Let The Madness Begin, Again
It has been more than a decade since Art Chansky released “Blue Blood: Duke-Carolina: Inside the Most Storied Rivalry in College Hoops.” In it he traces the relationship between the two schools from 1954 through 2005, analyzing everything from the contentiousness between the coaches to the role ESPN played in hyping up the storyline.
Times have changed, but the rivalry has not. In “Blue Blood II: Duke-Carolina: The Latest on the Never-Ending and Greatest Rivalry in College Hoops” (St. Martin's Press/2018) Chansky proves that the fans may still clash, but some other things have changed. The sequel talks about the affinity coach Roy Williams and coach Mike Krzyzewski have developed for one another and their evolving coaching styles. Both coaches used to be supporters of recruiting traditional players whose talents are cultivated throughout four years of playing college ball, but Coach K has since broken away from that model and is now open to superstar talent who may just play for one year in college and then enter the NBA draft. Chansky joins host Frank Stasio with his March Madness predictions, thoughts about phenom forward Zion Williamson, and the ongoing rivalry between Duke and Carolina.
On Duke’s shift toward incorporating more ‘one and done’ players:
Both programs built kind of organically with three and four-year players … For some reason Coach K decided to wholesale it, and there are lots of different speculations on why he did that. One is he’d rather have these guys than play against them. The other is it might deter the speculation on when he might retire ‘cause all he has to say is: You’re going to be here for one year. I’m going to be here for one year.
On Carolina’s recruiting approach:
What Dean Smith did and what Roy Williams has done — he’s taken guys who maybe have three stars, and he’s coached them up. By the time they get to be juniors and seniors like Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks — who were the post[er] men in the 2017 national championship game.
On how the bitter rivalry has softened:
The rivalry is not as mean as it once was. It's kinder and gentler. And I think that’s because mutual respect has replaced the bitterness. It was really bitter, as you remember, in the ‘80s between the players and the coaches. I think it’s still pretty bitter among the fans, but it’s because Roy [Williams] and K [Mike Krzyzewski] are about the same age. They’re both Hall of Fame coaches with multiple championships. Neither of them really has anything to prove. They want to beat each other’s butts badly, but they both have great respect.
On the longevity of the coaches:
Mike [Krzyzewski] can stay as long as he wants. Roy just signed a contract that if he takes it will go through his 77th birthday. I don’t think either of those guys will stay that long.