“I loved everything he did”- Christian Laettner discusses his favorite memory with Coach K


Former basketball great and Dukes Legend Christian Laettner recently discussed his favorite moments with Coach K and also Duke’s future

Recently Christian Laettner was involved in an interview with Betway Insider where he opened up on the current state of Duke Basketball, their future and some of his fond memories with Coach K.

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Talking about the chances of Duke in the tournament this year, Laettner felt pretty confident. Here is what he had to say about the same:

How are you feeling about Duke’s chances in the tournament this year?

I think their chances are as good as anyone else’s. There’s a lot of teams out there that look really good some nights, but then every once in a while, they can lose. No one team looks dominant, and that seems to be happening a little more in the college game with the one-and-dones.

It doesn’t seem like coaches have long enough to develop their players. I mostly notice that on the defensive end. Even Gonzaga runs into an opponent every once in a while, on their home floor that just plays really well and gives them trouble. There’s lots of parity out there.

When asked about his favourite memory with Mike Krzyzewski, Laettner, flooded with memories struggled to pick out a particular one:

Do you have a favorite memory from your time with Coach K?

I can’t pick out one thing. All I can say is that every day of the four-and-a-half years I was around him and having him coach me, it was just the greatest time. I loved everything he did. I loved when he was hard on us, I loved when he took us in the locker room and yelled at every one of us, I loved when he invited us over to his house for dinner and his wife made chocolate chip cookies. Even if we didn’t win two championships or go to four Final Fours when I was there, I still would have loved every second of it.

Fresh of Coach K’s retirement, Laettner didn’t really want to delve into the future of the team post-coach K.

Do you think Duke is set up to still be a powerhouse after Coach K retires?

It’s a question I don’t want to answer. It’s gonna be interesting to see how Jon Scheyer develops the program and keeps the program going along. I wish him the best, I hope we stay at the level they’ve been at for the last two or three decades, but I don’t know if it can be done. For me, a Coach K disciple, I think it’s all because of him. It’s not the university or the colors or the name, Duke, the uniform, it’s Coach K, and the way he coaches and how demanding he is. He used to tell us all the time: “Fellas, if we lose, but we play the right way, I’ll still be happy and proud of you.” I think it all comes down to him, and he’s not going to be there anymore. So we’ll see if Jon Scheyer is an excellent coach.

Christian Laettner also spoke about his selection for 1992 Olympics Dream Team

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The Dream Team of 1992 are considered to be the most dominant team in basketball history, in fact among any sport. Here is what he had to say about the same:

It’s 30 years since you were selected for the Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics. How was it walking into that dressing room?

I said: “I’ve got to act like a rookie, know my place, keep my mouth shut, be willing to get hazed a little bit.” They’re gonna make you get their coffee and their donuts and their cigars, carry their dirty laundry and be the last man on the bench, so that’s what I had to do. It was a chance for me to be around 11 players that I looked up to, to be on the same team with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, two 6ft 9in players that had guard skills, could hit threes and dunk it on you. I enjoyed every second of it, and I got to win a gold medal.

Is it true that the college players won that game because the Dream Team coaches benched Michael Jordan?

I think part of that is true. I do remember Jordan being on the bench, and the college kids played real good, and as soon as they were up by two they called the practice and that was it. They wanted the Dream Teamers to not be too comfortable. It might have been a ploy, it might have been some thinking by Chuck Daly, I didn’t notice it. It wasn’t hitting me in the face that they were beating us and that shouldn’t happen. I just thought maybe Jordan was tired, John Stockton had a broken foot, Larry Bird was hurt, I had a sore back. There was lots of stuff going on.

What was the most important thing you learned from that experience?

That I’d better get on my horse and start running in the NBA because their transition game was just incredible, especially on the Dream Team. You’ve got Jordan Pippen and Clyde Drexler out there, and as soon as they score, they turn around and start playing unbelievable defense in their transition game. So the thing I learned is that how much you’ve got to be willing to run in the NBA, because those guys are very fast, very athletic and very strong.

H/T US BETWAY BLOG for the transcription

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