Krzyzewski getting settled in again at Duke

BY foxsports • September 17, 2010

Mike Krzyzewski is getting settled again at Duke and already sounds hungry for another championship.

Krzyzewski's trophy case certainly has gotten more crowded lately. A few months after leading the Blue Devils to their fourth NCAA tournament title, he coached the United States to the gold medal at the world championships in Turkey.

''I had two of the purest experiences of my life in a five-month period,'' Krzyzewski said Thursday. ''At this time of my career, it's crazy, lucky, good. But I want to have another experience with my Duke team.''

Krzyzewski, who also led the U.S. to Olympic gold two years ago in Beijing, admitted he's playing catch-up with recruiting at Duke, but said that isn't a big deal. He's in the process of turning his full focus toward the pursuit of a second straight national title with the Blue Devils, whom he said worked out for about an hour Wednesday, the first day allowed by the NCAA.

''There is an emotional price you pay in being in that competitive environment,'' the 63-year-old Krzyzewski said. ''Between now and when we start practice on Oct. 15, I've got to make sure I fill up the tank with that because our Duke kids deserve that. But physically, I feel really good, but there is a lot of emotion in coming after winning the national title and doing that. Again, I'm not complaining.''

At least the Hall of Fame coach gets a chance to breathe somewhat easier next summer - the Americans' victory in the world championships came with an automatic spot in the Olympics in London, meaning they won't have to play a qualifying tournament in 2011.

He reaffirmed that those games in 2012 will mark the end of his run as the U.S. coach, though he insisted he will remain involved with USA Basketball in an undecided capacity. He took note of the international fans' fervor, quipping that ''I don't think anyone was calling me a name. It wasn't like playing in the ACC.''

And he reflected upon coaching against one of his former players when he faced a Lithuania team with former Blue Devils guard Marty Pocius. He called the medal ceremony in which the Americans claimed gold and the Lithuanians got the bronze ''a pretty good day for Duke.''

The Blue Devils certainly didn't have many bad days last year, and Krzyzewski's challenge once again is to keep it going.

They enter this season as one of the favorites to make it to Houston for what would be Coach K's 12th Final Four and are trying to become the first team to repeat as champions since Florida in 2007.

Krzyzewski said Final Four Most Outstanding Player Kyle Singler is recovering well from knee surgery earlier this month, saying that ''if this was the season, he'd play today, but there's no reason to do that.''

Singler, who turned down a chance to enter the NBA draft early and returned for his senior season, is expected to be one of the centerpieces of a Duke team that returns talented guard Nolan Smith, welcomes promising freshman guard Kyrie Irving and hopes 6-foot-10 brothers Miles and Mason Plumlee can replace the tenacity of two graduated big men, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek.

''I want to see what Kyle and Nolan can do their senior years and see where Mason and Miles are at,'' Krzyzewski said. ''What does Kyrie Irving do as a freshman? Those are the exciting things for me, and hopefully they translate into enough wins to put you in a position to play for something big. I would like to play for something big all the time.''

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