Wednesday, July 19th, 2006 at 9:11 am  |  10 responses

Koach Krazy

The Leader of Men has spoken, and he thinks he’s going to get NBA Superstars to play Duke style ball.

By Sam Rubenstein

I just read some of the Mike Krzyzewski quotes about what he expects from Team USA. Thanks coach, I needed a good laugh. Here are my favorite ones, which you can find in USA Today:

Coach Klass“It’s a 40-minute game, and we may need a guy who is going to play five minutes. And he will play those five minutes like they are the most important five minutes in his life.”


“I think it would be good for every player on the team to look at himself as a role player. We’re not the Lakers, the Cavs or the Heat. This is the United States basketball team. Guys have to share the ball and responsibilities with everybody else on the basketball team.”

Okay. I’ve picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard. It’s clear that Coach K has been working so hard at Duke and been so busy recruiting the top people who can also play basketball, that he’s never seen an NBA game. The most important five minutes of his life? These players can buy and sell you and your fancy GMC truck and American Express Card. No more “If you don’t run into that wall I’m taking back your scholarship.” Sure, an NBA superstar might find himself diving for a loose ball, jumping into the crowd and lying on his back, really just waiting for the cherry picker dunk play to develop. But let’s just say they don’t play with the life or death intensity of Wojo. Of course, the Leader of Men has a solution for this problem. The USA Today article highlights the strengths of Team USA’s players. For example, Elton Brand’s are “Inside game, rebounding.” LeBron’s are “Versatility, scoring.” These are important things to have on your basketball team.

The listed strenghts of Future U.S. President Shane Battier are “Defense, hustle, adaptability.” Um… pardon me? What the f–k is adaptability? Defense and hustle are great, although the whole point of Coach K’s quotes are to ensure that every player on the team will hustle and play defense. If everyone in the NBA did that, then there would be nothing special about Battier the basketball player. I’m sorry Shane. Please do not sick your secret service goon squad on me. You’re still a great person. But adaptability? Is he a shapeshifter or chameleon of some sort? Is he like Mystique, and can transform himself into Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard? Can he convert software from Mac to PC? Yeah, adaptability. Just send out the gold medals today.

In the second quote, Coach K goes on to insult the Lakers, Cavs, and Heat. His point is that all three of those teams became too reliant on one superstar to lead them, but still, Miami did win the championship and the role players had something to do with that. The Lakers and Cavs were both totally dependent on one megastar, and that was ultimately their downfall. It was kind of strange to see him taking pointed shots at Kobe and LeBron’s teams, considering those two are both on the roster. I enjoyed that quote very much.
Team USA has the most talent in the world, but so has Duke in a whole bunch of their Final Four flops. I like the new approach to the roster, giving lowly role players a chance to shine – although the only guys on the roster that come close to that distinction are Battier, Ridnour, Bowen, the crying white rookies, and Brad Miller. Even with Gilbert Arenas pledging to buy into the new system, I am skeptical. The best chance for America is to let our superfreak athletes play their free-flowing game.


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  • http://nba-blazers.blogspot.com Mark

    Looks like Coach K is doing his best to rip into those egos nice and early and get a college-style system in place. For the Original Dream Team that sort of groundwork was not needed but with this generation, maybe it’s a different story. Back in my day….

    I think you’re right though – Dwyane Wdae, KB24, LBJ and Melo need to be able to get out there and dominate. With those guys playing at their top level, it’s a totally different ballgame to the ’04 Olympics.

  • http://thehype.wordpress.com Hype

    “the crying white rookies” Ha ha…classic. Great way to start my day after reading that.

  • Max Airington

    I spent my whole junior year of high school playing that game. It’s still Coach K’s greatest accomplishment…

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    You could break the backboard in the Coach K video game. I liked that. They also had all the classic NCAA teams like Magic’s Michigan State, Walton’s UCLA, Bird’s Indiana State, etc. If only an NBA game could get around the licensing thing and pull that off.

    If there was a Lakers vs. Celtics game for PS3/Xbox 360 with the classic players, today’s graphics and simpler controls, it would outsell any product ever created.

  • http://www.customizedchopshop.com PIMPN

    mayne, i dont know if i would rather see usa get gold, and consequently see mr. amex annointed the savior of american basketball, or see the team fail and all the blame fall on him

  • Max Airington

    Nah, that was too fun with LB in Athens….

  • bja

    I know some of you may not like this but I’ll be cheering hard against the US in the World Champs (and the next Olympics).

    Remember (not you young ‘uns) the 1992 Olympics when the opposition were getting Magic, MJ et al to pose for photos they could show their kids before they lost by 50?

    Now the US has fallen from their pedestal and everybody knows they’ve got a chance to beat them. Well, maybe not my New Zealand Tall Blacks but you get the idea. Consequently, look how much basketall has developed as a truly international game in the last 15 years.

    How awesome would it be if the World Champs could generate the world wide passion of the World Cup?

  • will lang

    wow, what a terrific article. a member of slam taking a shot at duke/coach k! how refreshing! god forbid someone come in with a little passion and try to restore our pride in international competition. i suppose you’d rather former tarheel larry brown run yet another team into the ground. or how about george karl?


  • http://livejournal.com/users/rafer11 Tripset30

    You know who was nasty in that Coach K game???

    Felipe Lopez…

  • Abner Mena

    Well no shit it was the dream team in 92 there wasnt that much competition around the globe it was bearly beggining to grow as a sport over seas now a days you get stars from different countries I think that tells u that theres more competition USA lacks fundamentals and teamwork sure u have your superstars but if they can’t share the ball well enough how are u expected to win like they say theres no I in team and that what coach K is trying to teach them sure there offense is number one everyone knows that but to attribute to that getting better at defense cant hurt you it will just make you better as an overall player thats what everyone tought in 2004 that the superstars would dominate and see what happen ya they were good at putting up points but they lacked everything else so in order to win a gold medal they will have to get use to each other and play team ball thats what wins championships we have seen that trought time