Tag Archives: Coach K


Welcome the second installment of "10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball," where we take time to reflect during the break in competition.  Give it a read.  It gets better and you go...

Duke is coming off a bad loss -- Look!  I am as big an optimist as anybody, but there is no sugar-coating the fact that Duke Basketball is coming off a bad loss.  The team was a 16 point favorite on the road and it was the all important ACC opener.  But what's done is done.

Good things can come from bad losses --  Nothing gets a good teams attention like an upset loss on the road.  Fans storm the court making an exit difficult and then the players are peppered with questions about what happened.  The young Duke players found out that they will get every teams best shot and that they are not as good as the hype which surrounded them.  Now, the team must look at the ACC standings where they are 0-1 and in last place until they can do something about it on December the 30th against Florida State.  If this does not motivate the team, then there is no hope.

Practice counts -- As I look around I see a lot of people complaining about what the current group of players need to do better.  Well, they are finally getting some time for practice, sort of.  The team will be taking exams this week and that makes for a stressful time.

What needs to happen in coming practices -- Get better on defense.  The team to date is very efficient on the offensive end but their defense, especially against the perimeter has been suspect at best.  One of the hardest tasks the staff has is to teach one and done or young players how to play defense.  But to win and win big, the team must buy into what they are about to learn.  In fact, I would bet that 75% of practices will concentrate on teaching the defensive aspects of the game.  Teams will continue to jack threes against Duke until they prove they can run players off the stripe.

Marvin Bagley III

A little perspective -- Before I go on, may I remind you that Duke has wins over Florida, Michigan State and Texas.  They have a single loss which everyone with the exception of Villanova, Arizona Sate and one or two other contenders do as well.  The team has a bevy of freshman playing key roles who have played together in 12 games and they will get better with the aforementioned practice time and another break to come after the Evansville game.  The teams talent alone will win games, but once they improve things will get even better.  Number four in the country in December is not a bad place to be.  And better to learn lessons now than later.

However -- The ACC is once again good this year and Duke will face a test almost every night out in league play.  A game with Florida State is looming and the Seminoles are ranked and undefeated.   Six league teams are currently ranked and Virginia Tech should be.  UNC is adjusting as is every other team in what will be another brutal league schedule.  There will be many wars ahead as the season progresses.

Evansville is good -- It is always fun to hear fans say, we'll take it out on our next opponent which in this case Evansville.  Well, a look at the standing shows a team that is currently 8-2 and likely to be 10-2 when entering Cameron on December 20th.  The students will be gone for this game and the ACC home opener with FSU, so the fans who have closest to Coach K Court will need to be loud and proud.

The mental part of the game  --  So many things can happen when you have a youthful team.  But the one thing that will no matter how talented the youth might be is there will be a learning curve.  As good as Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval are, they are going up against grown men.  And as grown  men, it is not just their physical aspects which come into play, but the mental part of the game where they can take advantage via experience.  In short, improving mentally is important.  Shot selection, consistency, team play and much else fall into the mental category.

Development -- It is already clear to many what Javin DeLaurier brings off the bench with his motor that helps with energy.  But another freshman in Alex O'Connell seems to be developing and earning the staffs trust.  The key is to play within yourself and not try to do too much when earning burn.

Lastly -- Nobody involved was happy with the loss at Boston College.  But basketball can be a cruel sport at times.  Duke faced a team that had players step up for great games and flirting with a loss via having to stage a comeback caught up with the team.  But the future is bright and this group while not immensely deep is talented.  Keep in mind that this is December basketball and while it counts, the goal will always be to  develop fully come March.  This has and will be a fun group to watch, so enjoy the ride for Duke Basketball never stops.

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Nike Honors Coach K With Fitness Center

 PORTLAND, Ore. (from Nike) -- Today, Nike announces the names of four new structures in its campus expansion. Two buildings honor champion Nike athletes Serena Williams and Sebastian Coe and a new fitness center is named after Duke Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

 Additionally, a new parking garage celebrates the sporting heritage of New York City. These spaces reinforce the original campus master plan and link to preexisting areas through open green areas, sports courts and fields, and are positioned for fluid future growth.

