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Dukes' Mike Krzyzewski to Coach Grandson Michael Savarino as Walk-on Next Season

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski talks to his players during the second half of an NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game against Michigan State in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Michael Savarino, the grandson of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, will walk on and play for the Blue Devils next season.

"He loves the game, so he wanted to play college basketball," Krzyzewski said, per Jeff Gravley of WRAL Sports. "He went to all these camps, but he loves Duke. He wanted to come to Duke and I was happy about that because he earned it and if he's coming to Duke, then he should be a part of our basketball program because he's good enough to be a walk-on."

Savarino played high school basketball at local Durham Academy, playing three years at the varsity level. He averaged 7.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a senior.

"I've always tried to avoid that reputation of living in your grandfather's shadow," Savarino said. "I chose this because I feel like I earned it. I feel like I've worked hard every single day for this. I wanted to come to Duke because I wanted to be a part of this program. I want to embrace everything about it and just play under my grandfather, who I've watched my whole life."

Krzyzewski has never coached an immediate family member. Savarino is the son of Krzyzewski's daughter, Debbie. The coach and his wife have three daughters.

Savarino received offers from Army, Columbia and "several" Division II schools. However, he looked at the chance to stay home and play at Duke under his grandfather as an opportunity. 

Major college coaches bringing on relatives is not a new phenomenon. Kentucky coach John Calipari coached his son, Brad, the last three seasons as a walk-on. Brad Calipari recently entered the transfer portal, hoping to find more playing time.

The dynamic is a bit different than father-son, but odds are Savarino finds himself getting only the most minimal playing time at Duke. As long as all sides understand the arrangement, it should be a fun bonding moment for the family. 

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