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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Coach K Says Winning with Duke Harder than Winning with Yankees

As you probably know, Mike Krzyzewski became the winningest coach in Division I basketball history on Tuesday night.  With a Duke win over Michigan State, Coach K secured his 903rd win and passed Bob Knight — who was celebrating in his own way — for the most wins by a single head coach.  Winning 903 games in any sport is a baffling achievement, so for that I tip my hat to Coach K.

However, amidst all the emotion and post-game discussion, Krzyzewski made a comparison that was a bit puzzling.  It seems unusual to compare the Duke men’s basketball program to the New York Yankees, but Coach K decided to go there.

“We don’t have Jeter or Rivera for 15 straight years and you have to do it in intense competition in a great school,” Coach K said. “We never have problems because usually we can develop a team. They want to be one, and I don’t have to fight that which is great.”

Point taken, but not the best metaphor he could have come up with.  The Yankees are built around money.  It is the hope of the NCAA that Duke’s basketball team is not.  Krzyzewski has done an unprecedented job of turning Duke into one of the premier basketball programs in the country, but just because players leave every four years or less doesn’t mean it is terribly difficult to restock the talent pool.  Like free agents with the Yankees, top high school recruits would love a chance to play for the Blue Devils.  I realize Jeter and Rivera were not free agents, but that’s even more reason to give the Yankees credit for drafting and developing them.

This wasn’t the only weird thing Coach K said this week, so we’ll just mark it down as an emotional week for him and do what we always do here at LBS — keep it movin’.



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