 The architecture itself was inspired by movement, while new workspaces support collaboration and enable employees to continue to imagine, invent and deliver the future of sport at an ever-quickening pace.

 A trio of Northwest-based firms (ZGF Architects, SRG Partnership and Skylab Architecture) have guided design, while PLACE, of Portland, has provided landscape architecture services and Hoffman Construction built the facilities. This phase of the WHQ expansion project is slated for completion in 2019.

 Michael Krzyzewski Fitness Center

The Michael Krzyzewski Fitness Center, opening in early 2018, is a 47,000 sq. ft. facility housing premium workout studios, weights, exercise equipment and locker rooms. The building’s third-floor features a basketball court that pays homage to Coach K, his family and Duke University.

 The winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history, Mike Krzyzewski has led Duke University to five NCAA Championships and has won five gold medals in international competition as the National Coach for USA Basketball. He’s been a Nike Coach since the 1993-94 collegiate season.

 Serena Williams Building

When completed, the Serena Williams Building will be the biggest structure at WHQ at more than one million square feet covering nearly three city blocks. It is expected to open in 2019.

 Williams has been a Nike athlete since December 2003. Her record in tennis majors, an unmatched 23 single titles, solidifies her stature as one of the greatest athletes of all time, and one of the most inspiring people in sport.

 Sebastian Coe Building

Opening in early 2018, the new six-floor Sebastian Coe Building will add about 475,000 sq. ft. to WHQ and was designed to emphasize connectivity.

 Coe, a longtime Nike athlete, is one of the greatest middle distance runners in history, with two gold and two silver Olympic medals to his name. He also owns the unique accomplishment of once having held world records in the mile, 800 and the 1500 simultaneously.

 NYC Garage

The space is artfully themed around the New York City’s sporting heritage. Each level features graphics for championship New York sports teams. A covered outdoor courtyard for community gatherings, special events on campus and sports activities includes asphalt, cobblestone and artist-commissioned graffiti walls, while spaces for basketball, wallball and futsal further give off a distinct New York City vibe. The garage opens in January 2018.

Coach K Interviews Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Grant Hill

Coach K

October 18, 2017 – Duke Men’s Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will be joined by popular NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and former NBA and Blue Devils star Grant Hill for one-on-one interviews on the season premiere of Krzyzewski’s weekly SiriusXM show, Basketball and Beyond with Coach K. The show airs Thursday at 6:00 pm ET on ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM (channel 84 on satellite radios and the SiriusXM app) and will be available to subscribers after the debut on SiriusXM On Demand.

Dale Jr., who was voted by fans as NASCAR’s most popular driver 14 times during his career, discusses his decision to retire from full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition, following his legendary father into the sport, the future of NASCAR, and the recent news that he and his wife, Amy, are expecting their first child.

Hill, who won two NCAA Championships playing for Krzyzewski, talks about the FBI investigation into fraud in college basketball, and his involvement in the NCAA’s newly formed “Commission on College Basketball.”

Highlights include:

Dale Jr. on today’s young drivers being the key to NASCAR’s future popularity:

(Audio: http://bit.ly/2gOKxCg)

Dale Jr.: “We have a very young crop of drivers, and actually a lot of drivers coming into the sport all at once that have a tremendous appeal personality-wise that I think is going to help the sport in the next 20 years, in the next 10 years especially.  We have got a lot of veterans that are going to be around and still successful but there’s this really young group of guys, they grew up in the social media culture.  They know how to access and entertain and connect with fans. … I think that NASCAR needs to promote these kids to the fans, promote them outside of the NASCAR bubble to attract new fans, bring old fans back to the sport that may have left.  There’s tremendous opportunity there and that’s how it happens.  The cars are important, the speed, the thrill, the excitement of the racing is important but nothing is better and more profitable for the sport than the personalities behind the wheel.”

