Good Labor Day Monday folks! Despite the holidaze there is still a Monday Musings column in store for those who read on. I recap the opening day win over Elon, touch on recruiting, encourage you to support Coach K and Team USA and whine a little bit about the Wade Wacko's who leave the game early. And of course, there is our continued salute to the cheerleaders and the best mascot in the world with the pic of the week.
It's good to be 1-0
The Blue Devils have a lot of areas to improve upon after their 41-27 opening day victory over Elon but for now they are 1-0 and that affords the football team an opportunity to get off to a good start in 2010. Several young players showed they have good upside and abilities in Saturday's win including a pair of freshman running backs in Josh Snead and Juwon Thompson ability. Be it a timely sack from redshirt freshman Justin Foxx or Desmond Scott showing that he wanted to be the man in the backfield, Duke's youth showed promise and gained valuableexperience. Trust me, Elon is no slouch or a walk in the park like Samford, Florida A & M or other opening day beating boys for fellow ACC members. Still, Duke must stop letting up big plays which Coach Cutcliffe alluded to on his call in show on Sunday if they have a chance against Wake Forest in Winston Salem this weekend.
Speaking of Wake Forest
This is a huge game for Duke in many ways for the Blue Devils at some point must break through against an opponent that has had their number the last ten outings. Despite that disparity, the Blue Devils still dominate the series against their rival. Cutlciffe could chalk up another signature win should the cards fall right on Saturday where Duke is an early 5.5 point underdog. Hopefully, the Duke Nation will travel in force to support the team in this noon affair which will be televised by Raycom Sports. Early indicators point to a good old fashion shoot out but as we all know there is a lot of improvement from week one to week two and that will determine who wins this contest. You can bet that both teams held back much of their arsenal in the openers which is another indicator that this will be one heck of an early season ACC matchup. We'll be talking a lot about this game as the week progresses.
Thaddeus Lewis and the Rams
I love me some Thaddeus Lewis! Getting to know Lewis over the years was rewarding and it is no surprise to me that he made the cut for the St. Louis Rams. Unassuming and laid back off the field, Lewis is all about drive when on it and I can tell you first hand that he is a hard worker trying to fulfill his dreams. I'll miss Mrs. Lewis being right there on front row to cheer her son on and I will certainly follow his exploits in the NFL as will many of you. It couldn't have happened to a better kid.
Nice crowd there, Duke fans!
For those who attended this past Saturday's game, I am sure they'll tell you it was nice to see Wally World [Wallace Wade Stadium] full which made for a great college football environment. Lots of Duke Blue filled the place and those there for the first time will hopefully return. In short, let's do it again! Now, if we can get the students to stay past half time, we'll have really made progress. Oh snap! That's just not a fair statement for the ones who did remain were really good. I dream of a day the students will lift the team for the whole game. It's happened, it can happen, but will it happen?
USA -USA -USA!
That old Mike Krzyzewski just keeps on winning and he hasn't let up since last seasons Countdown to Craziness. Team USA enters the elimination round and after an expected walk through in game one, it will get dicey from then on. Support our guys starting this week and let's cheer them on while Kryzyzewski works his magic. The master will return with assistant coach Chris Collins in late September where they will hit the road running to prepare for what should be a fabulous 2010-11 season.
Countdown to Craziness 2
It's coming to theater near you! October 15h marks the start of the college basketball season in many ways and the Blue Devils are stirring up more than just a little excitement. Several prospects are lined up for the event which you can read about on BDN Premium, your inside source for all things Duke. Last years event was incredible and it set the tone for a national championship run and who'll ever forget short-short's and ice. We'll defer to Nolan Smith for the answers if I lost you there.
Recruiting is quiet but that will change soon
With Coach K in the middle east and kids just starting back to school, all is rather quiet on the hoops recruiting front, but that'll change shortly as in home visits will be set up and again, check out BDN Premium for all the latest. We posted a new interview with Shabazz Muhammad today and have more as the week progresses.
Be safe, be happy and relax
You deserve a break today and not because you visited McDonald's. Did anyone get that lame attempt at humor or did I generation you out? Regardless, take time to relax, recharge, spend time with family and friends. Think of what is important in life! That's obviously Duke Athletics. Seriously, hope all had a great Labor Day weekend and thanks for checking out the Blue Devil Nation.
