Duke Basketball: How Coach K's Olympic Success Impacts Blue Devils' Recruiting
The Olympic Men's Basketball Team just concluded their run to gold with a 107-100 victory over Spain, which may end up being the final game with Coach K leading the team.
Olympic basketball has no doubt been a positive experience for Coach K, despite the drain that it must be to extend his season far beyond Duke’s schedule.
Beyond being helpful to Krzyzewski’s coaching skills, the success that he has had with the Olympic team has no doubt helped Duke Basketball attract talented players to its program.
Although Coach K is retiring from Olympic basketball, his legacy as one of the USA’s best coaches ever will continue to come to his advantage and this article discusses the reasons why.
Good Press for Duke
The saying goes that any press is good press, and this Olympics has certainly been all good press for Coach K. Despite an extremely stacked roster, Krzyzewski has continually found himself at the top of the news, mostly making his importance known as Jerry Colangelo and just about every player begs him to come back for another round.
Coach K has done in the Olympics exactly what he does at Duke every year, which is win. This summer, however, is different from Duke in one way. Every basketball fan from the United States is forced to root for Krzyzewski as he leads Team USA.
Those basketball fans must include some high school basketball players looking to make a decision on which college they want to attend, and seeing Coach K in the spotlight leading the United States to a gold medal is an impressive thing.
More Accolades for Coach K
To this point in his career, Mike Krzyzewski has four NCAA Championships, 13 ACC Tournament Championships and has won the ACC Regular Season Championship 12 times.
Those numbers are impressive on their own, but coupled with two Olympic gold medals, Coach K's resume supports the claim that he is one of the top basketball coaches of all time.
While they certainly aren’t going to be the reason a recruit chooses Duke, having two Olympic medals under his belt gives Coach K that much more credibility. In fact, he is the first college coach since Bob Knight in 1984 to win a gold medal in the Olympics.
Having Olympic experience under his belt has made Krzyzewski a better coach, but more importantly has given him another impressive example of his winning ways to tell recruits all about.
Association with Star Athletes for Coach K
The one thing that Duke has never been known for is the NBA talent it produces. While this isn’t really a knock on the program since they win so many games, it is certainly something that recruits may consider.
Having players that he can essentially name-drop may be important for Coach K in certain cases. Instead of saying that he has coached players like Grant Hill and Luol Deng, Krzyzewski can say that he has coached NBA greats such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
While this point is somewhat of a luxury for Coach K, it gives him extra credibility that he can coach ultra-talented players to success, something that is underrated. Also, simply being seen and associated with great players can never hurt.
A Clear Cut Advantage over Other Coaches
This point is key in the importance of the Olympics to Coach K and his recruiting. Krzyzewski was chosen over all coaches in both the NBA and NCAA, a testament to his skills.
More than just affirming his personal abilities, it gives a clear cut example of how Coach K is considered to be the best college coach right now, and one of the best all time.
That should be obvious to recruits through the simple fact that he is the only coach that they will meet who can say he coached Team USA to Olympic gold.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the thought within USA Basketball is that Krzyzewski will be followed by an NBA coach. That Coach K was chosen over all NBA and NCAA coaches and that USA officials cannot find another coach within college to replace him should speak volumes to recruits going forward.