TDR Bloggers gives fans the platform to express their views. Submitted blogs do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Draft Review.

By Jon D., TDR Blogger

Duke basketball is praised as a cream of the crop program, and rightly so (depending on your personal opinion). Since Mike Krzyzewski stepped on the scene in 1980 as head coach, the team has touted a winning reputation and proved to be a force to reckon with in the ACC.

Duke can win basketball games, and Coach K has seemingly become the poster child for collegiate coaching success. He stars in television commercials and has been given the honor of leading our 2008 Olympic national team. But at what cost has this entity called Duke made its claim to fame?

It’s been paid for with the sweat equity of athletes who thrive in Duke’s system as sensational players, but move on to become victims of that very same system when they can’t cut it in the NBA. Blue Devil glory is built on the back of sacrificial lambs – the players.




Krzyzewski employs a selfish coaching philosophy that capitalizes on a player’s best skills while exempting them from the responsibility to learn and grow in other areas of the game. This is career suicide for its players and contrary to the coaching philosophy of respectable basketball programs.

Successful teams like UNC, UCLA, and Georgetown operate with the idea that a player’s skill set is utilized to benefit the team with the expectation that they learn, grow, and acclimate themselves to the system already place, which may mean increasing your foot speed, learning to shoot from outside, or becoming a better defender. This grooms players for successful pro careers.

Duke, on the other hand, builds their program around its star players and requires virtually no expansion in their game. Coach K exploits his players’ best skills in the name of the program and gives nothing in return but the feel good feeling that it brings, courtesy of the media. Go in as a jump shooter and leave a jump shooter. Come in as a slasher and leave a slasher, nothing more.

ESPN’s recent article on Duke says they’re taking care of business, but are they taking care of their players? Although Duke’s premiere players receive a lot of hype, they’re historically ill-equipped to adjust and succeed on the NBA level. Player’s like Christian Laettner, Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick, and Josh McRoberts were McDonald's All Americans. We expected big things from them on the collegiate level and they delivered. But had they known the cost, would they have signed on to Duke’s growth stifling, handicapping system?

Elton Brand and Grant Hill are two obvious exceptions to Mike Krzyzewski’s self-serving philosophy, but the general theme with Duke is clear. The college experience is supposed to prepare a student to succeed in the professional world, so why doesn't Duke basketball? Mike Krzyzewski cares more about the glory of the program (and possibly himself) rather than his players, and forgoes the proper training to equip pro prospects for NBA success.

Shame on you, Mike. Who’s your next sacrificial lamb?

TDR Bloggers gives fans the platform to express their views. Submitted blogs do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Draft Review.


0 #39 Guest 2008-10-28 12:23
Coack K is not good at developing individual player skills point blank... If u pay attetion to and the player rankings, he gets the top 20 ranked players in the nation. Some schools like memphis can take a CDR, who was ranked in the lower 70'[s and make into an NCAA- ALL American by his junior year or like UT-KNox can take a walk on, JUwan SMith and make him as good as he came out to be.. Thats player development. Its funny how most of the Mcdonald All-Americans who came out of the 06 class are in the NBA except for the ones who went to DUKE, and UNC!!!! Coack K is excellent at X'[s and O'[s but as far as taking a not so talented player and making them better, I dont think so.
0 #38 Well Informed Tarheel 2008-03-23 09:54
Well the academic part is BS. Coach K made a remark about the "Ghettoness" of King Rice and JR Reid circa 1990, involving their SAT scores. This is unprofessional, and pretty poor taste in itself, but the glory part is that Dean E. Smith stuck up for his players and had also seen Danny Ferry's and Christian Laettner's College Boards. Those two prim and proper Dookie's got beat out by "corn-rowed street ballers" who were a lot smarter than them. Duke doesn't have higher academic standards for players. And they dont amount to anything in Pro ball. ONE duke player has ever been on a national championship team, and it was on the coaching staff.
Its Cliche for Duke people to think their university is at a higher standard in every way, but Duke takes losses crying, whining about calls, and other things unattractive to an NBA team looking for MEN, not boys to win rings.
0 #37 Ty 2008-03-12 11:42
Well for the person that said Ed Cota didn't amount to squat. Well he has made a great life for himself overseas. If the USA didn't provide a contract for him oh well.
0 #36 Guest 2008-02-22 02:38
I can see one's point about a lack of players that come out of Duke's basketball program and go on to succeed in the NBA, but what you have to understand as well is that its not necessarily the coach's job to shape players for the next level, but to make the program who employs him, the best that it can be, not for just him but for the school itself. The coach's job is to try to win championships for its students, the administration, the alumni and its fans. And thats what Coach K has done. Who cares if his players don't go on to be NBA superstars..Part of what he does is to develop what talent he has and some of it is limited, because although Duke gets a lot of talented athletes, they often are not the same caliber that say will go to UNC or a UCLA or a Georgetown. Also too, there are many quote un quote "All Americans" that come out of highschool, excell in the college game but don't have what it takes in the big leagues. Don't forget Duke has higher academic standards than most Division one schools and can't always get the corn rowed street ballers that go to the NBA after a year of college. They get alot of the scholar athlete's which often are not the ones that are going to ever be NBA allstars. Coach K concentrates on trying to win games and with players today leaving after only a year or two, who has the time to help them develop for the NBA? If players actually stayed all four years like they used to especially at Duke, then maybe Coach K would actually have the time to help them develop. Until then he has to work with what he's got. Also one final point is that Duke has the burden of having the stigma of being one of the best teams in college every year, even when they're not and often are in fact in a rebuilding year. Even right now, their starting line up consists of only one senior, a junior two sophmores an a freshman? Yet everyone demands and expects them to be one of the top 3 teams in the nation, so Coach K does what he has to do, and plays on the strengths of is players and what talents he can utilize to get the job done, because the sad truth is that a couple of them won't even stick around next year, so why should he waist his time trying to make them stars?

