I love Duke basketball. Even as I age I find myself riding along with the team in the "thrill of victory and agony of defeat". I enjoy the camaraderie of DBR in part because it's my anonymous, web-based support group. Thank you.

As with any successful institution, Duke carries the weight of expectations from past success. It is a load for everyone to carry. In my mind, losses are ok if we can take the right lessons from them.

Our program follows Coach K's lead. As with anyone else, he has strengths and weaknesses. He has built a phenomenal program. I believe he has incredible strengths: 1. a once-in-a-lifetime people leader; 2. strong values and committed to his community; and 3. an ability to focus and get stuff done. Conversely, Coach K has a few areas for development: 1. picks his guys early and rides them to success or failure (Trajan Langdon in 99, DeMarcus this year); 2. emphasizes loyalty, perhaps a bit too much (assistant coaching pool at Duke is in-bred, with the last outside blood being Tim O'Toole); and 3. an in-game "laissez-faire" approach (Coach K never calls timeout, some coaches call time out after a 4-0 run).

Let me be clear that Coach K is the number one guy out there. I have seen this situation before -- in the mid-1990s. It coincides with Coach K's involvement in USA Basketball. When K coached the 92 team, he ran himself into the ground and left a lot of the administration of the program to his assistants. Recruiting in that period suffered; the classes of 1996 and 1997 included Tony Moore, Greg Newton, and Joey Beard. The impact on the program did not become obvious until two years later, when Grant Hill and Tony Lang graduated. The 95 team imploded, the 96 team struggled to a 1st round exit, and the 97 team exited early as well. Coach K focused on recruiting and landed the monster class of Brand/Battier. Then Duke basketball was back.

Consider the similarities across a decade. Like the Class of 1997, the Class of 2009 contributed a great combo guard (Paulus, like Jeff Capel) but the rest of the guys were not meaningful contributors. Meanwhile Coach K will be in Beijing this summer -- good for the program certainly, but at a cost as recruiting will be left to the assistants. Unless Zoubek and Thomas can gain 40 pounds of muscle, our guard-heavy rotation in 08-09 will look a lot like 07-08...a great team, but not one positioned for championships.

What does this mean -- Duke basketball has been here before. People wrote a similar epitaph for the program in the mid-1990s. It will take time and effort to turn it around; two more recruiting cycles to land a Brand/Boozer big man and focused effort from Coach K. Coach K, the Olympics have not been kind to our program, so please step down after this year and hand the reins to Roy Williams.

Coach K will have at least one more strong run left to win a 4th title. After that, I pray that Coach K doesn't pull a Dean Smith and reward loyalty alone. Dawkins may not be Guthridge, but it seems to me there's a proven candidate in Norman, Oklahoma, and it may make sense to bring back another son who has made great strides in the coaching world.