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  1. #1

    The Olympics and Duke basketball

    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.

  2. Quote Originally Posted by atl52 View Post
    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.
    That's a great point that I hadn't fully considered. It may also be relevant that we've only signed one good class (2002-6) since Quinn left the program (assuming the legwork for the 1999-2003 was done prior to the 1998-99 season). I know Quinn was a world-class recruiter and losing him may also have played a role in our steep decline in bringing in top talent. I'd love to hear other theories for why we haven't brought in a top-tier PG or C in approaching a decade (PG 2000 C 2002).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Atl52, don't forget that there's someone coaching N.D. that's making a name for himself too. Change should come (hopefully) not until the roaring twenties; 2020,2021,2022. Todays' seventy is yesterdays sixty.
    By then there might be other worthy candidates who studied at Duke. I like Dawkins but he seems too nice to follow a millitary commander.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The City of Brotherly Love except when it's cold.
    Quote Originally Posted by atl52 View Post
    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.
    Perhaps. But consider that Coach K's mentor, the General, coached for almost 21 seasons after his third championship and returned to the final four only once. I think the current state of Duke basketball has less to do with K's Olympic involvement than the trends in the college game, and his age, that K may or may not successfully adjust to.

    Don't misunderstand me, there is no one else I want to lead the Duke program. I simply don't think that Duke can return to the top without meaningful changes in the current approach, and I am not confident that Coach K, or anyone his age and as successful as he has been for so long, will be able to do so. I hope I am wrong, but even if not, the current state of the program is a lot better than most of the alternatives. As someone who witnessed mid 70's Duke basketball firsthand, I can say we have a lot to appreciate.

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