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Mike Krzyzewski: “When I recruit a kid, I don’t even — I never talk about another school.”

Duke recruits, from left, Zion Williamson, Tre Jones, Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett. (McDonald’s All-American Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Before his team was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski revealed that he never talks about another school when he’s recruiting a player.

“I’ll tell you something that you won’t believe, but since I tell the truth all the time, I hope you will believe it. When I recruit a kid, I don’t even — I never talk about another school. I never mention another school,” the Duke coach said.

“In fact, going into home visits sometimes I say, who is recruiting him, because I want to make sure I don’t do it because I just want to sell my — I don’t get into — the only competition I’m in is tomorrow, is tomorrow.”

Will Kentucky fans believe Krzyzewski doesn’t know if he’s recruiting against Kentucky? Did he really not know he beat UK for R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish in this recruiting class?

“If we picked the right kid and we do our profile the right way, we should have a great chance of getting him because we have a great school, a great program and our guys get better,” the Duke coach said. “That doesn’t mean we’re the only ones. But it’s the way it is. And they’re okay being coached by an old man.”

Reddish, an athletic 6-8 wing, will be playing in the McDonald’s All-American Game Wednesday night. He played on Team USA for Kentucky coach John Calipari last summer.

“Cal is a good coach. Real upbeat. Lot of fun to get up and down the court playing for him. Everything was fast and I liked that,” Reddish said.

So why did he pick Duke then?

“Duke was just the right spot for me from the start. Coaches were straight up telling me what I had to work on. That stood out to me,” Reddish said.

Does he realize he broke hearts in Kentucky picking Duke?

“I apologize,” he said after practice Tuesday in Atlanta for Wednesday’s game. “It all started with Tre. He approached me with the idea of all of us playing together. I was already thinking of going to Duke any way. After we got R.J., it was like, ‘Let’s go get Zion.’ and we did.”

Duke and Kentucky will open the 2018-19 season against each other Nov. 6 in Indianapolis.

“It will be great. Top competition and just a great game with some great matchups,” Reddish said.

Okay, now the key question. Did Coach K ever mention Kentucky during his recruitment?

“Not that I remember,” Reddish said. “But that’s all been so long ago. About all I remember is that I was just sold on Duke.”

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