NEW ORLEANS – After coaching the final game of his career, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and his wife, Mickie, boarded a golf cart on the street near the Superdome press room on Saturday night.
The Blue Devils had just finished and impressively defeated 81-77 in North Carolina, their enemy Tobacco Road, in the Final Four. While a crowd of photographers and journalists were filming videos and photos of the time, Krzyzewski laughed, “Maybe you can show the sunset.”
As the golf cart pulled away and Krzyzewski was facing a group of journalists, he added, “Thank you, all of you.”
A man known as Coach K, 75, could retire after 42 years, but Duke hopes to remain a global player under the leadership of Jon Scheyer, who will take over the program.
Duke could lose up to five players in NBA games, most notably Paolo Banchero, a new and well-selected player. Two alumni, Theo John and Bates Jones, Giants’ quarterback brother Daniel Jones, are also leaving.
But Duke is bringing in a team of six top-ranked athletes in the world by 247Sports.com. The team includes three players in the top five teams of the class: 7-foot-1 center Dereck Lively II, 6-foot-11 player Kyle Filipowski and 6-foot-6 wing Dariq Whitehead, a native of Newark who played. at the powerhouse Montverde Academy, which won its sixth GEICO competition in independent schools on Saturday.
Lively was named Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, while Whitehead was named the most important player at McDonald’s All-American Game and Naismith player of the year.
“Next year is the beginning of a new era,” Lively said in a recent televised interview. “And I’m ready for me, all Coach Jon Scheyer recruits to start working.”
After Krzyzewski announced last June that he would retire after the 2021-22 season, Duke also announced that Scheyer would replace him. Scheyer, 34, has never been a head coach at any level, and there will be a lot of pressure on him as he replaces the man who won 1,202 games – most in the history of Division I men’s basketball history – as well as international competitions. Scheyer was captain of the Duke team for 2010, and has been Duke’s head coach since 2018.
Announcing his retirement a year earlier allowed Krzyzewski and Scheyer to share the responsibilities systematically. Scheyer focused on recruiting people last summer, while Krzyzewski had more time to stay in school and work with his final team.
“With the succession plan we had, I was able to see my guys every day,” Krzyzewski told Final Four. “And we brought back our new brothers in the past, about three and a half weeks earlier. And they took classes and were trained at Duke.”
The plan seems to work: Duke won the full-time Atlantic Coast Conference title and won 32 games before defeating North Carolina in a world championship, and his team of three players in 2023 is also ranked 1st and 247Sports. .com.
“That’s why I feel it was urgent for the school to announce the future head coach and announce Coach K’s plans as we continue to recruit top players and bring in senior players,” Scheyer told The New York Times in an interview last year.
Now it will be up to Scheyer – not Coach K – to lead the senior players. She has pieces in place to win, but big shoes to fill.
Likewise with college basketball, Krzyzewski’s resignation comes a year after Roy Williams, a former North Carolina coach.
Kansas Coach Bill Self, who won his second national title Monday night and beat North Carolina, believes a team of junior coaches can help fill the vacancy.
“I don’t think you’ll see one person taking part like Coach K or anything,” he said. “But I think together I think we can do better to have a voice because our game is good, but our game needs to change as well.”
He added: “We need to keep changing. There are many coaches out there, including me, who need to have a voice and be involved and help make this change happen. ”