Well, it didn’t take long for the blame to be completely deflected from Mike Krzyzewski. As many of you know, Wendell Carter and his family recently talked about their displeasure with Duke adding Marvin Bagley III just before the season started last year. Carter’s mom, Kylia Carter, said she was “pissed” and the entire family felt Duke’s coaching staff lied about the addition of another talented big.
If all of this is news to you we have you covered HERE.
So, more interesting quotes from a former Duke player about his time playing for Coach K. In recent years we had Derryck Thornton’s “uncle” speak out against Duke’s coaching staff, also saying the staff. Semi Ojeleye transferred from Duke and there were reports that Coach K screamed at his mom. The situation with Duke and Carter isn’t the first time Duke players have been disappointed with their former head coach.
So, what’s it going to take for people to take the halo off Coach K’s head? We have several different occasions of players complaining about Duke and Coach K, but things remain quiet from national media members that wouldn’t hesitate to slam Calipari if he had just one of these grievances aired against him. It’s just another example of a double-standard with some college basketball media members and the way they cover coaches they consider buddies versus other coaches that don’t give them the time of day.
I want to be clear that I think Carter is somewhat in the wrong in this story. You can make the case him and his family come off as whiny, entitled and unappreciative. Carter was ranked No. 7 in the class of 2017 and went No. 7 in the NBA Draft. That’s pretty damn good. Carter would have a more serious gripe had he been selected in the second round or gone undrafted (like Trevon Duval). However, because he had a great freshman season doesn’t discredit his claims feeling lied to with Duke’s coaches. When a coach leaves a school for another job we feel horrible for the kids and have no problem allowing them to redo their recruitment (or transfer) because the circumstances unexpectedly changed.
Carter was told he would be the premier post scorer for Duke and he would be the guy in the frontcourt. Duke then proceeded to add Bagley, one of the most dominant high school players in recent memory and at times projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Assuming what Carter and his family are claiming is true, why isn’t that legitimate complaint? Why are we pointing a finger at Carter specifically and giving Coach K a pass? If Carter expected to be the only frontcourt option at Duke, that’s a perfectly reasonable reason to pick the Blue Devils over other college suitors. It’s a big reason why Trae Young went to Oklahoma. Some players want to be THE guy. Obviously fans would always want their teams to be as loaded as possible, coaches too, but players pick their colleges for a variety of reasons and the ability to get plenty of shots isn’t uncommon.
I don’t blame Duke for bringing in Bagley. If Carter truly cared about winning a championship he should have been thrilled with the addition, but Carter is entitled to his own opinions and wants. We shouldn’t tell Carter what he should or shouldn’t prefer. Duke’s staff told Carter he would be the only guy and they brought in Bagley. Again, I don’t blame Duke, but a conversation should have happened between K and Carter to smooth things over, and that clearly didn’t happen. If it did happen it didn’t work. You can’t blame a recruit for being upset when a recruiting pitch he was excited about doesn’t come to fruition. Especially at no fault to the kid. That sort of thing happens in football and college staffs have been banned from high schools because of lying to recruits. K lied to Carter. Maybe it wasn’t intentional, and no one in their right mind would pass on Bagley, but K still broke recruiting promises (again). It doesn’t appear there was an apology, a smoothing over conversation or any sort of realization of a ticked off student athlete.
This by itself wouldn’t be a major deal. Coaches lie to kids. It stinks and it happens. K wanted Bagley and any school would do backflips to bring in such a talented player. I’m not advocating Duke should have passed, but Carter’s issues are warranted, too. They aren’t mutually exclusive. K did what he needed to do to help his team’s chances, but he also broke promises and pissed off a player along the way. K should be asked about this and he’s not blameless in Carter’s gripes. But it’s not the end of the world or a major deal by itself.
But it isn’t by itself. K lied to Thornton and his family. He had a terrible interaction with Ojeleye’s family. Hell, he once lectured an opposing player about class after Duke was knocked out of the tournament.
Why is it commonly accepted that K can do no wrong? Some national media members don’t hesitate to talk about how Calipari is ruining college basketball with one-and-done players, but K adopts the OAD philosophy and no one makes a peep about it. UK fans often are called babies for thinking there is a double-standard but there’s no way the national media member would react the same way had a former Calipari player complained. If a former player said Calipari yelled at his mom that would be talked about on ESPN for weeks. Hell, Calipari has been scrutinized for his demeanor on sidelines. If this was about Calipari then the family would be in the right and the coach in the wrong. Of course he would be ripped if he did any of the above.
K is a media darling and nothing he can do will change that label.