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Afternoon Reading: Duke’s Greatest Recruiting Class is Coach K’s Ultimate Failure

“Duke’s Greatest Recruiting Class is Coach K’s Ultimate Failure”

That headline from The Ringer is the perfect way to put some pep back in your step after Kentucky’s season ended in the Elite Eight.

Plenty of national media members used the first loss from Sunday to provide column ammunition.  Jonathan Tjarks waited to see Duke’s collapse before taking aim at Coach K.  One of The Ringer’s top talent evaluators, he’s tracked Duke’s top recruits from high school to the pros and frankly, none of them are making a giant leap in Durham.

“A huge part of being an NCAA coach is player development, which almost never happens at Duke anymore.”

If you need proof, allow me to introduce you to Marques Bolden.  If you need one more great laugh, this tagline is a thing of beauty.

“This has been the least successful of any era of Duke basketball since he (Coach K) took over in Durham, and a coach obsessed with legacy will be remembered by a generation of fans as someone who never got the most out of his players.”

If you enjoyed that, here are approximately 1,000 more words on Coach K’s greatest failure.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

52 Comments for Afternoon Reading: Duke’s Greatest Recruiting Class is Coach K’s Ultimate Failure

  1. runningunnin.454
    4:36 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    But I think we already knew that. If you can’t win the title with the top three recruits, a solid upperclassman like Bolden, and decent role players…might be time to hang it up.

    • Realme
      4:39 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      We did know it, but for a national media member to point it out is rare.

    • J-Dub421
      5:15 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Coach K hasn’t had an original idea in 40 years. For the last several years, all he’s done is copy Coach Cal.

    • classof68
      5:21 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Yes, but if you’re a Dukie you’re part of a “brotherhood.” LOL.

    • weneedpitino
      5:58 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Yea I do believe coach K and ol duke are on the decline. Some coaches reach that point in the end of their coaching tenure. Coach weneedpitino didn’t have that issue in my coaching days, I started on a high note and ended on a high note. Go cats, and go to coaches who’s coaching abilities never decline!!

    • 4everUKblue
      8:25 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      I’ve shouting from the rooftop that K is way overrated for a few years now and I always get jumped by the Coach K is the greatest fan club. One guy commented on my post last night that Cal couldn’t carry K’s jockstrap. I think otherwise.

    • mashburnfan1
      9:58 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Decent role players? top 4 recruits? We know recruit rankings mean little, were RJ and Zion 1-2, yes. But Cam is far from top 10 and so is Jones. There were no role players at all. And as much as you say about K and dUKe you do know he beat our a$$ by 34 right. And don’t give me it was first game, it was their first game as well and they had no experienced players like PJ and Reid. People can argue all they want, both have under achieved last 18 years with K having just 2 titles and Cal 1. That said K never went to the NIT {and lost 1st round} during that time. K is getting old, looking at you as well Roy, so there will be some loss there. But overall he still has 5 titles to 1. He still did not vacate wins at 2 schools. I don’t believe Cal will get another title but could be wrong next year. I am excited if PJ {he gone} can convince Herro, Johnson, Hagans, Quickley to stay we could be very dangerous next year if at least 2 of the FR are very good. Really don’t see how any of these guys can be thinking NBA at this point, none are close to ready. If they come back we got Nick and EJ in the middle with some decent experience, will be deep and flexible at the 1 thru 3 spots. Could really run and trap like the Ole Pitino days.

    • RealCatsFan
      11:28 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Mashburn, for once I will agree with you that PJ is the only player on UK’s team who is ready for the NBA. But the sad fact is that the NBA is likely to offer the promise of millions of dollars to Herro and Johnson, and they are likely to take that offer. I hope not.

  2. catsarerunnin
    4:36 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    It would have been worse had they lost in the 2nd round which they should have. Refs saved them from that embarrassment.

    • makeitstop
      4:40 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      True that

    • Bruce Dickinson
      4:44 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      As bad as I hate to watch duke play, I did watch that game. UCF got screwed in that game. K is extremely overrated.

