Mike Krzyzewski brushed off questions about if he really had to do any coaching with Team USA with a joke about rolling the ball out about going out and getting drunk.
And even though at least one foreign reporter thought he was being serious, most really know the amount of work it took for Krzyzewski to get that team of NBA players to play as a team. To the credit of the players, they all bought into the system and if he did nothing else Krzyzewski deserves an immense amount of credit for doing that.
The fact is that Krzyzewski has solidified his legacy and status as one of the greatest coaches in history and he isn’t done coaching. Another gold medal by Team USA only adds to his legacy.
When Krzyzewski took over the job as the coach of the United State Basketball team it was greeted with a lot of mixed emotions from Duke Basketball fans who felt that it would be a distraction. Some of those fans maybe even still feel that it is a distraction and that it takes away from what needs to be done with the Blue Devil’s. However, when you see the best basketball players in the world embrace Krzyzewski, and in the case of Lebron James, douse him with water following their gold medal game win over Spain, it is hard to imagine that Duke Basketball will be hurt by that.
In fact several recruits have said that it helps to see their potential future college coach mingling and coaching the best players in the NBA, a destination most top high school recruits want to be at some point in their own careers.
With his international career over, Krzyzewski ends with an impressive 62-1 record, a World Championship, and two Olympic Gold Medals as the head coach of the men’s basketball team. Those are some numbers that will not easily be passed and if they are it will take a man with an immense amount of dedication.
Krzyzewski takes that dedication now back to his program at Duke that is still a top destination for many of the top high school players in the country. If recruits need any convincing of why Duke is the right place for them, they need only look at the reactions of the NBA players on Team USA. During the first Olympics under Krzyzewski each player hung their gold medals around the neck of their coach in an iconic image.
While that wasn’t necessarily duplicated this time around the affection that the team had for Krzyzewski was clearly evident. Krzyzewski is a master of team building and relationships. He teaches his players to look beyond basketball and any player that wants that can find it at Duke. A few of the players on the team either didn’t like Duke or were rivals of the program while in college and all have sung Krzyzewski’s praises, some even saying they’d send their own kid to play for Coach K.
If Duke fans feel like by coaching the Olympic team, Krzyzewski was ignoring his Duke program and losing out on recruiting time, they need to open their eyes and see the effects of having the best players in the game praise their coach.
Only time will tell how much of a bounce Duke gets from this latest feat by its coach, but make no mistake that Krzyzewski has stayed golden and that is an advantage that no other college coach can boast. Rest assured, when Coach K goes into the home of a potential Blue Devil player he will talk about Sunday’s golden moment and use it to his advantage. When those players end up committing to Duke, no one should complain about the Olympics taking away from Duke.