Hey everyone this is Sam. Let’s talk about how much I respect Coach Mike Kryzewski, better known as Coach K. I have to be totally honest that I was raised by my dad and my mentor to think Coach Bob Knight’s motion offense, man to man defense and no pressing was the way to go. As I grew up I naturally followed Coach K’s career even though he started more cutting and less screening. I ended up finding my own coaching legend to watch, Coach Billy Donovan, but I can’t stop watching Coach K’s career and what he has accomplished.
Coach K started out as a cadet that Coach Bob Knight recruited out of Illinois. There is an old story about Cadet Kryzewski’s father suddenly dying in 1969, which was Coach K’s senior year. His family didn’t want to bother him and said he didn’t have to fly home. Coach Knight took time off, missed practices and told him he would have missed a game to help him and his family get through this. Coach K never forgot your players come first. Just like in the Army, your men come first as an officer.
Duke’s head coach Mike Kryzewski stated his concerns regarding playing basketball in the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday night. Now, Duke decided to cancel the remaining non-confidence schedule because of Covid-19 concerns.
“For the good of the game and for the good of the safety and mental and physical health of players and staff, we need to constantly look at this thing,” Krzyzewski told reporters. “ … I don’t think it feels right to anybody.”
How Does It Really Affect Them?
Duke only had one game remaining before the holiday break. It was on December 19th with Gardner-Webb. This also means they aren’t going to reschedule Elon and Charleston Southern. However, they will play an ACC conference game with Notre Dame on Wednesday, December 16th then they will get a 13-day game break, but will practice to get better. Then they will play another conference game with Pittsburgh on December 29th.
Coach K said, “Making sure that we’re doing the right thing for our players, just for safety… We’re going to play conference and hopefully get to play all of them.”
The Good of the Players’ Health: Physical, Mental, Emotional
The five-time championship-winning coach said that the idea for everyone to start on Nov. 25 wasn’t planned well. He said he believed the goal was just to get in as many games as possible. Coach K doesn’t think this is what is best for the players. The sport is largely governed by an oversight committee. “Anything that’s led by committee is not agile,” Krzyzewski said, adding that he’s “not sure who leads college basketball.”
Many players won’t be able to go home and visit family for holidays, Krzyzewski said, arguing that this is a time when they should do that for their mental health. Krzyzewski cited the rise in COVID-19 cases as the basis of his argument.
“People are saying the next six weeks are going to be the worst,” Krzyzewski said. “To me, it’s already pretty bad. On the other side of it, there are these vaccines that are coming out. By the end of the month, 20 million vaccine shots will be given. By the end of January or in February, another 100 million. Should we not reassess that? See just what would be best?”
Would He Do This If They Were Undefeated and Great?
Krzyzewski recognized that his comments could be taken the wrong way. The Duke men’s basketball program wasn’t off to a great start this season. Krzyzewski’s comments came after an 83-68 loss to Illinois. “We got our butts beat,” he said. This dropped #10 Duke to 2-2 on the season.
“Look,” Krzyzewski said Tuesday, “I know somebody will take what I’m saying and make it look like I’m making excuses. I don’t make excuses. We need to get a lot better.”
Many (UNC fans) are going to say how happy Coach K would be if 4-0. You know what? You are right. He would be happy for his players, but I don’t believe he would be happy with the situation.
Is He Right?
Namely, that the sport shouldn’t have attempted this under the current calendar and should consider pausing and pushing everything back — make March Madness into May Madness, or even June Madness, for example. By then, vaccines and other treatments should make life far smoother. Over 50 games have already been canceled or “postponed” in a season that began on Nov. 25.
I’ve said this on my high school sports podcast. I agree with him. Coach K is right if you look at it strictly for the players’ health and the support system around them. How can I be so sure? Well, I had to make the hard decision before the summer to give up my assistant coaching job of a middle school team.
Why? Because my mother is immunocompromised and my sister is pregnant. I couldn’t take the chance that one of our players would be asymptomatic and I get it to give to them. It wasn’t a hard decision of my family, but it was a hard decision because if our players. That’s what Coach K is thinking about and that’s just another reason I respect him and his values.
As always, thank you for supporting Sports Obsessive. Please let me know what you think of Coach K in the comments section below.