Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Plucking and Coach K

How Duke got Gerald Henderson.

Plucking and Coach K

STEVE HELBER / Associated Press

It's an often-told story, about how the great Gerald Henderson, late of Episcopal Academy, chose Duke over Villanova. Here is coach Mike Krzyzewski's side of it. He was asked how he "plucked" Henderson out of Philadelphia, and Coach K offered just a hint of superiority in his reply.

"Because we're a national school, our school plucks good people in different parts of the country," he said. "It's what a national school does. Harvard does it in this area, Stanford. You're talking about -- Duke is one of the great schools.

"When I saw Gerald play, even before his junior year, I knew he would be -- he had a chance to be a great player. I'm not sure he knew it as much. I think he will tell you that sometimes the vision we have for it is maybe not the vision at that time he had for himself.

"I think if it wasn't for the broken bone in his wrist in mid-February of last year, you would have seen even more of that at the end of last year. But he was out for four months. He had surgery right after the season last year, didn't play for four months. I thought he started playing really well here right after Christmas. And it took, I think, that long for him to get back and accustomed to it.

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"He and I have a great relationship. I know he loved Villanova. His sister is a graduate and it's a great school, too. But sometimes it's a great relationship you might have, while you still also have a great school. I guess that's how the pluck occurred, the anatomy of a pluck"

Read that again, and again, and it isn't hard to understand  why Duke haters are not an exclusive group.

Daily News Executive Sports Editor
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor