Former Duke shooting guard J.J. Redick is one of the most polarizing figures in college basketball history, but you can’t deny this: he was an amazing college player.
For a program that boasts guys such as Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer, Jay Williams and so many others, Redick is the Blue Devils' all-time leading scorer. And he had a great relationship with the legendary Mike Krzyzewski.
Redick hosts his own podcast on The Vertical, and earlier this week, he had Coach K on as a guest. For any college basketball fan that remembers the Duke days of the mid-2000s, it’s an intriguing listen:
Redick and Krzyzewski touched on several interesting topics, but here were some of the best quotes from the podcast.
Redick, on his favorite Coach K memory:
“My favorite memory of Coach K was actually away from the basketball court,” Redick said. “It was after I was done playing; I was about four years out of school in 2010. And it was him flying down to Palm Beach for my wedding. He had the first day of Duke basketball camp for the kids that day, so he was at camp all day and signed autographs, took all the pictures. Did everything he could possibly do with the campers."And then he got on a plane, changed about 30 minutes before the ceremony, made it to the ceremony. Stayed late, drank some wine, danced with the grandmas and then flew back to Durham that night and was at camp the next morning. It’s just a great story because of our friendship, but also because of the level of commitment he has towards the people he cares about and his level of commitment to Duke.”
Krzyewski, on what he looks for in his players:
“We always look for three things. They have to be really good players. Not necessarily one-and-done, but good players that can help us win a championship. Right along with it, they have to be good enough academically to navigate and do well at Duke.
"And equal to the other two or perhaps more important -- they have to be really good kids. You know, how they act with their parents, their teammates, in school. We recruit kids of character.”
Krzyewski on the most important ingredient towards a winning program:
“The one constant is that we always have good kids that want to be at Duke and want to play on a championship-level team.”
Krzyzewski, on freshman misconceptions:
“Last year was the year of the senior,” Coach K said. “The class of freshmen was not at the level, for immediate pro impact, that they were in the past, so the seniors got much more play. Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma was a four-year player, (Denzel) Valentine out of Michigan State. Those guys were household names.”
Coach K on NBA temptations:
“I couldn’t leave Duke,” Krzyewski said. “Not only do I love college basketball, but I really love Duke. I’m a lucky guy. I’ve been able to coach the sport I love, college basketball, at the place I love. That’s tough to give up.”
Krzyzewski on the Redick years and how he coaches his best players:
“Especially, your (Redick’s) junior and senior years, where you got the lay of the land and you were more of man at that time. The thing that I tell my guys, my best players, is that you set the tone. You (Redick) never subbed out of a practice. You never came out. You set the tone for them.”
Coach K on riding the hot hand:
“I didn’t always do that real early in my career, but it started with Johnny Dawkins,” Krzyzewski said. And then Ferry, and Laettner, and Hill, and they made me look pretty good.”
Redick on what makes Krzyzewski such a great coach:
“It’s your adaptability. And I think when people think of a coach, they think of a system. And they think this is how the team is going to play, and this is how the players are going to play and they have to fit in that system.
"The reason to me, at least, why you’re such a great coach, is that you figure out a way to adapt to your personnel and figure out a way to bring out the best in your personnel.”
Coach K on getting up there in age:
“I never talk about the future or the past (to my players). I only talk about what we’re doing. And that’s kept me young, enthusiastic, and it’s also a reason why we win. I don’t even remember what our record was last year.”
Coach K on his relationships with players post-Duke career:
"J.J., we love you, man. You were not just a great player at Duke; you’ve become a great friend. And that’s one of the coolest things I’ve learned from coaching. You become friends with so many of these guys, and I value that.”