Make no mistake that Duke has made it clear that Georgia Stars big man Tony Parker is a top priority. Coach Krzyzewski and Jeff Capel watched 90% of his games this week at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam. Parker came up big in that his teammate Alex Poythress sat out one game and he shouldered the load. He led the Stars to the semi finals before they bowed out. BDN caught up to Tony for this video [private] chat -
DURHAM - New Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel addressed the local media today on the campus of Duke University. The former Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth coach brings a lot of experience to the basketball staff and after a whirlwind move into temporary housing he is already settling in to his duties, namely the recruiting trail.
"Life can only be understood backwards," were words Capels Grandmother shared with him and that advice now makes sense to the former Blue Devil player.
"Control what you can control, it's a tough profession but a rewarding one," said Capel, who continued, "It was hard, difficult and I didn't like it but it was whats supposed to happen," in reference to his release at Oklahoma.
The Sooners loss is the Blue Devils gain. Capel brings a new set of eyes to the program and the fact he has had such experience on the sidelines will certainly help him with his new gig.
"Duke helped prepare me for life, not just coach and the program but Duke," said the former Fayetteville native. While at Duke Capel played for the national championship, something he points to as the highlight of his career along with a steller game against Purdue in the regional finals which helped the Devils advance.
When asked how he could help the program, Capel stated, "I don't know right now. Maybe I can understand some things during a day better than some of the other guys," referring to his head coaching experience.
Capel joins former teammates and friends Chris Collins, Steve Wojociechowski and Nate James at Duke, giving him a comfort level from day one. "Chris and Wojo are trained to be head coaches and they will be successful when they head out. I have been a coach and I thou\ght I was really go four great years at VCU. I wanted to get it back going. When I took the OU job it was under turmoil which may have chosen to forget."
And while there are some familiarities coming back to Duke, Capel sees changes since his playing days which ended in 1997. "It's different. I would periodically visit campus but not for an extended length of time. When I walked into Cameron I didn't know the seats were now blue. But while the campus is different, the expectations for excellence are the same."
When asked about the progression of his hiring, Capel said he was fired on a Monday in Norman, flew back Tuesday and Wednesday he decided to go by the Duke campus just to say hello. During that visit he talked with Coach K briefly where he was asked of his interest in a created special assistant slot.
Capel wanted to check his options and he took a look at some head coaching vacancies and even looked into a chance to become a TV analyst.
Krzyzewski later contacted Capel again saying the best way to utilize his talents at Duke was to offer him a spot as an assistant coach. It didn't take long for Capel to accept the position. "It was a no brainer," said Capel. "I have trusted the man since I was 16 years old and that trust has never changed."
Capel officially started his duties last Friday and he worked with a returnee individually this morning. He has already started to get accustomed with the players Duke is recruiting as well and he will be out on the road in July.
"One thing about Coach is he is always willing to change and adapt to help a team become the best they can be. His objective is what is best for Duke and that will be my mission here to help Duke be the best it can be."
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced two staff changes on Sunday as former Blue Devil Jeff Capel joins the staff as an assistant coach and Nate James is named special assistant. Capel returns to Duke after spending the previous nine years as the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth (2002-06) and Oklahoma (2006-11), while James has been an assistant coach at Duke for the past three seasons.
“We are excited to have Jeff joining our staff,” said Krzyzewski. “He is an outstanding coach and will be a great fit in our program. Jeff has been a highly successful head coach at the Division I level and he will continue that here at Duke. Adding a coach of his caliber will make everyone in our program better.”
Capel owns a 175-110 record as a head coach with three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2008 with Oklahoma. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach under his father, Jeff Capel II, at Old Dominion University for the 2000–2001 season. In 2001, he joined the coaching staff at Virginia Commonwealth as an assistant and was promoted to head coach of the Rams for the 2002–2003 season—making him, at the time, the youngest head coach in Division I men's college basketball (27 years old). After compiling a 79-41 record and four straight winning seasons at VCU, Capel became the head coach at Oklahoma prior to the 2006-07 season. He led the Sooners to a 96-69 record overall with two NCAA Tournament trips (2008 & 2009) and was a major factor in the recruitment and development of 2009 National Player of the Year Blake Griffin. Griffin would go on to become the first player from Oklahoma to be selected No. 1 in the NBA Draft, the 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year and the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk champion.
