Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski recently questioned whether the NCAA should be holding a season during the pandemic.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski generated headlines when he questioned the NCAA holding a season amid the COVID-19 pandemic following a loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Tuesday that dropped Duke to 2-2 on the campaign.
On Thursday, Krzyzewski announced the cancellation of the remainder of the team’s nonconference schedule.
UPDATE: We will forgo our remaining non-conference regular-season games for the 2020-21 season. Next up is Notre Dame next Wednesday in South Bend. pic.twitter.com/z3uSVAXjqe
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) December 10, 2020
“This is the best decision we could make as a program, in making sure that we are doing the right thing for our players,” Krzyzewski explained in a video tweeted by the Duke basketball account, as noted by Jeff Borzello of ESPN. Krzyzewski continued:
“This will also allow our team to have time over the holidays to safely enjoy with their families. These kids need to be with their families, at least for a little bit. So we will play the Notre Dame game on December 16, and then allow our team four or five days at home before returning here to prepare for the remainder of our ACC schedule — and hopefully get to play all of them. These kids go through so much, and we need to take care of them.”
After suffering the 15-point home defeat at the hands of Illinois, Krzyzewski suggested that the season should be halted because of the health crisis:
“I would just like for the safety, the mental and physical health of players and staff to assess where we’re at. People are saying the next six weeks are going to be the worst. To me, it’s already pretty bad. On the other side of it, there are these vaccines that are coming out. By the end of the month, 20 million vaccine shots will be given. By the end of January or in February, another 100 million. Should we not reassess that? See just what would be best?”
As part of this decision, Duke will no longer play the Elon Phoenix, Charleston Southern Buccaneers, or Gardner-Webb Bulldogs before facing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Dec. 16. The Blue Devils will then be idle until a showdown with the Pitt Panthers on Dec. 29.
Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball coach Nate Oats, who battled the coronavirus in the summer, did not take too kindly to Krzyzewski’s words.
“Do you think if Coach K hadn’t lost the two nonconference games at home he’d still be saying that?” Oats asked while speaking with reporters earlier in the day.
Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink.
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