Coach K and Duke team are ready for China tour

Updated: 2011-07-19 07:56

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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Coach K and Duke team are ready for China tour

SHANGHAI - Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University's legendary head basketball coach, is "thrilled" to have the chance to revisit China, where he led Team USA to gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

"It was a magnificent experience for me to coach the US team at the Beijing Olympics. The Chinese showed a great welcome to the whole world. I am keen to go back there," Krzyzewski said in a video during a press conference last week to launch his Duke team's eight-day China tour from Aug 15-22.

"From my experience in 2008, I know this is a nation that absolutely loves basketball. I am thrilled that our players will have the chance to feel a country so rich in tradition.

"We are also excited about the opportunity to compete internationally and be exposed to so many significant and cultural landmarks," said the 64-year-old, who has led Duke's Blue Devils to four NCAA titles and 12 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season championships since 1980.

Nicknamed "Coach K", the Chicago native has amassed 900 wins during his 31-year tenure at Duke, lifting himself to second all-time in NCAA basketball history, only two victories behind Bob Knight.

Under Coach K's guidance, the Blue Devils will tip off their first friendly game against the Chinese Olympic team on Aug 17 in Kunshan, a suburb of Shanghai, before the sides' second battle in Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena (formerly Shanghai World Expo Culture Center) the next day.

On Aug 22, the teams will meet for a final time in Beijing's MasterCard Center (formerly the Wukesong Arena).

According to Coach K, playing in an Olympic venue will help nurture his student athletes' sense of honor.

"It will be their first time playing in a stadium that hosted the Olympics. Definitely, it will be a great inspiration for them to play harder," said Krzyzewski.

Meanwhile, the two teams will travel and practise together during the three-match tournament, which will help build friendship between the youngsters, said James Roy, president of the Duke China Alumni Association.

Grant Hill, a seven-time NBA all-star player and a former collegian with Duke University, is expected to travel with team to China.

China Daily

(China Daily 07/19/2011 page23)