Coach K recently finished his 31st season at Duke and surpassed Bobby Knight as the winningest coach in Division I men’s college basketball history. Winning seasons, superb graduation rates, and a close-knit basketball team are all attributes that reflect on the man that seems to have been in Durham since the beginning of time. Year-in and year-out Duke is always one of the most hated teams because they win, and do so consistently. They are not only despised by the fans, but they are also very hated by the student-athletes that have to step out onto the court to compete against them (as noted in ESPN’s ‘Fab Five’ documentary). In 30 years at Duke, Coach K. has built a dynasty that few programs in the history of the game will ever match.
Coach K joined ESPN Radio in Chicago to talk about if he can compare the feat Brad Stevens has accomplished at Butler to anything, what he thinks about Jalen Rose’s comments, and why people seemingly love to hate on Duke.
(Jay Williams) His thoughts on Derrick Williams:
“We felt that he played as well as the kid has played against us maybe in the last two years, probably Hansbrough had that type of impact on a game when he played against us. But we thought we were probably playing 12-15 points better than them in the first half, but he had five threes, but he’s capable of it. As he’s doing it, I’m saying “Damn.” You want the great player to be really good, not great, when he plays against you. I looked at Wojo and Chris Collins and said “He’s playing great” and then I looked at the stats at halftime and he had 25, I said “Holy Mackerel!” His team which is a good team, really a good team, very well coached by Sean Miller, they just got confidence, they got more confidence, and then for about ten minutes, it was like a buzz saw. It was just one of those things you couldn’t do anything about.”
(Silvy) If he can compare the feat Brad Stevens has accomplished at Butler to anything:
“I think it is as unique as anything that has happened in the history of the tournament. For Butler, someone from what a so-called ‘mid major’ conference to really just play great two straight years, and make it to the final four, championship game last year, and will have a chance to win the whole thing this year. It is just so unique, but when you look at his team he has, you will smile Jay when you hear this, Howard to me, reminds me a lot of Battier. He plays every play, he is like a computer out there. Mac isn’t as good as you, but he’s as good as just about anybody in this tournament, and then you have the guys who have been there before, so they have two guys who are unique players. They would start for any of the teams that are in the Final Four. I think they have a heck of a chance to win the whole thing.”
(Silvy) What he thinks about Jalen Rose’s comments:
“I don’t really want to comment on that. I just think that sometimes people say things to get attention so that they can sell their documentary. Obviously, that was a poor choice of words and very insulting to everyone here at Duke, but especially, not just our African-American players, but any African-American student. When you judge within a race, you start judging, like you put categories as to whom you are, I think that is just the wrong thing to do. We were very successful against them and, to be quite frank with you, we recruited Chris Webber. I didn’t recruit Jalen Rose because we had Grant Hill, and I’m happy with that. We didn’t look at the other, Juwan Howard we knew wasn’t going to come to Duke. The other two kids we didn’t think were the caliber that could play as well as Thomas Hill and Brian Davis and Billy McCaffery. They are good kids. They were good kids and they had a heck of a run but, they didn’t leave anything, they didn’t establish anything there. The guys that I had established something that Jay Williams continued to do ten years later, the standards of what it meant to be a Duke basketball player.”
(Jay Williams) Why do people love to hate Duke:
“To be quite frank with you, there are more people who love Duke. We’re as popular a team in the United States, but we are also a hated team because we have won and it is okay. I had John Thompson on my Sirius XM show and he talked about anger based on competition, it’s competitive anger. I am okay with that, with somebody saying I want Duke to lose because they have won. When you attack the standards that our guys have had, that’s a different type of anger and then you should get help because then you got a problem, and it is not my problem, it is your problem. But competitive anger I’m good with. I hate the STL Cardinals. I’m a Chicago Cub fan. I hate the teams in my division, but the Cardinals, especially. I still can’t get over Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio, I hold grudges. That is what is competitive anger and that’s what fans should have and you know, those are good things.”
(Jay Williams) Whether he is going to sit down with Kyrie Erving and his family about leaving for the NBA:
“We always want to do what the youngster and his family wants to do, and we will support any decision. Your family, the diploma was so important because they had their Masters, they understood the value of a lifetime of a great education. For the listeners, I’m not sure people realize this about Jason, but he graduated in three years from Duke, the extra time, two summer school sessions, to do that and still be the second pick in the NBA draft, two-time National Player of the Year. What you want to do is you want to punch every ticket you can and the education ticket is something that if you punch, you’ll have it there the rest of your life. It sets you apart.”