Coach K's presumptive replacement has made his impact on the Duke recruiting scene

·4 min read

The 2021-22 college basketball season will be the last for Mike Krzyzewski after 41 years as the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. Coach K has won five national titles, appeared in 12 Final Fours and has more wins than any other Division I coach with 1,170. He had recently mastered the new wave of one-and-done recruiting with his most memorable class coming in 2018 with top-10 players Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and the No. 1 point guard in high school basketball, Tre Jones.

“After I committed to Duke, Coach K called me right away and he was like, ‘I’m really glad you’re joining the family,’ and I was like, ‘this is home for me.’ Coach K is the GOAT,” Williamson told Yahoo Sports after he committed to Duke.

That team went on to make an Elite Eight run in the NCAA tournament and Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Both Barrett and Reddish were top-10 draft picks in the same year and Jones was a second-round pick in the 2020 NBA draft.

Coach K is a legendary Hall of Fame coach. High school players perked up on the court anytime they saw him sitting courtside for games. He is somewhat of a calm and cool celebrity sitting in the bleachers during summer AAU games. Even NBA players made a point to say hello to Krzyzewski if they saw him in the gym. Players that committed to play for Krzyzewski admit they were at a loss for words the first time meeting him.

“My freshman year [in high school], I went to Countdown to Craziness and was taking a little tour,” current Duke shooting guard Wendell Moore told Yahoo Sports. “He was just sitting there in the little cafeteria area and honestly, I didn’t know what to say to him. I was just kind of star-struck by him.”

Dec 5, 2018; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils assistant coach Jon Scheyer (right) talks with forward Zion Williamson (1) during the second half against the Hartford Hawks at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Scheyer has big shoes to fill and it’s still uncharted territory as to how this will affect recruiting down the road. (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

Jon Scheyer instrumental in Duke's recruiting wins

Over the past 10 years, Duke has landed 32 five-star recruits and has one of the top recruiting classes coming in for his final season led by Paolo Banchero and A.J. Griffin - both players are projected lottery picks in the 2022 NBA draft. Banchero is a top-three recruit in the 2021 class and has all the talent to be the next big player to come out of Duke. “Last ride for the goat,” Banchero tweeted shortly after the news broke on Wednesday.

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Sources confirmed that associate head coach Jon Scheyer will be Krzyzewski’s successor after this upcoming season and Scheyer has been instrumental in recruiting wins over the last few years. He was the lead recruiter for Reddish and Jones in 2018 and also Banchero in the upcoming class coming in. Scheyer is a former Blue Devil and was the star player on the 2009-10 Duke team that won a national championship. He’s been on the Duke coaching staff since 2014 and was named the associate head coach in 2018.

There are several five-star recruits in the 2022 high school recruiting class that are early Duke targets. Scheyer has big shoes to fill and it’s still uncharted territory as to how this will affect recruiting down the road.

“When I found out Coach K was retiring I was surprised,” Jaden Bradley, one of the top point guards in the 2022 class said. “Everyone wants to play for him. He’s a legendary coach but Duke is still going to be Duke. It doesn’t change anything in my recruitment and the program will just carry on the legacy of Coach K.”

Krzyzewski is one of the most impactful people in all of basketball. He’s coached players at the highest level and won three gold medals as the head coach for Team USA over the past three Olympic games. His mark on the basketball world spans four decades and his presence on the sideline will be missed.

Duke will look to rebound after a disappointing season last year but there’s no question that next year’s team has something to play for. The pressure is on to send Krzyzewski out on a high note and continue Duke’s success under the first new head coach in over 40 years.

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