Dale Jr. on distinguishing himself from his father:

(Audio: http://bit.ly/2gtlp7f)

Dale Jr.: “I promoted myself as being different than my father and I wasn’t going to try to emulate him outside the car or inside the car.  A lot of people wanted me to be the same way he was, mannerisms and personality and so forth, and I wasn’t and so I tried really hard and maybe put in a little extra effort to show people that I was different and I liked different things and didn’t have the same personality or attitude and approach to my job.  And I think that that helped actually in the long run get me out from under those expectations and people could see me for someone solely as my own person.”

Dale Jr. on becoming a father himself:

(Audio: http://bit.ly/2ikdWb6)

Dale Jr.:  “You hear from everybody over the years, ‘This is going to change your life, it’s the greatest thing ever and there’s nothing like it.’ And it’s hard to understand what they are saying and what that means until you start to go through the very beginning of the process and that’s where we are right now.  And it is, it’s so real and there are so many emotions, all very good.  We’re really excited and can’t wait to go down this journey.”

Basketball and Beyond is entering its 13th season on SiriusXM and features Coach K and co-host Dave Sims interviewing successful people from many different walks of life, including sports, pop culture, politics and more. Some of the high profile guests who have joined Krzyzewski on the program in recent seasons include New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick; former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, General Martin Dempsey, actor Rob Lowe, University of Washington head football coach Chris Petersen; University of North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams and many others.

Visit www.siriusxm.com for more details.

Coach K Talks Duke Basketball

Coach K talks Duke Basketball

Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed the media today.  The vast majority of the questions and answers were directed at the latest happenings in college basketball.  That being the situation with shoe camps and assistant coaches caught in scandals.

Since you will be reading about that pretty much everywhere within a few hours, I will concentrate on the few things he said about this years team.

Opening Statement

"We have had a few practices that have gone well.  The whole fall and summer we have been pretty much injury free.  We made a lot of changes in how we were going to condition and test and that has gone real well and we're in good shape.  The only kid who has had a little bit of a problem is Javin (DeLaurier) who had a little bit of an issue with his hamstring on Saturday.

We will keep him out.  We will practice today, tomorrow and Thursday and then there is Fall Break for our school and we will have off until next Tuesday evening.  We will keep Javin out until then. He's been a big surprise, he has had a great off-season.

I'm pleased with out team -- we are not a team yet.  We are a much different team than last year because we are big.  We are very big and athletic.  We normally have this plethora of shooters, but probably, well, we don't have that many.  We will not be the outside shooting force we have in previous years.  But hopefully we will be an outstanding rebounding team and defensive team while playing up and down the court.

Our freshman just need to communicate with one another.  They get along with each other off the court, not that they do not on the court.  But communication ...reinforcing the roles of others is a very difficult thing to teach a young player.  There mind (as a freshmen) is more inward than outward.  So the more we can adjust that the more communication we will have.

I am in good shape, I am 7 weeks out from my knee replacement.  I am not where I am going to be but I am really good.  I have done two rehabs a day for two weeks.

On his Defense with a Big Team

"One of the things we are doing right now is trying to learn about our guys.  Instead of putting them into an old system, it takes time to figure our guys out.  Obviously, if we went real big, it lends itself if we play zone.  If you had Bolden, Wendell and Bagley in and we will at certain times or starting. "

"What does that do? How do you play them offensively.  We are still going to play man but we can do some zone and that is a very big zone.  Whether you play them with Trevon and Grayson or Grayson and Gary, I think this will be a unique process of seeing what we can do. I think this will very much be a developing team and when I say that it is not a cop-out.  Are we suppose to win right away?  So, be it.  But who we are right...and who we can be...I think we will keep getting better as the season goes on."

On being so young

It means that players who have played little and are sophomores need to be empowered to express the culture.  Because, they know it but do not have the credibility of playing time but do have the credibility of being here.  And out managers and staff will be a part of that.  Team building things we did in the off-season help with that.  There could be some team slippage x's and o's wise or culture wise.  The fabric of a junior-senior season team is hard to replicate and we have to adapt and figure out how to win and keep up our standards.

