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Mike Krzyzewski Says Kobe Bryant Is Best HS Basketball Player He's Ever Seen

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

USA Basketball Men's National Team guard Kobe Bryant, left, talks with head coach Mike Krzyzewski during a practice Saturday, July 14, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski has recruited more than his fair share of talented high school players and future NBA stars during his 41 seasons leading the Blue Devils. 

But the legendary coach told The Dream Team Tapes: Kobe, LeBron & The Redeem Team podcast (18:17 mark) that Kobe Bryant was the best high school player he ever saw:

"You know, I never thought he would go to college. We recruited him but ... no one recruited him to any deep level because you knew. I never saw LeBron [James] play in high school, but when I saw Kobe play—he's the best high school player I've ever seen.

"And when he walked into a gym, he walked in like [Michael] Jordan, at a high school level. Like, the place stopped. He not only could play the role during a game, he played the role before and after the game. He looked that good, he believed he was that good, and he was that good. But, I knew he was never going to come [to Duke]."

Bryant, of course, went immediately to the NBA and had a Hall of Fame-worthy career, winning five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was one of many players from his generation to skip out on college altogether and go straight to the NBA, alongside stars like James and Kevin Garnett. 

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