INDIANAPOLIS — Newspapers sometimes forget that the athletes and coaches they write about are people, too, with feelings.
And so it was Friday when the local newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, ran a graphic with a story about Duke being a hated team.
The graphic depicted Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is a genuinely nice person, as the devil, with horns and with a target on him.
He did not like that and made that plain when asked if he had seen it and what his reaction was.
“I did see that,” he began. “First thing, I thought, you know, that can’t be. How can a newspaper do that? I thought somebody doodled. Actually, I thought I looked better.”
He wasn’t through.
“It was kind of juvenile. Not kind of, it was just juvenile. You know, my seven grandkids didn’t enjoy looking at it. That’s not Pappy,” he said.
It probably was an overreaction by Krzyzewski for there was no intent to mock or defame him or his team, simply to illustrate that to some fans Duke is the devil. But it’s important to understand that in this era of celebrity journalism and where the line is blurred between fact and opinion, sometimes you can go too far.
“We have great kids who go to school. They graduate. If we’re going to be despised or hated by anybody because we’re going to go school and we want to win, well, that’s your problem,” he said. “If you don’t like it, just keep drawing pictures. Try to do them a little better than that, though.”
o While the two coaches — Krzyzewski and West Virginia’s Bob Huggins — will be enemies on the sideline Saturday, they are also friends.
“My wife and his wife are really good friends,” he said. “When we used to go on Nike trips together, his wife and my wife would hang out a lot. I think they would golf. Anyway, they got along really well.
“Michael Jordan did a great thing a number of years ago when he started his fantasy camp in Las Vegas. Bob and I were two of the coaches that helped him with it over the years. We got to know one another better. It was a good thing Michael did, really helped basketball.
“I like Bob a lot. I think he’s one of the really good teachers ever in our sport. I know we’ll have a great game with him. We’re going to shake hands afterward. Whoever wins, wins. We’ll still be really good friends.”
o Truck Bryant, West Virginia’s injured guard, moved very slowly at practice on Friday and does not seem near ready to play in tonight’s semifinal against Duke.
o Bob Huggins on the exposure West Virginia has gotten during this run to the Final Four:
“We’re on television more than Homer Simpson.”
They play defense better, too.
o If anyone has any extra tickets, Da’Sean Butler could use them.
There’s 72,000 seats in Lucas Oil Stadium and the players are allowed six tickets each.
He has one for his mother, father, a cousin, an uncle, his best friend and his girlfriend.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.