Category Archives: Duke Basketball

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Athlon Tabs Duke 1st in the Nation

xv422_CBK_UNC-Duke.jpg.pagespeed.ic.xdjvpB1FwAThe first of the pre season basketball magazines are out for the 2016-17 College Basketball season.  Duke anchored by returnees Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, Luke Kennard and Chase Jeter will be joined by a sensational freshman class this season.  And that is the reason Athlon has selected Duke as the number one team in the country in their magazine which is on newsstands now.

Rounding out the top four teams are Kentucky, Villanova and Oregon.  Also ranked from the Atlantic Coast Conference are North Carolina at 6th, Virginia 7th, Louisville 13th, Virginia Tech 22nd and Florida State 25th.  Duke will also face two other ranked teams in the preseason poll in Michigan State and Rhode Island,

October 20 2010:  during the ACC Operation Basketball Media Day at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Random Musings on Coach K

October 20 2010: during the ACC Operation Basketball Media Day at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Coach K is had landed back in Durham after leading his team to a 3rd consecutive Gold Medal.

Welcome to the first edition of Random Musings which will replace Monday Musings.   It's all about Mike Krzyzewski, also known as Coach K in my first attempt at providing some in interesting thoughts and tidbits.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski will return today from Rio, where he led his team to a 3rd consecutive Gold Medal.  That of course is a record. Krzyzewski now has ten championships on his resume which include two world championship gold medals, three olympic championship gold medals and five national championships at Duke. His arrival at Raleigh-Durham International was kept under wraps due to crowd constraints, but he is landing as I release this article.

If I were to guess, Coach K as he is known to many, will fulfill some media obligations, check in with his team and then take some time with his family in a much deserved vacation.

10945659_1763279360563207_1916665951563890480_nBefore, said vacation it is fair to expect that some key basketball recruits will be getting some calls.  That includes Wendell Carter, Kevin Knox, Muhammad Bamba, Quade Green and Gary Trent.  He is also likely to call a few younger guys who have entered the picture.

One of the guys who benefitted from the Team USA experience was Duke Assistant Coach Jeff Capel.  The Blue Devils have been able to always send assistants with Krzyzewski which is one of the many reasons the staff is always top-notch.  Capel has become a go to recruiter at Duke and his presence is like having two head coaches. That causes some to speculate that he could be the coach in waiting.

DSC_3311However, do not expect Coach K to step down anytime soon.  The USA Basketball experience has reinvigorated him.  He has also had successful off-season surgeries to nagging issues and looks young for his age.  Just when you think Duke Basketball has reached its zenith, he takes it to another level.

champsYes, Duke fans are lucky.  Having Coach K at the helm is something which Blue Devil faithful should be thankful for.  He could have easily left for the NBA but his legacy will be formed at Duke. Despite being a college coach, he was able to coach more players in the NBA than any coach via USA Basketball.  Those of us who have followed the program since his arrival realize the hard work he put in to get it where it is today.  Each stone placed along the way has been carefully strategic.  Facilities were born, recruiting got better, assistants came from within, etc.  Many of you reading this were born into rooting for a juggernaut program, but there were sometimes painful steps at times in the past.  It is important to learn the history of the program to better realize the luxury it has become for fandom today.

DSC_3311Don't expect reflection from Coach Krzyzewski.  On thing I have learned covering the Duke Beat for a good long time is that Krzyzewski does not reflect on the past.  He once told me that there will come a time for that.  Marc Stein of ESPN recently did some outstanding articles on Krzyzewski where he repeated what was said.   Krzyzewski mentioned to me that staying hungry is to not get caught up in past success and that mind-set is why this years Duke team looks like a flat-out beast,  There is always work to be done for Krzyzewski who is infamous for not getting a lot of sleep due to watching film.  There is always a mission at hand for Krzyzweski and he never celebrates too long.  The first chink I ever saw was just after the 2015 National Championship game once he returned to Durham.  He even mentioned there is little time to celebrate before having to attend the first session of the Nike EYBL circuit in Hampton, Virginia,  That was a mere four days after the confetti fell in Indianapolis and the players stepped off the podium with the trophy.  A full season's work had to be put on hold to begin the recruiting process that would land Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson and the rest of the talented class coming in.  It's not that Krzyzewski doesn't want to reflect, it is that he simply cannot afford to and he realizes it is the price for success.  Besides, he has enough memories to more than feel a lifetime when the basketball rolls into the corner of Cameron and settles to rest.

