Coach K's decision will help two teams
Posted May 25, 2013
Updated May 29, 2013
Mike Krzyzewski cracked open the door for a return to the USA basketball sideline. On Thursday, he made it official that he will be back to lead Team USA for the 2016 Olympics. It is a task that the Duke Blue Devil head coach has enjoyed taking on. Winning two gold medals and restoring the U.S. as the dominant basketball power has cemented his legacy as one of the best coaches, not just in basketball, but in the overall debate.
After guiding Team USA to a second gold medal at the London Games, Coach K said that it was time to pass the baton. But sometimes it is hard to let a good thing go. It is a good thing that he did not.
He is the best man for the job. Can you think of another coach right now that is willing to give the time commitment, knows what is involved in coaching that kind of team and has the coaching cache of Krzyzewski? He understands what it takes to run the program and keep America on the gold medal platform.
Krzyzewski has a strong bond with USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo, it scratches the itch of coaching NBA players and he loves coaching for the Stars and Stripes. Remember, the kid from Chicago attended West Point.
Duke fans should love this. because as long as Mike Krzyzewski is coaching, he will be on the sideline for the Blue Devils. He made a point of saying that the coach for Team USA should be an active coach. Four more years of having Coach K on the bench is a good thing for basketball – both in Durham and wherever Team USA is playing.
The choice is theirs
Eric Staal was representing Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships when disaster struck. In a game against Sweden, the Hurricanes captain suffered a third-degree sprain of his MCL (which is a tear) after a reckless hit by defenseman Alex Edler. It is every NHL organizations nightmare watching a top player get injured, and the feeling is made worse when a player is hurt playing in an international competition.
Cam Ward suffered the same kind of injury this past season. The recovery time is 6 to 8 weeks, and there is no need for surgery. That puts Staal on track to be ready for the start of the season, depending on how rehab goes.
This does raise a few questions. Should professional players put their health on the line to represent their country in international competition? Do the professional teams they play for have a right to deny them the chance to play in extracurricular events?
Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has already gone on record saying that Carolina will not prevent players from representing their country, and that is the right thing to do.
The choice should be on the player to decide if they want to play for love of country. For me, it would be impossible to turn down the chance to wear my country’s colors. It’s the highest honor an athlete can have.
There is a way for the Hurricanes organization to avoid watching their players put it on the line at the World Championships: Make the NHL playoffs.
It’s not the pitching…
People are proclaiming that it is the year of the pitcher in Major League Baseball. There are tons of great arms in MLB today, from Detroit’s Justin Verlander to the Mets new sensation and former UNC star Matt Harvey. All have power arms and devastating off-speed pitches. While pitchers are dominating today, they are getting a lot of help.
The hitters of today don’t swing the bat like they used to. It used to be an embarrassment if a player came close to striking out 200 times in a season. In fact, a player hadn’t struck out 200 times in a year until 2008 and no more than one hitter a year has gone past that mark.
This year, there are 12 players on pace to eclipse being fanned 200 times. A big reason is because that is the way the game is being paid. That is right, how these players get paid. A batter taking a K doesn’t matter anymore, as long as they are around 25-35 home runs and drive in runs that matters. No one hits to all fields anymore. Sure, steroids have been taken out of the game, but it is still all about the long ball.
I’m not trying to be the old man on the porch shaking his fist, but players don’t hit to all fields anymore. Watch a MLB game and see how many times there is an infield shift to one side because hitters will still try to pull the ball through it. Not saying that the game is terrible for it, but being able to hit the ball to the opposite field is as much a skill as putting it over the fence. A pitcher doesn’t have to worry about the hitter going with the pitch that makes his job easier. That means that there are fewer baseballs being put in fair play and a batter is more apt to take strike three rather than go to the opposite field.
So if a player is making less contact, there is less chance for base runners. Less base runners means fewer runs, and fewer runs means lower ERA’s.
So while everyone can wonder why is MLB pitching so good this year, one of the answers is the MLB hitters are giving them an awful lot of help.
A few tweaks
College football coaches should learn from Steve Spurrier.
OK, he is not the most popular guy on the block but Steve Spurrier makes football interesting. Never one to shy away from talking about other coaches or programs, Spurrier makes college football interesting and he is unapologetic about that, which is a good thing.
So when Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis said Alabama head coach Nick Saban was ‘the Devil himself,’ the only person that really should be bothered is Saban. He did after all give Davis a job, which is what Davis referenced, working for Saban in comparison to his current boss Will Muschamp. Davis did get personal and possibly hurt Saban’s feelings (if he has any), it doesn’t hurt college football.
Yes it is a mean thing to say, but Davis said it at a Florida football booster dinner. Coaches aren’t supposed to say nice things about other coaches, they are supposed to get their fan base riled up.
Compare this situation to what has happened in the Triangle. How much more spice did the UNC/NC State rivalry have after Everitt Withers ‘Flagship’ comment? Fans on both sides were up for the game and it gave way to one of Tom O’Brien’s best quote ever moments.
And college football needs that, it is what makes the rivalries great. From Ohio State calling Michigan that school up North, to Spurrier letting us know you can’t spell citrus with UT (in reference to Tennessee not being able to beat his Gators). Little pokes and jabs are good for the game.