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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 05Jan02
By Kent Larsen
Download to My Handheld!

Duke's Mormon Monster

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA -- He's 6-foot-10, 265 lbs and when he comes off the bench at Duke basketball games, the Cameron Crazies (a Duke fan club) start chanting "The monster's out of the cage." And Matt Christensen then fills his role: to spark's Duke's team back into its game.

But Christensen says his role isn't that difficult, "I do the easy things out there," he said. "My role is to bring energy and emotion to the game, get rebounds, play good defense, set screens and help make my teammates better. When I was younger, I lived for moments when I could make a dunk or block a shot. But some of the things I do now probably are more important to the team than flashy plays."

He wasn't brought "out of the cage" much in past years for a variety of reasons. A member of Duke's team since 1995, his fragile knee joins have kept him from many games. He also took two years off to serve and LDS mission to Germany and red-shirted one year. And, since he's playing on a high-profile team, its no surprise that he has often been in the shadows behind more physically talented teammates.

Last year it was his knees that kept him from performing well and sometimes kept him off the court altogether. So in the off-season, Christensen had arthroscopic surgery that he says has made a big difference. "The difference is pretty spectacular," he said. "I never thought the knees would feel this good. I haven't had to have them drained. I haven't had to wear a brace. I haven't missed practice. I still take anti-inflammatories, and I apply heat to them before each game and ice afterward."

In last Saturday's game against San Diego State, Christensen came "out of the cage" and even became a dominant factor, snagging nine rebounds in his 14 minutes of play and boosting the Blue Devils to a 92-79 win.

But, unlike many in college basketball, Christensen isn't pinning his career hopes to making the NBA. Infact, his achievements on the court are outweighed by those off the court. He is on the Dean's List, and not because of an easy schedule. He is working on two majors (yes, two), in civil engineering and in economics, neither in fields known to be easy or for a lot of athletes.

But while that may be surprising for many basketball players, it isn't surprising if you consider Christensen's father. Clayton Christensen was also a basketball player, at BYU, before he earned a Rhodes scholarship and earned a DBA (Doctorate in Business Administration) from Harvard Business School. He now teaches at Harvard Business School and is best known for his 1997 business bestseller, "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail."


'Monster' unleashed for Devils
Greensboro NC News &Record 1Jan02 S2
By Larry Keech: Staff Writer, News &Record

See also:
The Innovator's Dilemma
More about "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail" by Clayton M. Christensen at


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