Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils watches “One Shining Moment” with his players Grayson Allen #3, Quinn Cook and Justise Winslow #12 after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers during the NCAA Men’s Final Four National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 6, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
By: Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)
Coach K wins 5th John Wooden Trophy
Kentucky wasn’t able to etch its name in history, but Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski is (as if he already wasn’t) one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history after capturing his 5th John Wooden Trophy after his Blue Devils defeated Wisconsin 68-63 Monday night.
Krzyzewski is ranked 2nd All-time in national champions with five, only behind Wooden himself with 10. Before entering Monday’s matchup of No. 1 seeds, Coach K was 0-3 against No. 1 seeds in the National Championship game and 4-1 against all others.
Two moments made Coach K’s 5th title a bit more special than the others, 1) Krzyzewski became the first coach in Division I men’s basketball history to eclipse 1,000 wins after defeating St. John 77-68 Jan. 25.
And 2), he was highly-criticized for his inability to coach top recruits, or “one-and-done” players.
Freshmen Jahlil Okafor and Justice Winslow are all but gone to the NBA, and the jury is still out on Tyus Jones’ decision to declare for the draft.
But it was his one-and-done freshmen that spearheaded Duke in the second half. Four of Duke’s freshmen combined for 60 points, an NCAA Championship record. Wisconsin’s four seniors combined for 28.
Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan went on a post-game rant, and displayed poor sportsmanship as he criticized the refs and said Wisconsin doesn’t “rent a player.” It was the epitome of the phrase, “sore loser.” If you’re the spokesperson for a senior led program, Ryan, then show some class and teach the youth how to handle defeat.
Ryan’s full quote:
“All the seniors that I’ve had — hard to say the word. But every player that’s played through the program, okay, we don’t do a rent-a-player. You know what I mean? Try to take a fifth-year guy. That’s okay. If other people do that, that’s okay. I like trying to build from within. It’s just the way I am. And to see these guys grow over the years and to be here last year and lose a tough game, boom, they came back.”
Coach K responded to Ryan quote earlier today during an interview with CBS.
“Duke doesn’t rent a player,” Krzyzewski said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.”We have one of the great schools in the world, and when we recruit a young man, we recruit a young man because of three things: One, he has the academic potential to do well at Duke; two, he has the talent to do well; and three, he has great character. All the guys on my team fit that description 100 percent.”
Maybe Ryan should take a page or five, from Coach K.
Joe Thomas says teammates “lost trust” in Johnny Manziel during the season
The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and Cleveland Browns 22nd overall pick may have already hit rock bottom entering his second season in the NFL.
Johnny Manziel checked himself into a drug rehab facility shortly after the Super Bowl to put a stop to career and life-threatening habit.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Manziel is “likely to be discharged soon, possibly even next week.” Those words were confirmed by Browns head coach Mike Pettine made at the owners’ meetings in Phoenix two weeks ago, when he said he expects Manziel to participate in offseason workouts, which begin April 20.
But if the 22-year-old is expecting a warm embrace when he returns, teammate and Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas has a message for Manziel.
“I think he’s going to have to prove to the team that football is important and being ‘the man,’ being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, is important, it is his goal, his single goal in his life,” Brown told Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland 850. “You know, I think he lost probably a lot of trust among the guys on the team last year by the way he handled himself once he became the starter. And I think he had a lot of time to reflect, I’m guessing, after the season was over by the comments he made in the media and by his actions, checking himself into rehab. … I think those were really positive steps. I’m hoping when we come back in April, we see a new Johnny and everybody’s blown away with his commitment. And I think he’s got the talent, so it’s just a matter of if he commits himself to it, we can have a really good quarterback on our hands.”
Kudos for Thomas, who is the leader of the team, to say what needs to be said to a promising player, but misguided player. Manziel was drafted 22nd overall for a reason, to lead a franchise in desperate need of success and rejuvenation. Checking himself into rehab was another stepping stone to get Manziel’s life on and off the field, back on track.
Like Thomas so eloquently stated, Manziel has to prove to the team that football is his No. 1 priority when he returns from rehab.
There is nothing but truth in Thomas’ words. Prove to your team and the franchise that you’re not just another player that will squander a golden opportunity to play at the highest level of football, Manziel.
Race For 8th in the NBA
Multiple teams in each conference are jockeying for the final playoff spots with a little over a week left in the season.
In Western Conference, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder is leading Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans by half of game. OKC is currently 42-35 and the Pelicans are 41-35.
Remaining games for the Thunder:
Tue, Apr 7 vs San Antonio; Fri, Apr 10 vs Sacramento; Sun, Apr 12 @ Indiana; Mon, Apr 13 vs Portland; Wed, Apr 15 @ Minnesota
Remaining games for the Pelicans:
Tue, Apr 7 vs Golden State; Wed, Apr 8 @ Memphis; Fri, Apr 10 vs Phoenix; Sun, Apr 12 @ Houston; Mon, Apr 13 @ Minnesota; Wed, Apr 15 vs San Antonio
What Russell Westbrook has been doing is simply mind-boggling. If it wasn’t for the legitimate MVP candidate, the Thunder would be a lottery team at this juncture, especially after the news of teammate and reigning MVP Kevin Durant, shut down for the season after three surgeries on his foot.
Westbrook recorded his third 40-point triple-double of the season in a loss to James Harden and the Houston Rockets Sunday. The Thunder are asking a lot from Westbrook as he singlehandedly carries the team on his back in Durant’s absence.
If you look at the schedule, San Antonio and Portland are the only two teams left on the schedule that posses any real threat to OKC.
As gifted as Anthony Davis is, and arguably the second best player in the league, the only team remaining on their schedule that doesn’t have a winning record is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unless Golden State rest its players, I can’t see the Pelicans knocking of MVP favorite Stephen Curry and the Warriors tonight.
Memphis has been inconsistent as of late, but they are still favored over New Orleans. Every team except for the Timberwolves are vying for a playoff position. The Phoenix Suns are three games back from the 8th spot, but unless both the Pelicans and the Thunder lose the rest of their games, the Suns won’t make the playoffs.
The Thunder will hold off the Pelicans for the final spot in the West.
The competitiveness in the Eastern Conference stops at the 5 seed. Seeds 6 through 9 all have losing records. The hottest team among that group is the 7th-seed Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have a record of 36 and 41, but won 8 of its last 10 games.
The 8th seed in the East is down to a three horse race between the Boston Celtics (35-42), Indiana Pacers (34-43) and the Miami Heat (34-43). Horrid records for either of those teams that will back its way into the postseason.
The Heat seemed like a lock to make it weeks ago, but Miami is currently on a 4-game skid, dropping from 7th to 10th.
Miami is still the better team between the three of them. So until April 15 says otherwise, I’m still picking the Heat to claim the final spot in the East.