Duke Basketball entered the 2020-21 season with fairly high hopes. They started the season ranked 9th on the AP college basketball poll rankings and had a lot of new firepower coming into the team: Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward, and Mark Williams. All of these players were Top 30 recruits coming out of High School and were expected to make an impact right away this year along with sophomores Matt Hurt and Wendell Moore. Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski had a team that was expected to be a championship contender and be the usual shoo-in for March Madness.
However, they are sitting unranked at 11-10, and are projected to not be in the NCAA Tournament. One question that has pondered College Basketball fans when looking at Duke this year is: Could Coach K be perhaps an overrated coach?.
Before this year a lot of fans would laugh at that question as most think he is not only the greatest college basketball coach ever but one of the best coaches in sports history. The 2018-19 Blue Devils is a team that will be remembered for a very long because they had the top 3 recruits in all of High School basketball (Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish) and despite the fact they lost in the Elite Eight, nobody blamed Coach K.
Duke was so talented, people were really wondering if they could beat the worst team in the NBA at one point. In recent years this has been the storyline for Duke Basketball, yet they haven’t won a championship in nearly six years. They have a loaded roster with All-Americans and fall short of expectations, and 2019 is a perfect example. Coach K also has a big advantage where he gets those big All-Americans to stay for multiple years if they aren’t a guaranteed first-rounder.
Aside from when Duke won it all in 2015, Coach K’s rival Roy Williams has done a lot better in the big dance in recent years with significantly less talented teams. No one is saying Coach K is a bad coach, he is an all-time great coach. Mike Krzyzewski being the greatest coach ever in college basketball is an overstatement as he has had so much talent and when looking at the big picture, he hasn’t done much with it most of the time.
Photo: Andy Lyons