April 7, 2003 The PooP
This remains the No. 1 head coaching situation in the nation, and that single factor is vital to any program's success and continuity. Mike Krzyzewski is one of only a handful of college coaches who can honestly say that (1) his job security is almost absolute, (2) he has no interest in another college or NBA job, (3) he has a great relationship with his AD and (4) he doesn't expect to retire in the next few years. As long as he remains in good health after two hip operations, the 56-year-old Hall of Famer will have more than enough energy for the long haul. The Devils also have a recent history of success, an exciting style of play, wonderful atmosphere (Cameron), an incredibly productive recruiting pipeline and national name recognition second to none. It all adds up to the strongest foundation in college hoops.
Done For Me Lately
|1994||12-4 (1)||28-6||NCAA Runner-up|
|1996||8-8 (4)||18-13||NCAA 1st Round|
|1997||12-4 (1)||24-9||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1998||15-1 (1)||32-4||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1999||16-0 (1x)||37-2||NCAA Runner-up|
|2000||15-1 (1x)||29-5||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2001||13-3 (1x)||35-4||NCAA Champions|
|2002||13-3 (2x)||31-4||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2003||11-5 (2x)||26-7||NCAA Sweet 16|
x-won ACC title
ACC: 117-43 (.731); No. 1 in ACC
Overall: 273-72 (.791); No. 1 in ACC
Projected 2003-04 Roster
NOTE: Scholarship/rotation players only.
The Good News
It's everywhere. Think about it: Objectively speaking, what program in America wouldn't love to trade places with this group? Even in a down cycle, this team wins. Duke does things the right way. In many regards, Krzyzewski is the best in the business. The Cameron Crazies also deserve a high ranking, even if they've grown a bit stale. The Devils have a strong coaching staff, a solid work ethic, plenty of young talent and an unsurpassed recruiting pipeline. All is well in Durham.
The Bad News
OK, let's nitpick. The Blue Devils ended each of the last seven regular seasons ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation four of the last five at No. 1 yet won "only" one national championship. Duke supporters' favorite criticism of legendary UNC coach Dean Smith over the years now can be turned back at Coach K: If you have the best team, why don't you win it all more often? Nobody could criticize this year's ACC title and Sweet 16 effort, considering the lack of star power on hand, but it's hard to forget last year, when the Devils came up well short despite the presence of three All-Americans in the starting lineup.
Despite the disappointment of 2002 and the NBA-inspired talent dropoff in 2003, the wheels remain in motion for Duke Dynasty, Part II. The seven Final Fours and two NCAA titles in nine years (1986-94) may not be matched by anyone in the near future, but if anyone can do it, it's the Blue Devils.