Duke players were spread across the country during the long COVID-19 quarantine period this summer. Unable to be on campus or work together, many teams might be behind schedule as practice begins. Coach Mike Krzyzewski thinks the opposite has happened with Duke, however.
“Actually, to be quite frank with you, I think we’re prepared better than we usually are,” he said, “because our kids have been in a bubble. We’ve had extra time, even from going from four hours a week to eight hours for a couple weeks and now our regular 20-hour week. Not having any guys injured or sick, we’ve gotten a lot of individual instruction.”
While Duke is in good shape, Coach K is worried about the rest of the sport.
“Because they’re kind of in their own bubble—most classes are remote—they’ve become really close as a unit. Now it’s a matter of how long you can maintain that without having any outside competition. In other words, we have to navigate what happens if games are cancelled. I saw where the Gavitt (Tipoff) Games were cancelled and the MTEs (midseason tournament exemption) in Orlando—tings I think we should have anticipated happening when people were trying to put this thing together, how it could be done for safety and the best possible season. Things change week to week, and we’re going to have to navigate that, because that’s the landscape that we’re in. That’s how people have really saw fit to … I hate to use the word lead, because I don’t think it’s leading. They’re just making decisions that this is the environment we’re going to be in.”