Duke Now

Mike Krzyzewski defends Jahlil Okafor

After Duke’s 94-74 win over Indiana, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was asked about Philadelphia 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor, whose recent string of poor decision making and public fighting earned him a two-game suspension from the NBA. Okafor spent one year in Durham, winning the 2015 national championship.

Krzyzewski vehemently defended his former player. His full comment is below.

“Look, Jah is one of the great kids ever,” Krzyzewski said. “Ever, ever, ever. And, you know, get into some situations—he needs to move on. They also need to have security. Like, when we’re with the U.S. team, we have security for everybody because all of those guys are targets. You’ve just got to be smart about that. He was not. He apologized. He is being punished. Look, anybody who pictures that kid as some bad kid, you’ve got to be kidding me. He is one of the most loving, good kids who has ever happened on this Earth. But he did a couple stupid things. Okay, knock him, suspend him, let’s move on. But let’s not characterize him as that. He is not that. That kid is a special, special human being. And he is a pretty damn good basketball player in addition, too.”