LOS ANGELES -- John Wooden knows what Mike Krzyzewski is
going through, having once been at the pinnacle of college
basketball and approached by NBA teams.
And Wooden, who knows Krzyzewski but has not spoken with him
about this matter, expects Coach K to stay at Duke.
Krzyzewski met with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch
Kupchak on Thursday to discuss the NBA team's coaching vacancy,
created with the announcement June 18 that Phil Jackson wouldn't
return next season.
ESPN's Jim Gray reported Thursday night that Krzyzewski was
offered the job. Lakers spokesman John Black refused comment Friday.
"I'd be very surprised if Mike Krzyzewski took the job with the
situation he's had there and the setup with Nike," the 93-year-old
Wooden said. "He wouldn't leave, I don't think, for financial
"I would be very surprised to see him take the job, but I was
very surprised to see Mike Montgomery take the job he took, too. So
I guess you shouldn't really be surprised."
Krzyzewski has a 621-179 record in 24 seasons at Duke, leading
the Blue Devils to NCAA championships in 1991, 1992 and 2001. Under
the 57-year-old Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils have 10 Final Four
appearances, eight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament
championships and 10 conference regular-season titles.
Montgomery left Stanford in May after 18 years at the school to
become coach at Golden State, signing a four-year, $10 million
contract. Like Krzyzewski, he has never coached in the NBA.
Wooden coached UCLA to 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span
before retiring in 1975. The Bruins were 620-147 in 27 seasons
He said he was approached several times by NBA teams, but never
considered leaving UCLA.
"Not once," he said. "I don't think you have real control.
Who got Jackson fired, or was he fired? Did he get forced out?
Players can get you fired, there's no question about that. Owners
have complete control, they're going to favor a star player over a
coach. The only thing that was ever enticing was the money.
"Everybody loves [Krzyzewski], he has a great situation there,
he gets the cream of the crop, some of them, every year. Success
breeds success, good players want to go there. It's a fine
Wooden said that unlike most college coaches, Krzyzewski would
command respect in the NBA, but his strength as a coach -- teaching
-- wouldn't be as significant.
"He's one of the best teachers of the game," Wooden said.
"When you go into the pros, you don't do as much teaching. You've
got to teach them a particular philosophy. You're not going to be
able to change their fundamentals too much."
Wooden said he has much respect for Krzyzewski.
"A few years ago, when I was there for the McDonald's All-Star
game, he invited me to speak with his team," Wooden said. "I
thoroughly enjoyed it. I could see how he conducted his practices.
Very impressed, indeed I was.
"You just have to consider him, and not because of the
championships, one of the best there's been in the collegiate
Former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich was believed to be
the leading candidate for the Lakers' coaching job until the news
concerning Krzyzewski surfaced. Jesse Brown, Tomjanovich's business
manager, refused comment Friday.