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More On Ian O’Connell’s Book About Coach K

So far, looks like thin gruel.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Duke
 Feb 15, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski (right) give instructions to forward Wendell Moore Jr. (0) during the first half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s another article about Ian O’Connell’s upcoming book about Mike Krzyzewski, Duke’s iconic coach who is set to retire when Duke’s season ends.

Honestly a lot of what’s out just sounds like junk. Why would we say that? Well, we can’t read the book obviously, as it’s not out yet. But look at what’s being discussed.

First, more on the Scheyer-Amaker stuff. We don’t remember who was on the search committee. Was President Vincent Price? Because the story here is that he was pushing for Tommy Amaker. However, there’s no explanation of why. There’s also the repeated story that Coach K told Amaker that he’d have to return as an assistant for a year, which would obviously upset staff chemistry, and not just Scheyer either.

Maybe the book gets into more detail, but it doesn't seem right. It’s logical to suggest he rejoin the staff, at least from Coach K’s point of view, but how far did things get? So many details that don’t make sense to us.

For what it’s worth, we have deliberately waited to talk much about Scheyer, but we will tell you this. Obviously he’s proven himself as a recruiter. But many people regard him as a savant about basketball. He just has a real gift for the way the game works. We’ve seen small examples of this, like when he set Tre Jones up to intentionally miss a free throw and where the ball would come off, or the play he drew up that got Paolo Banchero an open shot in the closing seconds against Wake Forest Tuesday night. Less obvious: not only was AJ Griffin open for a three, should Banchero pass it to him, not only was Mark Williams ready for the follow, but so was Wendell Moore, who would probably have tipped it in had Williams not gotten to it first.

Scheyer drew that up.

He also alleges that Coach K’s famously complex relationship with Bob Knight ended in 2015 in Pinehurst. That’s a story we haven’t heard.

Then there’s a suggestion that Coach K was “jealous” of Quin Snyder and “snapped” at Snyder more than any other player or coach. What is there to be jealous of? Snyder’s good looks? His education? We don’t have a list of players who got “snapped” at a lot, but we know some who probably deserved to be. That just seems to be a very vague idea. Coach K jealous of Quin Snyder? Why didn't he just fire him then? Meh.

In the next paragraph the article says that Snyder and former assistant Tim O’Toole helped Coach K overhaul his recruiting philosophy in the mid 1990s to “sign players who didn’t come from traditional Duke backgrounds.“ Why would jealous Coach K let Snyder do something so critical? And why would he credit him for organizing the basketball office around business principles?

Then there’s this: “An examination of past allegations of NCAA rules infractions and eligibility issues, and a belief among rival schools and coaches that the governing body gives Duke favorable treatment.“ A belief? Now we’re dealing with jealousy.

But immediately after that comes this: “A look at how Duke reviews the financial records of top recruits ‘to ensure that there are no transactions inconsistent with his family’s employment status and financial standing.’ The book cites a source saying that the school reviewed Zion Williamson’s family bank records before he enrolled. ‘We don’t have subpoena power,’ said one school official. ‘We can’t be confident we see everything, but we try.’ Duke’s subsequent investigation into allegations that Williamson and family members had received improper gifts and benefits cleared the player.

So immediately after the stuff about “allegations,” which after all anyone can make, O’Connell is quoted as saying that Duke works hard to make sure there are no problems.

And we can tell you this: we asked our own questions about the Willliamson situation and got very similar answers.

We can also refer you back to a recent link where Jay Bilas said that Coach K wouldn’t give him a short ride back to his house, or buy him a cheap lunch, because those would be NCAA violations.

We’ll wait and see what the substance is here but our impression so far? This is a ridiculous, opportunistic book.