Duke's Mike Krzyzewski returns to practice after leaving Tuesday's game at halftime: 'He was the same Coach K that we all know' | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / May 28.
  • Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski returns to practice after leaving Tuesday’s game at halftime: ‘He was the same Coach K that we all know’

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was back at practice on Thursday after leaving Tuesday’s 76-74 victory over Wake Forest at halftime because he felt ill.

    “Definitely, he was here, happy to be here and was just being the same Coach K that we all know,” freshman A.J. Griffin said on a Zoom call. “He looks great and I’m glad that he’s back.”

    Fellow freshman Trevor Keels said Coach K was there early Thursday, led practice and seems fine.

    “Coach K is good,” he said. “He’s back to right where he’s at. Today, when he was talking to us, I forgot he missed the second half. He looks the
    complete same. There’s no fall-off, no sluggishness coming in today. He was in here early in the morning, watching film like he always does, talking to his coaches.”

    Griffin said the team had no problem adjusting to coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer taking over in the second half.

    “We were all ready, we know what’s in front of us,” he said. “We gotta focus on the game at hand. And Coach was OK after, so we gotta get the job done, no matter what.”

    Coach K, who turned 75 Sunday, is due to retire after this season and hand over the reigns to Scheyer. No. 9 Duke has five games remaining before the ACC Tournament at Barclays Center, beginning with Saturday’s game against Florida State.

    “I’m better,” he said Thursday during a radio show. “We went through a very taxing part of our season with four games in eight days, late travel and I still prepare the same way. That day for Wake, I wasn’t feeling that good. During the game, during the first half, I got lightheaded on the bench and I called (assistant coaches) Jon Scheyer and Chris Carrawell over and said, ‘Look, I’m not feeling great. You guys do more. Just don’t hold back.’ “Then I started feeling a little bit better during the half. Then, as I’m walking off the court at halftime, it’s the first time I had stood up — I really thought I could pass out. I got to the locker room and my medical people just gave me IVs and whatever. I’m better.”

    Coach K and the team took Wednesday off.

    “Look, you get exhausted,” Coach K said. “I don’t know if was my way of celebrating my 75th birthday and saying, ‘Knucklehead, you are 75. You better do something a little bit different. “I’m better. I’m glad that it was that and not something else, and my guys did a really good job and we were able to beat a really good team.”

    Ian O’Connor, author of the new book Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski, said he didn’t think news reports Tuesday about Coach K telling Tommy Amaker last year he wouldn’t be his successor-– or about Coach K’s break with former mentor Bobby Knight (“I don’t think they will ever talk again”) — were connected to Coach K falling ill during the game.

    After the Wake Forest game, Coach K gave his team a pep talk.

    “He’s one of the toughest guys I know,” Duke freshman forward Paolo Banchero said. “He came and gave us a talk, just like he would have had he been coaching.”

    Coach K also did not travel with the team when Duke beat Wake Forest 76-64 on Jan. 12 at Joel Coliseum. Scheyer also coached the team for that game.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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