Duke Freshman Henry Coleman to Coach K: "We're a Different Group of Guys"


Duke has six freshmen and seven newcomers on this year’s team, which could result in a big change in the team’s personality compared to last season.

“I told Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) at the beginning of the season, ‘We’re a different group of guys,’” freshman Henry Coleman said. “Everybody has come in hungry, ready to work. We’re just different, I feel like.”

One way the team is different is on its concern for social justice. Coleman spoke at a recent on-campus rally, with his teammates all gathered behind him for support.

“When those guys came up behind me, I felt almost like it was a security blanket,” he said. “I felt like those guys behind me felt the message with me. They showed the whole community they believed every single word I was saying.”

Coleman pointed out that the men’s team weren’t the only ones showing solidarity at the rally.

“The (women’s) team did the same thing when Coach (Kara) Lawson was speaking,” he said. “They came up behind her. I thought that was unbelievable. It showed the true brotherhood we have, not just as the men’s program but the whole program throughout Duke athletics.”

Coleman mentioned talking to his parents about race and the risks young African-American men face while delivering his speech.

“It’s just the talks a lot of people, African-Americans specifically, have to have. ‘You can’t go down the street with your music on loud. You can’t wear certain types of clothing to certain types of events. It’s just the era and time—we have to get used to it. Just those small talks—my dad talked to me about death before I’d seen it in a movie. My dad had to explain to me why certain stuff is happening. It’s sad you have to have these talks when you’re five years old, but you have to have them.”