A recent CBS Sports poll concluded what many in Durham already know — Blue Devils basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is the most powerful person in college basketball.
CBS Sports conducted an anonymous poll of more than 100 Division I coaches and came away with that assessment. Krzyzewski garnered 43.7 percent of the votes, easily outdistancing Kentucky’s John Calipari (20.4). They were the only two who reached double digits.
Among the reasons respondents gave for choosing Krzyzewski were his vast coaching experience in college and in international competition. At Duke, he is two wins shy of 1,000 and his overall record is 1,071-330 when you include his time at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Since joining USA Basketball as the national team coach, Krzyzewski has recorded an 88-1 mark that includes three Olympic gold medals and 76 consecutive wins.
One of the respondents told cbssports.com:
“Coach K is the biggest deal in our sport. And the USA Basketball thing is what took it to another level. He gets [expletive] done. Who else could get that Marvin Bagley deal done like him? And he’s bullet-proof too. Corey Maggette situation. Nothing comes of it. Lance Thomas situation. Nothing comes of it. Totally bullet-proof. Have to respect it.”
Krzyzewski, 70, underwent knee-replacement surgery last month, forcing the cancellation of a planned team trip to the Dominican Republic. He should be at full strength when practice opens on Oct. 20 with Countdown to Craziness.
In the meantime, he is using his time to welcome a parade of the top recruits to Duke’s campus. This weekend, Duke is hosting R.J. Barrett, who is the No. 1-rated player in the high school Class of 2018. Next month he will welcome Zion Williamson, the No. 2 overall recruit, and Darius Garland, the No. 3-ranked point guard.
The CBS Sports list also included Jay Bilas, who played for Krzyzewski from 1982-86 and now is an ESPN college basketball analyst. Bilas is known for his outspoken advocacy for college athletes. He was the only person in the media to receive votes.