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Corky Simpson COLUMN

Give an ‘A’ to ‘Coach K’ for rejecting L.A.

Corky Simpson

Citizen Sports Columnist

Duke University, its distinguished gownsmen and honored jump shooters can breathe again.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski will continue to operate the basketball program and advise the school president, rather than move to Los Angeles.

He turned down the Lakers, who offered him Malibu, Space Mountain, $40 million spending money and the opportunity to rehabilitate Kobe Bryant.

Krzyzewski is a smart man.

He may look like a person trying to swallow his own nose sometimes, when basketball officials fail to follow his instructions.

The entire free world feels Mike’s pain when an opponent comes within 25 points of his Blue Devils.

Naturally, we share his distress at losing undergrads to the NBA, same as the hoi polloi of college basketball.

And that rumbling sound awakening “Coach K” at night are the sneakers – the giant, powder blue sneakers – of Roy Williams and the hated enemy, North Carolina, closing in on the Duke dynasty. That’s something Krzyzewski and the Dookies had better get used to.

Just the same, Mike made the right decision in staying in Durham, N.C. And all kidding aside, everyone who loves the college game has reason to celebrate, even breathe easier.

“You have to follow your heart,” Krzyzewski said. Amen, Mike.

Coach K has won three national championships at Duke. The Blue Devils defeated Arizona in the 2001 NCAA finals.

The NBA has beaten up on the NCAA in recent years, taking not only the best college players – freshmen, sophomores and juniors included – but snatching the best high school talent. It’s good to see one of the best coaches in history say no to pro basketball.

According to USA Today, even Bryant tried to recruit Krzyzewski to coach the Lakers.

Trouble is, nobody coaches in the NBA. Those who hold the title are paid to keep players out of jail and persuade them to show up on time for games. Doing both is almost impossible and, therefore, very stressful. You’ve got to love money more than coaching to put up with the blockheads of professional basketball (and in L.A., annoying Hollywood groupies).

But Coach K will stay on the sidelines at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and that’s a victory for college basketball. Even Tar Heel fans are happy about it. They are glad Krzyzewski stayed at Duke because (a) they are convinced Roy Williams will overtake him very soon, and (b) they want Coach K sitting there at courtside when Carolina topples his empire.

Happiest of all are the TV analysts who have made careers out of shamelessly promoting Krzyzewski and the Blue Devil program.

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