You may recall Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski ripping Mike Krzyzewski for using his position as Team USA Basketball's head coach to gain an unfair advantage in recruiting. Wojnarowski argued the NBA needs to pull its players out of the program because they only serve Krzyzewski's motives.
On Thursday, Krzyzewski fired back.
Coach K: "Anybody who wins ... they have an advantage. It's advantage through accomplishment."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 18, 2014
Coach K says he's spent time w/ younger players thru USA Basketball twice in 9 years. Says unfair advantage is "utterly ridiculous."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 18, 2014
Coach K says he's gotten publicity and notoriety through USA Basketball, which came from winning. "What am I supposed to do -- lose?"— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 18, 2014
But Krzyzewski saved his most pointed comment for Wojnarowski's implication that he set up this photo opportunity with the injured Paul George last August to send a message to parents of future recruits.
This picture of Coach K and Paul George is touching pic.twitter.com/8MxBhro3f2— Duke in the NBA (@DukeNBA) August 3, 2014
Coach K: "If you think I orchestrated (moment/photo) with Paul George, then you are a bad person."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 18, 2014
These were Wojnarowski's words on that photo:
At the foot of George's hospital bed, someone had been waiting to snap the photo of the U.S. national coach reaching down and embracing his stricken player.
Suddenly, this most private and personal moment turned out to be anything but that. Within minutes, that image would be flying through Twitter and Instagram for all those moms and dads to see the compassion and caring of Duke's coach.
Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse coach and assistant with the senior national team, was also enraged with Wojnarowski, saying that George's family, and not Krzyzewski, chose to share the picture on social media.
"The thing that Wojnarowski wrote was completely off-base," Boeheim said. "The thing I hate about writers is they want to state their case and they use false information. He put in that Mike went to the hospital for publicity. Paul George's parents took the picture. They put it out there. We had no cameraman. It was his parents. That was unbelievably low."
Krzyzewski's overarching theme throughout his displeasure: whatever advantage he may have gained with recruits was fair because of what he's done throughout his career and with the national team. Also, as our Tom Ziller noted, the idea that Krzyzewski's edge is unique is faulty because other top college coaches are involved with Team USA at the senior and junior levels.
Woj argues that an impromptu visit to the under-19 squad's training camp last summer gave Coach K a legal but unsavory advantage that helped him successfully recruit Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow. Woj does this while acknowledging that three current college coaches run the under-19 team. If a one-off visit landed Coach K perhaps the team's two best players, shouldn't a month-plus of contact have landed Billy Donovan more than just one prospect (guard Michael Frazier)?
It's no surprise that the college coaches involved with Team USA are fighting back. It's also no surprise that being associated with the very best basketball players can make an impression on a five-star, 16-year-old recruit. But is there anything unfair about that?