Indoor riding arena

Coach K gift for Duke players after a loss: their pain relief

NEW ORLEANS — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski walked out of his final postgame press conference and jumped into the back of a golf cart with his wife, Mickey.

Coach K won’t cut the net in his final season; There is no perfect end to his 42-year career, nor a sixth national title. Instead, Krzyzewski offered a hover moment to members of the media gathered around him in the Superdome tunnel.

“Maybe you can force the sunset a bit,” Krzyowski joked, before the golf cart pulled away as the 75-year-old retired.

Krzyzewski’s behavior deteriorated on Saturday night. In one, he was touched and grateful for Duke’s thrilling Final Four that ended in an 81-77 loss to North Carolina. There was no outpouring of feelings about coaching his final college basketball game.

“I’m not thinking about my career right now,” he said.

At another point, Krzyzewski was consoling his team, hurting them and doing his best to cheer them up. He was comforting the players as Tar Heels celebrated and was late in the post-game handshake streak.

“As a coach, I’m just worried about these guys,” Krzyzewski said. “I mean, they are already crying on the pitch. And I mean that’s the only thing you can think of. Then I walked into the locker room I’ve said throughout my career that I want my seasons to end where my team ends either you cry tears of joy or tears of sadness because you knew then that she gave it her all.

“And I had a locker room full of guys crying. It’s a beautiful scene. This is not the scene I want. I want the other. But it’s a scene that I really respect and that makes me realize how good this band was. That’s what worries me. »

Continued:North Carolina defeats Duke and ends Coach K’s career to reach national championship

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Bye:What did Coach K say after Duke lost to North Carolina in the Final Four?

Winners and losers:UNC leadership and freshman coach Hubert Davis ride high

The pain was so deep for Krzyzewski’s players that the game was rated the “game of the century” and “the greatest game in college basketball history” as the first-ever Final Four meeting between Duke and UNC.

Krzyzewski was lucky enough to be crowned by North Carolina – first in their final home game on March 5 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, then on Saturday in front of a crowd of 70,602. Among the crowd were former players, including two beloved ones, Christian Latner and Bobby Hurley, who helped Krzyzewski win his first two national titles in 1991 and 1992. Looking desperate in the stands, Hurley repeated to several times “Damn”.

Throughout the week, Krzyzewski tried to distract from his final season – to cut the noise and focus on securing a national championship. After the default, Coach K’s focus shifted to putting his players’ feelings first and his own in the background. Behind closed doors, Krzyzewski said he had a responsibility to dampen his players’ deep pain over the loss.

“You take care of the people you love,” Krzyzewski said. “And you care about people who have committed to you and believed in you. And they tick all the boxes. So we’re going to help them get through this ordeal and then move on, because they’re all very young.

The youngest Blue Devils of his career, in fact. Krzyzewski explained that the Duke’s brotherhood would be lifelong. Big man Mark Williams missed a pair of late free throws that cost dearly, and Krzyzewski was quick to reframe.

He said: “I don’t want one of these guys to go and say, ‘I should have made a free throw; I should have made that pitch. “We win and we lose together.”

Players said they felt his love. Wendell Moore Jr. said: It’s a “dream” to play with Krzyzewski – the winning coach in college basketball history. But it was Coach K’s influence, he said, that he considered a lifelong imprint.

“He loves all of us very much,” Moore said. “And we all love him. So we can only thank him for everything he has done for us.

New star Paulo Banchero added: “Just being able to wage war on the coach (Krzyewski) and the team all season – he’s been very committed to us all year. They’ve been able to go out and fight, fight with the coach every game.

Krzyowski later refers to former President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Ring” speech, which states in part, “Credit goes to the man already in the ring. …who knows great fervor, and great loyalties; who spends himself in a noble cause.

Coach K didn’t set off on a perfect sunset. But he said his last team helped him finish his career exactly the way he wanted.

“It’s going to be okay,” Krzyszewski said. “I was lucky to be there.” “And when you’re in the arena, you’ll either come out feeling good or you’ll feel tormented, but you’ll still feel good being in the arena.

“And I’m sure that’s something I’m going to miss when I look back. I will no longer be in the arena. But damn it, I’ve been in the ring for so long. And those kids did last time in the arena was great.

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