With sports across the board put on pause, the face of Duke basketball recently had an opportunity for some storytelling.
Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski called in to the "Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team" radio show on 94 WIP this past Thursday. During his roughly 25 minute discussion with the hosts, Krzyzewski discussed a multitude of topics, including the greatest players to ever don a Duke uniform and the implications that the COVID-19 pandemic could have on the 2020-21 college basketball season.
Krzyzewski began the interview by reminiscing with former Duke standout Billy King, one of the hosts of the morning radio show. King, who graduated in 1988 and was named NABC National Defensive Player of the Year while helping the Blue Devils reach the Final Four in his final collegiate season, is widely recognized by fans and media as one of the greatest defenders in Duke history. Krzyzewski agreed with that sentiment, stating that “[King] would be on the starting five of an all-defensive team.”
Next on the agenda was the debate of the greatest overall players to call Cameron Indoor Stadium home, an argument that has been hotly contested among those who follow the program closely for years. Krzyzewski believes that while “Grant [Hill] was the most talented player that we’ve coached at Duke... the most accomplished player is [Christian] Laettner.” The basketball hall of famer stated that based on Laettner’s 21-2 record in the NCAA Tournament during his four years in Durham, the former Blue Devil center should be considered as potentially a top three player in the history of college basketball.
Later on, Krzyzewski touched on why he turned down past opportunities to coach in the NBA, and the current systematic flaws that he believes hinder the present and future of college basketball. Krzyzewski stated that his love for Duke and the people surrounding him have kept him from leaving the university, despite the fact that “the collegiate game has become more like the pros with the constant change—transfers, the complexity of it, the uncertainty, the movement of players and coaches.” All in all, Krzyzewski seemingly is not willing to reboot and head to the association at his current age.
Finally, Krzyzewski was asked about how COVID-19 may have an effect on the upcoming season. With every college facing decisions about the fall semester, Krzyzewski expressed a clear opinion that "for NCAA, for college, in basketball there are 353 and for football there are one hundred and twenty something at the top level and you are part of a collegiate community so you really have to do what the community is doing.” Student-athletes will obviously have to adhere to university policy regarding classes and events in the fall, which also pertains to athletics.
Krzyzewski even broached the idea that some college teams may not be able to play due to state and university restrictions while others are indeed able to compete.
"What if, five states you allow things that in the other states you don't," said Krzyzewski. "Do those schools have an abbreviated schedule or a schedule without the others?”
Major decisions for universities are on the horizon, and those measures will have a drastic impact on the collegiate sports landscape.
This marks the third time that the unofficial ambassador for collegiate athletics has made headlines in the radio world since the pandemic began. Krzyzewski interviewed Coronavirus Task Force leader Dr. Anthony Fauci for his “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” radio show on April 2 and called in to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on April 9.
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Max Rego is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor for The Chronicle's 117th volume.