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The Lafayette Ledger

Coach K Leaves His Legacy

Coach K’s Final Season with The Blue Devils 2021-2022 Season Recap
Duke 2014 team lineup. Considered one of the best duke lineups ever.

Duke University’s basketball program, led by the iconic Coach Mike Krzyzewski in his farewell season, embarked on the 2021-2022 campaign with a roster featuring a blend of seasoned veterans and highly skilled freshmen. Among the standout players, Paolo Banchero Trevor Keels, AJ Griffin Jr., and Jeremy Roach emerged as dynamic forces on the court, embodying the future of Duke basketball.

Paolo Banchero, a versatile forward, quickly made a name for himself with his ability to make plays and score, as well as his rebounding tenacity, and defensive skills. Talked about as one of the top freshmen in the nation, Banchero’s impact was felt in every facet of the game. His ability to take over a game both offensively and defensively provided Duke with a reliable centerpiece.

Trevor Keels, another prized freshman recruit, showcased his scoring ability and defensive intensity. His contributions on the court complemented Banchero’s skills, forming a formidable duo for the Blue Devils. The duo of Banchero and Keels not only represented the future of Duke basketball but also played crucial roles in the team’s success during the season.

The non-conference portion of the schedule allowed Duke to fine-tune its lineup and integrate the new talents seamlessly. Facing challenging opponents from various conferences,

North Carolina defeats Duke, hands Coach K loss in last game at Final Four (Blervis)

the Blue Devils navigated through matchups against schools like Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Ohio State, providing a tough test for the team’s potential on the national stage and to compete for a national championship.

As the season transitioned into ACC play, Duke renewed rivalries with schools such as North Carolina and Virginia. The conference battles, known for their intensity and competitiveness, showcased the team’s resilience and ability to perform under pressure. Veterans like Wendell Moore Jr. and Mark Williams provided leadership, guiding the freshmen through the rigors of ACC competition.

Injuries and unforeseen challenges tested Duke’s depth, requiring contributions from players like Joey Baker, AJ Griffin, and Jordan Goldwire. The ability of the entire roster to adapt to adversity showcased the team’s collective strength and determination to win.

Coach K’s strategic brilliance and motivational attitude were evident throughout the season, as he orchestrated game plans that maximized the strengths of his players.

He served as the head coach at Duke University from 1980 to 2022, during which he led the Blue Devils to five national titles, 13 Final Fours (the most of any coach in men’s basketball), 15 ACC tournament championships, and 13 ACC regular season titles. (Bryan Horowitz)

The farewell tour for the legendary coach added an emotional layer to every game, with fans and players were eager to honor his legacy with a memorable season. It just meant more for the players to give their all for Coach K, so he could end off on a good year. This didn’t go to plan however, when they lost in Coach K’s final home game to UNC at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke’s standing in the national rankings and the ACC standings became central points of discussion as the team pursued success in the regular season. The NCAA Tournament loomed as the ultimate proving ground for the Blue Devils, and their performance in high-stakes matchups against conference rivals and other contenders would shape their seeding and potential matchups.

Duke’s 2021-2022 basketball season unfolded as a narrative of transition and triumph. The emergence of talented freshmen like Paolo Banchero and Trevor Keels, coupled with the steady guidance of seasoned players, positioned the Blue Devils as contenders on both the conference and national levels. As Coach Mike Krzyzewski bid farewell to the Blue Devils his impact on the team’s journey was immense, creating a season rich in both basketball excellence and poignant moments. Duke would end up losing in the final four of the NCAA tournaments to longtime rival UNC, drawing an end to a very colorful career for Coach K.


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