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College Traditions: Duke University’s Cameron Crazies

College Traditions: Duke University’s Cameron Crazies

The Cameron Crazies are Duke University’s basketball student section, which can hold approximately 1,200 occupants. The section, also deemed “The Zoo” by Al McGuire for their humorous pranks, and “The Sixth-Man” by Duke Men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, is known for being “rude, crude and lewd – as well as cleverly funny,” stated Frank Vehorn of the Virginian-Pilot. The Crazies are famous for painting their bodies blue and white or wearing outrageous outfits. They start their cheering as soon as warm-ups begin. Throughout the game, the Crazies jump up and down when the opposing team has possession of the ball and yell cheers in unison at focal points of the game.

The Cameron Crazies were named after Cameron Indoor Stadium, where the home basketball games are held, sometime
in the mid-1980s. The name became widely known as Mike Krzyzewski’s program became one of the best in the country. In an article about the Crazies published in 2007, Al Featherston stated, “Duke’s crowd may or may not be the best student section… but it is the standard by which all others are measured”. Some other colleges and universities have used the Crazies as a model for their own cheering sections at basketball games, such as Harvard University and Indiana University, both of which recently printed a run of Crimson Crazies t-shirts. Over the years, some have noted that the Crazies have calmed down due to restrictions, such as not being able to throw things onto the court.