Mike Krzyzewski is one of the best college basketball coaches in America. Everyone knows that. His resume is tremendous and it’s filled with both ACC Titles and National Championships, including a National Title last year with the Blue Devils. However, the most impressive thing that I think he has done throughout his career was in 2008 at Beijing where he led the Redeem Team to a gold medal. As good of a college basketball coach as he has been throughout his career, I had serious doubts about his ability to handle the egos of the players on the 2008 Olympic team, but I give him a lot of credit and I give the team a lot of credit for coming together for the greater good of the country in 2008 and make the sacrifice needed to bring the gold back to the United States. He made players once again want to play for Team USA. Once again, he and Jerry Colangelo will be in charge of putting together the National Team. The team that they bring to Greece this summer will look completely different than the gold medal squad from Beijing, but with Coach K running the show though, it doesn’t seem like that will be much of a problem.
Mike Krzyzewski joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about how tough it is to deal with egos of NBA players as opposed to college players, how it feels to have one of his teams be on the Most Hated list of Sports Illustrated, and what he thinks of LeBron’s decision to go to Miami.
On the difference of handling college players versus pros:
“It’s different because I think actually some of the kids you deal with now, most of them you’re trying to develop their egos because they’re young men. They’re trying to find themselves. A lot of them are trying to find themselves as players, as people, and that’s what you’re doing. That’s what happens a lot in college so that’s one of the really interesting things about coaching in college. In the pros, a lot of the egos are pretty much established although with the USA team now, I have a lot of young guys who I think are still developing that and still developing who they’re going to be. Kobe knows who he is going to be and is. Dwyane Wade and guys like that. Jason Kidd, when you’re dealing with guys like that they are established.”
On the hatred that Duke gets:
“I haven’t seen the list but I would think that most teams are teams that won a lot or won big or won championships. Are there any teams that lose on there?”
On whether it is more important to have stars or chemistry:
“I would do everything I could to make sure stars are on a team with great chemistry and then you’ve got a better chance for a championship.”
On LeBron James’ decision to go to Miami and how much it has to do with him not wanting to handle the pressure:
“I think people who love to lead don’t look at it as pressure. They look at it as opportunity. You’re in a constant search for leadership opportunities. I do think LeBron is a leader. I’m not sure his decision was based on not wanting to lead but the ability of using his talents maybe a little bit differently in a new environment. To me I see it in Miami as a point guard and power forward and he can do both in a game. I just think that change in scenery doesn’t mean you don’t want to lead. Again how it was handled and everything is up for grabs with how you feel about it, but I don’t think it’s wrong for him to want to be in a different scene and have different talents around him or with him that may bring out the best in him. A lot of times a really good player, his talents are brought out more when he’s with certain players that bring them out. I think he can look at it as everything was on him at one place and that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want the pressure it just means he wants to use his talents or develop a little differently.”