NEW ORLEANS. After training for the last game of his storied career, Team Duke’s Mike Krzyszewski and his wife Mickey climbed into a golf cart in the hallway outside the Superdome press room late Saturday night.
The Blue Devils’ season had just come to an abrupt and dramatic end after an 81-77 loss to Tobacco Road rival North Carolina in the Final Four. As a throng of photographers and reporters filmed videos and snapshots of the moment, Krzyzewski joked, “Maybe you can superimpose the sunset.”
As the golf cart drove away with the Krzyzewskis to face the media crowd, he added, “Thanks everyone.”
The man known as Coach K, 75, may be retiring after 42 years on the job, but Duke expects to maintain national prominence under John Shayer to take over the program.
Duke could lose up to five players in the NBA draft, most notably Paolo Banchero, a freshman star forward and presumed top pick. Also leaving are two graduate forwards, Theo John and Bates Jones, the younger brother of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
But Duke brings in a group of six players ranked first. 1st place in the country according to 247Sports.com. The group includes three top-five players in their class: 7’1″ center Derek Lively II; Academy, which won its sixth GEICO National Independent School Championship on Saturday.
Lively was named Morgan Wootten’s National Player of the Year and Whitehead was named McDonald’s All-American Game Most Valuable Player and Naismith’s Player of the Year.
“Next year will begin a new era,” Lively said in a recent TV interview. “And I’m ready for me, all the recruits and coach John Shyer to really get to work.”
When Krzyszewski announced last June that he would retire after the 2021-22 season, Duke simultaneously said Shayer would be his successor. Shyer, 34, has never been a head coach at any level and will be under enormous pressure as he replaces the man who has won 1,202 games – the most in Division I men’s basketball history – and five national championships. Shyer captained Duke’s 2010 national team and has been Duke’s deputy head coach since 2018.
The announcement of his retirement a year in advance allowed Krzyzewski and Scheyer to distribute duties in an orderly manner. Over the past spring and summer, Scheier has been focusing on recruiting new employees, while Krzyzewski has had more time to visit campus and work with his latest team.
“With the succession plan that we had, I could see my guys every day,” Krzyzewski said in Final Four. “And we brought in our freshmen early, about three and a half weeks early. And they went through the course and kind of inspired Duke.
The plan seemed to work, with Duke taking the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title and winning 32 games before losing to North Carolina in the Instant Classic National Semi-Finals, and his 2023 three-man draft class also took first place. 1 from 247Sports.com.
“That’s why I think the school urgently wanted to announce the next head coach and announce plans for Coach K where we could continue to recruit at the highest level and bring in big, big players,” Scheier told The New York Times in an interview. last autumn.
Now these big players will be led by Shyer, not Coach K. He has everything he needs to succeed, but also huge shoes.
The same can be said for college basketball: Krzyzewski is retiring a year after the departure of longtime North Carolina coach Roy Williams.
Kansas coach Bill Self, who won his second national championship on Monday night by defeating North Carolina, believes a group of young coaches can help fill the void.
“I don’t think you’re going to see someone step into a role like Coach K or anything like that,” he said. “But I think that together I think we can do a good job with the voice because our playing is great, but our playing also needs a change.”
He added: “We need to keep evolving. There are many coaches, myself included, who need to have a voice and be active and responsible in helping these changes happen.”