On Grayson Allen

"One, you can only vote for a senior, K says laughing.  He deserves the opportunity to lead.  Often times the best leader is the one who has gone through the most experiences.  I think it a tremendous opportunity for him and the guys.  He's in great shape (knocks on wood - really)  and he is playing lights out basketball right now."

On Javin

He's as good an athlete as we have.  To get back to this...it does not mean that every kid who leaves high school has to go pro straight away to get there.  I think Javin will eventually be a pro.  It is just the process of becoming that will take longer.  He is long, 6-9, 230 and he is a really good athlete who has become a really good rebounder.  He eats up the court when he runs and he can defend multiple positions.  We could have him out on the perimeter or he could be one of our bigs.  He has earned it.  I don't want to say we have five starters but he is in that group that can play significant minutes this season.

The Duke Basketball Program is Soaring

A season ago, Duke Basketball was besieged with early season injuries to Marcus Bolden,  Jayson Tatum and a setback to Harry Giles.  Then there was the incident with Grayson Allen and a hobbled Frank Jackson later in the year.  Add to that, Coach Mike Krzyzewski went to the sidelines.  Everybody was missing games for Duke.

Duke never recovered completely and would eventually lose to South Carolina in their second game of the NCAA Tournament. The bad luck seemingly continued as Frank Jackson made an unanticipated departure in the off season..  Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum declared early for the NBA Draft as expected but then Luke Kennard, who blew up last year cast his lot into the league as well.

The cupboard was bare for the Blue Devils.  If the aforementioned leaving was not enough, consider Duke lost Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones to graduation as well as Chase Jeter who transferred to Arizona.  The only returning  scholarship players would be Grayson Allen,  Antonio Vrankovic, Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and Jack White.

For the longest time, Alex O'Connell was the only committed Blue Devil coming in.  But Duke would later get  big time prospects Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Trent Jr. into the fold.  It would take some time before they got what they desperately needed in point guard, Trevon Duval.

But then the Blue Devils missed out on Kevin Knox who surprised many by picking Kentucky.  It had been a while since the Blue Devils lost a recruiting battle and this one really stung at the time as Duke was struggling by their lofty standards to fill their roster.

Duke would go on to sign Jordan Tucker and Jordan Goldwire and it seemed as if they were finished recruiting.  Fast forward to the Nike Peach Jam EYBL Finals in North Augusta, South Carolina.

Standing in the lobby surrounded by reporters galore was Marvin Bagley III.  As always, he was flanked by the watchful eye of his father as his talented son fielded questions.  It was obvious that nobody knew what was really going on in his recruitment that day when listening to the questions.

Bagley was being recruited by Duke and Mike Krzyzewski and his staff attended every game he played.   Duke had never put a high pressure push on Bagley.  Instead, it was a slow and methodical recruitment where honesty and knowledge played a key role.

Bagley was cleared to play for Duke by the NCAA after enrolling in school a year earlier than expected. Duke is now the team to beat in the ACC and a national title contender.

The honesty was telling Bagley, a superstar to be how they would make him a better man and player.  The knowledge would be that Duke knew he had what it takes to come out early and that he had been angling at doing this by taking his education seriously.

By the end of the EYBL tournament it became known that Bagley might consider coming out a year early.  This was a surprise to most in the media but the truth of the matter is that there had been an orchestrated effort by the Duke staff in the works.

Not long after this news, Mike Krzyzewski announced that he would have yet another off-season surgery.  This time he was to have his hip replaced.  Duke would then announce that they had cancelled a trip to the Caribbean where they were to play three exhibition games.

Once again, the fan base and nation could not help but think that the storied program still had a little bit of a dark cloud hovering around. But few college basketball experts knew Bagley would be committing to Duke a short time later.

Many thought that everything was just talk with concern Bagley and that he was still open to all opportunities.  Actually, he was to an extent.  Duke encouraged him to go ahead and visit USC and other schools if need be.  They simply remained confident in their position and what they had to offer and it worked out.

