Duke Basketball’s Coach Mike Krzyzewski opens himself up to criticism

It doesn’t matter what he has done in the past, all that matters is what he is doing now.

Duke Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has been one of the best college coaches of all time, but after another disappointing season he will open himself up for criticism.  Critics will look to his age and the results over the past three seasons and say that maybe it’s time for him to retire.

Duke Basketball hasn’t been great over the last three seasons, but they do have an Elite Eight appearance.  It came in between two Duke losses in the first round to lower ranked teams.  Over the past three seasons they have lost as a two seed and a three seed to Mid-Major teams.  He has lost the most games to lower seeds in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  This has gotten worse later on in his career, and for critics this is something they can take note of.

Duke has struggled since they started to recruit “one and done” players.  Since the first season, Kyrie Irving in 2011-2012, the Duke program has been upset in the NCAA tournament.  They are continuing to recruit one and dones, and Coach Krzyzewski has proven he has been able to coach all different types of players, and this is just one more challenge for him.

He is getting great recruits, but they are not living up to expectation.  Austin Rivers was a one and done, but he didn’t really have many great games for Duke.  He played one great game against North Carolina, but the rest of the season was a disappointment.  After his one season he left and went to the NBA, and he was very open about only wanting to be at Duke for one season.

Then they got Jabari Parker, whom most people thought would also be a one and done.  However, after another disappointing Duke season, Parker could come back for a second.  This could be huge for Duke basketball because they have at least two one and done players coming in next season, and with the struggles Coach K has had with one and done players, it could be helpful to have an experienced superstar for next season.

Going forward, critics will look at Mike Krzyzewski’s age as being a factor, that he might have lost his keen edge in coaching.  This is something that he heard before his 2010 championship, people were saying he wasn’t getting the recruits that he used to, and he wasn’t going to be able to win another National Championship.  It was never louder than right before the 2010 championship, so with the critics looking at the last two out of the three seasons being a huge disappointment for Duke, this might give him the edge next season.  This could put the great recruiting class and a new challenge for Coach K at the right time, and create another opportunity for a National Championship.

  • Bob Ford

    The problem with Duke basketball, as Mr. Mullholand alludes, is all the one-and-dones. The solution to that problem is simple: don’t recruit one-and-dones. The whole idea of one-and-dones is antithetical to to Duke basketball anyway. So leave them alone. There are plenty of talented high school players with no intention of trying to turn pro after only a year in college.

    There was no downturn in Duke basketball which led to Coach K turning to the one-and-dones. I disagree with that notion. there was the shocker when Deng suddenly bolted to the NBA, along with Duke’s prize recruit that year. Right after that was one of the most disappointing of the big recruiting classes K has brought to Duke. McRoberts wasn’t all that, it turned out, then bailed after two years. Browning was a bust, Kelso was a big disappointment, and so on. But then came a series of strong recruiting classes.

    With all due respect, I also disagree that the 2010 championship was a surprise. That group of great seniors and great juniors was primed for a run at the title. Likewise, the team led by three seniors n 2013. THOSE are the kinds of teams which win championships. Those are also the kinds of teams which learn to play Duke basketball and excel on the court. Those teams develop leaders, and players who work well together. Those are teams which become TEAMS.

    All season long, we saw the lack of teamwork, the lackadaisical defense, and players (Cook, Sulaimon, Dawkins) struggling to find their place on a team on which the coach anointed two new players the stars of the team even before the season began.

    We saw something similar two seasons ago, when Duke became Austin Rivers’ team even before he earned it (which he never did). The only reason we didn’t see that with Duke’s first one-and-done is because Kyrie Irving joined a team with two senior stars who had been key players on a national championship team the year before. Even so, when he came back from his injury just in time for the tournament – and with time running out on establishing his bona fides for the NBA draft – he disrupted team chemistry to such an extent Duke made early exits in the post-season tournaments.

    One-and-dones aren’t interested in joining TEAMS. They are interested in individual glory. They are here for one season and one reason: they have to wait a year before turning pro, so they spend that year auditioning for the NBA. Their goal is to make sure they are lottery picks in the NBA draft.

    Next year, Okafor and Jones will be Duke’s top two scorers. It won’t matter how well they play overall — they certainly won’t play any defense to speak of — how hard they work, or what kind of teammates they prove to be. They will be the big guys on the team the day they arrive. And they will dominate on offense, mostly going one-on-one (or one-on-five) as they strive to pump up their numbers for the draft.

    Coach K is already working on the next batch of one-and-dones after this.

    Duke basketball is not the same as it used to be. Duke no longer utilizes the system or philosophy Coach K installed many years ago. A philosophy based on hard work, teamwork, stringent defense, and unselfish offense. Duke is all about one-and-done ball now. Playground ball, garbage ball, whatever else you may call it, but NOT team basketball.

    Coach K has become the problem. Duke used to represent all that was right about college athletics. (Since long before K. Vic Bubas and Bill Foster had similar philosophies.) Now, Duke represents all that is WRONG with college athletics.

  • Teacher Tom

    When he wins the national championship next year, all the critics will be silent. When you do not have a big man inside, you have to be on target from the perimeter every game. The team wasn’t, they lost when it counted, and it wasn’t the fault of the greatest coach and teacher in the world. Next year there will be a big man and everything changes.

  • Robin

    To me Coach K has had more than one stint as being disappointing to us Duke fans. From 05-09. It seemed as if after Deng bolted to the pros and Livingston never stepped foot on campus he went through a stretch of ‘rebellion’ against the direction college basketball had taken. The talent was mediocre at best, and the results during that time are evident. Yes the 2010 season ended with a championship but many Duke fans and myself didn’t see that one coming. I thought Kentucky and Kansas were more talented. He has proven to adapt to the recruitment portion of the game. The bigger problem I see though is his stubbornness to adapt to the players he has. It’s a tired saying but his refusal to compromise his man to man defense and rotational patterns are to me more important than the players he recruits. The elite 8 loss to Louisville is an example. I’m not saying they would have won, but they continually sliced up Duke’s man to man. I also believe there is no good message that comes from relegating the rest of team to role players before a new kid has ever played a game for program. The last time I checked, Duke wins as a team and loses as one, not saying that the new kids won’t be as advertised.