Blog Entry

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:25 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 10:31 pm
By Gary Parrish

NEW YORK -- Mike Krzyzewski sat at the table in black Duke warmups that blended into a black Duke backdrop and immediately started talking about ... his past two games and various bumps and bruises that might affect practice. Seriously. It was funny. It was typical. But after a couple of minutes the Hall of Fame coach relented and actually acknowledged the giant record in the room ... in the most subtle and vague way possible.

"Excited about going to the Garden," Krzyzewski said. "It's going to be a unique event."

Yeah, I'd say so.

The Champions Classic is a first-year event designed to put four elite programs -- in this case, Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky -- in the same building on the same night for the next three seasons with the matchups and location changing each year. It's a terrific idea. The doubleheader would be big on its own merit. But Tuesday night's doubleheader here at Madison Square Garden will be especially significant -- or, as Krzyzewski put it, unique -- because the most accomplished active basketball coach in the world will have an opportunity to become the winningest coach in NCAA Division I men's basketball history.

Coach K enters the game with 902 wins.

Barring an upset, he'll record No. 903 against Michigan State.

So a notable moment is (presumably) on deck. But if you were expecting Krzyzewski to focus on that on the eve of the game, you haven't been listening to him talk for the past three decades. Simply put, that's not K's style -- even if he's well aware of what he's about to accomplish.

"I'm not trying to hide the historical significance of this," Krzyzewski said. "But I can't put it ahead of what I'm doing."

And what is he doing?

"I'm just trying to figure out how to guard [Michigan State's Draymond] Green and keep [the Spartans] off the boards," Krzyzewski said. "I try not to think about those [other] kinds of things."

That's classic Krzyzewski -- always thinking in the moment, never getting too high or too low or too caught up in the big picture that consumes most of us. He lives life 40 minutes at a time. Or, more accurately, from one media timeout to the next. That -- in addition to his brilliant basketball mind -- is among the things that's allowed Krzyzewski to be consistently excellent while other Hall of Fame coaches come and go.

When Krzyzewski will go is anybody's guess.

But that day doesn't seem close.

He's only 64.

He seems sharper than his age.

So there are plenty of good years ahead of him, perhaps a fifth national championship, too. But for now the focus remains the same -- on the task at hand, on Draymond Green, on offensive rebounding and Michigan State in general. The rest of us can stare at 903. K's just trying to score more points than his opponent in a 40-minute contest.

"Nine-O-Three is gonna happen -- hopefully sooner rather than later," he said. "But I'm going into this game like any other game. I just want to win."

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 4:13 pm

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

Being the best coach of any sport at any level has not gone to Coach K's head. He's brilliant and humble. The perfect combination, which is why so many people are envious of him.

Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:47 pm

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

You're a tool.  He has the number 3 recruiting class in the nation for 2012.  He's recruiting wider these days and getting better talent than what's in state.  If you think UM has taken over as the elite program in Michigan, I'd like some of what you're smoking.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:38 am

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

Even if the game was called fair, Duke should walk on MSU this year.  When you add in Duke being allowed to play "Duke Defense" while other teams get called for touch fouls, this game could be a blowout.  

Sparty hasn't been the same since Tom Izzo's Cavalier Indulgence last year.  They also haven't been the same since Izzo lost his carte blanche for instate recruiting.  Izzo can no longer dominate his own state because he can't just say "Fab Five Scandal" to parents of elite recruits and eliminate Michigan anymore.  Now, he has to play on a level field with Michigan.  

Ultimately, for all of his great reputation, the facts are that Izzo had the very fertile recruiting state of Michigan virtually to himself for ten years, and has exactly as many NCAA Championships as Steve Fisher did after six games: one.  Within five years, if Izzo is still there, he will be unmasked for what he truly is: Jud Heathcoate v2.  That's not really bad at all, but he doesn't deserve "legend" status, either.  

Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:16 am

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

I had forgotten how much I despise Dukie, then watched as they mauled several Belmont players in the opener, and got the usual preferential treatment.

On a side note, I really wish Ref's would call Blocking once in a while, they put that little arc out their for a reason, and flopping is turning basketball into soccer right before our eyes.  Yet, you hear people say teams are chucking too many 3's, why take the ball to the hoop? 

Go State 

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 8:44 am

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

Let us hope there is not some scandal waiting in the wings for this record to be set. Funny coincidence at PSU in that regards.

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 6:35 am

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

Let's certainly hope Coach K has to earn that win.


Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 4:54 am

Coach K speaks with No. 903 on deck

Once Mike Krzyzewski gets 903 victory's he will be the greatest college basketball coach of all-time. God Bless Krzyzewski.

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