Mike Krzyzewski gets mulligan on worst Duke basketball decision in years

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski will be getting a mulligan on one of his worst decisions in years.

If you are a casual golfer, you clearly know what a mulligan is.

You probably use one (or two, or three, or four) per round.

If you are not a golfer or golf fan, a mulligan is essentially getting a do-over with no penalty.

That’s what is happening with Duke and head coach Mike Krzyzewski in one of his most bizarre moves in recent memory.

Back on January 23, 2019, Krzyzewski rolled out freshman Joey Baker on the court in a game against Syracuse, something he had never done before.

Baker, who reclassified from the Class of 2019 to 2018, was planning on using a redshirt in the 2018-19 season, but Coach K left the decision up to Baker on whether he wanted to play for a then banged-up Duke team, and the Hall of Famer went against his better judgment and played the freshman against the Orange, burning his redshirt.

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It’s not often when Krzyzewski gets heavily criticized for one of his coaching decisions, but this seemed like a rash idea from a coach who has always been careful and meticulous with his strategies.

Joey Baker went on to play only 18 total minutes as a freshman, including the postseason, and it caused many Blue Devil fans to be confused, and rightly so.

Clearly, even the greatest coach of all time can make mistakes, and this was one for Krzyzewski, but he’s getting a mulligan.

If you asked Mike Krzyzewski today if he made the right decision, he probably wouldn’t admit that it was a mistake, but I highly doubt that he would do it again if presented the opportunity,

Jeff Goodman of Watch Stadium reported that all winter sports athletes will be granted an extra year of eligibility because of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Spring and fall sports athletes were given the same option, and now winter sports athletes join the club.

The proposal is expected to become official at some point throughout the day on Wednesday.

So what does this mean for Joey Baker of the Duke basketball program?

Well, if Baker wishes, he could basically play this season as a “sophomore” in terms of eligibility even though he will be a junior.

The same thing can be said for anyone on the 2020-21 Blue Devils, although there will be a handful of players who leave following this season for the NBA Draft, graduation, or to pursue other options.

However, the two Duke players this rule could benefit the most are Joey Baker and Jordan Goldwire, who is scheduled to go into his senior season.

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Both players are not projecting to be NBA-caliber players, but potential careers overseas could await the players, although spending more time in Durham in a non-pandemic year seems like a more desirable option for a 20-something-year-old.

There are clearly many things to iron out with this idea, and it will certainly have an effect on many other aspects of college basketball, but it could wind up to be a blessing for the Blue Devils.

We all use mulligans in our daily lives, and now Mike Krzyzewski is getting the chance to do the same for the betterment of the Duke basketball program.

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