Krzyzewski gives his last lectures

To the incomparable career of Mike Krzyzewski as a coach he has a few basketball games left, and there is no more than a month left before the team member Duke Hall of Fame, who is retiring, leaves the bench for the last time. His influence on the sport will remain far beyond that final goodbye. The footprints of the man known simply as “Coach K“They’re all over the place at the highest levels of the game as he winds down his nearly five-decade career as head coach.

Almost two dozen of his former players are currently on the rosters of the NBA. Another dozen or so train or work for teams in the NBA. There are others who run their own university programs from the Division I. And some of the biggest stars in the NBA of the last two decades have won Olympic gold medals under his direction.

“He has a small army of people who work in basketball and who believe in his values ​​and the things that he considered important,” said the coach of arizona state, Bobby Hurleythe base of the first two teams of Krzyzewski champions of the NCAA in 1991 and 1992. “That’s regardless of whether you’ve trained with him or been a player, because they’ll have incredible experiences and memories of things he did that you still use in your own situations.”

“His legacy is going to continue to grow through other people that he’s had an impact on in their lives, and I’m definitely one of those people.”

Krzyzewski75, officiated his last home game at the Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, precisely against his rival North Carolina. At most, he has 10 games left in a career that began with five seasons in the army and that followed with 42 in Dukeassuming that the Blue Devils reach the final of next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in New York and the championship game NCAA on New Orleans on April 4. Regardless of when or how the end comes, the place of Krzyzewski he is unquestionably among the greatest coaches in the history of American sports.

He has 1,196 career wins, more than any other coach in men’s or women’s college history. His five titles NCAA are ranked second after the deceased John Wooden on the men’s side, while his resume includes a record 12 Final Fours and a record 127 weeks with teams ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

“He’s the best guy to do that in the modern basketball world,” said the Syracuse coach, Jim Boeheim. “John wooden he won 10 championships, you can’t say anything else than that. But today is a different world. There have been many great coaches, but there is no one that comes close to what Mike has done. He has given his all to the game and has helped make the game what it is today without a doubt.”

The numbers support the conviction of Boeheim. Krzyzewski had until February 21 players in the templates of the NBA -including current or former All-Stars Jayson TatumKyrie IrvingZion Williamson and Brandon Ingram– and a record 27 players from the ACC last season. If we go back further, the teams of the NBA have drafted 68 Blue Devils from Krzyzewskiwith 42 as first-round picks and three – Elton Brand in 1999, Irving in 2011 and Williamson in 2019 – who were number 1 overall.

Coach K with LeBron James in a game with the US team


Duke notes that Krzyzewski has coached 113 players from the NBA between school and USA Basketballwhere Krzyzewski teamed up with former CEO Jerry Colangelo to restructure the men’s national team program. The result: He managed the egos and engaged the talent of stars like LeBron. James and the late Kobe bryant to produce three times the Olympic gold.

Some former players Krzyzewski now occupy leadership positions in the NBA, such as Quin Snyder as head coach of the Utah Jazz, Brand as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ersTrajan Langdon as GM of the New Orleans Pelicans and Grant Hill as co-owner of the Atlanta hawks.

The same happens in the university, since the tree of Krzyzewski has spawned 10 former players or staff members as head coaches, a number set to increase next season when jon scheyer take a seat on the Duke bench as the designated successor to Krzyzewski.

For everyone, the lessons of Krzyzewski they endure. Former Duke shooting guard, Grayson Allennow on the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, pointed out how Krzyzewski he would study videos after games late into the night, then drive the players to meetings first thing the next morning. “I always tell people that I’ve never been around someone more dedicated to the game of basketball,” he said. Allenadding: “He is totally committed to every little detail.”

Veteran Notre Dame coach, mike breystudied the competitiveness of Krzyzewski for eight years as his assistant. “He still wakes up wanting to fight someone and beat someone,” he said. Brey.

As to Hurleyappreciates more the career of sustained successes of Krzyzewski decade after decade after nine seasons as head coach at buffalo and arizona state. He remembered a moment: the 1992 NCAA regional finals against Kentuckyjust before Duke win with a pass Hill to Christian Laettner to flip the marker. “I’ve seen him have such poise in some of the darkest moments when people lost hope,” he said. Hurley. “Like our Kentucky game and how he handled that moment. Now that you’re a coach you look back and say, ‘Wow, could I have had that poise? Could I have convinced this group that we were going to win this game? It was one of Krzyzewski’s many memorable wins, though his impact on the game goes beyond wins.”

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Krzyzewski gives his last lectures