Sweet 16 Report: The Duke family

“#40. That’s Marshall Plumlee. He’s my favorite. He dunks. #5 is Tyus. Okafor is #15…”
It took approximately 12 seconds before I had to turn around and see who belonged to this tiny voice.
That voice belonged to 5-year-old Rohan Desai, future Cameron Crazie. And let me tell you, the kid knows his stuff. He knows all the players by sight and by number. He caught Grayson Allen stepping out of bounds in a drill. He saw assistant coach, Jon Scheyer, almost get taken out with an errant pass. He even had some choice words for legendary Blue Devil, Coach Jeff Capel, in a rebounding drill.
“He needs to make some of those. He missed again!”
And then, when Capel bounced the ball off his foot to simulate a loose ball dril — a small, disbelieving sigh.
His father, Pinakin Desai, at first tried to help him understand that Capel was making intentional mistakes for the purpose of the drill. Yet Rohan’s commentary was so charming that it made for better viewing to just let him go.
Sitting next to him was his brother, Sahil, himself a Duke basketball fan since 2006 when he was born. He thinks that everyone should be born into a Duke family. His favorite player is Quinn Cook because “He shoots three-pointers a lot and makes them.” The kid’s not wrong. Cook’s shooting 40% from beyond the arc, hitting at least one attempt for the last 45 games.
Rohan credits his big brother for making him a Duke fan, and it’s clearly a family tradition to pass down this loyalty. Pinakin Desai fell in love with the Blue Devils when he was only 9. He had a cousin at Duke during that time, and the excitement quickly spread.
When asked about what makes a Duke fan special, Pinakin replied, “Just the enthusiasm that they have.” He especially likes “the loyalty and the family atmosphere that the players bring.”
Being a fan is important in the Desai family. His wife, Kamini, married into his Cameron Craziness, and she’s holding her own, basketball-wise. Her tournament bracket currently leads the family, but young Rohan is only two points behind.
The season has provided a great deal of family game-watching although their favorite moment of the year differ slightly. Pinakin loved the win at Virginia the most while Sahil preferred when the Blue Devils “crushed Notre Dame”. For Rohan, it was just Plumlee’s dunks. In the end, however, Duke success is their common passion.
The family, transplanted from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Houston, could not pass up the chance to see their team in Texas, even if only for a practice. Living in Charlotte, they had seen many ACC Tournament games and visited Cameron Indoor Stadium on the Duke campus, but they “didn’t get to see anyone”.
“We just went on the court. We pretended to shoot,” said Sahil.
Well, today, they got an eyeful.