Coach K names the best high school player he ever saw
Mike Krzyzewski has been coaching college basketball since the 1970s, so there are few people in history who have seen more elite high school players in their life than him. Yet, one player stands out in his mind above the rest.
Coach K was a guest on “The Dream Team Tapes: Kobe, LeBron & The Redeem Team” from Diversion Podcasts this week. He discussed a wide range of topics and at one point was asked about his experiences with the late Kobe Bryant. The Duke coach said he watched Kobe in high school in the 1990s and didn’t bother to recruit him. Why? He knew there was no chance Kobe was going anywhere but the NBA.
“I never thought he’d go to college. Nobody recruited him to any deep level because you knew,” Coach K said. “I never saw LeBron play in high school, but when I saw Kobe play and he’s the best high school player I’ve ever seen. When he walked into a gym, he walked in like (Michael) Jordan at a high school level. … He could not only play the role during a game, he played the role before and after the game. He looked that good, he believed he was that good and he was that good. But I knew he was never gonna come.”
Krzyzewski has been the head coach at Duke since 1980. He has been scouting and coaching some of the world’s best basketball talent for more than 40 years. It says a lot that he viewed Kobe as the best high school player he ever saw.
Of course, it is hardly a surprise. If you heard the awesome story Shaq shared last year about Kobe’s work ethic as a rookie, you know there are few players in NBA history who worked harder than Bryant.