2017 will always be known at Duke as the year our beloved president, Mr. Richard Brodhead, stepped down. But could yet another endearing member of Duke’s faculty be joining President Brodhead in leaving Duke? In a somewhat surprising twist of events, it appears that 5-time NCAA championship and 3-time Olympic Gold medalist basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is finally calling it a career as coach of the Duke’s famed basketball team. But, fear not fellow Cameron Crazies, Coach K won’t be out of the spotlight. After all, while he is retiring from coaching, reports emerge that he will be joining Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, and Luke Kennard as the 4th Duke team member to declare for the 2017 NBA draft.
As surprising as it seems, there have been many signals that have hinted at our legendary coach’s potential “retirement”. In the past few months, Coach K has faced some health issues and required surgery. Upon his return, however, Coach K reported that he was feeling a lot younger as a result of the operations, so young that he is apparently ready for a new career as a player.
Initial scouting reports on Coach K have reported positive aspects of his game that should translate well into the NBA. In the recent run of Duke’s tournament games, Coach K was clocked at a blistering rate of 3.07 seconds when running across the court to yell at a referee. In comparison, NBA superstar point guard John Wall took 3.14 seconds to run the same distance at the NBA combine in 2010. A scout commented on Kryzyzewski, “[He] definitely has the potential to be a transcendent player in the NBA. He can play all 5 positions…and he’s got leadership…that’s something that you can’t teach a player.” Very little footage of Coach K playing basketball in a 5-on-5 game is available so his performance at the NBA combine will be crucial to evaluating his draft stock.
The most obvious drawback in Coach K’s draft profile is, of course, his age. With any 70-year old, the big concern is that he may have a negative impact on locker room chemistry. After all, as you may have experienced from conversations with your grandparents, they love to talk “technology these days” or how they “worked in a canning factory when they were [our] age”. All of these topics would be absolute buzzkills in the NBA locker room. Still, Coach K’s potential as a player is tantalizing and could be hard for NBA teams to pass up on. He is currently projected to go in the lottery in most mock drafts.
In the aftermath of Coach K’s draft declaration, it appears that other septuagenarians are contemplating NBA careers as well. For one, Donald Trump has expressed intentions of starting a new NBA team after he loses re-election in 2020. The NBA opposed any rumors of Mr. Trump starting an NBA team, however, releasing a statement saying “if his cabinet is any indication, Trump’s NBA team will consist primarily of assholes with absolutely zero basketball experience.” Most recently, it has been reported that unlike with his cabinet Mr. Trump is actually having difficulty finding 15 rich and old white friends who would be willing to play for his basketball team.
As for whom Duke may choose to replace Coach K as the head coach of the basketball teams, 4 names have emerged as frontrunners to become the leader of Duke’s esteemed basketball program: former president Barack Obama, not-sure-what-he-does Lavar Ball, professor Clark Bray (famous for mathematical bankshots), and Crazy Towel Guy. Duke will reportedly choose the next head coach from these four candidates in a Twitter poll during the summer so keep an eye out for that.
So that’s a wrap on a Coach K’s storied career as Duke Basketball’s head coach. We will remember him for his greatness and within a few years a bronze statue of him will probably be erected in front of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Heck, Cameron Indoor Stadium might be renamed Krzyzewski Indoor Stadium. In the meantime, we will miss him surely but it will be entertaining to watch him in the NBA. The odds are stacked against him but as he has proven time and time again, when it comes to Coach K, “the ceiling is the roof”.