During his successful playing career as a Blue Devil, Capel racked up 1,601 points, 433 assists and 220 three-point field goals. He finished his career among Duke's all-time Top 10 in minutes played, three-point field goal percentage, three-point field goals and assists. He was a four-year starter for the Blue Devils helping the team to an 83-46 record and a trip to the 1994 NCAA Championship game. On February 2, 1995 in the regular season game played at home against North Carolina, with Duke trailing 95–92 at the end of the first overtime, Capel hit a running 40-foot shot at the buzzer which sent the game into double-overtime. Although Duke lost the game 102–100, Capel's shot was hailed as one of the most memorable plays in Duke basketball history and it was nominated for an ESPY Award for College Basketball Play of the Year.
Following his graduation from Duke, Capel played professional basketball for two years in France and the CBA. Capel was also drafted in 1997 by the Raleigh Cougars of the USBL.
Capel, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., led South View High School to the 1993 state championship defeating South Mecklenburg, 73–72, with a last second lay-up. He also set school career records in points (2,066), rebounds (668), and assists (663).
As an assistant coach for the past three years, James has helped the Blue Devils to a 95-17 record with three ACC Tournament titles and the 2010 NCAA Championship. Although his new role will not include on-court coaching, he will continue to assist the staff in developing game strategies, breaking down game film and planning practices and contributing in staff meetings.
“Nate has done a very good job with us as an assistant coach and he will continue to be a huge asset to our program in his new role,” said Krzyzewski. “He has a bright future ahead of him and this opportunity will help him continue to grow and develop.”
James, a two-time team captain, played on a pair of Final Four teams, including Duke’s 2001 national championship squad. As a senior, he earned All-ACC and ACC All-Defensive Team honors, while averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game for the Blue Devils. James finished his playing career with 1,116 points, 500 rebounds and 147 steals, while helping Duke to a 117-18 (.867) record.
The Duke basketball staff now features four former players that were team captains during their respective careers in Durham. The foursome of Steve Wojciechowski, Chris Collins, Jeff Capel and Nate James combined to score 4,495 points and win 375 games as players at Duke.
“It is a special thing to have four former players and team captains on my staff,” said Krzyzewski. “All four are great coaches and will work well together to give Duke the best coaching staff in the country.”
ORLANDO - Duke was sending a message to prospects this weekend, that being, if you come to Duke you are a part of a family. You can add to that, once you are in the family, it's for life.
As the AAU Nationals continued in sunny Orlando, Florida, there was quite a Duke flavor permeating the arenas.
Mike Kryzyzewski arrived on the scene with Steve Wojcichowski today, where they joined Chris Collins following prospective Duke targets.
Imagine being a future Dukie and looking up in the stands and seeing not only your assistant coaches, but Hall of Famer Grant Hill and JJ Redick.
That was the case for Andre Dawkins, the class of 2010 commitment who plays with Boo Williams.
"JJ was fun to watch when I was coming up. He had such fire and swagger about him and opponents hated him. And that's what you want, you don't want your opponents to like you. It was great to see them out here supporting me," said Dawkins after his teams win.
I asked Andre what it was like to be a part of the Duke family and he paused before saying, "It's a lot of fun but I don't know if it's quite sunk in yet."
Just before Grant Hill went to watch Andre Dawkins with Wojo and Collins, he sat with Mike Krzyzewski who was also sitting with former Duke assistant and current Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.
But Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel was also there, as was Roshown McCleod, Jason Williams and Johnny Dawkins.
All of the former players paid tribute to their former coach who just came in from not only watching prospects in Las Vegas, but tending to his Team USA duties.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was also seated beside Krzyzweski for much of the evening and he, of course, serves as an assistant. It's worth noting that Krzyzewski has called him a co-head coach out of respect for his long time friend.
It didn't take long for the crowd to notice the gathering of Dukies, for many could be seen snapping pictures of Coach K, and some even trying to breach the lines between the coaches, media and fans to get a closer glimpse.
Fans also were aware of JJ Redick's presence and many of the young ballers were sneaking over to get a look. Heck, even the coaches were stretching their necks, many likely marveling that when the Devils turn out they do it in style.
BDN was on the scene all day long and we'll bring you more coverage in our premium subscription section. In fact, we will have reports and interviews from Las Vegas and Orlando well into the following week.
Join Blue Devil Nation today to get live reports all week long from Orlando. We bring you up close and personal to the best basketball program in the land with unmatched recruiting coverage. Interviews from this event and Las Vegas will be coming shortly.