Coach K didn’t appreciate question about Team USA running up score

Team USA basketball had a record-setting win over Nigeria at the London Olympics on Thursday, but they couldn’t completely enjoy the near-flawless performance.

The US won 156-73 and set records for most points, three-pointers, field goals, and highest field-goal percentage in an Olympic game. But just because the team was extraordinarily hot during the game doesn’t mean they were trying to humiliate their opponent. And if you suggested that to Coach K, he was not happy.

Mike Krzyzewski became defensive when asked in the postgame news conference about the team running up the score.

“We didn’t play LeBron [James] and Kobe [Bryant] in the second half, and with Carmelo shooting like that, we benched him,” Krzyzewski said, per Yahoo! Sports. “We didn’t take any fast breaks in the fourth quarter, and we played all zone. You have to take a shot every 24 seconds, and the shots we took happened to be hit.

“I take offense to this question because there’s no way in the world that our program in the United States sets out to humiliate anyone.”

Nigeria actually had some decent talent on the team — Al-Farouq Aminu, Ike Diogu, and Tony Skinn — but that’s nothing compared to a squad full of first-team All-NBA players, especially when they were on fire.

Questions about teams running up the score should only come if there are clear signs that a team was acting unsportsmanlike. I don’t believe that was the case here and, man, I wouldn’t want to be the one accusing Coach K of that in the future.

Deron Williams catches Coach K doing yoga before practice (Picture)

Before Twitter came along, US men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski could go through his yoga routine before practice began without being bothered. And if he was bothered, it wasn’t in the form of one of his players tweeting a picture of him doing yoga to more than 200,000 followers.

Deron Williams snapped a picture of Coach K in the child’s pose before practice on Monday and shared it on Twitter.  While Coach K probably would prefer that this part of his day be kept personal, there’s nothing wrong with a middle-aged man doing some yoga. In fact, an organization is even trying to make yoga poses an Olympic event, so perhaps Coach K is practicing and showcasing his skills.

Of the tens of thousands of athletes competing in London, it’s safe to say Team USA is having the most fun with Twitter and social media sites. Kevin Love has tweeted pictures like the one of all of his teammates sleeping during their flight and a few others showcasing how ridiculous everyone looked in their Opening Ceremony outfits. Over the weekend, Kevin Durant got in on the fun by showing us his awkward-looking haircut. And to think the Games are just getting started.

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’.

Mike Krzyzewski Defends Joe Paterno, Implies Age is a Factor

With all that has gone on regarding the Penn State scandal, I must admit I’m a little surprised that more people haven’t pulled out the “poor old man” card for Joe Paterno.  The American public has a tendency to view senior citizens as children at times.  Despite the fact that the Jerry Sandusky scandal has allegedly been ongoing for years, it came to light at a time when Paterno is an 84-year-old man.  Paterno’s age is undoubtedly a factor in earning him sympathy from certain people, and with the way Mike Krzyzewski spoke about the situation you might think he is one of them.

“Well, I think, unless you’re there, it’s tough to comment about everything,’’ Krzyzewski said according to the New York Times. “I just feel badly for him and whatever he is responsible for, it’ll come out and hopefully it’ll come out from him.

“I think one thing you have to understand is that Coach Paterno’s 84 years old. I’m not saying that for an excuse or whatever. The cultures that he’s been involved in both football-wise and socially, have been immense changes and how social issues are handled in those generations are quite different.

“But as we judge, remember that there’s just a lot there. There’s a lot, lot there. I think he’s a great man and it’s a horrific situation.”

Coach K may insist he’s not using Paterno’s age as an excuse, but he brought it up for a reason. We aren’t talking about smoking cigarettes. This is child molestation. How has culture changed in the last 30 years regarding how issues of child molestation are handled?  If at any point age limited Paterno from doing his job properly — not just coaching football — then it was his responsibility to retire.  The fact that he is 84 is completely irrelevant.  At this point it’s tough to see JoePa as a “great man” considering he allowed a “horrific situation” to develop under his watch.

H/T to Deadspin for passing the story along.

John Calipari Denies Phone Call Comment Applied to Coach K, Even Though it Does

Kentucky coach John Calipari made some comments on a Memphis radio show Thursday morning that seemed to be a shot at Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Appearing on Sportstime with George Lapides on Sports 56 WHBQ, Calipari was pontificating about the NCAA and the changes that need to be made. He then made a comment about certain coaches getting preferential treatment.

“You’ve got coaches being fired over phone calls and text messages. Some. Other guys can make phone calls and it’s not that big a deal.”

Eye on College Basketball has the audio if you want to listen to the context. Most people figured it was a veiled shot at Coach K who was hardly scrutinized for possibly committing a secondary recruiting violation.

After seeing that his comments were interpreted as a shot at Coach K, John Calipari issued a denial statement on twitter. “My comments on the radio this morning had nothing to do w/ Mike Krzyzewski. He has actually been very helpful to me in preparing my DR team.”

[Read more...]

Coach K Throws Chair During Duke Game

God may call Mike Krzyzewski for advice, but even Coach K has his weak moments from time-to-time. That includes channeling the fury of his mentor, Bob Knight, during a timeout on Wednesday night. With his team involved in a close game on Senior Night at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Clemson, Coach K tossed a chair to try and motivate his players:

The tactic worked as his team went on for a 70-59 victory. It was pretty clear Coach K had to dig deep to ensure his team didn’t blow the game on Senior Night because it’s not often we seem him lose his cool like that. Duke will now play UNC on Saturday to determine the ACC winner. It’s amazing that after 31 years as Duke’s head coach, he can still muster up moves like that to motivate his team.

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Indy Star Newspaper Cover Shows Drawings on Coach K’s Face

I am not above spewing venom upon a disliked subject here at LBS or my radio show. There’s no confusion about that. I also can admit when I’ve crossed the line in going too far ridiculing a given subject. When I picked on Duke recently, I focused my disgust with the favoritism given to them in tournament seeding and favorable officiating — complaints that seem quite legitimate. The Indianapolis Star however crossed the line by printing a cover of their newspaper that included a picture of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski with doodles all over his face. The drawing also had horns and a bullseye on Coach K’s face. Here’s a picture of the cover via Jimmy Traina at SI Extra Mustard’s Hot Clicks:

Coach K called the cover “juvenile.” Amateur was the word that came to my mind so obviously we’re on the same page. Putting together a guide for fans on hating Duke based on complaints that they’re on TV more frequently than any team, favored by the selection committee, or favored by media members is legitimate. Drawing horns on Coach K’s head like he’s the devil is just juvenile, even if it’s a joke. There are other, better ways of getting across your message.

Indy Star ticks off Mike Krzyzewski [SI Extra Mustard Hot Clicks]