WEST POINT, N.Y. – On the first day of classes at the United States Military Academy, he was clearly the big man on campus.
In much of the basketball world, he’s Coach K.
Around here, he’s Mike Krzyzewski, Army class of 1969.
Krzyzewski returned to his alma mater on Monday with the U.S. national team, which toured the campus, ate lunch with cadets in the mess hall and held an open practice for military personnel and families.
The basketball was limited on a day Krzyzewski spent more time addressing the crowd than his players during practice. But even with the Basketball World Cup opener just 12 days away, he thought the trip benefited his team no matter how much work the players did.
“To spend a day here is better than any offensive or defensive drill you could have,” Krzyzewski said. “It bonds the team together and that’s what today was about.”
The team traveled about 90 minutes by bus Monday morning from New York to the upstate campus where Krzyzewski played under Bob Knight and later returned to coach the Black Knights. He gets back here at least once a year for a ceremony where an award named in his honor is given, but it’s hard to imagine he’s ever more popular on campus than he was Monday, when he received a loud ovation in the mess hall and was cheered louder than any of the 16 NBA players on the roster before practice.