by John Walters
Had an insight yesterday that I posted on Twitter that sorta went viral. So I thought I’d add it here.
Mike Krzyzewski began coaching at Duke in 1980-81 and in 40 seasons has compiled a record that perhaps only John Wooden surpasses. Coach K, 74, has won five national championships (second only to Wooden) and 1,097 games in Durham (1,170 overall). But here’s what’s interesting, as Coach K’s success translates to the NBA:
• With the exception of Kyrie Irving and his 27.1 ppg in the 2016 NBA Finals, no Duke player has really impacted an NBA championship team in the past 40 years. Outside of Irving, who only played 11 games for Duke, the next best scoring average in an NBA Finals on the winning side by a Dookie is Shane Battier’s 11.6 ppg in the 2012 Finals. And after that it’s Dhontay Jones at 1.6 for the Warriors.
• Since 1980-81, four different players from three different schools INSIDE THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA have been named NBA Finals MVP (a total of 11 times). None of those players were from Duke: Cornbread Maxwell, Celtics, 1981 (UNCC), James Worthy, Lakers, 1988 (UNC), Michael Jordan, Bulls (UNC), and Tim Duncan, Spurs (Wake Forest).
•Since 1980-81, three different players from North Carolina schools have been named NBA MVP (you can probably name them) a total of nine times. Again, none played for Duke and Coach K: Michael Jordan, UNC (5), Tim Duncan, Wake Forest (2), Stephen Curry, Davidson (2).
Am I implying that Coach K is overrated as a coach? I’m not implying anything, but if I were to draw a conclusion, I’d say that this actually further enhances his reputation. He won with team basketball and without overwhelmingly dominant talent (Wooden had Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton, a pair of future NBA Finals MVPs and regular season MVPs). Of course, you might argue that Coach K did not develop his players to excel at the NBA level. I’d disagree. Outside of Laettner and Hill, he never had a 3- or 4-year player with All-Star potential. Battier, perhaps.
A few months ago Phyllis read Frank Capra: The Name Above The Title, after my cousin gave it to her. It’s the autobiography of one of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors (It’s A Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night, Meet John Doe, You Can’t Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, etc.). Phyllis brings up the book plenty so I figured I’d pick it up for a read.
I’m only 80 pages in, and this may surprise you, but Frank Capra’s life story reads not unlike the script of a Frank Capra film. This early gem of an anecdote hooked me. Capra graduated from Cal Tech, but after WW1 and some health issues, was down on both his luck and money. It was 1922. He was 25 and staying at a seedy hotel in San Fran, down to his last day that he could afford his room. Hopped a trolley car, where the conductor handed him a leaflet about a theater troupe. Capra had zero experience in drama or film, but he headed over.
Inside an abandoned gym, Capra found a doddering middle-aged Shakespearian thespian who told he was looking to turn poems into short films. This was in the era of silent films. Capra, in his early 20s, introduced himself as being “from Hollywood.” He was from Pasadena. Showing moxie that I’d never had, Capra told the gent that he’d like to help him but he just couldn’t, that he was too busy. The man begged him to help, gave him $75, and put Capra in charge of producing and directing his film.
Again, Capra had zero experience. He went to a theater, watched The Sheik four times to study how it’s done, then hired a buddy who had camera experience. His one direction to said buddy: “Whatever I tell you to do, say, ‘Yes, Mr. Capra’, so that everyone on the set will think I know what I’m doing.”
The result is the 11-minute short that, thanks to YouTube, you can watch above. Capra made this film entirely on instinct and what he thought should work. It launched one of the most successful careers in Hollywood history.
Zero Fox Given
We don’t know why Fox News would accept a company’s $185,000 for an ad buy and then refuse to run its ad. Oh, yes we do. Some day when the history of America’s decline is written, historians will wonder aloud about the power of the First Amendment and how an Australian-born TV mogul was able to manipulate it so as to gaslight half a nation (the predominantly white and undereducated half).
Rat’s All, Folks
Mee Magawa, the Cambodian landmine-sniffing rat who is retiring after five years of exemplary duty. That Magawa is around to have his photo taken attests to the outstanding job that he did. In his half-decade Magawa, designated as a HeroRAT by the Belgian non-profit that trained him and oversaw his duties, sniffed out 71 land mines and 38 other items of “unexploded ordnance” while clearing some 2.4 million square feet of land.
It’s a testament to how poor a job God did as the designer of man being “in His own likeness and image” that we need vermin to save us from ourselves, eh?
…I’m sure I need not tell any of you that Vietnam defeated Indonesia, 4-0, in its World Cup qualifier yesterday. The Kid’s intel runs far and deep. He’s back to approaching .667 at 13-7 and back above the surface at $1,020. We’ll wait to see what he has for us today.
The Kid likes Brazil -185 over Paraguay in more World Cup qualifying today.
That’s risking $185 to win $100. This could get The Kid up to .667 win percentage for the first time in awhile.