Sport: Mike Krzyzewski to coach his grandson as a Duke walk-on in 2019-20 - - PressFrom - US

SportMike Krzyzewski to coach his grandson as a Duke walk-on in 2019-20

18:05  06 june  2019
18:05  06 june  2019 Source:

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Mike Krzyzewski to coach his grandson as a Duke walk-on in 2019-20© Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC

Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will get the opportunity to welcome a family member to his team next season.

Coach K is expected to coach his grandson, Michael Savarino, an incoming freshman at Duke this coming season. Savarino, an 18-year-old point guard from Durham Academy in North Carolina, said he will be a preferred walk-on at his grandfather's storied program — where he's had front-row seats to some of the Blue Devils' most successful memories over the past few decades.

"I've always tried to avoid that reputation of living in your grandfather's shadow," Savarino told WRAL radio station in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I chose this because I feel like I earned it. I feel like I've worked hard every single day for this. I wanted to come to Duke because I wanted to be a part of this program. I want to embrace everything about it and just play under my grandfather, who I've watched my whole life."

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Krzyzewski, a five-time NCAA champion, has coached the likes of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant for Team USA, but has never coached a close family member. The Hall of Famer has three daughters and nine grandchildren. Savarino is the son of Krzyzewski’s oldest daughter, Debbie.

"He loves the game, so he wanted to play college basketball," Krzyzewski, 72, said of Savarino, a likely Division II player had he not chosen to walk on. "He went to all these camps, but he loves Duke. He wanted to come to Duke and I was happy about that because he earned it, and if he's coming to Duke, then he should be a part of our basketball program because he's good enough to be a walk-on."

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"I won't coach him like a grandson and he doesn't want me to coach him like my grandson. He wants me to coach him as a basketball player."

Savarino knows his grandfather too well to expect any preferential treatment.

"If I look him in the eye and he's yelling at me," Savarino said, "I'd literally run through a wall for him. I can't wait for that. I invite that actually."

Savarino labeled playing for Duke basketball a "dream for me my whole life."

"It's going to be an unbelievable experience when I walk in the locker room with my jersey hanging up saying Savarino for the first time," he said. "I don't know how I'm going to react or anything like that."

Duke, an Elite Eight finisher in 2018-19, lost three likely lottery picks to the upcoming NBA draft in Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish. But Tre Jones is coming back for his sophomore year, and Coach K once again will welcome the top-rated freshman class — making Duke a projected top-five preseason team.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike Krzyzewski to coach his grandson as a Duke walk-on in 2019-20

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Every year, a new group of NBA hopefuls hear their names called on draft night to give them a chance to start their professional basketball careers. This season's class received some of the biggest hype in years thanks to Zion Williamson, who's been called the biggest NBA prospect since LeBron James. Williamson and his teammates R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish helped lead Duke to a 32–6 record and appearance in the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament last season. Many powerhouse programs like Duke have helped prepare college players for their professional careers.

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