‘the most prestigious NCAA Division 1 basketball program of the modern college basketball era’ by ESPN. Eleven players from the team have been named the National Player of the Year, while 71 players have been selected in the NBA draft. Additionally, the team has finished the season ranked number 1 in the AP poll seven times.
“As a global university, Duke is delighted to have this chance to reach out to our passionate fans around the world,” said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead. “The success of our men’s basketball team is a highly visible symbol of Duke’s commitment to excellence every day, across the university, and a wonderful way for people to connect to Duke.”