Jeff Goodman dropping an atomic bomb on the college basketball world in June! We all knew this day was going to eventually come but now that it’s here it’s still shocking. Coach K is synonymous with college basketball. As a 26 year old I don’t know a world where Coach K isn’t coaching Duke. He’s won 1,097 games, 12 regular season ACC championship, 15 conference tournament titles and five national championships. No matter what anyone says about him he will forever be regarded as one of the best coaches in not only college basketball, but sports period. His long-term, high level of success is matched by only a select few over the last 40 or so years.
HOWEVER, is Duke better off right now...... without Coach K? A big part of me says yes. I don’t think anyone has underachieved the last few years more than Duke. Three years ago Coach K had three top 10 picks including number 1 and 3, still couldn’t make the Final 4. Duke had the most talented team in the country by far and was lucky to even be in the Elite 8 after they barely got by a Tacko Fall led UCF team. He had absolutely no solutions to fix the problems of Zion and RJ Barrett playing together. Two guys who absolutely should have been able to gel together over a 30+ game season and non-coincidentally are playing much better without him in the NBA then they were with him in college. Two years ago we’ll never know the true results of what would have happened that season, but they had lost 3 of their last six games and were only a 4 seed in the ACC with another top recruiting class. This past season they were so dreadful they couldn’t make a tournament with a field of 68 and quite frankly, they weren’t super close. The team was an absolute disaster and at the end of the day It starts and ends with the man himself. His coaching has been on the decline, anyone with any sort of basketball brain can see that. His recruiting has still been there widely on the backs of the brand/aura that comes with the Duke/Coach K brand. What I’m very unsure of is how that will translate to Jon Scheyer taking over the reins.
In Jon Scheyers defense, there has been a lot of reports that he was pivotal in signing Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamson to Duke. I guess only time will tell, but to play devils advocate, do we think it could be possible that it has something to do with Coach K being a little lazy in his twilight years to be hands on recruiting mixed with the duffel bags of cash that Nike/Duke allegedly game to Zion? Just a thought.
If Jon Scheyer is who they’re saying he is as a recruiter, I would think this is potentially a good thing for Duke. Get the dark cloud that Coach K was putting over Duke’s program and start with a fresh young face that hopefully won’t talk shit to student reporters for asking an honest question. OR won‘t announce his retirement a year early so the entire season is a retirement tour dedicated to himself and takes the attention away from everyone else on the team while single handed lay hinder recruiting for the following season. Obviously Coach K leaving Duke is a massive shock and loss to the college basketball world, but I genuinely believe this is a win for Duke long term.