Former Duke Blue Devil and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers Billy King is a co-host of WIP sport radio’s morning show in Philadelphia. Recently, he had his former college coach, Mike Krzyzewski, on as a guest.
King is a former national defensive player of the year, and the rest of the morning show crew asked Coach K whether King was one of his best defensive players ever.
“Billy (King) would be in the starting five of an all-defensive team,” Coach K said. “Billy had the ability to keep the ball away and stay in front of somebody, so they don’t get good shots or don’t get the ball.”
King didn’t earn the top spot on the All-Defensive Team, however.
“(Shane) Battier, another Defensive Player of the Year,” Krzyzewski said. “He kind of controlled the defense, because he played the four position (power forward) and sometimes the five (center). His talk kind of connected everybody. Billy was not in the position to do that.”
The rest of the all-time Blue Devils team had similar roles to King’s.
“That’s where our national Defensive Players of the Year at the guard spot were,” he said. “ (Tommy) Amaker, (Steve) Wojciechowski and Grant Hill. The were kind of like what Billy did. Battier was different in that point. I had some good guys. I had some really good guys.”
As for the best overall Duke player Krzyzewski has had, the coach hedged his bet by choosing two, depending on the definition of best.
“Grant (Hill) was the most talented player we’ve coached at Duke,” he said. “Really, he could be president of the U.S. That would be nice, by the way.”
“The most accomplished player is (Christian) Laettner,” he added. “In the history of college basketball, he’s got to be in the top three who played college basketball. If you win a national championship you have to win six games in the NCAA Tournament. If you’re here for four years, the best you could be is 24-0. That’d be something. That’s (Lew) Alcindor like. He was 18-0 (in three years). Laettner was 21-2. He’s the leading scorer in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Just magnificent. I like both those guys.”