Following Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s press conference Thursday morning to announce that he was returning as the head coach of Team USA and Duke basketball through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Chronicle Sports Editor Daniel Carp and Duke Student Broadcasting’s Danny Nolan discussed the implications of four more years of Coach K at the helm. Check it out:
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has never shied away from conference realignment. In the past season, the ACC has added Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame and lost Maryland, and despite the conference’s expansion, Krzyzewski has not been a proponent of the shuffling of major college conferences.
Earlier this season, Krzyzewski raised the issue when examining the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
““For years, Duke and other ACC schools have benefited from scheduling strong national opponents. Certainly, college sports are based on tradition. We have to be careful not to lose that.””
After Duke’s loss to Maryland in College Park Feb. 16, Krzyzewski addressed his team’s relationship with the Terrapins, who had recently announced they would depart for the Big Ten for the 2014-15 academic year.
“”I have a great deal of respect for Maryland. If it was such a rivalry, they’d still be in the ACC. Obviously they don’t think it’s that important, or they wouldn’t be in the Big Ten. I respect their basketball program and the job their coaches have done and their players have done over the years. We’ve had some great games with them, but we have great games against a lot of people. A lot of people want to beat us, and they’re one of them.”
But at the end of his press conference Thursday morning to announce he would return as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Krzyzewski closed his press conference with an odd change of heart. The Hall of Fame coach expressed his excitement for the future of the ACC, despite its recent expansion and realignment.
“I love what’s happening with our conference. We’re going to be a 10-bid conference. We’re going to be the best conference in the history of the game. It’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame are all slated to join the ACC July 1. The Orange and Panthers will join as full members, and the Fighting Irish will become members in all sports except football.
This morning, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo announced that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski would return as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Here are some reactions from a number of NBA players on the Blue Devil head coach spending four more years at the helm of Team USA.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James, bronze medalist at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and gold medalist at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games:
“I think it’s great. What he means to USA Basketball is beyond just what we do on the court, it’s what we stand for as Americans in being proud to wear the Red, White and Blue every time we step on the bus, at practice, or talk to the media or whatever the case may be. So I think it’s great.
I have the utmost respect and trust in coach K. Whatever his decision was going to be, I think we would all support him.
It would be great [to play in 2016]. First I have to make sure I stay healthy. If I’m fortunate enough to stay healthy, I would love to represent my country again.”
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, gold medalist and MVP at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and gold medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games:
“Playing for Coach K in 2010 and 2012 was an amazing experience. he’s a great coach, and USA Basketball is blessed to have him. He coaches with great passion, but always keeps us calm, and makes sure we are prepared for our opponents. I greatly respect his leadership, and always want to go out and play hard for him.”
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, gold medalist at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games:
“The news on Coach K with USA Basketball is great. He is an incredible coach who worked tirelessly to prepare us for different opponents. Even as a veteran, I learned a lot from his leadership. I appreciate all he’s done over the years for USA Basketball, and our country, in this position. I think Team USA is in great hands for the next four years.”
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, bronze medalist at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and gold medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games:
“He’s a great coach, one of the best to coach the game. I’m sure the USA Basketball community is very happy to have him back.”
Minnesota Timberwolves center Kevin Love, gold medalist at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 Olympic Games:
“I think Coach K is an excellent choice. I had a great time playing for him in 2010 and 2012. I have so much respect for him as a man and a coach, and I hope I get to play for him again in the future.”
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, gold medalist at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and member of the USA Basketball Board of Directors:
“Playing for Coach K was one of the highlights of my career. I learned a great deal from him. We are lucky to have him lead us again.”
In a press conference this morning at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski accepted an invitation to return as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Here are some soundbites from the press conference, of Krzyzewski, USA Basketball’s Jerry Colangelo and Duke’s Richard Brodhead.
Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Chairman
- “I couldn’t be happier to have Coach K back. I’m kind of old fashioned. I never really accepted the fact that he wasn’t coming back.”
- “I just think it is a perfect fit for him. I think his legacy is very much tied to USA Basketball as it certainly is to Duke University.”
- “I could not have picked a better guy to be in that foxhole with than Coach K.”
Richard Brodhead, Duke University President
- “[Krzyzewski] has unique talents for motivating people, making them want to live up to the very fullest of their potential, and learning and understand how they can do things together that none of them can accomplish on their own.”
- “Duke didn’t lose any of Mike Krzyzewski by having [him] become the coach of the Olympics. I think that [he's] been more into coaching at Duke in [his] Olympic years than [he] ever [was] before.”
Mike Krzyzewski, USA Men’s Basketball Head Coach
- “It’s the ultimate honor, really, to coach our country’s team, and it’s the ultimate honor of a player to play for his country’s team.”
- “When I said I wasn’t going to do it, I felt that I wasn’t going to do it. I felt it gave USA Basketball an opportunity to look at everything. I wanted to still become a part of USA Basketball. That started the discussions of staying involved.”
- “We’ll try to do these next four years the way we did the last seven, and that’s to build it with the best players available, try to get as many of the best players as we can. They’re the ones who make an amazing commitment.”
- “I got better [as a coach from coaching the Olympics].”
- “It really doesn’t take that much time away during recruitment. Most of this stuff is done during August, which is not a time you’re allowed to be out.”
