WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After President Barack Obama offered kind words to Duke University’s championship basketball team at the White House on Tuesday, Blue Devils Coach Mike Krzyzewski offered the president an invitation to Duke’s “fantasy camp” for “guys 35 and older.”
“I’ll dominate,” the 54-year-old president, an avid basketball player, joked to laughter and applause during the ceremony in the White House East Room.
Obama lauded Duke’s players for their success on the court and their commitment to charity off of it, honoring them for winning the NCAA tournament title in April for the school’s fifth national championship.
Krzyzewski handed Obama a Duke jersey and basketball, and offered him a scholarship to the fantasy camp with former Blue Devils players.
“He’s not unlike the other 80 guys who come and then they find out the truth,” Krzyzewski said after Obama’s promise to dominate.
Duke defeated Wisconsin 68-63 in April’s National Collegiate Athletic Association title game. Obama had predicted before the tournament that the University of Kentucky would win it, with Duke losing in the national semifinals.
“These guys were fun,” Obama said of the Duke team. “They ran off 14 straight wins to start the season. But by tournament time, they were down to just eight scholarship players, four freshmen, one senior.”
Obama added, “In that championship game against Wisconsin, the four freshmen scored every point in the second half. The Blue Devils shut down the most efficient offense in the country when they needed to.”
Obama praised the team’s charitable work in elementary education and the five players who made the all-Atlantic Coast Conference academic squad this year.
“This is the kind of program that we hope for at any institution of higher learning,” Obama said. “They represent their university well on and off the court.”
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Will Dunham