Published on 4/6/2015 by Jerz
The above video shows a snippet of how hard the Duke Blue Devils basketball team works in preparation and anticipation of the 2014-15 season. The driving force of this program (since 1980) isn’t seen in this particular video, Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. The irony is that’s just how the 4-Time NCAA Championship Coach prefers to work. The man that took on the daunting task of turning an ACC laughing stock into the perennial basketball powerhouse it is today is as low-key as they come. The Chicago born Krzyzewski honed his coaching skills early as Bobby Knight’s floor “General” for West Point, as an assistant of Knight’s with the Indiana Hoosiers (1974-’75) before later becoming the Head Coach of his Alma Mater (from ’75-’80). Coach K has shown a calm demeanor and cool temperament, for the most part, but still shows some fire from time to time on the sidelines (reminiscent of his mentor minus the chair tossing and player head butts).
Duke Men’s Basketball has become as polarizing as the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and New England Patriots (each of which have had runs of Championship dominance in their respective sports). The one constant in this string of perennial success has been Coach Krzyzewski. I remember starting to really follow Duke as they ushered out the Danny Ferry era and ushered in the Christian Laettner era in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The Laettner led squads were as easy to love as they were to hate but were nothing short of fun to watch. Amazingly enough, with all the different types of talent and teams he’s filtered through Durham, NC over the years, Coach K finds himself in his 9th Championship Final. In the times of “1 and done” talents bolting for greener NBA pastures, Coach K always seems to have his team Tournament ready and this 2014-2015 team was no exception. The play of Freshmen sensations Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow along with the veteran prowess of Senior Quinn Cook have Duke on the verge of capturing a 5th NCAA Championship for their beloved Head Coach and face of this Basketball Empire. They’ll have to dig deep to beat a very tough, defensive minded Wisconsin Badgers team that has to feel pretty good about their own march to the Championship.
I’m not sure how many people had Duke cutting down the nets to close out their brackets but I know 11 kids that believed from day one it was possible. Even those that hate Duke for whatever their reason (either as a rival or sheer envy of their success) you can’t help but respect the job done year in and year out by the man pulling the strings. In closing, I salute one of the greatest teachers of young college men and leader of one of College basketball’s most successful programs during his tenure. We all eagerly anticipate tonight’s Championship game which I have no doubt will be another one for the ages…