by: Jared Bonshire
I hate to admit it, but Coach Mike Krzyzewski is a genius.
The man has to get up every single morning with the knowledge that what he is going to do that day will probably end up being the right decision.
Over the past 20+ years he has taken a Duke program from what could be one of the more difficult situations (a higher learning institution with a high profile athletics division is a rarity) into sure fire success.
It seems as if though, there is more to the genius of Coach K than what immediately meets the eye.
His teams play in your face, physical, hard nosed defense that for the past 15 years has intimidated opponents.
When Coach K was not on the bench, Duke suffered its worst season in decades.
Dukes players are supposedly smarter, better, tougher than the average college basketball athlete because Coach K makes them that way.
These are clean cut kids, kids you can get behind because their Coach exudes class and repertoire.
All of these attributes seem to be what is "easy" to see.
For 4 days, the buzz has been so loud surrounding Coach K and his decision as to whether or not to become the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers even ESPN anchors are looking at the teleprompter and saying, "We gotta talk about this guy again?"
So much love for one man in the media, I am beginning to wonder whether there is something more to Coach K than his basketball knowledge.
The picture the Duke program paints is too perfect.
Then it hits me……Mike Krzyzewski is a good basketball coach, but he is most astute in the art of communication.
There is not a single Coach who has extended himself more to the media at large, than Coach K.
He takes every opportunity he can to express all the virtues that the media wants us all to believe.
Thus, the media absolutely loves him.
For the past century, sports media has always looked at the world of sports through a dramatic lens.
Ali vs. Frazier was not just a fight between two men who used boxing as a way to get out of their poor destiny. It was a statement, an event of unheralded proportions that captivated the world.
What wasn't said was the fact is in reality the world just wanted to see two great boxers beat the living snot out of one another until one of them was so destroyed he couldn't stand anymore.
The sports media, in general, picks the rosiest outlook on a particular sport and applies those rules to all who play, coach, do business, and are in any way involved with professional sports. If in some way those rules are broken, or bent, then violators are taken through the coals of public humiliation.
Let us take a trip back in time to when Tubby Smith was having a difficult time with his recruits. From Mike Southall to Jason Parker, there was a stretch of around 4 years where Tubby just could not win.
To read these times through the local media eyes, Tubby's misfortune was a lack of foresight and diligence by himself and his staff in the recruiting process.
I look back through some of the articles entailing how Tubby was responsible and begin to laugh at the ridiculous idea in which any human being, man or woman, could somehow control a young man who has already gone through 18-20 years of upbringing.
The chastising of both Tubby and the Kentucky was relentless, and wholly unwarranted. Tubby was being held to standards that just do not exist in human society, perfection.
So here we have Coach K about to give way to the Lakers, and all weekend the speculation and rumor ran rampant throughout the sporting community.
Finally on Monday, Mike gave his verdict.
"The decision has always been to stay at Duke. It would have to be something changing [that]."
Yet another A grade for Coach K.
Here he is, offered millions of dollars, power and glory, and he gives it up to stay in humble college basketball.
Lest we forget he is already a millionaire, beloved by the national media and in a position where he is in complete control.
He can control the kids who play for him, he can control the ref…(never mind), and most importantly Coach K is in control of his own destiny.
That is the ultimate power, more powerful than any executive position the Lakers could pass out.
To add, do not think for one second Krzyzewski did not reference the face down flop of Coach Rick Pitino, who also was a media darling before jumping ship.
Mike Krzyzewski is a genius because he has become a master of manipulating all situations surrounding him so that he comes out on top.
This is not something to be angry or bitter about, but admired because he is just so good at it.
I do admire Coach K for being so good at what he does, but I revere Tubby Smith for simply being himself.