It’s summer and college basketball is still a few months away, but that didn’t stop Duke from gathering in Durham.
Wednesday marked the start of K Academy, the week-long basketball camp hosted by former head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and with it came the arrival of many more Blue Devils, from coaches to former players and new starters. Krzyzewski, head coach Jon Scheyer and several players met with the media to talk about Coach K’s retirement, establishing chemistry and adjusting the roster after the recent Final Four.
Here are five quick meals from the afternoon.
Get rid of the old and get the new
The coaching staff and players – some familiar faces but many new ones – were in attendance on the first day of the K Academy’s fantasy basketball camp.
For the first time, freshmen Darek Whitehead, Kyle Filipovsky, Mark Mitchell, Jaden Schutt and Christian Reeves were on campus along with the recently completed Duke coaching staff for first-year head coach John Shire at the helm. Freshman Dereck Lively II was unable to attend but will be on campus in a few weeks for the start of first year classes. Plenty of former Blue Devils were also present, including Quinn Cook, Chris Doohon, Jane Banks, and others.
Krzyzewski, who started camp in 2003, was there in a different role – simply running camp while remaining separate from the business of the newly assembled team.
“Well, it would be the same, because this was very separate from our own programme,” Krzyszewski said of camp management after his coaching career ended. “It’s like a thing of people. And we make good friends here.”
Despite taking on a new role as Duke away from the sidelines, camp will still be Krzyzewski’s event. Shire joked that it was “a K-Academy, not an S-Academy.”
The camp included some newcomers while some nine-year-olds got an exclusive meeting with Krzyzewski – the private meeting in his office comes with a price tag of nearly a hundred thousand dollars they’ve committed to K Academy over the years.
The first day of the five-day program was a mixture of familiar and modern faces, plus Transmissions able to connect with some of the younger Blue Devils for the first time while seeking advice from dozens of other former Duke stars.
New and transfer students look forward to building chemistry
Jeremy Roach came into last season as a sophomore with a promise. He finished it off as one of the team captains and best performing actors on the roster with a tough decision ahead of him: return, or leave for the NBA Draft. He chose the first, making him the only junior and longest-lived player on the team. Next season will allow him to step up and harness his leadership abilities with plenty of newcomers on board.
“This is the first time we are fully together,” Roach noted. “This summer will be useful because we don’t have a lot of players coming back from last year.
“We’re always going to do the work, but how do we bond together and how do we live off the pitch, how do we get ourselves off the pitch…that’s going to be a big thing.”
Graduate Transfer Ryan Young He reiterated Roach’s sentiment that summer would be key in defining the Duke team: “Ensuring that people are constantly talking, FaceTime or whatever you can do to get a head start on the culture is huge.”
In terms of on-field chemistry, the Blue Devils face a unique dilemma, but one that could be a blessing. Filipowski, who is 6-foot-11 in center, isn’t the only big new player, as he will be joining his 7-foot-1 teammate Lively in the front zone. But Filipovsky said he is used to completing another big man after years of playing alongside his twin brother Matt.
“I just think Derek and I are interchangeable,” Filipovsky said. “We can definitely play side by side in the game. It won’t be him or me. And again, without a doubt I think we’ll be one of the best forwards in the country.”
“I think our team, just the way Scheyer put it together….we’ll all be on a better wavelength and things like that, to take us a step further and finish what [the 2021-22 Final Four team] It started for us.”
Scheyer settles in
A month and a half without Krzyzewski as head coach meant Scheyer had taken complete control of the programme. With his outstanding coaching staff, new students on campus, and transfers that make their presence felt, he is thriving in his new role as Head Coach.
“We’ve had the luxury of knowing Coach K for 42 years and he’s developed his system of doing things that I’ve been thinking about, and everyone has been really supportive and they’ve really adapted to it,” Scheyer said. “But it was great. It’s exciting. I mean, every day you do something that you love to do, you are in a place that you love.”
Despite the menu changes, coaches are optimistic
The Blue Devil’s upcoming squad has six new players and two transfers as of Wednesday, which means that even more than in recent years the coaching staff will have to rely on the ability of younger players to take on a significant load on and off the field. Shire is confident the roster formation can still be a contender.
“We feel we are in a great place,” he said, stressing that change may continue.
About Trevor Kells, who was Duke’s third scorer last season, Scheer said he was “in constant contact all the way”.
“Really proud of him. It’s not an easy process to go through,” Shire added.
Even though it ended up Stick to the way He keeps his name in the draft, and Keels reportedly tore off the route he should take as of Wednesday afternoon.
Otherwise, Scheyer and the other coaches are optimistic that the players they have can take the team to the promised land.
“We love the team that we have now and make sure we have enough ball handling and playmaking and those kinds of things, but we love our group,” said Shire.
“Really excited about where we are,” assistant coach Emile Jefferson said. “I’m excited to get these guys here in a few weeks and move on.”
Technical staff who was also recently completed With the addition of former Kentucky assistant coach Jay Lucas, they did well together in their limited time as a complete group.
“We have a good ecosystem,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson was promoted to assistant coach after the departure of Nolan Smith, while Cher brought in Mike Schrage as special assistant and Lucas as second assistant coach on the field. Associate technical director Chris Carwell, who Krzyzewski said is recovering from back surgery, was present on Wednesday.
as “not retired”
Despite his continued role as a leader and mentor during camp, Krzyszewski told reporters that he was able to take some time away from the game and relax. He’s healthy and seemed refreshed after the long season, but he’s by no means “retired”, as he defines the word.
“I’m not retired, I’m not a coach,” Krzyzewski said. “Retiring and not training anymore I think are two different things.”
He was able to drive away to Las Vegas with his wife, Mickey, after Final Four in April and recently attended the graduation of his granddaughters all while continuing to train his four-month-old Labrador Retriever puppy, Trainer, who was Gifted to him by his last team At the program banquet on April 14.
After the season, Villanova coach Jay Wright also walked away from coaching, joining a roster of coaches to quit basketball in the past few years. Krzyzewski had some ideas about what that means for the future of the college game.
‘More important than’ who left? “Where are you?” Krzyzewski said he had some questions about how the NCAA and organizations like the National Basketball Coaches Association might move forward in the changing college landscape.
It will remain in his remodeled office on the fifth floor of the Schwartz-Butteres Sports Center, which is currently under construction.
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| Sports Manager Editor
Micah Horowitz is a sophomore at Trinity College and the athletic editorial director for volume 118 of The Chronicle.