No slowing down this summer for Duke’s Krzyzewski

CorrespondentMay 30, 2012 

USOC Summit Krzyzewski Basketball

U.S. men's basketball team coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks at a news conference in Las Vegas on May 1. Krzyzewski says he thinks the London Olympics will be his last coaching the United States. Krzyzewski says coaching the U.S. team has been "the ultimate honor," and he'll continue to be involved with USA Basketball after stepping down.

BRIAN JONES — Brian Jones - Las Vegas News Bureau/AP

— Fresh off what he called the busiest spring of his Duke career, Mike Krzyzewski is ready for a summer that promises to be just as frenetic.

The Blue Devils basketball coach kicked off the 10th K Academy camp on Wednesday and offered his assessment on what went wrong with his team last season and shared his anxieties concerning the U.S. roster for the Summer Olympics.

A little more than two weeks after saying that he doesn’t anticipate coaching the national team after the Summer Games in London, Krzyzewski was frank about the pressure he feels in ensuring the U.S. team wins gold medal.

“Right now, at this time of my life, I still enjoy having that type of pressure,” Krzyzewski said. “But it will be time to move on after that.”

Presiding over the Duke program certainly kept Krzyzewski on his toes this spring.

The Blue Devils lost to Lehigh in their first game of the NCAA tournament, a defeat that Krzyzewski has replayed in his mind a number of times.

“Sometimes you get beat,” he said. “We weren’t playing well. When Ryan (Kelly) went down, we kind of mucked it out in the ACC tournament. We won one; we could’ve won another. We could’ve lost right away. We could never figure out who we were with Ryan out.

“We weren’t that good.”

Krzyzewski also spent some time contemplating what went wrong in the latter part of the season, and while he didn’t want to get into the specifics of his analysis, he said the program needs to be tougher in how it practices and how it conditions while paying closer attention to how it bonds as a group.

And while Andre Dawkins’ status remains uncertain – Krzyzewski said a final decision on whether the rising senior will redshirt next season will be made in the fall – there was no mistaking the 65-year-old coach’s optimism.

“Ryan Kelly is now 100 percent, so that turned out well,” Krzyzewski said of the Blue Devils’ rising senior forward from Raleigh. “Recruiting turned out well. Mason (Plumlee)coming back is good for everybody, especially him. It’s been very busy. I’m really happy with where we’re at right now.”

Kelly was on hand to watch the start of K Academy fantasy basketball camp and said that his right foot felt fine.

He said he’s a little flattered that the coaches have singled out his absence as a reason the Blue Devils struggled in the postseason. Kelly was averaging 11.8 points per game when he sprained his foot the Tuesday before the ACC tournament.

“Whenever you have a big change like that, it just changes things and makes it hard,” Kelly said. “I think I brought some spacing for us that certainly helped out. I think I’m a pretty good player, so that helped us a little bit.

“That’s the thing – injuries are a part of sports. They stink and the timing was bad, but things like that happen. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes.”

Krzyzewski touched on a couple of other topics during his availability with the media.

One of the storylines in college athletics this spring has been speculation about additional conference realignments, including the possibility of Florida State leaving the ACC. At the same time, the USA Today also published a story about coaches’ salaries, revealing that Krzyzewski made $7.2 million in 2010.

Asked if he thought there was a correlation between the inflation in basketball and football coaches’ salaries and the apparent desire of some schools to pursue more lucrative conference affiliations, Krzyzewski demurred at the suggestion.

“I think the realignment stuff is more towards, ‘For your future, can you support all the athletic programs, all the varsity sports that your school wants you to support in a high-level manner?’” he said.

“I don’t know if the coaches’ salaries – for the two-revenue producing sports, men’s basketball and football, they’re going to be high because that’s what the market bears. The coaches of those programs make far more – their return on that investment is well taken care of.

“It’s whether or not the total package of everything can take care of all the sports. That’s why you’re looking at what your deal is with ESPN (and) what the ACC just did in getting a better deal. That’s a good thing for sports.”

And then there was the topic of the 2012 Olympics, which begin July 27 in London.

The U.S. team has been beset by injuries to stars such as Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard. In a perfect world, Krzyzewski said the team would’ve announced the 12-man roster this week. But they want to wait until the end of the NBA playoffs to see who is still standing.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service