Monday, January 3, 2011

Duke coaches use banner years to battle sense of entitlement

On Saturday, the Duke basketball coaches took their team into Cameron Indoor Stadium and showed them the ACC banners. Here’s what this team overcome, they pointed out. Here’s how this player evolved this season.

It was a deliberate effort to make sure the Blue Devils, who lost three starters from the championship team, don’t take ACC success for granted.

“A new group can’t assume that it’s just going to happen,” Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday. “… That’s what we’re trying to get across, a realism as to where you are at right now, and not that you’ve been born into a rich family.

“In sport there is no such thing. You’ve got to do it every year.”

The move was a good reminder of how Duke tries to fight any sense of entitlement with the program. It’s something that can seep in with fans – witness Krzyzewski’s frustration in recent seasons when students failed to fill their seats.

Duke beat Miami 74-63 Sunday night in Cameron in its ACC opener. The Blue Devils surged ahead when Nolan Smith had a 3-point barrage in the first half.  But the game also showed that Duke, while still superior to its ACC rivals, isn’t unstoppable. With Kyrie Irving out with a toe injury, Duke lacks the full-court firepower it had with him running the offense.

Krzyzewski said Monday that Irving will be re-evaluated this week but there is no timetable for his return.

1 comment:

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