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Duke students’ scheme to bring UMBC star to Virginia game gets shut down

The plan to make K.J. Maura an honorary Cameron Crazy has been stymied at the last minute.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Charlotte Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Back in December, a group of Duke fans made headlines for starting a fundraiser to try and get former UMBC point guard K.J. Maura to attend the Blue Devils’ home game against Virginia on Jan. 17. Maura, if you remember, played all 40 minutes and was one of four double figure scorers in No. 16 seed UMBC’s historic upset of the top-seeded Cavaliers in last year’s NCAA tournament.

The fundraiser backfired a bit, as Virginia star Kyle Guy got word of the effort and actually wound up urging UVA fans to donate to the cause.

In a story by SB Nation, Guy explained that encouraging Maura to show up was a way to face the past.

“I wanted point to out that we’re not afraid to face what happened,” Guy says. “No one seems to know how to let it go, so we might as well relish the moment. I don’t really care who’s in the stands.”

He admits that his response would have been much different a year ago.

“I think it would’ve cut deeper on an external level before,” Guy says. “Because it does cut deep on an internal level for me, but I know how to handle it better.

Despite Guy’s reverse troll, Maura had still made plans to attend Saturday’s game, which will feature the current No. 1 team in the AP poll (Duke) taking on the current No. 1 team in the coaches poll (Virginia).

Now, it appears Duke will have to beat Virginia without the services of both point guard Tre Jones and Maura.

In a post on the K-Ville Nation Facebook group (which is closed to the public), fundraiser starters Steve Hassey and Peter Potash revealed that Maura will not be attending the game due in large part to a request made by UMBC head coach Ryan Odom.

“UMBC’s coach got wind of his arrival, and he wants their squad to move on from the greatest NCAA Tournament upset of all time,” the post reads. “Ultimately, he called Coach K multiple times, and [Mike Krzyzewski] had to request that KJ not be in attendance.”

Virginia won its only meeting with Duke last season, a thrilling 65-63 triumph in Durham. The two teams will play twice this season, with the return game in Charlottesville set for Feb. 9.