Mike Krzyzewski’s Finish at Duke Comes on His Terms
He also changed the way he recruited. Krzyzewski once bristled at schools whose players left for the NBA early and refused to allow players who had not graduated to have their jersey numbers hung in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium. In 2015, he won his last championship with three freshmen.
Over the years, Duke also began to look less clean – embracing the role of varsity basketball heel, and also occasionally examining how a player (Lance Thomas) could afford jewelry worth $ 100. $ 000, how jobs were procured for the parents of the players (Chris Duhon and Carlos Boozer) or how testimony in court suggested that the family of a star player (Zion Williamson) was enslaved with money.
Krzyzewski said on Thursday that what changed the most was that he started to listen more, which helped him find his balance. As he got older – and he still had college age players – it became a necessity. He learns from them about music, sneakers and pop culture, he said, joking that he wears his athletic clothes “a little tighter than my body probably wants.”
“But I am not adapting the principles of the program,” he said, adding. “These will never die.”
One of these principles is at the heart of the succession plan: loyalty.
Scheyer, who grew up in suburban Chicago and was the captain of the 2010 Championship team, has something in common with all of Duke’s other assistants over the past 24 years – he played for Krzyzewski. The most successful of Krzyzewski’s descendants is long-gone Quin Snyder, who now coaches the Utah Jazz, the NBA’s top regular-season team this year.
Scheyer is taking on recruiting duties this summer because Krzyzewski has said it wouldn’t be fair for him to sign players he won’t coach.
Instead, Krzyzewski will be dedicated to working with players on this year’s squad, who are returning to campus for summer school this weekend. Now that an end date has been set, Krzyzewski has spoken like a man who could easily ignore all the reasons why it’s time to go. He sounded like someone on Thursday who was less determined to reach the finish line than to cross it in a sprint.
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