Thursday, February 8, 2007

UNC-Duke notebook: Coach K, as in kindhearted?

DURHAM -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s words were contrary to his demanding reputation Wednesday night.
Krzyzewski is known for the militaristic discipline he learned under fiery coach Bob Knight as a player at West Point. Because of that, you would expect him to lose his temper after North Carolina’s 79-73 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Blue Devils (18-6, 5-5) have lost three games in a row for the first time since 1996.
Duke is tied with Clemson and Florida State for fifth place in the ACC, behind Boston College, Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
But Krzyzewski was gentle with his players because they are inexperienced. Duke has no seniors and just one junior, DeMarcus Nelson, in the rotation. At one point during the second half Wednesday, the Blue Devils had four freshmen on the floor along with sophomore point guard Greg Paulus.
"It’s different if you have a team that is not playing hard," Krzyzewski said. "That’s never been the case for these kids."
Krzyzewski said Paulus and freshmen Jon Scheyer and Gerald Henderson showed amazing heart against North Carolina. He said some missed free throws in the second half were critical.
And Duke’s three losses have come by two points in overtime, by one point and by six. After losing ACC scoring leader J.J. Redick and school career rebounding and blocked-shots leader Shelden Williams to the NBA, Duke’s struggles aren’t entirely unexpected.
"It’s not where we want to be," said sophomore center Josh McRoberts, "but it’s not shocking, because obviously we know what we lost."
-- TERRY SHINES: North Carolina coach Roy Williams was hard on Reyshawn Terry because he and backup Danny Green combined for one rebound during Saturday’s loss at N.C. State.
But Wednesday night, Terry was strong on the boards, with a team-high 10 rebounds. On one remarkable play in the first half, he chased a missed shot out of bounds and saved it to Brandan Wright for a layup. Terry also scored 10 points.
"I loved Reyshawn Terry, his effort, his defensive effort, his work on the backboards," Williams said.


David McKnight said...

Coach Krzyzewski of Duke and Coach Williams of North Carolina are both very demanding leaders of their respective basketball programs, but they are also very effective and measured in bringing along players and teams which have not yet reached their potential. This makes Mike and Roy great teachers for the student-athletes at Duke and UNC as well as highly respected coaches.

These Carolina and Duke men's teams are an interesting assortment this season because the Tar Heels seem to have found an effective balance in their floor offenses earlier than perhaps might have been expected, whereas Duke is still searching for just the right mix of players at cerain positions, including especially how to make use of their "big men" in under the basket.

In the case of Coach K, when one of his teams has a real shot at a run for the roses, you can expect the most intense and demanding oversight from the bench. But a team like this year's edition of the Blue Devils, when it stumbles or struggles or loses steam in the late going, what you get from Coach Krzyzewski is a helping hand up and an understanding chat here and there to keep the players' spirits up while they try to improve their game.

Meanwhile, Coach Williams at UNC has been blessed with such talent that it's small wonder that he gives his players a gentle "blessing out" every now and then!

But most important of all, Coach Krzyzewski and Coach Williams will recognize and respect just where a player "is at" in his progress and development and will help to bring that player closer and closer to his true abilities and potential on-court play.

Alison A said...
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Alison A said...

Remind me many freshman does UNC play throughout the course of a game? At least five.

Now, let's talk about who had "inexperienced" kids on the court -- BOTH teams, and the better team won.

Geez -- it's amazing how most coverage of this week's games is giving all the credit to Duke. THEY LOST THE GAME...AT HOME.