    • Miller45
      6:33 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Stole the words right from my mouth

    • Miller45
      6:36 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Zion straight up hershel walker to Bill Bates’d not 1 but 2 ucf players right in the paint

  3. Wildfelinebeeline
    4:45 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you! I’ve been saying the same thing for days now! He needs to retire while he’s still ahead before the kids figure out he’s a fraud!

  4. SGD
    4:50 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Revelling in Duke’s failure to downplay ours is sad. Weost to the worst team in the elite 8 without one of their best players.

    • wyatts1
      4:58 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      I revel in any duke loss!! Always and forever, they’ve earned that from my generation due to Christian laetner, enough said!

    • MoreheadCatFan
      5:02 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      SGD, I can only speak for myself, but that’s not what I’m doing. The point is that, while the national media have ripped Coach Cal and his “one-and-done” approach every year that UK comes up short, it has been crickets from them where Coach K is concerned since he embraced the same recruiting approach. I’m not revelling in Duke’s failure. I’m appreciative that that double standard in media coverage may finally be eroding.

    • Go_Wildcats_Go
      5:09 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Well said MoreheadCatFan!

    • Wade
      5:35 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      It’s all bc the Espn love fest and basic disregard for ky basketball by the media. we barely beat wofford and they with ucf and the other team I can’t remember! They were hyped all yr and deservingly so but k has to take blame for the collapse and deal with it. I mean they beat ky by 40 and almost blew every tourney game! We got better. I trust cal!

    • Kyceltsfan
      10:28 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      I hope you are right, I am sick of the double standard around the one and done.

    • ClutchCargo
      5:25 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      How can a Final Four team be the worst team in the Elite 8? It may look that way on paper, but it’s all about who gets hot at the right time. Damn, we have some dumb fans.

    • runningunnin.454
      5:42 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      We revel in Dook’s failure because ESPNuts slobbered all over K and Zion all year.
      And, Auburn beat three of the four blue blood programs in the country; Kansas, UNC, and UK.
      Had Okeke not been injured, they could have won the whole thing…still might if they shoot like they did against UT and UNC.

    • Luether
      8:16 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      This article could have easily been written about Cal and Ky every year since 2013…

    • 4everUKblue
      8:30 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      You’re wrong dipshit! But that’s nothing new.

    • MoreheadCatFan
      10:17 am April 2, 2019 Permalink

      Luether, the point is this article HAS been written about Cal and UK in some form or fashion every year since 2013, while Coach K and Duke have gotten a free pass any time their one-and-done recruiting approach has fallen short of another title. It has been a glaring double standard in national media coverage.

  5. henderblue
    5:12 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Worst team in the Elite eight? Ask Tennessee and Carolina about that

    • BluKudzu
      5:33 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      SGD pretty much showed his hand with that comment.

      I am not saying he Basketball illiterate, but clearly he does not have the acumen to understand that getting to the elite eight pretty much provides all the proof you need that Auburn is in fact, pretty darned good……since those 8 teams went further than about 98% of all the teams in D1 MBB.

      And do not forget, UK finished 3rd or 4th in the SEC, and did not win the SEC tournament.

      So, I am thinking Auburn is as legit as it gets, and SGD is about as clueless as you will find.

    • henderblue
      5:47 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      He’s missing some acumen Blu. As Clutch said above, we have some pretty dumb fans.

  6. oruacat2
    5:38 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    This is the new reality of NCAA basketball, and Coach K will have to adjust, just as UK is still doing.
    Cal has a head start, but the problems he faces are the same.
    It’s but one reason of many why I personally wish the NBA would get off its lazy arse and just take these kids who have no interest in (or aptitude for) college straight to the pros.

  7. BigJohnC
    5:39 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    There was an article a while back about great college coaches and their success in the last 5 years of their job…most of them did not go out on a high note. Coach K could be on his decline

  8. BigJohnC
    5:40 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Now, watch K bring in a grad transfer. Unless coach Cal has the top transfers attention at the moment

  9. oruacat2
    5:40 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    This should be a lesson in how foolish it is to base a team’s success of failure based on the ranking of its recruiting class. Basing NCAA tournament seedings on those recruit rankings is even more idiotic.

