Championship Season

Trustees honor math team, Rhodes Scholar and men's basketball titlists

Two of Duke University's championship teams were honored Friday by the university's Board of Trustees - the men's basketball squad for winning the NCAA championship and the mathematics team for winning the prestigious William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition and other math honors.

Also honored was graduating senior Matthew Baugh from Raleigh who was named a Rhodes Scholar as well as a Truman Scholar and an Angier B. Duke Scholar.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised his team as "the finest group of kids I ever had." He also saluted the other students recognized by the trustees: "And I applaud the other great kids that have accomplished national recognition."

Krzyzewski noted that the four seniors on his team - Shane Battier, Ryan Caldbeck, Nate James and J.D. Simpson - will graduate Sunday at the university's annual commencement exercises. He had special praise for Battier, the 2001 consensus National Player of the Year.

"In Battier ... there's never been a kid here like him. We won because of that kid. There's no question. Best leadership we've ever had."

Krzyzewski also noted that his top players and others "are under immense pressures" to leave college before they graduate to enter the National Basketball Association.

"It's a changing landscape - socioeconomic and education-wise - in our sport that should not go unnoticed. ... It's a very volatile climate." He said more than 40 undergraduates across the nation have said they will leave their schools to enter the NBA draft and "that will only increase." But he said he expects Duke stars Jason Williams and Carlos Boozer will be back next year.

The trustees' resolution honoring the math students said they "epitomize the standard of excellence that has brought Duke University national recognition in the field with a variety of competitive accomplishments ... " Also praised was their coach, Associate Professor David Kraines.

Singled out for honor were five seniors, John Clyde, from New Plymouth, Idaho; Carl Miller, Bethesda, Md.; Michael Colsher, Waukesha, Wis.; Daniel Neill, Tampa, Fla.; and John Thacker, Durham.

Clyde was a member of the three-member Putnam team, which also included juniors Nathan Curtis, Reston, Va., and Kevin Lacker, from Cincinnati. They participated in the competition sponsored by the Mathematical Asssociation of America last December but the results were not announced until March. It was the third time Duke won the Putnam competition since 1993.

The national basketball championship also was Duke's third.