Duke Basketball: Picking Coach K's 15 Least Favorite Players During His Reign
Anyone who is not a fan of Duke basketball generally can pick out which Duke Blue Devil they hate the most. So which players does the patriarch of Duke basketball dislike?
There are various reasons that Coach K may not like a player. His commitment, hustle or defense are all things that quickly come to mind. There is also attitude and players who leave early, despite not being ready for the next step.
There is no way with all the players that Coach K has interacted with, he likes them all. The thing is, Coach K would never say it, so we will have to imagine this for him. Here's a look at 15 players he secretly dislikes.
Coach K probably hates Miles Plumlee the least out of everyone on this list, but he has to dislike him a little.
The eldest Plumlee has seen his production peak as a sophomore. That isn't exactly how Coach K likes to see his teams progress. Like most coaches, Coach K likes to have upperclassmen lead his teams. He clearly doesn't trust Plumlee to follow in those footsteps of past Blue Devil greats.
Plumlee is not very athletic and that is part of the problem, but the reason Coach K clearly dislikes him, is that he is losing playing time to his younger brother.
That has to hurt.
Chris Duhon is one of the more overrated Duke stars and his coach knew it.
Duhon's poor shooting is everything Coach K hates in his playmakers. Taking bad shots to the tune of a career .418 shooting percentage, Duhon literally could not control himself from taking bad shots.
On top of that, Duhon was a bad free throw shooter. Nothing makes a coach madder than giving up easy points by missing free throws. Coach K is no exception.
Coach K brought in one of the best high school players to run his offense, in Kyrie Irving. Irving then proceeded to get injured and sit out most of his one and only season.
Coach K obviously can't be mad about the injury, but the one and done status has to make him think less highly of Irving.
Irving was a consensus No. 1 overall pick before the basketball season even began. There was no way he was sticking around, so Krzyzewski needs to take as much blame as Irving for leaving early.
Either way, getting so little out of Irving has to make Coach K mad.
Alaa Abdelnady turned his senior season into an NBA career despite not bringing much to the table. Abdelnaby rode Christian Laettner's coat tails and thrived on not receiving the defensive focus a big man should have leading to inflated scoring numbers.
Coach K probably liked that he had a secondary scoring option to pair with Laettner and that was where it ended with Abdelnady.
He was a terrible rebounder and very bad defensively for most of his career. Until his senior year, he averaged more turnovers per game than assists, steals and blocks combined. That doesn't sound like a coach's dream.
Martin Nessley is one of the very few actual seven foot tall players in Duke's history.
With that size, he should have been a natural for a dominating center. Too bad he had the athleticism of an elderly woman.
Nessley should have at least been a big body that could have stopped teams defensively. He didn't even manage that. His blocks per game and rebound per game averages are far below what they should have been.
Even if he wasn't talented, a big body is a big body. Coach K must have had something against him to keep him on the bench.
Jon Scheyer is a hustler. He works hard. He goes after loose balls. He is a true and blue Dukie.
Even with that, Coach K had to dislike his style a little bit. Scheyer was a terrible shooter, but couldn't help himself from taking bad shots. He ended his career with a .406 shooting percentage. Junior high basketball players shoot better than that.
Scheyer had a poor shooting percentage because he genuinely thought that he was in a three-point shooting contest. As a senior he took an outrageous 7.2 three-pointers per game. Can you say "chucker"?
Coach K likes smart basketball. Scheyer doesn't play smart basketball. Their relationship probably soured a bit as the shots got worse.
Antonio Lang had a mostly forgettable run at Duke as a player. As part of the team, he was part of the most successful run Duke has had to date. Every team though, has a guy that just doesn't get it. Lang was that guy.
Lang emerged as a scoring threat in his senior season. Mostly because no one else was left to take shots from him. Even as his offensive game got better, the rest of his game didn't grow with it.
With more playing time came more opportunities to turn the ball over. Lang capitalized on that. Turnovers are always a great way to get a coach to like you.
Lang can be summed up as a guy who found shots because he started because he was the last man standing and a guy who liked turning the ball over. There is nothing else significant about him. Coach K can deal with mediocrity if you ride the pine. Lang saw significant floor time. Coach K must have hated that
As stated multiple times before, poor shot selection and turnovers put you in the dog house.
Brian Davis excelled at both.
As some point in his junior year, Davis decided to try out three point shooting. He apparently got hooked and no one was going to talk him out of it. Despite not being a great shooter anyway, Davis took to the three-point line with vigor despite hitting one out of every five.
Adding to that, Davis also had a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio. Coach K must have loved that.
Whoa! No one saw this coming.
Deep down inside Coach K hated him a little bit. Laettner was the perfect college basketball player. He looked like the boy next door. He was a winner and had a great all-around game.
The reason Coach K resented Laettner was only because he knew he found the best he was going to get. No one in a Duke uniform has ever lived up to Laettner, that has to cause some hard feelings for Coach K.
Another name that is surprising to see on this list.
Elton Brand was one of the best players to come to Duke in quite some time. Even with that, Brand had some deficiencies.
He turned the ball over. A lot. He made up for it by being a great defensive player, but the turnovers drove Coach K mad.
Despite becoming the No. 1 selection in the NBA, Coach K does not like players leaving his program early. Brand left after his sophomore season. That had to tarnish some of the goodwill that Brand had earned himself.
Just kidding. Coach K had a man crush on him.
Everyone else hated him though, so he's worth mentioning.
Cherokee Parks may be the worst full-time starter in the history of Duke basketball.
Coach K was out for part of Parks' last season. Relying on him to lead the team, Parks' helped lead the Blue Devils to their only losing season since 1983. That has to piss the coach off.
Beyond lacking leadership skills, Parks was not fundamentally a good basketball player, either. He was a bad passer and a turnover machine. Topping that off was that his shot selection and shooting percentage dropped each season.
Coach K might have been happy he wasn't around for most of Parks' senior season.
William Avery is another Blue Devil who thought team success meant that he was great.
Avery was a point guard who could not control the ball. He averaged 2.2 turnovers per game. While that doesn't seem that high, all things considered, Avery was just starting to develop into a point guard when he left for the NBA.
Avery is another player who thought he was personally responsible for more of Duke's success than the team was. He can't be blamed for all of this. Even Coach K will tell certain players to strike while the iron is hot, but Avery was not one of them.
Avery faded out of the NBA because he didn't heed Coach K's warning. Coach will never say he told you so, but he told you so.
Corey Maggette could be the least favorite of all Coach K's students.
There are a litany of reasons that Coach K didn't like Maggette: Maggette never met a shot he didn't like and was a true ball stopper. He was terrible defensively. He was turnover prone. Finally, he left after one season.
That last one probably is the one that puts it over the top. Maggette should have stayed and developed his game. Instead he left for riches. One of the things that Coach K asks when he is recruiting, is if a student plans on staying and truly getting an education.
Maggette clearly didn't understand that. Out of a freshmen, Coach K can work on basketball skills, but making bad decisions and going back on your word will cost you some respect.
Shavlik Randolph is easily Krzyzewski least favorite player.
He was not a great talent, didn't work especially hard and was super cocky.
The worst part as he actually got worse throughout his career.
Cocky, lazy and bad, that's a great way to endear your coach.