Coach K on Leaving Duke, This Year’s Squad And The Olympics

Mike Krzyzewski is, for all intents and purposes, the identity of Duke basketball. He has dealt with plenty of stars and coached plenty of legends during his time in Durham, but, like most college coaches, he’s the only constant.But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been tempted to leave before; quite the contrary. Coach K, in an interview with Atlanta’s 790 the Zone, talks about what job opportunities have had him close to walking away from Cameron Indoor.

Additionally, he names the two scariest players he’s ever had to coach against as well as the best player he’s ever coached, talent wise. And, in what worked out to a fantastic interview, K discusses the differences of the 1992 and the 2008 Olympic teams and what it was like coaching the 2008 Olympic team. Oh yes, and this year’s Duke squad, of course. Which was like the same thing, but not as good. Or even close.

On this year’s Duke squad:

“This team was fun. Exciting for me. I never got tired of coaching them and they kept improving. I love this team. Some teams never completely develop a personality but you can remember them. My strong teams kind of develop an identity.”

On coaching the 2008 Olympic team:

“I don’t think you can coach them and be their coach and be star struck. I love these guys. What I found myself at different times is saying “wow, here I am coaching and I’d like to do this at the highest level and guess what, we are.”…I can remember Chris Bosh stepping out on a ball screen and I watched it on tape and I said, “I’ve never seen a guy get that wide when stepping in.” It was like a discovery. I don’t want to equate it to medicine but it was like, “I’ve never seen that.” In the gold medal where it’s a two point game and you look at them on the bench and instead of drawing up a play, you tell them to just play because you know they’ll follow their instincts better and then all of a sudden you see Dwayne and Kobe especially, putting the ball in the basket.”

On the 1992 vs. 2008 Olympic team:

“The ’92 team will be the greatest team ever. I’m not knocking the guys I had this past year, but you’re talking about Jordan, Pippen, Bird, Magic, Robinson, Ewing, Malone, Stockton, Mullin and Drexler.”

More Coach K and the full interview after the jump.

Most talented players he’s ever coached based on pure talent:

“Grant Hill”

Opposing player he worried about the most:

“Michael Jordan and Len Bias”

On job offers over the years:

“Over the time I’ve been here I’ve been offered a lot of jobs that end up being a lot of people’s dream jobs and I had the dream job I have. Duke has been a dream job for me. There were two times that were unbelievably close. One was with the Celtics when Dave Gavitt took over in 1990 and with the Lakers a few years ago…With Gavitt, Bird and those guys and I love the Celtics and then with the Lakers, with Mitch Kupchak and coaching Kobe, those were things that you have to think about. I think the fact that I love where I am and what I do, it’s tough to leave something that is giving you so much.”

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