Mike Krzyzewski looked like a new man on Monday night.
Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils avenged an embarrassing road loss at NC State earlier this season by putting the hurt on the Wolfpack at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday. After losing 88-66 to NC State last month, Duke won the rematch 88-69, nearly by the same score.
Krzyzewski looked completely rejuvenated during the game. He was full of energy, passion, and even chest-bumped his players.
He also slapped hands with everyone he saw after the game:
Then Coach K delivered the strongest message of all on the postgame radio show. He said people should respect his legacy before criticizing him.
Coach K came under some fire after Duke lost consecutive games. They lost by 12 at Wake Forest and then by two at Virginia. They’re now 24-6 and seem to be back on track for a possible high seed entering the NCAA Tournament.
Duke fans directed a playful chant at Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel during the Blue Devils’ 79-67 win on Tuesday night, and Mike Krzyzewski was furious that the Cameron Crazies singled out his former assistant.
Duke students began chanting “Jeff Capel, sit with us” at the Pittsburgh coach late in the first half. The chant was hardly derogatory and was flattering if anything, but Coach K became irate and went ballistic on the Cameron Crazies.
After the game, Krzyzewski apologized to the student section and admitted he may have overreacted. He said he didn’t know exactly what was said but has “never heard another coach’s name yelled out in the middle of the first half when we’re in a war with another team.” Coach K said he’ll apologize to the students because he thought they were chanting something personal at Capel, but he does not apologize for thinking it’s ridiculous to shout another coach’s name in the middle of the first half of a big game.
“Once I heard his name, I’m not going to (go over to the students) and say, ‘Will you please tell me what you’re doing,'” Coach K told reporters. “So it’s a mistake on my part, but I’d rather make the mistake in protection of my guy.”
A Duke student pointed out after the game that the intention was never to taunt Capel, and the Cameron Crazies made that clear in the “Dirt Sheet” they pass out before games. Capel, who played at Duke from 1993-1996 and was an assistant coach for the Blue Devils from 2011-2018, said he was not offended and loves the Cameron Crazies.
Coach K was probably embarrassed at the way he overreacted, especially when he was informed of what the students actually said. This isn’t the first time Coach K has blown a gasket for seemingly no reason, and even his gripe with the timing of the Capel chant comes across as not wanting to fully admit he was wrong. Whether the chant was made in the first half or in the final minute of a blowout, there was clearly no harm in it.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski exploded on Duke’s student section for chanting at rival coach Jeff Capel on Tuesday night.
Towards the end of the first half of Duke’s 79-67 win over Pitt at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Coach K yelled at the fans known as the “Cameron Crazies” for chanting at Capel, the head coach at Pitt. The fans were yelling “Jeff Capel, sit with us.”
Take a look at the video of an intense Coach K getting crazy:
ESPN reported that Coach K was telling the fans of Capel, “he’s one of us.” ESPN also said Coach K apologized to Pitt’s bench.
Capel, 44, played at Duke from 1993-1996 and was an assistant coach at Duke from 2011-2018. Krzyzewski obviously still feels very close to Capel and protective of him despite them being competitors.
Much like the situation with Dillon Brooks, I think Coach K was wrong here. Capel coaches an opposing team and was treated accordingly by the fans. Is Coach K such a control freak that he wants the fans to seek his approval first about who they can or cannot chant about? The fans should do their usual thing, so long as their taunts do not cross a line, and they certainly did not cross a line in this case.
UPDATE: Coach K apologized for his outburst, saying he didn’t know what the students were chanting.
Duke bounced back from their upset loss to Stephen F. Austin with an 83-70 win over Winthrop on Friday to improve to 7-1. Still, their loss to the Lumberjacks on Tuesday stands out to many, and it’s something Coach K was still addressing even after Friday’s win.
Mike Krzyzewski acknowledged his team was “horrible” against Stephen F. Austin but said he had some health issues.
“Part of it, we had some other issues with our program with some health issues,” Krzyzewski said, via SI. “I had a little health issue for the last game that I was not myself. I had some … anyway I’m good, but that day and that night, I was not good. So, part of that is we’re human beings. We’re not going to be perfect even though lot of people expect us to be.”
That sure sounds like Coach K blaming the embarrassing home loss on his health issues.
Duke hadn’t lost a non-conference game at home since 2000 until the defeat to Stephen F. Austin. The loss was also the biggest upset by spread in the last 15 years. It’s no wonder he was left making excuses.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski became the most prominent college basketball backer of California’s Fair Pay to Play Act on Tuesday.
