Mike Krzyzewski isn’t a happy man, and decided to take out some of his frustrations on Duke players.
ESPN reports the longtime Blue Devils head coach (who’s recovering from back surgery) held a meeting at his house, where he told his team they were temporarily banned from the locker room (what if Duke players needs to use it?) and wearing Duke gear.
The ban is the result of Duke’s struggles on the court as of late. The Blue Devils lost at home to NC State on Monday 84-82, their third loss in their last four games. The team is still regarded as one of the best teams in the country, but they’re far from the national title favorite they’ve been in the past.
Instead, Duke has been in headlines for the wrong reasons. Grayson Allen can’t keep his limbs to himself, drawing ridicule nationwide for multiple tripping infractions, which eventually lead to a one-game suspension by the team. The Blue Devils have also had multiple injury-related issues, including Coach K himself. At 15-5 and 3-4 in the conference, Duke is just ninth in the ACC and checked in at 17th in the most recent AP and coaches polls.
With all the turmoil and frustration (at least by Duke standards) surrounding the program, Coach K wanted to send a clear message to his team that playing for Duke is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But for a coach who has employed the same tactic before, the message might not be getting through.
“He needs to do more than just take away their jerseys,” added another source close to the program told ESPN. “There are bigger issues that need to be addressed.”
Coach K’s absence certainly doesn’t help the situation. I’m not entirely sure taking away jerseys and berating his team privately is the best way to get back on the winning track. Krzyzewski is a legend, and if anyone knows how to handle players, it’s him. But still, it’s odd to see Duke men’s basketball crumbling so publicly.