Photo Mark Watson/BDN
Photo Mark Watson/BDN

When Krzyzewski says family, it would take an army of help to plan a party.  Mike has a very extended family through his daughters to be sure, but each and every player is given an open door once they leave Duke should they so choose to use it.    It will take family to orchestrate the congrats from his extended family of players in the coming days.  After accomplishments like this, Krzyzewski hears from everybody.  It is a joyous time that likely has to be steeped in time management.  What makes Krzyzewski successful is he is a good planner, but it is his family that keeps him in check, including the watchful eye of his wife Mickie.  She is always at his side.  Every championship I have attended she is there as a steadying influence. Some people may not realize that Mike Krzyzewski is a people person.

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Photo Mark Watson/BDN

There is a side of Krzyzewski some have not seen.  I have seen him in instances where he truly takes up time with youngsters and even the average Joe.  He is so  open to people that he had to rein it in around the late eighties.  Everybody wanted a piece of Krzyzewski then and he tried to give too much of himself.  When he goes to recruiting events, the whole room watches. Kids invade his space not knowing this is business for him.  Imagine when he tries to go to local restaurants and such.  Despite all of that, when the opportunity presents itself, he will make a person feel like they are his focus at times.  It's hard for folks not so see him as super human with his accomplishments but he is indeed just a man.  Little known facts of him helping opponents come the NBA Draft are numerous, but they are not often seen.  But I imagine there are times when he wishes he was just an average Joe where he could walk into a room and not be bothered,

Photo-Mark Watson/BDN
Photo-Mark Watson/BDN

It's still an open book for Krzyzewski.  There should be little doubt that Coach K likes what he does.  He enjoys coaching, teaching and building.  He likes championships too for that is the ultimate prize that shows off hard work pays off.  This year's team is loaded but there will be similar expectations as there were with USA Basketball.  In short, people, media and fans will expect a championship.  But Krzyzewski welcomes that pressure in that it means you are on top.  People often ask me how much longer he will coach.  My answer is to say look at where things are and how much fun he is having.  I for one am enjoying the ride.  I hitched my wagon to the train when he first appeared at Duke when nobody could spell his name.  I remember the recruiting misses, fans wanting him gone, when he sent a message to a then dominant North Carolina program, that a new kid was on the block.  There was a time when all the Duke games under Krzyzewski were not televised.  People would listen to Dawkins led teams take on Jimmy Valvano or Bobby Cremmins led teams through the voice of Bob Harris on the Duke Radio Network.  I remember Krzyzewski coaching Fosters leftover kids like Gene Banks and Kenny Dennard to when he missed on recruits like Chris Mullin and Bill Wennington to later get Alarie, Bilas and Dawkins which got the ball rolling.  Uh, yeah, my memories are so plentiful that reflection would take forever, so imagine how Krzyzewski must feel.  I sometimes wonder if he thinks about when Duke played on HBO versus USC.  Really, they did.  And such an odd factoid is but one of many thousands.  I am thankful to have been on his journey which has become my journey as well.  And I for one, can't even imagine an end.

 

Duke head man Coach K is going for Gold.

Coach K Talks Gold and USA win

Duke head man Coach K is going for Gold.
Duke head man Coach K won his 3rd consecutive Gold Medal as USA trounced Serbia in Rio.

Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski  or Coach K as he is known to many, led Team USA to its third consecutive Gold Medal with a 96-66 win over Serbia in Rio.  That's something no other coach has done to date,  Krzyzewski finished up his USABB coaching career with a phenomenal 88-1 record including a 24-0 mark in Olympic play.  Krzyzewski has now won two world championships, three gold medals and five national titles which puts him in living legend status.  Here is his post gold medal game comments.

Opening statement:

Well, the very first thing, I would like to say that from our entire staff, all the players, the personnel, we want to thank the people of Brazil for putting on an excellent Olympics, and the people of Rio de Janeiro. We were treated fabulously. Like really, I cannot think of one thing, one time that we were not treated at the highest level, and it was an honor to play in this fabulous country and this great city. We beat three outstanding teams in order to win in Argentina, Spain and Serbia, and congratulations to Serbia on the silver medal and Spain on the bronze. I’m just proud of my guys. These two guys are now the top two (Olympic) scorers in the history of United States basketball, and one of them is the top rebounder, too. So, the commitment that these guys – KD doesn’t rebound (laughing). It’s alright, he shoots it pretty well. He actually averaged nine rebounds a game (in his NBA season). Just these two guys, to have two veterans who’ve won it before to serve as the leaders for our team was fabulous.

Can you describe the journey with this team and with your journey as the national team coach?

