Mike Krzyzewski's final season at Duke ended on two painful notes, with bitter rivals North Carolina beating him in both his final home game and in the Final Four.
But ESPN's Jay Williams said Tuesday (4:30 mark) that he believes Coach K could return to Duke for an entirely different reason—to ensure the school doesn't lose hold of a 2022 recruiting class currently ranked No. 1 in the country, per 247Sports' composite rankings:
"Here's why I give it a legit chance. ... If you're [former Duke and current Louisville assistant] Nolan Smith, and you have a great relationship with all these players, you're in the conference, man. You're at Louisville. You're picking up the phone and you're saying, 'Yo Dariq [Whitehead], it's time. We're here. This is what we're doing here. We're putting together a different team. Be coached by somebody [else].' It turns into recruiting battles, and it weakens your hold on the No. 1 class. So if you're Coach K, how do you strengthen that hold? 'I'm coming back.'"
While Coach K would surely want to leave the Duke program in good hands, the optics of him spending the past year essentially going on a farewell tour and announcing Jon Scheyer as his successor—only to back out after two tough defeats against UNC—wouldn't be great.