When Zion Williamson committed to Duke, most of the college basketball world saw Coach K transform the Blue Devils into the “cool” program, a title previously held by John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats. Not everybody sees it that way.
In a conversation between a trio of KSR Summer Gust Hosts, The Ringer’s Mark Titus told Big Cat and PFT Commenter on Pardon my Take that he isn’t buying Coach K’s BS. Titus doesn’t believe Duke is suddenly cool. He thinks they are cheating.
“I would just say that Duke has a very fine connection with the duffel bag industry,” Titus said. “In all honesty, I actually love it. I seriously do think Duke is cheating their ass off. It’s amazing to me that Coach K has kind of brainwashed the rest of the country. If this happens literally at any other school, people would start screaming about how they’re cheating. But for some reason, everybody thinks that K is just a leader of men.”
Titus did not just shout that into the wind. He backed up his claim with some evidence.
Some of it is simple logic, like: “You think the kids are sitting around saying I want to play for a 70-year old?” Other evidence is more concrete and makes sense, almost too much sense. Right after the FBI revealed college basketball’s pay-for-play scheme, a private institution that isn’t subject to Freedom of Information Act requests now has all of the country’s best players. All of those players were recruited by a guy who left his old job because of a par-for-play scandal.
“I just want to point out that Jeff Capel is the recruiting guru for Duke,” Titus said. “He was hired in 2011 at Duke after leaving Oklahoma. He left Oklahoma because he was fired because Oklahoma was paying one of their players. An assistant coach knew about it and Capel himself weaseled his way out of it all and didn’t get any punishment.
“Part of the reason he left Oklahoma was he got fired for that. Then he goes to Duke. Duke up to that point, the only one-and-done guy they had was Kyrie Irving. After that, Capel joins the staff and they start rattling off all these one-and-done guys.”
If you want to connect the dots and hear Titus’ argument for yourself, listen to the latest Pardon my Take around the 36-minute mark.