This team kept getting better and even those three games in pool play, we had not played that type of game against that type of level.  We said it was a learning experience and our guys did learn.  We put it to good practice.  We kept getting better even though it didn’t necessarily reflect in the differential in the score but we were getting better and more knowledgeable.  That’s where I commend the leadership of our veterans for keeping us on course for that.  As far as (his tenure), Carmelo’s been here as long as I’ve been here.  We shared a press conference in Japan in 2006 where after our only loss, he set the tone in that press conference for what was to be one of the standards of our program and that’s collective responsibility.  He didn’t make any excuses.  We took responsibility for the loss and gave credit to the Greek team.  We built on that.  I call it character.  At that moment, sometimes in  a loss, you find out a deep character in someone and that’s what happened with Carmelo in then the commitment from LeBron and Kobe and all these guys, Chris, Kevin, all these guys have great character.  It’s just built to where now we have a great, great culture.

What are you proudest of coaching three different types of teams to a gold medal?

I think the fact that we’ve done with five teams because to me, if Kevin doesn’t do what he did in Istanbul, he might not have done what he did in London.  To me what he did in Istanbul is what he did today.  The coaching staff was saying that.  In fact, he took two shots further than he ever did in Istanbul today.  It’s called the ultimate green light.  You didn’t hear me saying don’t shoot.  What I’ve loved the most about these guys and not just these two but the guys who have made these commitments, they’ve set the example for the younger generation of the United States to where now everybody is proud of USA Basketball.  It’s because not just how they played but how they acted and how unselfish they were.  I’m amazed at these guys.  I’ve learned so much from being around them.  It’s made me a better coach.  This experience this summer has made me a better coach.

How much did coach Tom Thibodeau help you out on the sideline?

Tom is one of the great coaches on this planet. Obviously defense, a lot of people have said that’s what we need. He and Monty (Williams) are amazing. I think having him for these four years, he and Monty have been a blessing to me. To be quite frank, he talks to the team more than I do. Then when I need to interpret something, I’ll interpret some things, I’ll interject something or today’s meeting I cut short a little bit, but it was a good move. It was a good move today (laughs).

Having Tom’s voice there, it’s one reason, I always sit down during the ball game. I’m not a coach who stands a lot, because I got good guys around me. The best guy around me is Jim Boeheim. For 11 years, he and I have been co-coaches for this team. But to have Tibs next to me, yelling, I’ve learned a lot. I think the people in Minnesota are very lucky. His players are going to have … they’re going to be taught the game well. One thing about Tibs, he’s got a great voice, he’s got an unbelievable voice. I said, “If you weren’t a basketball coach, you should have a radio show from midnight to 4 in the morning and you could be saying, ‘This is Tom Thibodeau from Minneapolis.’” That’s what I feel about him.

How does today’s victory rank among your USA Basketball victories?

This ranks just like the others. I’ve been really a lucky guy, collegiately and internationally to be a part of championship teams. I’m just proud of the fact that Jerry Colangelo, when he took over he gave me an opportunity. The way these players have felt, they’ve been given an opportunity to play for their country and you make the most of it. I love the fact that almost a year ago, well, probably seven, eight months ago, we already named Gregg Popovich to take over. So, you have the best guy in the world coach the team now. That says a lot about the program that’s been developed.

With three gold medals, yet you don’t have any gold medals. What do you take home from this?

The main thing is all the memories and for me, seven of my grandchildren were here, out of my nine.  A few of them have been to all three Olympics, what a blessing. The night before the last three games, I had a chance to eat with my grandchildren, my daughters, my wife. For them to share this, a lot of the guys their families have shared this. That’s what I take from this. It’s been a joy. I’ve been so lucky to be given this opportunity.

Photo by Juan Ocampo/Getty Images

Irving Talks 2nd Gold Medal

Photo by Juan Ocampo/Getty Images
Photo by Juan Ocampo/Getty Images

Former Duke guard, Kyrie Irving won his second gold medal as Team USA throttled Serbia 96-66.  When asked about his feelings, Irving responded,  ''It feels great. It feels amazing, it’s the pinnacle of my summer right here. Finishing off the right way, playing with an unbelievable amount of talent. We made some great bonds that will last forever and it’s just a really exciting moment.''

Irving most recently won the NBA title as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in seven games.  Like other NBA stars he thought about not playing for Team USA this summer, but the lure of playing for his former coach Mike Krzyzewski swayed him to do so.

''Coach K is the main reason I’m here. He had a vision and I just followed it,'' said Irving after accepting his gold medal along with his teammates.

