Coach K Has Duke Back In The Sweet 16
So far so good for the Duke Blue Devils. Coach K’s squad advanced to the Sweet 16 after dusting #16 seed Arkansas Pine Bluff on Friday, then handily dispatching the #8 seeded Cal Bears on Sunday afternoon. When the brackets came out on Selection Sunday, media pundits and fans alike pointed to Duke’s region – the South – as the easiest of the four paths to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Duke may not have been presented with too tough a challenge in either of their first two games, but there’s certainly some solid competition remaining in the Blue Devils’ way. Duke faces #4 seed a Purdue squad on Friday that showed its grit and resolve by beating a very tough and competitive Texas A&M squad in the 2nd round.
If Duke were to advance past Purdue, they would take on either #3 seed Baylor or #10 seed Saint Mary for a trip to the Final Four, both those teams are playing outstanding ball. Bottom line is Duke has its work cut out for them still if they hope to advance to the Final Four for the 11th time under Coach K.The Hall of Fame head coach joined 790 The Zone in Atlanta to talk about how he feels this team is more complete than other Duke teams in recent years, how he thinks his team has a chance to cut down the nets in Indianapolis, how he’s never been tempted to break the rules to land star players, and finally, to answer some ‘quick hit’ questions like who the toughest players were that he’s ever coached against.
On if this team is more complete than many of the Duke squads he’s coached in recent years:
“I think it’s more than fair. Whether we win the National Title or not, I think we’re competitive. It’s such a hard thing to win. This team has a chance. It’s not a great team, but it’s a very good team. It can play defense and it’s really together as a group. It can score enough points and it can rebound. It doesn’t play all aspects of the game – it’s not a pressing team, we can’t force tempo and stuff like that. But it has a chance. It’s been awhile since we’ve not had a hole that someone can exploit. Our kids have done a good job in the last few years trying to plug a hole or two and we just didn’t have enough. But we have a chance and that’s what you want as a coach and as a player – you want a chance.”
On if there was ever a temptation to break or rule or two over the years in order to land certain recruits:
“No, going to West Point, I’m sure you Pete Dawkins the Heisman Trophy winner and General Dawkins, he was an instructor there when I was a cadet, and one of the things he said was to win by cheating is not to win. And because you know, whether someone else knows doesn’t matter. What I call that is character – what you do when no one’s looking and would you do the honorable thing. I’ve been at two schools, one that wouldn’t allow it, and two the atmosphere is…you don’t do that. It’s a road you don’t even travel. That doesn’t mean you have…you know, over the years you break a rule. I think rules are broken by everybody, whether that means you made an extra phone call because you didn’t keep tabs with your staff. Things like that, what they call secondary violations. But knowingly that’s never been [an issue].”
The best one or two players he’s coached against:
“Jordan and Len Bias.”
Best player he’s coached against in the Olympics:
The college basketball analysts he respects:
“You know, a lot of them. Coach Knight. He’s the guy I have the most respect for. But you know, Bill Raftery, Jay Bilas. There’s quite a few guys. The analysts are pretty good.”
Favorite city to visit:
On if he texts with LeBron or Kobe:
“Not texts, I’ll talk to them every once in awhile.”