Mike Krzyzewski plans for 'next 5 years' with Duke basketball
Elysia Su / The Chronicle
At a rare postseason press conference Wednesday, Krzyzewski recounted five-year segments from the 2000s to the 2010s before laying out his plans for next five years in Durham. Should that plan hold true, the 67-year-old head coach would remain at the helm of the Blue Devils through the 2018-19 season.
"I'm looking forward to the next five years," Krzyzewski said. "I'm going to be here during that time.... There's not like, 'When is he going to retire?' and all that. I'm looking forward to playing that out."
Krzyzewski had previously put retirement rumors to rest when he accepted an offer last May to stay on as the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team through the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Five more years on the Duke bench would give Krzyzewski—the current all-time wins leader for men's Division I basketball with 983 victories—a good chance to surpass longtime Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, who amassed 1,098 wins at the helm of the Lady Volunteers.
With his focus on long-term goals, Krzyzewski noted that the first pillar of his five-year plan is developing better on-court leadership for his Blue Devils.
"In a game, it's my job to create an environment where we can function as one and there's leadership and you can react to every situation," Krzyzewski said. "That's what we didn't do as well [this year]. As we go into next season, that's a primary concern and obviously other things will improve accordingly."
With freshman Jabari Parker and redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood yet to announce their decisions to return to school or enter the NBA draft and a final scholarship offer still out for undecided 2014 big man Myles Turner, Krzyzewski's picture of the 2014-15 Blue Devils has yet to come into focus.
An added variable when addressing how Krzyzewski will coach and recruit in the next five years is the potential of the NBA raising the minimum age requirement from 19 to 20. Newly-appointed league commissioner and Duke alum Adam Silver has set raising the age limit as a priority for the league, citing that an additional year of maturity and leadership will help the NBA's young players further fuel competition.
"Sometime during that five-year period I believe that the 20 and two rule will come in, but I don't know when. I think the NBA wants that," Krzyzewski said. "I think that would be good for basketball: NBA [and] college."
Krzyzewski's comments on the NBA's current one-and-done minimum age requirement come on the same day that the centerpiece of his 2014 recruiting class, center Jahlil Okafor, said in an interview with Sports Illustrated that forcing players to stay in school for more than a year would be unfair.
Citing that his teams do not always have time to tinker and make decisions on the fly, Krzyzewski emphasized the importance of supporting his younger players with strong leadership. This year's 2013-14 squad was led by Parker and Hood, two players in their first years playing for Duke.
"Guys who talk on the court—not to the other team or to the officials—they're in a constant state of trying to figure out what the hell is going on and trying to get their group to react accordingly," Krzyzewski said. "You can see that, and that's not as alive and well."
Reflecting on a season that many view as a disappointment, Krzyzewski once again tried to maintain a broader perspective. Despite Duke's untimely NCAA tournament exit, the Blue Devils' struggles this season may have revealed important building blocks that will help in Krzyzewski's next five years.
"We didn't have a bad season. I've had bad seasons. We had a horrible ending," Krzyzewski said. "When you're making decisions you don't do it because you lost a big deal... you're looking at the full body of work."