Irving played in just eleven games at Duke but he is still proud of the program and his relationship with Krzyzewski.   In his short career, Irving, 24 years of age,  has played in three NBA All Star games and was named MVP of one of them.  He was also named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

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Gary Trent Jr. Down to 5 Schools

Co3iRA2UsAE9CSnGary Trent Jr. is one of the Duke Blue Devils most sought after targets.  Today he announced his final four schools via twitter which includes Duke, Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan State and UCLA.

Trent has been a constant star on the Nike EYBL circuit this season and a participant in the USA Basketball program.  Trent most recently announced that he would transfer from Apple Valley HS in Minnesota to traditional power Findlay Prep.

Trent played for Howard Pulley where he teamed with another Duke prospect in Tre Jones who is the brother of National Champion Tyus Jones.

The shooting wing guard is considered a top ten or can't miss prospect at the college level.

Gary Trent  Senior was the 11th pick in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.  His size and power play garnered him the nickname "The Shaq of the MAC". when he played for Ohio. His Ohio University No. 20 jersey was retired on January 21, 2012, during halftime of an Ohio vs. Miami, OH game.

You can follow Gary Trent Jr. on twitter @THAT_KID_GARY.

BDN Extra - Gary Trent Jr. on his unofficial visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium last season where Duke entertained several key prospects -

Gary Trent visits Cameron Indoor Stadium and Duke last season. Picture here with Jayson Tatum.
Gary Trent visits Cameron Indoor Stadium and Duke last season. Picture here with Jayson Tatum.

It was fun, it was crazy.  Every time you see them on TV with people putting their hands up or out on the out-of-bounds happens.  You kind of get a feeling of what it is like to be in a game there in person and they are crazy and loud.  I like the little Harry Potter feel the campus has to it with the old buildings.  It was nice.  I got to see their facilities too and they're top-notch. Everything is great there and the standards they have, it's all just really good.

ACC+Kickoff

ACC Digital Network to Launch 2019

ACC+KickoffESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference will launch the ACC Network – a comprehensive linear and digital network, it was announced today by ACC Commissioner John Swofford and ESPN President John Skipper at the conference’s annual Football Kickoff media event in Charlotte, N.C. The 20-year partnership will provide ACC fans unprecedented access to live events via a comprehensive, multi-platform network. It also provides for the extension of the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036. ESPN is the ACC’s exclusive worldwide rights holder.
 
Beginning in August 2016, fans can access more than 600 exclusive live events from across the conference via a digital live-events channel ‘ACC Network Extra’, immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with that number growing each year.  More than 1,300 ACC events will be distributed across the platforms in 2019 when the linear network launches. 
 
Linear Network Programming
The linear network will feature 450 exclusive live events including 40 regular-season football games, more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, more than 200 other regular-season contests and tournament games from across the conference’s 27-sponsored sports, plus a complement of news and information shows and original programming. ESPN has been televising ACC content since 1979 and has exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and conference sports matchups, as well as all ACC championship events.
“We look forward to working with our longtime partners at the ACC to create a network that reflects the depth and quality of its athletes and teams, and serves the fans who passionately support them. We are proud and excited to add the ACC Network to our industry-leading college content offerings,” said John Skipper, ESPN President.
 
“On behalf of the ACC Council of Presidents, Faculty Athletics Representatives and our ACC Television Committee, we are tremendously pleased to further enhance our long-term partnership with ESPN that includes the creation of the ACC Network and ACC Network Extra, and positions the conference for the long-term future,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “This partnership continues to be a win-win for ESPN and the ACC. ESPN is the premier provider in sports content and this agreement will deliver unprecedented coverage to our fans, while highlighting our quality student-athletes, coaches and institutions.”
Additional details about the network will be announced in the coming months.
 
About ESPN, Inc.
ESPN is the only network to have rights agreements with 29 NCAA Division I conferences including long-term rights deals with each of the Power 5 conferences, the NCAA and the College Football Playoff. ESPN, Inc., is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company comprises eight U.S. 24-hour television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network and SEC Network). Other businesses include ESPN EventsESPN International (24 networks, syndication, radio, digital), ESPN Radio (broadcast, satellite, digital), digital services (ESPN.com plus a variety of sport-, college-, and market-specific sites; multi-screen WatchESPN and ESPN3; plus mobile TV and video, apps, alerts and messaging), ESPN The Magazine and consumer products. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
 
 
About the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 64th year of competition and 15 members strong, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953 with a consistent balance of academics, athletics and integrity. The ACC currently sponsors 27 NCAA sports – 14 for women and 13 for men – with member institutions located in 10 states. For more information, visit theACC.com and follow @theACC on Twitter and on Facebook (facebook.com/theACC).