With Duke on its way to a 69-point win over Fort Valley State, Coach Mike Krzyzewski sent his walk-ons to the scorer’s table.
This time was a little different than all the other times Coach K has cleared the bench in his coaching career.
This time, he was summoning his grandson, Michael Savarino, into the game.
“I didn’t say, ‘Get Savarino in,’” Krzyzewski said afterward. “I said to my staff, ‘Get thewalk-ons ready.’ I told Joey (Baker) and J-Rob (Justin Robinson) that they were going to come in (with the three walk-ons) and make sure we play as a unit. I told my staff at about five minutes, ‘We’re going to sub all five in.’ I would never disprespect (walk-on Mike) Buckmire by saying, ‘Put Savarino in,’ even though his mother is in the room right now, and his grandmother.”
Krzyzewski then broke down the play of his walk-ons.
“It was a cool moment,” he said. “For Keenan (Worthington, another walk-on) too. He’s from Chapel Hill. But they played like they know how to play, which they do.”
Savarino had an assist to Joey Baker for a three and hit two free throws.
“I’m glad he hit the free throws,” Krzyzewski said, “but I thought the best thing he did was the pass he made to Joey. Just his demeanor. All our walk-ons had really good demeanors.”
It will be the last time Krzyzewski gets to coach his grandson in a game for awhile.
“We’re going to look at not playing he and Keenan during the year, to redshirt them,” he said, “to have a chance to have them develop and see what happens a little bit later during their time at Duke.”
It will also take some of the pressure off of Krzyzewski at home.
“The other thing is to get my family off my back,” he said. “I’m announcing that now, so at the end of every game …” He then looked at his daughter and said, “They’re not going in. And don’t call the assistants, either.”