While he’s no longer prowling the sidelines, Coach K found plenty of success with the Duke Blue Devils. Based on his overall body of work, it’s safe to assume that Krzyzewski was a master motivator. But what did he do to get through to his team?
Thanks to Carlos Boozer, we have at least one anecdote.
On a recent episode of Uninterrupted’s The Shop, the former forward sat down with two other Duke players — AJ Griffin and RJ Barrett — to share some stories. During his time in Durham, Boozer apparently witnessed Coach K break out a helmet in an attempt to get his Blue Devils to “attack.”
Coach K used an unusual strategy to get Carlos Boozer and his Blue Devils fired up
Based on what we saw of Coach K during games, it’s easy to imagine his motivational tactics consisted of yelling and more yelling. On at least one occasion, though, he tried something a bit less conventional.
“So, we had a game, and this kid hits a buzzer-beater to beat us, so we’re now 15-1, and he’s thinking we didn’t play our best ball,” Boozer explained. “And we agreed with him. Then, we came back, and every inch of the locker room has a white piece of paper on it, it’s like Christmas in there. In the middle of the paper, it says the word ‘attack.'”
While that’s already a bizarre scene, Krzyzewski still had another ace up his sleeve.
“And then he rolls in with a helmet on, does a somersault,” Boozer continued. “And he goes, ‘Let’s f***ing attack!’ Listen, I mean, Coach is like 55, 60 years old, two hip replacement surgeries, talking to us 17, 18-year-old kids about attacking cause he felt like we didn’t do that in the last game, and then we went out and smashed Maryland by like 30 or 40 points.”
With that being said, though, some of Boozer’s details don’t exactly match up. It’s possible that he’s talking about the 2001-02 campaign, when Florida State upset Duke but that game-winning shot came with about seven seconds left. The defeat also left the Blue Devils at 12-1, not 15-1.
After that game, Krzyzewski’s squad won two comfortable games before meeting Maryland. Duke then beat the Terrapins by 21 points in Cameron Indoor Stadium. While that’s not quite “30 or 40 points,” it’s still a comfortable margin of victory.
It remains to be seen what sort of moves Jon Scheyer will pull out this fall, but if nothing else, he should be more limber than Krzyzewski.