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College Basketball: Peers Say Krzyzewski Gets Recruiting Avantage Coaching USA

Does hanging with Kobe and LeBron help Coach K's recruiting?  Most of his peers believe it does.
Does hanging with Kobe and LeBron help Coach K's recruiting? Most of his peers believe it does.

I know, I know. Doh.

You almost have to put this in the same category as "who is perceived as the biggest cheater?" It's one of those questions that is such a foregone conclusion when asked of a group of highly self-interested people that it's almost laughable.

But what really got me was how instead of running away from the question like Usain Bolt, as he did the "cheater" question earlier, he embraces and amplifies the premise of the question:

But nobody ever questioned Krzyzewski.

They just seemed to love playing for the guy.

And you don't think recruits loved getting texts from the guy who earned the respect of the sport's biggest stars? Imagine Krzyzewski over in London texting a recruit something like … "You know, I was telling LeBron about you this morning at breakfast." Or … "So I was working one-on-one with Kobe after practice, and it reminded me of something I wanted to talk to you about." Or … "KD asked about you tonight after the game. He asked if I thought we were gonna get you to Duke because he knows what kind of player you are. I just told him I sure hope you commit soon because I think we could use you in the ACC the same way we're using Kevin in the Olympics. Anyway, how are things back home?"

The "Everybody loves playing for Coach K!" plaint is the real story here. How in the tank Parrish, along with many of his colleagues, are for Mike Krzyzewski continues to illustrate how preferences seem to drive the media commentary. Hint to Parrish -- few ever question success.

Make no mistake -- I am extremely proud of Krzyzewski's work as Team USA coach, and you will never hear me say that there is something nefarious about it. I'm a bit of a contrarian on the question of the recruiting advantage, though. Krzyzewski is so fawned over and reported on by the media in such glowing terms, the additional impact of his gig at the top of Team USA is probably not that much more of an advantage. It's nothing, for example, like the recruiting advantage gained by John Calipari when it comes to 2015 super-prospect Karl Towns Jr.

If I were a coach, though, I would answer "yes" to the question, "Has Mike Krzyzewski earned a recruiting advantage because of his association with USA Basketball?", even if that advantage were not particularly great. The fact that almost 30% said no is, as Parrish indicates, is surprising, and perhaps reflects a bit of my skepticism about the magnitude of any advantage.