Coach K responds to USA basketball criticism, gives Duke basketball update


Team USA may have won gold at the FIBA World Cup, but thanks to Yahoo Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski, Coach K has been the talk of the basketball world. Recently he decided to take part in the conversation.

In what should be a time of anticipation for the upcoming Duke basketball season and celebration for Team USA gold, Coach K finds himself defending his position with USA Basketball.

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Wojnarowski wrote what has been called a scathing article insinuating that Coach K and Duke are the main beneficiaries of Team USA basketball. In Wojnarowski’s words, “The risk-reward for NBA stars participating in FIBA tournaments has never been so low. The gains of the Mike Krzyzewskis and Jim Boeheims on the bench so high.”

Wojnarowski put forth the notion that Coach K uses his position to gain a recruiting edge in in two ways. First, he has access to young players who are competing to make and play for the U.S under-19 team. Second, he has access to and has developed relationships with the NBA’s top players, a very enticing idea to potential young college recruits.

“It’s advantage through accomplishment. The notoriety you get from that, there’s a risk to that.”-Coach Krzyzewski

Coach K took exception to this line of thinking, “Everybody can have an opinion on that. Anybody who wins, or if someone writes a great book or article, somebody wins a championship-they have an advantage. It’s advantage through accomplishment. The notoriety you get from that, there’s a risk to that. In other words, you can lose and there’s time you give up. The fact that you win and if you gain an advantage from that, then so be it. It’s like if someone wins a national championship. (Connecticut coach) Kevin Ollie has an advantage recruiting because he won.”

It’s worth mentioning that in addition to Krzyzewski and Boeheim, several other college coaches are involved with USA Basketball. Florida’s Billy Donovan is the under-19 team head coach and his assistants are Virginia’s Tony Bennett and VCU’s Shaka Smart.

Interestingly Wojnarowski doesn’t single out Donovan as having an unfair recruiting advantage, something Coach K pointed out in his presser. Plus, in reference to time on the recruiting trail, Coach K says, ” I’ve given up 50 days this summer.”

Although much of his press conference was spent addressing the article, Coach K did take time to update the current status of this year’s Duke basketball team. Blue Devil fans should be pleased to hear the team is healthy. Amile Jefferson is the only exception as he continues to heal from a hip injury. Coach K says Jefferson is about 95 percent healthy and is expected to be fine when the season starts.

Another positive revelation about this year’s team is the camaraderie they have already. “With our team right now, it’s not sophomores, freshmen, juniors, seniors, they’re Duke basketball players. The freshmen are not freshman, they’re Duke basketball players and there’s not that differentiation. That doesn’t happen all the time…but with this group, it has.”

A young team with great chemistry, now that’s a situation fans are counting on Coach K to take advantage of!