DURHAM, N.C. - Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, along with co-author Jamie K. Spatola, have added two additional local signings to book tour for THE GOLD STANDARD: Building a World-Class Team. Krzyzewski and Spatola will be at the Barnes & Noble (Friendly Center) in Greenboro, N.C. on Wednesday, May 20 and at Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh, N.C. on Wednesday, June 10.
THE GOLD STANDARD: Building a World-Class Team (Business Plus; April 6, 2009; $25.99; Hardcover) is Coach K's guide to team building, illustrated with experiences from his three years coaching the team that would ultimately win Olympic gold. You'll see how he formed relationships with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, Dwayne Wade, and the rest of Team USA's NBA stars and how they established a set of standards to guide their performance, both on and off the court.
THE GOLD STANDARD is divided into the key times and moments of Coach K's work with Team USA with each chapter dedicated to a particular lesson and insight into teambuilding. Covering a wide range of issues applicable to leading any businesses, organization, or group, Krzyzewski discusses how he helped build Team USA by establishing standards, creating a common language, cultivating leadership, forming relationships, motivating and inspiring players, and by maintaining his perspective and charting his own progress as a leader.
Along the way, Coach K also discusses how he came to appreciate this formidable challenge and he reveals the secrets that led the 2008 U.S. Olympic team to victory. And in the end, you'll witness the rewards of team building-including the tremendous triumph people feel when they truly become part of something bigger than themselves.
"My proudest times as a coach are those when I recognize that a group of players has become a team, a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its parts," Krzyzewski writes. "From the summer of 2006 through the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, I had the opportunity to work with a group whose parts were some of the most talented basketball players in the game. And I had the privilege of being their coach as this amazing team came together to bring the gold medal back to the United States."
Wednesday, May 20
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Barnes & Noble
3102 Northline Avenue
Greensboro, NC 27408
Wednesday, June 10
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Quail Ridge Books & Music
3522 Wade Ave
Raleigh, NC 27607
DURHAM, N.C. - Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski was named co-recipient of the 2008 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award on Thursday for leading the United States to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics.
Krzyzewski, the head coach of the U.S. senior men's national team, will share the honor with Anne
Donovan, who also led the women's senior national team to a gold medal in Beijing. Krzyzewski made USA Basketball history as the first coach to receive the USA Basketball National Coach of the Year title in three consecutive years, having also won the honor in 2006 and 2007.
"I'm very honored, but what this award really recognizes is the commitment, dedication and selflessness of everyone involved with the USA men's team," Krzyzewski said. "Our success was achieved through hard work and teamwork. Everyone - Managing Director Jerry Colangelo, my coaching staff - Jim Boeheim, Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan - the support staff, and, of course, the players, had a hand in helping the team win Olympic gold. As I've said previously, we were blessed to have many of the world's best basketball players, and they not only played with great intensity and teamwork, but also represented the United States in a manner that made everyone proud. I also congratulate Anne Donovan with whom I share this year's award. Coach Donovan did a tremendous job with the women's Olympic team and in a short amount of preparation time, molded the women into a true gold medal team."
USA Basketball also will nominate Donovan and Krzyzewski for the U.S. Olympic Committee's 2008 National Coach of the Year award, which is expected to be announced in the spring of 2009.
USA Basketball's National Coach of the Year award was established in 1996 to recognize a USA Basketball head coach who, during the year of the award, made significant impact on the success of individual athlete and team performance at the highest level of competition. Other previous USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award winners include Gail Goestenkors (2005); Van Chancellor (2004, 2002); Larry Brown (2003, 1999); Jim Boeheim (2001); Nell Fortner (2000); Clem Haskins (1998); Mo McHone (1997); and Tara VanDerveer (1996).
Just minutes after placing his feet on American soil, Mike Krzyzewski addressed a throng of media members and adoring fans at RDU International Airport. Coach K is still immersing himself in the Olympic experience and will continue to do so as the media requests are sure to come in from well, everywhere.
