He ain’t goin’ nowhere
There used to be this mobile home salesman who appeared in TV commercials in Wilmington, NC back in the eighties dressed in an Uncle Sam outfit whose tag-line after making his sales pitch was, “I ain’t goin’ nowhere…except to Walker Mobile Homes”.
I thought about that same line Tuesday when more than a few folks were saying a fifth national championship for Duke Basketball spelled the end of the Mike Krzyzewski coaching era. The entire quintet of NCAA Division-I men’s basketball trophies that wonderfully adorn and decorate Cameron Indoor Stadium have all been placed there thanks to Krzyzewski-coached teams.
However, whether you pull for the team that wears blue or red or green or black or yellow in the ACC…Mike Krzyzewski ain’t goin’ nowhere, except back to the front of the bench.
The main reason is because he’s maintained over-and-over again that he intends to coach for several more years; going as far as even putting a number on it last year despite that first-round loss to Mercer when he said, “five more years … I’m going to be here.”
While he won’t have his top seven scorers declare for the NBA draft like “poor ol’ John Calipari” at Kentucky (who’s probably going to re-tool and re-fit the Wildcat Machine quicker than you can say ‘bourbon’), Krzyzewski and Duke stand to lose more valuable personnel if more than the now-declared Jahlil Okafor opt to skee-daddle out of Durham. Teammates Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones will be first-round picks if they leave, and Quinn Cook is a senior.
That leaves Krzyzewski’s 2015-16 team with declared incoming freshmen Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard, transfer center Sean Obi, possible returnee Marshall Plumlee, who could also bolt if he opts to march in cap, gown, and mortar board down the aisle in Duke Chapel in May, to go with Amile Jefferson, Grayson Allen, and Matt Jones. Another real possibility that frightens Carolina fans is if Kinston’s Brandon Ingram opts to join Jeter and Kennard in the freshman class.
I honestly think they could still be contenders, and if Jones stays in school (because they’ll need a point-guard) coupled with Winslow opting to give it one more try, the Devils might just be a tad better’n Miami (my personal pick to re-take the ACC title), an emerging N.C. State, a steady Carolina, and the don’t-count-us-out Virginia among preseason ACC picks.
But even a more-solid Duke won’t guarantee any of the pitchfork-pliers will be scrambling up a Werner ladder with a pair of scissors in their hands to snip down any nets. All the gold in your little kettle still won’t make you instantly rich.
Just ask Calipari.
Krzyzewski’s still tied to the old-school coaches I remember from ‘back in the day’, and with the passings of Dean and Tarkanian, there aren’t too many of those guys still left – retired or otherwise.
No, he may not reach “Wooden-esque” stature with ten NCAA titles, but I think he wants more than five, and five years is plenty of time to get him at least one more.
No, he ain’t goin’ nowhere….
Gene Motley is a Staff Writer with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-332-7211.