Duke Basketball: Mike Krzyzewski Should Be Front-Runner for Coach of the Year

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 23: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with Trevon Duval
PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 23: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with Trevon Duval /

Mike Krzyzewski has led a young Duke team to an 11-0 start with huge wins over Michigan State, Florida, and at Indiana. Here are three reasons why Coach K should be the early favorite for Coach of the Year.

Duke Basketball has gotten off to a great 11-0 start to the season. While it hasn’t always been pretty, the team has found ways to win. Their success is primarily due to head coach Mike Krzyzewski who, although he probably won’t be considered, should be the clear favorite  to win Coach of the Year.

Check out three reasons why Coach K deserves the award for his job with the Blue Devils so far this season:

Must Read: When Will The Duke Blue Devils Lose This Season?

Lost Talent

Duke Basketball lost a ton of talent this offseason, with nine players from last year’s roster no longer with the program. Not only is that a huge number of players to replace, but they also had a tremendous impact for the Blue Devils. Duke lost over 80% of each their scoring, rebounding, and total minutes played from the 2016-17 team.

They won the conference tournament title after making history winning four games in consecutive days. Additionally, Coach K lost the entire starting lineup to end last season, as well as All-ACC performers Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum and valuable contributors like Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones. Most programs would expect a huge drop-off after losing this much production and talent, but under Coach K Duke has actually improved and excelled so far this season.

Recruiting/Coaching Inexperience

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To replace the nine players from last year’s roster, the Blue Devils added eight new freshmen this season. Four of those freshmen are in the starting lineup, making Duke one of the youngest teams in the country. It helps that they added 5-star prospects Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter, Jr., Trevon Duval, and Gary Trent, Jr. He’s also gotten key contributions off the bench from Alex O’Connell and Jordan Goldwire. Not to mention the offseason improvement of returning players with limited experience such as Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier, who have been crucial to Duke’s undefeated start. However, even though these players were extremely talented coming in, none of them had any NCAA playing experience.

First, this is a testament to Coach K’s recruiting ability. He’s consistently been able to attract talented prospects to Duke and bring in top recruiting classes. Additionally, this speaks to Krzyzewski’s coaching and leadership. He’s developed a system for the team to succeed and gotten each player to buy-in. Finally, Coach K also deserves credit for sticking with Grayson Allen. Despite last year’s tripping drama, Krzyzewski named him team captain and leader of this young team.


Coach K has already had a historic career breaking numerous records and earning tons of accolades. The winningest coach in NCAA history has also reached several more coaching milestones this season. Most notably, this season he passed former UCLA coach John Wooden with the most games coached as the #1 team (234). With a win against BC, he would also break a tie with Wooden for total weeks ranked No. 1 all-time.

Next: Taking Stock of Duke Basketball Before ACC Play

Things will start to get a little tougher for the Duke Blue Devils as they begin conference play. They compete in their first ACC game this weekend, traveling to take on Boston College. Expect Mike Krzyzewski to have his team prepared for upcoming competition within the toughest conference in college basketball. Coach K may not be considered for ACC or NCAA Coach of the Year at the end of the season, but he definitely deserves it.