By LARRY VAUGHT
What’s it like for a college basketball program where winning a national championship, or at least making the Final Four, is an annual expectation no matter how much the roster might change?
“Is that our expectation? Are you putting expectations on us? No, we want — our program has been one of the best ones, and it’s not the only one, but it’s one of them, and I think if you’re going to have an outstanding program you have to have high expectations. When you don’t do it, then there will be big disappointments. But you’re dealing at that level. Each year we have a different team,” the coach said.
Got to be Kentucky coach John Calipari dealing with UK fan expectations, right? No, it was actually Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski at the ACC Media Days this week. Of course, he did answer a lot like what Calipari does when talking about expectations.
“I like my group. Not that I didn’t like my group last year, but this group is — they really like one another, and they — there’s not the separation that we’ve had from our starting five to our bench like we’ve had in the last few years. The balance and togetherness hopefully will produce something really good for us,” Krzyzewski said.
Sounds like Calipari preaching, doesn’t it.
Duke’s players answer the expectation dilemma a lot like UK players do.
“For us, it’s more of us setting goals and knowing whether or not we can achieve them, and for the guys who have come back, we’ve been on some teams where we’ve been a play or two away from that Final Four,” Javin Delaurier said. “And so whether or not we lived up to expectations, I don’t think we look at our season as having been that. We look at it for the body of work that we’ve done. But at the same time we carry that disappointment and we think about it every day.
I feel like anything from the outside, outside of our team, outside of our group, coaching staff and players, in terms of the expectations that are put on us, we don’t really pay too much attention to it,” Jack White said. “It is what it is, but at the end of the day, I think as a group we have a collective goal to win a national championship every year, and that’s what we’re focused on, in our preparations for the season and throughout, that’s our focus.”
So bottom line is that there really is not that much difference between what UK coaches and players say in the offseason and what Duke coaches and players do.