One of the consequences of Mike Krzyzewski’s late-career move to one-and-done players is that those gifted players rarely stayed long enough to know their teammates for more than a few months and so didn’t bond as tightly as one might have hoped.
A master psychologist who could have done well as a Dale Carnegie instructor, Coach K never spoke ill of his young players, preferring to shift the blame to himself when possible.
But the truth is, it is harder to build chemistry and team trust when you only have a few months to compete together.
This was illustrated by the class of ‘86, which came in and took some serious beatings before ultimately finishing at 37-3 in their final season.
As much fun as Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones were, imagine what could have happened if they spent four years together.
Alas, that world appears to be nearly as far gone as is the glory of Pharoah’s Egypt.
He didn’t come out and say this directly - we have to rely on an intermediary - but what K said about Belmont basketball is really pretty cool.
We can’t get it to come up on the desktop, but this link worked on the phone so see how you do. You pay your money, you take your chances, right Vern?
Anyway, in this story which you may or may not be able to read depending on your subscriptions or possibly paywall eluding skills, Coach K was talking to Belmont President Greg Jones and basically said, based on two really tough games against the Bruins, that he never wanted to play them again. Duke had more talent, you see, but Belmont played better together as a team.
And he’s right. They played beautiful, smart basketball. Even cranky ol’ Bob Knight would have been impressed. That’s a wonderful basketball program.