Imagining the first Duke basketball season without Coach K

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

When Coach K retires, will Duke basketball see doom, mediocrity, or growth?

The average age of active Duke basketball players is down ever since the dawn of the one-and-done era. And it does seem as if the youth adds pep to the step of Mike Krzyzewski. Nevertheless, the program’s 41st-year king is, of course, older than ever.

To be more exact, the five-time national champ, three-time Olympic gold medalist head coach, and all-time NCAA wins leader is less than six months from his 74th birthday. Plus, despite GOAT talk from his followers, not to mention ratface memes from his critics, Krzyzewski is indeed 100 percent human.

As for how many seasons he has left in his tank entering his 41st in Durham, well, even Coach K might not have a clue. The pessimist says one or two, tops. The realist says no more than five but likely, in light of what is shaping up to be one alluring 2021-22 roster, no fewer than two. Finally, the optimist says this type of discussion is still entirely unnecessary.

ALSO READ: Predicting Duke’s 2021-22 roster

Premature or not, it doesn’t hurt to be emotionally ready — regardless when retirement day is to arrive — by pondering what all could be in store for the Blue Devils in the first season after the curtain closes on the Golden Age of K. To ensure a thorough outlook, this is a three-part task using three different lenses: pessimist, realist, and optimist. Let’s begin by preparing for the worst…