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North Carolina spoils Coach K’s last game at Cameron Indoor

Everyone came to Cameron Indoor Stadium for Mike Krzyzewski’s final game, former players and celebrities and basketball greats. They all wanted to get one last look at the Hall of Fame coach in the place he’s called home for the past 42 years.

However, North Carolina wasn’t there for the spectacle. The hip tar heels were there to win a basketball game, and they spoiled Coach K’s swan song with one of the most impressive results of the season.

North Carolina gave their bitter rival’s coach a parting gift, a 94-81 loss that would earn them a bid for the NCAA tournament in Coach Hubert Davis’ first season. With the loss, Krzyzewski fell to 50-48 against the Tar Heels, who lost 20 to Duke a month ago in Chapel Hill.

Krzyzewski’s career is not over yet. Duke will be the top seed in next week’s ACC tournament in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center and could end up getting a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament as well. However, that was the end for him in Durham, NC, where he built Duke into a national powerhouse. A three-time Naismith Coach of the Year, he has won five national championships and reached 12 Final Fours after joining Duke in 1980 from the Army.

Mike Krzyzewski
Mike Krzyzewski
AP

“It’s unbelievable: he’s 75, he’s screaming, screaming, hitting the ground,” said freshman Trevor Keels ahead of the game. “It’s just that you see someone doing all this, it’s crazy. He could have easily retired. He has tons of money. … He really wants what’s best for us and he really wants us to win that national championship. You have to respect that and fight for him.”

“Today is my graduation day,” joked Krzyzewski.

Mike Krzyzewski poses for a photo with his former players before his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mike Krzyzewski poses for a photo with his former players before his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
USA TODAY sports

Just before tipoff, Krzyzewski made his way to the ground through a tunnel with 96 of his former players that stretched from the corner of the baseline to midfield. He posed for photos with the large group, an impressive array of Duke legends, after bumping fists and hugging most of them.

There was Jay Williams and JJ Reddick, Grant Hill and Shane Battier, Christian Laettner and Elton Brand. Celebrities including comedian Jerry Seinfeld, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Raptors coach Nick Nurse, former Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and Hall of Famer Terrell Owens were there to witness the end of the legendary coaching career at Cameron Indoor Stadium . It was such a popular ticket that Duke students began camping Jan. 23, according to ESPN. The best seats went for up to $50,000.

The Cameron Crazies hold up a sign honoring Mike Krzyzewski.
The Cameron Crazies hold up a sign honoring Mike Krzyzewski.
Getty Images

When the game started, Krzyzewski was all in business. With Duke off to a slow start and trailing 11-4 in the first few minutes, Coach K jumped onto the court, stomping his feet and barking in encouragement.

The Blue Devils would carry on, but not forever. North Carolina came to win a game and exited Cameron Indoor Stadium victorious in Krzyzewski’s last game.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/05/north-carolina-spoils-coach-ks-final-game-at-cameron-indoor/ North Carolina spoils Coach K’s last game at Cameron Indoor

JOE HERNANDEZ

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