In the coming weeks, Bagley officially announced he would seek to come out of school early and before you could blink he had chosen to attend Duke University.  After visiting one last time, Team Bagley knew exactly where their son would attend college.  They may have known or had an idea all along or at least a good while.

Duke was suddenly the center of the college basketball universe again.  The bad luck seemed to be wearing off.  I mean, Mike Krzyzewski not only got Bagley into the fold, but Tre Jones and Cameron Reddish for the following season.  And all that happened while he was literally on his back.

Marvin Bagley was cleared to play by the NCAA today.  If you had ever talked to the young star to be, you would realize this was never in doubt for he is a smart young man.

Add to that news, the photos coming out on Duke social media which shows Mike Krzyzewski on the practice court and there is reason for joy in the Blue Devil Nation.

So, yeah.  Duke lost some players to the NBA Draft in a season when they had an incredible run in the ACC Tournament only to go out early in March Madness.

The injuries and set backs stung a bit, but that is all in the rear view mirror now.  Duke has once again reloaded like only they can do and will be the favorite to win the ACC this season while being a title contender.

Yes, it was a bit of a roller coaster ride to get here.  Now, Duke fans have to pinch themselves when realizing their good fortune.  It has been a good month of so for the program and they are far from finished.

After all, Duke Basketball never stops.


The Hype Begins – Duke Basketball Picked 4th Nationally

Rodney Hood being instructed by Duke HC Mike Krzyzewski.
Rodney Hood being instructed by Duke HC Mike Krzyzewski.

Due on newsstands across America this week will be the glossy pre-season college basketball magazines, the publication of which means that the start of practice is not far away.

We've learned that the Duke Men's Basketball team will be ranked 4th in the nation by the Sporting News, which has Kentucky in the top spot. IN addition to the Blue Devils, the ACC is represented in the top ten by Syracuse and North Carolina.

The Duke Women are ranked second in all the land, just behind UConn. Blue Devils Elizabeth Williams and Chelsea Gray will be named to their ten player first team All-American squad.

On the men's side, the pre-season All-American teams consist of five players each, and the interesting thing is that neither of the two Blue Devils who made the teams have ever dribbled a ball in a Duke uniform in an actual game. This is certainly consistent with the trend in selecting these types of teams these days, where the choices often seem to be based more on potential than actual performance.

Jabari Parker was selected pre-season First Team All-American. He is perhaps the first true freshman at Duke to earn such pre-season honors. Parker, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a high school player, is no stranger to this kind of hype. Parker is also predicted to be the top player in the ACC.

Joining Parker as an All-American selection is redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood, who is picked to the magazine's Third Team. Hood, a rare transfer to Duke from Mississippi State, sat out a season ago per NCAA transfer rules, but has garnered high praise since arriving in Durham, and consequently now has high expectations.

Rasheed Sulaimon, who seems like a veteran on the Blue Devils squad even though he's just a sophomore, was selected High Honorable Mention and if you ask me, he'll be right there for honors higher than that by season's end.

In the projected standings, the Blue Devils are picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference, followed by Syracuse and North Carolina.

In full, the predicted ACC standings are as follows:

1- Duke

2- Syracuse

3- North Carolina

4- Notre Dame

5- Virginia

6- Pitt

7- Maryland

8- Boston College

9- Florida State

10-NC State

11-Georgia Tech

12-Wake Forest


14-Virginia Tech

The Sporting News merged with old school legend Street and Smith's. The magazine doesn't have a lot of meat to it anymore, which is disappointing given its history. For instance, it doesn't even include the teams' schedules anymore. But it is the first glossy magazine to hit the stands. The Triangle area cover will feature a UNC and an N.C. State player.

Practice for Duke starts in mid-October and Countdown to Craziness kicks off the season on October 18th at 8:00 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils will then play their first exhibition game against Bowie State on October 26th and open the regular season against the Davidson Wildcats on November 8th.

The Blue Devils will then travel to Chicago to meet Kansas, ranked #7 in The Sporting News preview magazine. There the top two incoming freshman in the nation, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins -- both pre-season All-Americans on the TSN teams -- go head-to-head in the Champions Classic.