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Are recruiting frustrations getting to Coach K?

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

July 1, 2004
Imagine what new Duke president Richard Brodhead must have been thinking! On his first day in his new job, he received a real bombshell with the news his head basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, was considering an offer from the Los Angeles Lakers.

When I first heard the story of Krzyzewski thinking about going to the NBA, I felt there was a better shot that I would grow hair, baby!

Shock City, USA! Coach K fits in the puzzle perfectly at Duke. Think about his values, his ability to teach, his success. Perhaps he is frustrated with the current recruiting situation in college basketball.

Shaun Livingston was recruited to attend Duke, yet he basically held the university hostage, making it wait and wait until he decided to stay in the draft. You spend hours trying to bring in the best diaper dandies, and then you have to wait for answers.

Wow, imagine Coach K replacing Phil Jackson! Talk about one superstar taking over for another!

Mike Krzyzewski is a born leader, a winner, and strong mentally. I feel he would be able to adjust to any situation, including going from college to the pros if he accepted the Lakers job.

He has such great leadership skills. As a coach, I believe he could win with the Duke football team, too (no slight on Ted Roof, the current coach). He knows how to inspire people, as I've seen over the years watching him at Duke, and working with him on various Jimmy V. Foundation events.

I feel that when he weighs all the positives and the negatives, he will decide to remain with the Blue Devils.

Coach K has been a leader of the college coaching fraternity, an unbelievable spokesperson for college basketball.

When I first heard the story of Krzyzewski thinking about going to the NBA, I felt there was a better shot that I would grow hair, baby!

If he did decide to go, the dollars would be incredible, maybe even approaching the $10 million range annually. Remember, he makes pretty big bucks on the collegiate level already, with shoe deals and camps, so I don't think that is the deciding factor.

Perhaps he saw how Larry Brown succeeded by doing things the right way in Detroit, and that served as an influence to consider a change. Coach K might be interested in a different challenge.

I do feel Coach K was frustrated when Livingston and Luol Deng opted for the NBA draft, but remember, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and William Avery all left at once. It is not easy to build a program these days, especially when players like Deng leave after one season. That could be a factor in his decision.

I hope Coach K decides to stay at Duke. He is the right fit there.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he has been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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