That's the life of the legendary college coach who melded together NBA stars into a cohesive unit which of course made all things golden. While the Chinese media gravitated towards players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant making them darlings, Coach K is sure to get lots of love in the coming days.
Coach K was flanked by family, in both blood and Duke Blue brotherhood. As he took to the podium, assistant coaches Steve Wojciechowski, Chris Collins and head of basketball operations Chris Spatola stood at attention behind their captain with the American flag as the backdrop. His wife Mickie, daughters and their children were just to his right.
In typical Krzyzewski style, he first commented about the players. "The players were amazing, both on the court and off. They represented us so very well." He then gave props to Spain for a competitive game. At that point chants of USA, USA, USA, USA could be heard ringing in the corridors of the airport.
He didn't stop with his praise and commended China on being a good host before joking, "If they had elections there which they don't, and Kobe was a write in, Kobe might win." This brought laughter from the crowd and allowed his staff to crack a smile in the background. He continued on Kobe, "Thank goodness he took over at the end of the game."
He then showed graciousness towards his staff, including new Stanford coach Johhny Dawkins saying they worked tirelessly with no recognition. You can bet that the work proved worthy for each and will look fabulous on their resumes. "It's definitely the best basketball experience I've been involved with," said Duke assistant Chris Collins.
Knowing Coach K, he was probably already mapping out recruiting plans on the flight. He was quick to quip with a smile, " It's so good now to just be the Duke Coach," which brought about applause from Iron Duke Members and fans alike. He then said, "It's really good being the Duke coach having won the Olympics."
"You don't realize how proud you are to be an American until you are in those settings and you're representing your country, said Kryzyzewski. He then reflected on the awesome accomplishment of winning the Gold Medal, " During the National Anthem before the Gold Medal game, we are all standing there just mouthing the words and all of a sudden you get emotional. You start crying and say "Boy," I wish my Mom and Dad were here ... and how the heck are you this lucky to be representing the greatest country in the world in this fantastic sport."
Well Coach! Duke fans get a bit emotional too. We wonder how the heck we are so lucky for you to represent the greatest program in the world and be our coach 24/7. Congratulations Coach! You've made us all proud.
Note - The Blue Devil Nation will have the Q & A session with Coach K up tomorrow, so please check back that and Coach Cutcliffe addressing the media for the home opener.[/private]
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this is but one of many pictures of Coach K that will live on in time. Coach K further cemented his name into the history books in leading Team USA to the Gold Medal, an accomplishment few can claim. If you think Coach is satisfied with three national championships and his latest accomplishment, think again. His staff will be hard at work on the recruiting front trying to help secure the combination of players which will be a part of the fourth or maybe even fifth title by the time they time they arrive.
No matter, how you spin the effect of the Gold Medal on Duke Basketball, there is no denying that it helps in many ways. During the upcoming season, announcers will all allude to Coach K and his Olympic success. Current players like Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler will benefit from his experiences and the nations spotlight will be cast no matter where the Blue Devils play.
What about recruiting? Duke is in a hotly contested battle for Kenny Boynton in the class of 2009. Do you think seeing Coach K handle super talented guards like Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul made an impression? Do you think any of the five kids offered in 2010 want to be a part of something special? Would they like to attend a school where they will play for a living legend and have all their games televised?
While nobody can answer these questions for sure, one has to think that with Coach K now turning his sole focus on Duke that there will be a lot of kids wanting to play for the man who has handled the best players in America and has produced either the first or second most NBA players, depending on where you look, than any other coach in America.
Yep! Coach K had this talented bunch of NBA stars buy into teamwork for the greater good. And we all know that selfless play produces winners. Believe me, all these players are winners, having endorsements waiting in multiple countries and more importantly, representing what's best about America!
As Duke fans or Americans, we should be proud of what Coach K had done for the United States, Duke and world basketball. Thanks to this years edition of Team USA, millions of fans were born making basketball a household name. Quite simply, Coach K was as selfless as his players, serving as an ambassador of basketball instead of shirking the duties to concentrate on Duke alone.
In the end, we learned a lot about teamwork and as Duke fans we are fortunate to have a legend strolling the sidelines of Cameron for years to come.[/private]