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Mike Krzyzewski not best at ID'ing Russians

9/8/2010

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, currently coaching the U.S. national team at the FIBA World Championship, appeared annoyed when addressing comments made by Russia coach David Blatt in advance of their quarterfinal game.

Blatt, an American, said earlier he believed that the controversial 1972 Olympic gold medal game between the two countries was a fair outcome with USSR taking the gold after a disputed finish. The Americans refused to accept their silver medals after the game, and Blatt's comments reopened old wounds.

"I mean, he's Russian," Krzyzewski told reporters. "He coaches the Russian team, so he probably has that viewpoint. His eyes are clear now because there are no tears in them, so it's great. Whatever he thinks, he thinks. It has really absolutely no bearing on what we're trying to do tomorrow."

The only problem with Krzyzewski's statement is that Blatt isn't Russian. He was born in Louisville, went to high school in Framingham, Mass., and played at Princeton. He's an opinionated American who draws a paycheck from Russia.

The Associated Press wasn't sure if Krzyzewski either forgot or ignored Blatt's background, and it's not as if he hasn't used Russian humor before.

Here's Coach K in February refuting rumors that the Nets might be interested in hiring him away from Duke:

Krzyzewski said New Jersey had not contacted him, then cracked a couple of one-liners at the expense of Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire and the Nets' prospective buyer.

"The guy's Russian, right?" Krzyzewski said. "You think he'd hire a Polish guy?"