SI Vault
 
He Does The Devils' Work
Curry Kirkpatrick
February 15, 1988
Danny Ferry leads Duke's Blue Devils by virtue of his towering presence—and tricks he learned from his NBA-seasoned dad
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 15, 1988

He Does The Devils' Work

Danny Ferry leads Duke's Blue Devils by virtue of his towering presence—and tricks he learned from his NBA-seasoned dad

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

The senior Ferry kept the brews cold for many of his other old friends—now his son's suitors. " Dean Smith had a beer," Bob says. " Bobby Cremins [of Georgia Tech] and I got smashed. Coach K was scared to drink one. Hell, I hope there's not an NCAA law against me giving them something."

"I don't like beer," Krzyzewski says. "Anyway, I didn't want to spit and slur while explaining the motion offense."

Danny was known as Beanpole in high school, and his dad still calls him Beans. But he always had great hands and could run, dribble and shoot from afar. And, oh, how he could see the floor and pass. Sometimes he saw too much and didn't take shots he could have made easily. "He was selfless to a fault," says Wootten. "He'd overpass. I'd tell the other kids to just keep their hands up, and Danny would get them all in double figures." Until a few weeks ago Krzyzewski was having similar difficulty persuading Danny that he was Duke's first option to score.

One downside of Ferry's NBA upbringing was his shot selection. "I told him the pros' goal is to get the shot off, but our goal is for the shot to go in," says Krzyzewski. "Danny's base was too narrow. He was leaning and lunging as though he were on a teeter-totter. Now he's squaring up, using the proper footwork, developing solid moves."

Last season Ferry averaged only 11.6 shots a game and hit 44.9% of them. On the team Krzyzewski coached at the World University Games last summer in Yugoslavia, Ferry learned to play mostly inside, where a roughhouse tower belongs. This season, beginning with Duke's 91-85 loss at Arizona on Dec. 30, Ferry began posting up comfortably and through last week was averaging 15 shots per game and hitting 52.6%.

"Danny's greatest asset is still his mind," says Krzyzewski. "He'll out-think you every time. Let John Thompson put him on the Olympic team in that spread-out international game, and Danny will get double-figure assists feeding David Robinson."

And the U.S. would be represented by one more lean, mean banger. "I'd like to be labeled a physical player," says Ferry. "But don't call me a dirty one."

The former Mahorn prot�g� achieved a bit of that reputation last season after his involvement in altercations with Virginia's Tom Sheehey and Georgia Tech's Craig (Noodles) Neal. Sheehey, who got thrown out of a game for elbowing Ferry in the jaw, claimed his action was in response to Ferry's slapping him in the crotch. "I might have popped him too low," says Ferry, "but Sheehey was the most hated guy in the ACC. He was old news." As for the incident at Georgia Tech, for which Ferry was hit with a technical, tapes showed that he wasn't responsible for a melee that broke out between the teams. Later Fred Barakat, the ACC supervisor of officials, apologized to Ferry. Last week Neal, who got his moniker for his lanky build, was given his comeuppance when the raving Dookie spectators showered the court with packets of uncooked macaroni just before the Blue Devils beat Tech behind 22 points from Ferry.

"Danny's no dirtier than anybody else I've played against," says Duke senior co-captain and exquisite defender Billy King. "All great players have tricks, and they get, uh, victimized."

Ferry's preppie irreverence makes him seem right at home on the Duke campus. Amid the polyglot student mass he has found kindred spirits in Quin Snyder, a point guard from Mercer Island, Wash., and Paul Stewart, who lives in Switzerland and is the son of former Scottish Grand Prix driver Jackie Stewart. As a birthday prank, Snyder took Ferry's clothes during practice and hid them in a locker room freezer. In return Ferry stole the car Snyder was driving while out on a date. Trouble was, it was Ferry's car, and when Snyder relocated it he plastered it with gooey Oreos. Stewart recently spread "a million" pieces of Styrofoam around Ferry's room and later filled his bed with oily salad vegetables. And, oh yes, on Thanksgiving, Stewart took a peach pie and smashed Danny in the face with it. Ah, youth.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4