Just a thought..
0 #35 Matthew Maurer 2008-01-31 00:47
Commenting on this topic is temporarily closed. Thanks to all who responded. Anyone is welcome to submit a fan blog in response to this article, or on any other basketball related issue. Remember, the idea behind TDR Bloggers is to give fans the platform to express their views, negative or positive.
0 #34 Guest 2008-01-30 19:36
What a bunch of crap. It is not Coach Ks problem if they are not good NBA players. He is looking for people to fit to his system. Just look at Coach K's record at Duke.
0 #33 Jon D. 2008-01-30 17:25
This isn't about attacking Duke players. It comes down to my thoughts on their development. It's hard to believe that no Duke fan out there has not one negative opinion on their team's individual player development? And I never claimed to be a coach, a writer, an analyst, a researcher, or a schemer with a mastermind plan to overthrow Duke's recruiting efforts (so ridiculous). Just got my opinion. There's only one or two posters who were able to disagree me with some class, those people I can appreciate.
0 #32 Guest 2008-01-30 17:03
Quoting Jon D.:
Quoting Guest:
As far as the NBA is concerned, I really don't know why Orlando won't play him. He is a dominant player in the NBA summer leagues and is usually effective when he is actually used.

Uh, because he can't defend. Certain people are acting like they own stock in Duke Incorporated. I never imagined the blog would cause so much ruckus...when does Arizona play again?

You know why he cant defend in the NBA level there "Coach" Jon, cause you havent seen him try at that level and both seasons he has been in the league he has played how many minutes to PROVE that.....your logic makes about as much sense asd taking one asprin to get rid of a headache and when it doesnt work in 15 minutes you throw the bottle away.
0 #31 Guest 2008-01-30 17:00
Just another article to try and hurt Duke recruiting. Players like JJ Redick are great college players. I like him as much as any Duke fan but he just doesn't have the physical capability to perform like successfull shooting guards in the NBA. It is NOT a result of bad coaching at Duke. Whoever wrote this is a JOKE. Just ask Corey Maggette, Elton Brand, Mike Dunleavy, and Shane Battier. Ask KOBE BRYANT, CARMELLO ANTHONY, and any other person on the USA team if K is a good coach
0 #30 Joker 2008-01-30 14:21
UNCRules, quick, tell me what this list has in common:

Jason Capel, Ed Cota, Ronald Curry, Vassil Evtimov, Joe Forte, Kris Lang, Derrick Phelps, Brian Reese, Donald Williams, Jawad Williams, Serge Zwikker

If you guessed highly regarded McDonald's All Americans at UNC that didn't amount to squat at the NBA would be correct.

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