Writing that Thursday’s loss to LSU “raises a few questions about coach Mike ‘You guys shoot around while I shoot another commercial’ Krzyzewski”, the Providence Journal’s Jim Donaldson fires a salvo or two in the direction of Durham, NC.
For the third time in four years, JJ Redick came up small in the regional semifinals. Unable to get away from tenacious freshman defender Garret Temple, he was a dismal 3-for-18 against LSU.
Anyone can have a bad game, you say? True. But how about last year, when Redick was 4-for-14 as the Blue Devils lost to Michigan State in the regional semis? And what about his freshman year, when he scored only five points in a bittersweet 16 loss to Kansas?
Forget about how many points a guys scores against Wake Forest or Clemson in January or February. It’s what he does in the NCAA tournament in March that people remember.
Now, the truth is that, in every team sport, even a great player can be shut down. That’s when his teammates have to step up. And when his coach has to come up with alternative ways to win.
Let’s take a look at the material the legendary Coach K, already an enshrined Hall of Famer, had on hand Thursday night.
In addition to Redick, he had five other former McDonald’s all-Americans, primo recruits any team in the country would love to have had.
There was Josh McRoberts, the McDonald’s high school Player of the Year in 2005. There was Greg Paulus, honored by Gatorade as the national Athlete of the Year in 2005 because he also was highly-recruited as a quarterback. Sophomore DeMarcus Nelson is the all-time leading scorer in California high school history. Sean Dockery and Eric Boateng also were McDonald’s all-Americans.
In addition, the Dookies could call on freshman Jamal Boykin, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year last season in California, and senior center Shelden Williams, who twice was Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma as a schoolboy.
Against that array of top-notch talent from all across the country, LSU had three kids from Baton Rouge — sophomore Glen Davis, redshirt freshman Tyrus Thomas, and Temple, who tenaciously followed Redick wherever he went.
Duke had all that talent, and Krzyzewski has all those Coach of the Year awards, and yet the Blue Devils were stymied and flummoxed, left frustrated and clueless — how’d you like it when Davis, after missing a foul shot late in the game, was able to grab the rebound, even though there were four Dookies in the lane, and he was the only LSU player on that side of midcourt? — by the Bayou Bengals.
This will be heresy to some, and lunacy to others, but it could it possibly be that Coach K is getting by on his reputation?
Yes, he’s won three NCAA championships, but just one in the last 14 years — an inability to finish that might have gotten the legendary John Wooten fired at UCLA.