The bill, signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, would allow college athletes to profit off their name and likeness. Kyzyzewski said he was “really happy” about its passage, and that it “pushes the envelope” after the NCAA’s failure to keep up with current realities.
This is a significant blow to the NCAA’s opposition to the current law. While they have a point that a lack of standardization on a state-by-state basis could prove problematic, their main objection seemed to be that they didn’t have a say in its implementation or passage. If more high-profile names come out in favor of the principle, the heat will be turned up on the NCAA to do something or change its tune.
Sunday’s NCAA Tournament classic between Duke and UCF was never going to be an ordinary game for Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K was coaching against Johnny Dawkins, one of his most iconic players and someone credited for jump-starting the Duke program in the 1980s. That alone ensured that Krzyzewski was going to have a lot of respect for his opponents, and it showed after the narrow 77-76 victory, as Krzyzewski consoled crying UCF players after their heartbreaking defeat.
Krzyzewski was effusive in his praise for Dawkins and UCF in his postgame press conference.
Krzyzewski reserved arguably his highest praise for Dawkins’s son Aubrey, who led UCF with 32 points and dominated the game for the Knights.
Krzyzewski hasn’t always had the most cordial relationship with every opponent he’s faced in the NCAA Tournament. That was not the case here, and the respect seems to have been mutual.
There is no such thing as a sure thing in March Madness. If you ever thought there was, UMBC offered you a blunt reminder of the reality of the situation last year. Even the best coaches can be slipped up against the odds — it wasn’t that long ago that Mike Krzyzewski suffered a massive first-round upset twice in three years to a 15 and 14 seed, respectively.
But some coaches seem to have a knack for coming up big at the right time of year. Here are six of the best coaches you can trust in March.
John Beilein, Michigan
After another appearance in the National Championship game in 2018, Beilein is finally getting his due as one of the country’s best college basketball coaches. He’s gotten the Wolverines out of the first round in six of their eight NCAA Tournament appearances, and has been a second weekend fixture since joining Michigan.
Beilein’s tournament success goes all the way back to his tenure at West Virginia, where he led a then-unheralded program to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in back-to-back seasons. He’s an outstanding tournament coach, and Michigan is a tough out with him in charge.
Coach K isn’t exactly a grouch, but he wasn’t about to let his players get carried away celebrating their highlights after Friday night’s win over North Carolina.
RJ Barrett was asked in a postgame news conference how he would rate one of Zion Williamson’s dunks from the game. Barrett gave one of them a 10, which elicited some high-fives shared between the players. Coach K was not amused.
As his players were enjoying themselves, he stepped in like a father telling his kids to shut off the video games and go to bed.
“Let’s not talk about rating dunks; let’s talk about the game,” he said.
The response seemed to be for the media as much as his players. He doesn’t want his players getting carried away celebrating themselves and thinking about highlights rather than focus on the games. The NCAA Tournament is coming up, and Coach K means business.
There have been plenty of calls for Zion Williamson to shut things down following his knee injury suffered Wednesday night, but his coach says that is not going to happen.
Mike Krzyzewski said after Duke’s 75-65 win at Syracuse on Saturday that Williamson wants to keep playing for the Blue Devils.
Coach K emphasized that they will not rush Williamson back from the knee injury the freshman star suffered against North Carolina on Wednesday. Williamson suffered a Grade 1 knee strain, allaying the concerns of many. Duke has called Williamson day-to-day, which is how Coach K is describing things.
When Williamson returns is not yet known, but it sounds like he will return at some point this season. We love that news and Williamson’s attitude; he’s a player, and as long as he’s healthy and able, he should be there to carry his team and lead his teammates.
Mike Krzyzewski says that he is not concerned about Zion Williamson’s eligibility.
Questions about Williamson’s eligibility emerged this week after the freshman phenom’s name came up at the college basketball corruption trial.
A judge in the case denied evidence that showed a Kansas assistant coach expressing willingness to provide money and other benefits to Williamson, who was widely considered a top-five recruit. An Adidas consultant allegedly said on wiretap that Williamson’s father was looking for benefits to entice his son to commit to a school.
Williamson, who is from South Carolina, chose Duke over South Carolina and Clemson. He also was believed to have had interest in Kentucky and North Carolina.
Coach K said on Friday that he is comfortable with Williamson’s status and says that all of the program’s freshmen were vetted by the NCAA.
People being recorded saying that Williamson’s father was seeking benefits could implicate the freshman, but does not prove Duke did anything improper to land the young star.
Williamson is listed at 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds. He has long been known in the basketball world for his incredible dunks at such a young age.