    • michaelb
      5:54 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      Yea , Bruce Pearl is in F4 with 3 star players at the moment

    • oruacat2
      6:16 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      michaelb, I don’t know if you’re saying “3 ‘star players'” or “*** players”. haha
      I don’t know enough about Auburn to know – were those guys “star players” BEFORE they came to Auburn, or did Pearl coach them to that status?

    • Miller45
      6:39 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      The exact same could be and is being asked of rick barnes with his crew this year

    • Miller45
      6:38 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      They call it madness for a reason

  10. kybirdieman
    6:02 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Amen Amen Amen a testament against the one and done culture.

  11. KYCat4EVER
    7:02 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink


    Have we reached the lowest point in KENTUCKY BASKETBALL history where we have to look at the failures of other programs to feel better about our OWN???

    Amazing, depressing, and shameful ALL ROLLED into ONE!

    How does DUKE help UK’s issues?


    • bankerbh
      7:24 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      C’mon KYCat….you know they came up with a new banner for KY to hang after Sunday. “Duke lost too, so all is good.”

    • 4everUKblue
      8:28 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      And just like that the idiot who boasts about having shook Rupp’s hand “many times” crawls out of the woodwork looking for crumbs to feast on. KYCat you sir are a moron.

    • RealCatsFan
      11:18 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      You have the perfect avatar, because you sure spew a lot of horsesh!t.

  12. shelby
    7:45 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Is there even ONE K player making a huge difference in the NBA?

  13. 4everUKblue
    8:38 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Remember how mad we were that we didn’t get Bolden? Anybody still disappointed? RJ is a ball hog that Cal could have developed, I he didn’t seem all that tore up about the loss to me, I think he’s already counting his money. Something really odd about the Reddish knee injury and the way he underachieved. Looking back the only one we really missed out on was Zion, but Cal would have done a much better job with all three, not sure there’s any hope for Bolden.

    • Kyceltsfan
      10:33 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

      I think the only thing we really missed with not having Zion is the national media recognition and free publicity for the school. Don’t get me wrong I think Zion is a great player and seems like a good kid but other than physical gifts I really dont see what he brings to the table.

  14. Racerr11
    9:33 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Worst team in the final 8, one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard.

  15. RealCatsFan
    11:23 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    My dislike for Duke is not so much because of their success – I have much respect for that. Nope, my disdain for them can be traced to multiple scandals that should have resulted in major sanctions and penalties, but they were conveniently swept under the rug. K should have had at least 2 of his Championships vacated. And don’t get me started talking about UNCheat.

  16. Glock
    12:19 am April 2, 2019 Permalink

    RJ Barrett looked sooo tired. 40 game college season and travel may have worn him down.

  17. plumloopy
    12:46 am April 2, 2019 Permalink

    I DESPISE Duke and celebrate whenever they lose. Seriously.

    However, this hatred and sneering towards Coach K doesn’t hold up to logic. He has five championships and took a program with a so-so history to be undeniably top 5, all-time. Even if you think he “stole” his ideas (recently) from Cal, he ALREADY had four championships by then. I still remember the grace he showed after the most painful of losses in the 1992 Elite Eight, at a time when Duke was on top and UK was scrapping to get back to relevance. I hate Duke, but respect Coach K.

  18. pkwi222
    8:25 am April 2, 2019 Permalink

    This is great. Would love for this to be a national headline and talking point. But the bias remains

  19. Big Sexy
    11:12 am April 2, 2019 Permalink

    I’m beginning to wonder if the big stage of the tournament gets to these young players just a little more. Duke turned the ball over 17 times against MSU and a freshmen missed key FTs at the end of two games(UCF and MSU) for them. Missing FTs has cost us exits to inferior teams in at least 5 tournaments. While it’s been very successful I think it’s time to reevaluate this one and done philosophy. 2 championships have come from teams that do this in 10 years. And those two teams(UK and Duke) are generally two of the best every year. No Final Fours between them in the last four years.