Krzyzewski looking for on-court leaders

Posted March 26, 2014

— Mike Krzyzewski has a bit longer to plan for next season than he had hoped after his Duke University Blue Devils were ousted Friday in the second round (and their first game) of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. A talkative Coach K spent Wednesday afternoon fielding questions in Durham about that loss and what it means for the team's future.

"This is not something I usually do," he said. "I wish this was a press conference in Indianapolis."

Going in to the match-up with Mercer, Krzyzewski expressed concern about an experience imbalance, between his Blue Devils who started a freshman and two sophomores and the Bears' more seasoned lineup.

"We were not the most mature, and I am not saying that in a negative way," he said. "You have more chance of getting beat. That's why I said this team could lose in more ways than one. We invented a new way in the last game."

Duke's two best players – Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker – had no NCAA Tournament experience.

"We could play better defense, but fundamentally the thing that we missed was on the court leadership play after play," Krzyzewski said.

Two early NCAA exits with freshman starters and future NBA stars (Austin Rivers in 2012 and Parker in 2014) won't change how he recruits. 

"If you're placed in that position where one or two of the best players in the United States who are great kids and great players want to come to your school, you have to be an idiot to say no," he said.

"It's up to the leader to adjust to the group he or she has."

Krzyzewski's off season focus would be on building court leadership on his always-talented roster. "I should do a better job with that," he said. 

Two key questions remain unanswered: Will Hood, a red shirt sophomore, and freshman phenom Parker be back for 2014-15? Both will make decisions soon about whether to enter the NBA Draft. But even that uncertainty is familiar to a coach with the longevity and accomplishments of Coach K.

On position on the bench is a sure bet, though. "I'm going to be here," Krzyzewski said.



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  • 45HEELSFAN45 Mar 28, 2014


  • 903 Free Paul Frampton 2 Mar 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    That is certainly a problem. Evaluating talent and getting the players you target to commit is a major part of building a contender. The best at doing that over the last three decades were amaker, Snyder, Dawkins, and capel. So it's no surprise when you look at who was recruiting during the relevant periods which periods had the most success. Capels impact on recruiting is coming In The next 1-5 years, which is certainly a factor in coach k's rejuvenation and commitment to coach 5 more years...

  • Toddler10-21 Mar 27, 2014

    I think the captains were Hood, Hairston and Thornton. Its Hairston and Thornton's fault if they havent shown any improvement in four years. If you dont want a freshman taking your PT then put your big boy shorts on and work on your game.

  • Gatsby Mar 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I agree his personnel is not meshing but at days end a program like Duke has the advantage of picking and choosing who they want. Could it be the staff is not doing their due diligence and being gave false info about a prospects ability? Going after the wrong Guy just because of hype? I believe they are missing the target lately because 1/2 the time they are aiming at the wrong one.

  • Gatsby Mar 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I think the Asst Coaches there are as big a part of the issue as K. He is not a spring chicken any longer and must depend on them to teach but many of his top tier have left to accept head coaching jobs around the Country. I have little faith in the guys surrounding him now OR their actual abilities a coaches at that level.

  • Jeanne Gunn Mar 27, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I think you may be right about naming Parker and Hood Co-Captains. I can see where that might cause resentment with the other players. Parker and Hood got most of the attention all year, as well. It's a tough situation for Parker and Hood, who were expected to play at a very high level as well as lead, and it's also a tough situation for the returning players who had to take a back seat to the super stars.

  • randdjacobs Mar 27, 2014

    This program hasn't been the same since Kyrie Irving re-entered the line-up in the NCAA tourney. Since that point, team chemistry has been lacking and defense has suffered tremendously. Irving was a beast and was the only reason the last game he played in was even close. I just wonder what could've been had he not gotten hurt. They were crushing teams, including elite teams, in the early part of the season before his injury. When he came back in March, he was still the man, but something changed about the team/program. It hasn't been the same since.

  • randdjacobs Mar 27, 2014

    Something was missing this season... something has been missing. In hindsight I have to wonder if naming newcomers as captains might have been detrimental to the team. Sure Hood and Parker were the most talented, but that's not what being "captain" is all about. In any case, I have confidence in Coach K, but there is definitely some issue that runs deep within this program. I hope he can do the soul searching, find it, and correct it.

  • raleighboy524 Mar 27, 2014

    Isn't it more than a little odd that Coach K, who frequently teaches and preaches about his leadership expertise at Duke's business school and elsewhere in seminars and lectures couldn't get a handle on his team's leadership problem this year?

  • Tom Boswell Mar 27, 2014
    user avatar

    I am a huge Duke fan and because of this I have to write these comments. However one has to do some serious soul searching when your team is seeded 2nd in 2012 and 3rd in 2014 and loses in the first round both times to a 14 and 15 seed in Raleigh and Greensboro. In the last four years with our seniors we have had the 6th, 2nd, 12th and 7th best recruiting classes according to ESPN. Mercer and Lehigh are no where to be found. Both these teams lost in the next round soundly. Our coach makes 7.2 million dollars a season and can not get a first round win with these quality players in essentially home games. HUM!!!! One wonders why Tony Bennett, getting paid $1.7 million, in Charlottesville with a lot less talented players can coach and demand defense.




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