Duke basketball: Former Coach K protege may get the boot

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

A Duke basketball alum’s job security is now in question.

Following Tuesday’s 66-46 first-round loss to No. 13 seed Boston College at the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, the head coach of No. 12 seed Pitt, Jeff Capel, drew some criticism from the public for pointing out the obvious. Here’s what the former Duke basketball guard (1993-97) and assistant (2011-18) under Mike Krzyzewski told the media:

“We have to get better players…It’s not anything personal. We have to continue to add better players; we have to recruit better.”

Folks on Twitter took issue with that statement for a couple of reasons. First, many accused Capel of throwing the players he does have under the bus. Second, the 47-year-old and his staff have reeled in zero commitments to date on the 2022 recruiting trail.

The Duke basketball product’s weakening resume

As Stadium analyst Jeff Goodman pointed out via a tweet, “the question becomes whether Panthers AD Heather Lyke brings Jeff Capel back next season.” A buyout of “around $15 million” is the other option.

Capel said he’s confident about getting another shot but noted Lyke has yet to give him any assurance of that.

With a career 226-179 record (55.8 winning percentage) between his 13 seasons in charge at VCU (2002-06), Oklahoma (2006-11), and Pitt (2018-present), one might think Capel deserves more time to resurrect the program. However, consider that the North Carolina native has not directed a winning season since he enjoyed the services of Sooners legend Blake Griffin in 2008-09.

None of his six teams since have reached the NCAA Tournament. And they’ve combined to go 78-105. He’s 51-69 (42.5 percent) at Pitt. The 2021-22 Panthers finished 11-21 (34.3 percent), marking Capel’s lowest winning percentage anywhere.

Should Jeff Capel end up losing his job, it’s conceivable he could return to the Duke basketball bench next season as an assistant to then-first-year head coach Jon Scheyer.

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