Coach K Suffered Health Issue Prior to Stephen F. Austin Loss
Three days after losing to Stephen F. Austin, Duke beat Winthrop at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 83-70. The visiting Eagles put a scare into Duke, leading in the first half and remaining within striking distance until late in the game.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski blamed part of Duke’s struggles on the team’s shaken confidence after suffering such a high-profile upset loss, but he said the Blue Devils played much better against Winthrop.
“Look, we were horrible on Tuesday,” he said. “So you can take that game and whatever stats you want. That’s not who we are.”
The confidence struggles caused Duke to show hesitancy when shooting, what Krzyzewski called “squeezing the ball”.
“They put pressure on themselves on the shot,” he explained.
Krzyzewski also made a surprising admission, saying that he was suffering from some type of health problem on Tuesday that may have negatively impacted the team, although he didn’t go into any detail on the nature of the problem.
“Part of it, we had some other issues with our program,” Krzyzewski said, “with some health issues. I had a little health issue for the last game that I was not myself. I had some … anyway I’m good, but that day and that night, I was not good. So, part of that is we’re human beings. We’re not going to be perfect even though lot of people expect us to be.”
Krzyzewski has missed a number of games due to health issues in recent years. In fact, last season was the first time in four years when he had perfect attendance. He missed a game against Wake Forest in 2017-18 with a virus, close to a month in 2016-17 after having back surgery and missed a game in 2015-16 due to illness.
Coach K also mentioned his eventual retirement in his postgame press conference, which is a rarity.
“You know, at the end of my career, whenever that is, you may ask me, ‘Who is your toughest opponent?’ And I will tell you, right now, human nature. That’s a coach’s toughest opponent—to handle human nature.”
He then added, “So, I’m not retiring tonight.”