- “I think [my involvement with the Olympics] has only helped our program.”
- “I don’t think anybody should coach the [Olympic] team unless their coaching [somewhere else]. In other words, you have to stay sharp, so I’m coaching in the best league against the best competition, the best players, that I can.”
- “I don’t see an end [to my coaching at Duke] and obviously I’m not going to end before the Olympics.”
- “Our team next year for Duke is very athletic. It will mirror some of the things that were some of the things we’ve done for the Olympics, where you’d have guys with multiple positions. We’re still trying to get a waiver for LeBron [James] and Kobe [Bryant] to come back and use their college eligibility.”
And then there were two.
When the NBA playoffs kicked off last month there were 10 former Duke players who were hoping to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Now that 12 teams have been eliminated, there are just two Blue Devils still hoping to be champions.
Chris Duhon, Mike Dunleavy, Grant Hill, Dahntay Jones, Shavlik Randolph and J.J. Redick all were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, with Duhon’s Lakers and Dunleavy and Redick’s Bucks swept in four straight games.
In the Conference Semifinals, Bulls teammates Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer were sent home. While Boozer was productive throughout the playoffs, averaging 16.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, Deng was on the sidelines for the entirety of the Conference Semifinals due to illness and then complications from a spinal tap.
With eight Blue Devils down, the only representatives from Duke remaining are rookie Miles Plumlee of the Indiana Pacers and Shane Battier of the reigning champion Miami Heat.
Plumlee’s Pacers won a physical series against the Knicks to earn the right to play the Heat in the Conference Finals, but Plumlee has yet to appear in a single playoff game. He only appeared in 14 games this season for Indiana.
Battier took a much more active role in his team’s road to the Conference Finals, helping the Heat defeat the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls. Though Battier’s offense has slumped in the playoffs—he’s averaging 5.6 points on lowly 26 percent shooting—he is an invaluable part of the Heat defense. Battier will surely see plenty of Indiana forward and Most Improved Player of the Year Paul George when the Eastern Conference Finals begin Wednesday night.
If the Pacers defy odds and win the NBA championship, Plumlee will become just the third Blue Devil from the Mike Krzyzewski era to win the title, joining Danny Ferry (2003 with the San Antonio Spurs) and Batter, who won last season. Battier, should Miami repeat, will be the first Duke player to win titles in back-to-back seasons.
Duke was among the finalists to land Memphis-transfer Tarik Black, but yesterday the 6-foot-9, 262-pound big man announced that he would play out his final year of eligibility at Kansas.
The Chronicle’s Daniel Carp and Andrew Beaton sat down to discuss how Duke’s roster could shape out without a dominant post player and how that could impact the team’s style of play next season.
Andrew Beaton: Dan, Duke was in on the biggest transfer of the summer and missed out. What was your reaction to the news?
Daniel Carp: This has to be a deflating feeling for Duke. After failing to land a true post player in this year’s recruiting class, the Blue Devils had a chance to land what many believe is the final piece to their championship puzzle. As Duke looks forward to the 2013-14 season, the team is still stocked with young talent but has a lot of questions about its size and physicality in the post.
AB: The three true frontcourt players—Josh Hairston, Marshall Plumlee and Amile Jefferson—have a lot to prove going forward. A proven body up front would’ve been great, no doubt.
But when you look to how next year’s team will play, missing out on a 260-pound forward who doesn’t excel in running the floor isn’t the worst thing in the world.
It may be unconventional, but I think we’ll see lots of lineups next year that won’t include any of those three. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood may be the two most talented players on next year’s team and are both 6-foot-8. Put them on the floor with Andre Dawkins, Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook and it’ll be the most exciting show in college basketball. That includes Kansas and Kentucky.
DC: If one thing is for sure, you know that Mike Krzyzewski is familiar with running this system. Tyson Chandler was Coach K’s only true center on the 2012 Olympic team, and that team was a prime example of a squad that played to its own strengths. They ran the floor and utilized their superior athleticism by using Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James at power forward and even center. It was a scheme that gave opposing defenses nightmares.
It is likely that Coach K will model this year’s team after that system. By no means are Parker and Hood true, back to the basket post players. But players that talented will create matchup problems regardless of their size.
Luckily for Duke, the ACC has seen somewhat of an exodus in terms of its dominant big men this season—no more Alex Len at Maryland, no more Kenny Kadji or Reggie Johnson at Miami, no more CJ Leslie or Richard Howell at N.C. State. If the Blue Devils can take consolation in one thing, it is that although they are getting smaller, so is everyone else.
AB: And this makes no mention of Alex Murphy who is also a wing-forward who has size and has put on muscle during his two years at Duke. Incoming freshman Semi Ojeleye is a physical specimen as well.
That brings up another reason why it’s OK to have missed out on Black: this team already has 12 players who expect to be getting minutes on next year’s team. Parker is the only incoming freshman that will be a shoe-in for playing time, but Matt Jones and Ojeleye are top recruits too. Then there’s Murphy, Tyler Thornton, Dawkins and a number of other guys who can rotate in and out. Lots of mouths to feed next year for Chef Krzyzewski.
The team may be small, but it has the depth and talent to run-n-gun.