Dan Patrick was naive for seeking an explanation on Grayson Allen's trifecta of tripping incidents. Dillon Brooks is a liar, as is Zabian Dowdell. And Duke fans should stick to chants of "Defense!" or "Come on, Duke!" College basketball according to Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K is a living legend. Duke basketball as we know it doesn't exist without Coach K. More than 1,000 wins in 40 seasons. Twenty-four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Twelve Final Fours, all since the tournament expanded in 1985, and five national championships in the last three decades. Only John Wooden has more national championships. Olympic gold medals. Hall of Famer. One of the greatest coaches in sports history. All of that and more.
Krzyzewski is not, however, the moral arbiter of college basketball.
Oregon led Duke, 79-68, in the final seconds of their 2016 Sweet Sixteen matchup when Ducks' guard Dillon Brooks, instead of accepting a shot-clock violation, drained a three from about 35 feet. Brooks was approached by Coach K in the handshake line, though at the time, the audio was indiscernible.
“He just told me that I’m too good of a player to be showing out at the end,” Brooks said after the game. “And he’s right. I’ve got to respect Duke."
Brooks lied, implied Coach K, saying “Yeah, I just congratulated him I said, ‘You’re a terrific player.’”
Two days later, CBS released audio of the exchange, which showed Coach K lied. And not until that smoking gun did Coach K apologize, though he chalked up the lying to an incorrect reaction to a reporter's question. Nine years earlier, there was a nearly identical situation when Virginia Tech guard Zabian Dowdell celebrated the Hokies' win over Duke.
"He just told me I’m too classy of a guy to be carrying on like that,” Dowdell said in 2007. Days after lying about Brooks, Krzyzewski was asked by Roanoke Times' reporter Mark Berman about the 2007 incident. The exchange:
“I understand you did speak to Zabian Dowdell about how he was celebrating,” Berman started.
“No, no, I just congratulated him,” Krzyzewski said. “I respect the heck out of him. He’s a great kid and that’s enough said. He was fabulous. That’s the main message that was made.”
“He said …”
“That’s all I’m going to say about it because I admire the kid and I admire the program and it was a [great] win for them and I’ll say that forever.”
“That’s all I’m going to say about it,” Krzyzewski said.
Three months before losing to Oregon, he called Dan Patrick "naive" for asking how someone can explain Grayson Allen's tripping incidents, which resulted in a measly one-game suspension.
“Tell me you haven’t made a mistake more than three times . . . C’mon, Dan, you’ve been doing this a long time. These are human things. Human beings do human things . . . You’re being naive about this."
And on Tuesday, during Duke's 12-point win over Pittsburgh in Jeff Capel's return to Cameron Indoor Stadium, Krzyzewski went ballistic on the Cameron Crazies for chanting, "Jeff Capel sit with us." In his postgame press conference, he said he misheard the chant, explaining "I made a mistake. But I’d rather make a mistake for the protection of my guy."
Coach K didn't elaborate on what he thought was chanted — side note: He's 50 feet from the Crazies…what could he possibly think was chanted? — but, even after admitting a mistake, lectured fans on chants, saying, "Let's think of a different cheer . . . 'Defense! Let's go! Come on, Duke!' "
What's next? Fans can't cheer an opponent's missed field goal?