When Mike Krzyzewski talks, people always listen, even if it is weeks later.
The Duke basketball coach took issue with the way-weeks-old comments of his were framed as criticism of President Barack Obama’s ISIS strategy, and he clarified his remarks Tuesday night after the Blue Devils' exhibition win over Livingstone.
The story, posted by USA Today, The Washington Post and other websites Tuesday, said that Krzyzewski questioned Obama's promise of "no boots on the ground" against ISIS in a speech last month at an Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington, where Krzyzewski received the highest honor the Association of the U.S. Army awards, George Catlett Marshall Medal.
"That's like saying I'm not going to play two of my best players," the story quotes Krzyzewski as saying.
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"You never tell your opponent you are not going to use [them], like I’m not going to play Grant Hill, J.J. Redick, [Christian] Laettner,” he said, rattling off the names of some of his biggest stars at Duke.
The remarks were overlooked until the stories were posted on Tuesday, Election Day. After Duke's 115-58 exhibition win Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Krzyzewski was asked about his remarks, and he pointed out that he never mentioned ISIS or Obama in his speech.
“I'm passionate about the United States military and always will be an amazing supporter of the military," he said. "On that night nothing was ever said about President Obama, and nothing was ever said about ISIS. In fact, I hate even saying that word.
"I do not hate saying the other word because I love President Obama. It's amazing that it happened three weeks ago and on Election Day something is brought up and said in a way that I didn’t say. So be it."
Krzyzewski also reiterated his pride at receiving the George Catlett Marshall Medal. "That was as huge of an award as I've ever gotten,” he said.