|Mike Krzyzewski has coached USA to two golds now. Do recruits care about that when deciding on Duke? (US Presswire)|
CBSSports.com's college basketball quartet of Gary Parrish, Jeff Goodman, Jeff Borzello and Matt Norlander spent the July recruiting period hobnobbing with nearly 100 coaches, brain-picking them on some of the sport's current issues. From the best players to their comrades in coaching; from the AAU programs to the agents' involvement; from the rule changes to the NCAA as a whole. We had to promise them anonymity, and in exchange, they gave us honest answers. Through Aug. 24, we'll be putting out one question per weekday and giving you the array of results, straight from the coaches' mouths.
Mike Krzyzewski spent Sunday hugging Kobe Bryant, having water dumped on his head by LeBron James and earning another gold medal for USA Basketball while countless prospects watched it all go down on television, and suddenly missing the July evaluation period didn't seem like that big of a deal. No, not a single high school player saw the Duke coach on the recruiting trail last month, which isn't ideal under normal circumstances. But these aren't normal circumstances. And who's been more visible lately than Coach K?
He's on TV with the stars of the sport everyday.
They respect him and they've made that clear.
Which leads us to our next question.
The question: Has Mike Krzyzewski earned a recruiting advantage because of his association with USA Basketball?
- Yes: 71 percent
- No: 29 percent
Quotes that stuck:
"Every elite-level recruit in America dreams of one day winning an Olympic Gold. Do you know how many days in a row Duke could send out a USA basketball mail without having to use the same picture of Coach K twice? I'd bet they could go a year, easy. He's proved himself as the best coach in the world. He's coached LeBron, Kobe and Durant and got them all to buy in for a common purpose. Come on. Huge advantage. And it's deserved."
"It increases his celebrity. People are saying, 'There's my future coach.' And he's got a network of people. He can get in touch with Kobe and LeBron whenever he wants."
|More Critical Coaches|
"It's huge because everyone watches the Olympics."
"He can send a text to a kid -- and the kid can watch him coaching the Team USA on TV."
"He's getting a lot of facetime."
"It's huge in recruiting. He has the best players in the world on his side."
"It's a massive advantage. You don't think he's constantly talking to kids and name-dropping LeBron, Kobe and KD? There are kids out there thinking, 'If he's good enough to be their coach, he's good enough to be my coach.' That's tough to counter."
Takeaway (by Gary Parrish):
That more than 70 percent of the college coaches we polled believe Krzyzewski's association with USA Basketball has been beneficial for Duke in recruiting is hardly a surprise. Honestly, I thought the number would be a little higher because it's so obviously an advantage in so many different ways.
Coach K has been on TV practically everyday. He's been credited with changing the culture of USA Basketball. He's earned the respect of the world's very best players and, remember, this is a world where the very best players sometimes question coaches, turn on them and get them removed. (What up, D-Howard?)
But nobody ever questioned Krzyzewski.
They just seemed to love playing for the guy.
And you don't think recruits loved getting texts from the guy who earned the respect of the sport's biggest stars? Imagine Krzyzewski over in London texting a recruit something like … "You know, I was telling LeBron about you this morning at breakfast." Or … "So I was working one-on-one with Kobe after practice, and it reminded me of something I wanted to talk to you about." Or … "KD asked about you tonight after the game. He asked if I thought we were gonna get you to Duke because he knows what kind of player you are. I just told him I sure hope you commit soon because I think we could use you in the ACC the same way we're using Kevin in the Olympics. Anyway, how are things back home?"
Rest assured, that kind of stuff impacts 17-year-old prospects.
The only real question is how much?
Signing Day is in November.
I guess we'll see then.
Coming Tuesday: If they had the power, what one rule would coaches change in the sport?