Milestone victory for Coach K

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Milestone victory for Coach K

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Krzyzewski will keep adding to his record victory total. There is no doubt about that. How long he stays on the Duke bench and how far he goes past No. 903 is anyone's guess. "I just play every game the same and they just kept adding up," Krzyzewski said after the sixth-ranked Blue Devils' 74-69 victory over Michigan State on Tuesday night in the State Farm Champions Classic. That win broke a tie with Bob Knight, his college coach and professional mentor, for the most in Division I. "I think it will mean a lot more when it's all over and I don't know when that will be. I want to win a championship with each team I coach." There were quite few of Krzyzewski's former players at Madison Square Garden to see him break the record. "I can't say I'm surprised because I saw firsthand the level of preparation, the level of passion he put into his program every single day," said Shane Battier, who won an NCAA championship with Krzyzewski. "I know if you gave him enough opportunity he'd give Bobby Knight a run for his money. It's just amazing to be here on this night to see the culmination of this work." Like many others, Battier doesn't think the 64-year-old Krzyzewski will be done adding to the win total for several years. "He's ageless. He looks great. He looks the same as when I was a freshman," Battier said. "There's no reason to think he won't be around for many years to come." With Knight sitting across the court at the ESPN broadcast table, Krzyzewski moved to the top of the list in front of a sellout crowd of 19,979 at Madison Square Garden. Duke is 26-15 all-time, including a 21-7 mark under Krzyzewski, at Madison Square Garden and the Blue Devils have won 12 of their last 14 there. "Setting the record at Madison Square Garden was truly special," Krzyzewski said. "To me this is hallowed ground and it just worked out." Krzyzewski went right across the court to hug Knight when the game ended. Krzyzewski, tears in his eyes, broke away, and Knight pulled him back, hands on his shoulders, then there was one final slap of the shoulder. "I just told Coach I love him," Krzyzewski said. "I wouldn't be in this position without him. It's a moment shared. I know he's very proud, and I'm very proud to have been somebody who's worked under him and studied him and tried to be like him. "I'm not sure how many people tell him they love him but I love him for what he's done for me and I thanked him. He said Boy, you've done pretty good for a kid who couldn't shoot.' I think that means he loves me, too. At least that's how I'm taking that." Junior guard Andre Dawkins had 26 points for Duke (3-0), which took control with a 20-1 run that gave the Blue Devils a 61-41 lead with 9:17 to play. Then it was just a matter of counting down the minutes -- except for a late run by Michigan State that made it a five-point game in the final minute -- until the celebration could get under way. "It means a lot. There's only going to be 13 guys that can say they played on the team that got the 903rd win. I mean, to be one of those 13 guys is an amazing feeling," Dawkins said. "To be honest, I'm not sure that I've really got a grasp of that yet. I'm sure down the road, looking back, when I look back on my career I can say, Wow, that's pretty amazing.'" Dawkins, who had six 3-pointers, and Ryan Kelly hits 3s to start Duke's big run. As Michigan State (0-2) kept missing shots down low, Seth Curry hit another 3 for Duke and then the Blue Devils closed the run by making 6 of 6 attempts at the free throw line. The Spartans kept Krzyzewski coaching to the final minute. They finally started hitting shots and forcing turnovers to close to 74-69 with 12.9 seconds left. Curry had 20 points while Kelly added 14 for the Blue Devils, who were 10 of 21 from 3-point range. Duke led 34-33 at the end of a sloppy first half. "It's a special moment," Krzyzewski said of his family and former players being there. "At halftime I wasn't sure we were going to have this moment. We beat a really good team, and I'm glad now we can just move on and just develop our team." Keith Appling had 22 points for Michigan State, and Brandon Wood added 15. The Spartans finished with 21 turnovers. "I was in a no-win situation," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I was either going to be the guy who threw the ball to Henry Aaron for the record breaker of the guy who shot Bambi." Krzyzewski moved to the top of the list in his 37th season, all but five at Duke. He also coached at West Point, his alma mater where Knight molded a point guard into a coach for the ages. Knight won his 902 games in 42 seasons, six at Army, 29 at Indiana and seven at Texas Tech. Krzyzewski has four national championships while Knight has three. Krzyzewski and Knight both led the United States to an Olympic gold medal, Knight in 1984 and Krzyzewski in 2008. Coach K will have a chance at a second gold when he leads the team of NBA players again in London next summer. Two members of that team -- Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul-- were at the game and both spent a moment with Krzyzewski outside the locker room. "The crowd here was great. Everybody wants to play in Madison Square Garden," Izzo said. "The back hallway full of his former players, there's nothing greater than that. I certainly respect that." Under Krzyzewski, Duke is 453-71 in non-conference games. "I know I'm a very good coach and I get really good guys and then it's up to us to fight like hell to win," Krzyzewski said.

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

BOSTON – It appears there may be an answer to the mystery surrounding Josh Jackson’s decision to not work out for the Boston Celtics leading up to Thursday’s NBA draft.

While conventional wisdom tells us that such decisions are often made by the agent who in this case is former NBA player B.J. Armstrong.

Boston instead selected Jayson Tatum at No. 3 with the Phoenix Suns scooping up Jackson with the No. 4 pick.

MORE: Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

During Jackson’s introductory press conference, there was a sense that it wasn’t necessarily Armstrong who strong-armed Jackson into not working out for the Celtics. But apparently, he got an assist from Suns General Manager (and ex-Celtics assistant GM) Ryan McDonough.

A reporter asked McDonough if Phoenix may have encouraged Jackson to cancel his workout with the Celtics who were flying into Sacramento, Calif. to watch Jackson workout only for it to be canceled after they had departed which as you can imagine, did not go over well with Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations.

“I’d like to consult my attorney B.J. Armstrong (Jackson’s agent),” McDonough said, smiling.

The more McDonough talked, the clearer it became that he and Armstrong were in cahoots to do all they could to get Boston to pass on Jackson at No. 3 which as McDonough mentioned, doesn’t break any rules.

“You guys all know my history with the Celtics and the respect I have for Danny Ainge and the organization,” McDonough told reporters on Friday. “But I think you guys who know me well know how competitive I am. Look, it is a competition. The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean B.J. and I and … other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.”

McDonough is right in that no rules were broken if he and Armstrong did decide to work together in an effort to get Jackson to Phoenix.

But to cancel the workout after the Celtics executives and head coach Brad Stevens had left, forcing them to spend a night on the road for a workout that Jackson’s camp probably knew wasn’t going to happen well before the Celtics contingent boarded for Sacramento … not cool.

Here are words I thought I would never say … the Ball clan got it right.

They told Boston from the jump that Lonzo Ball wasn’t going to work out for them, so the Celtics knew he didn’t want to be a Celtic from the very beginning.

Jackson’s actions said the same, but his words kept hope alive that he would work out or at the very least, talk to the Celtics organization – neither of which happened.

He kept referring to the fact that he didn’t think Boston was interested in him when they had the number one pick (that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if they asked him to work out for them; otherwise, what’s the point from the Celtics'  perspective of asking to work out a guy they had no interest in drafting?)

After they traded down to the number 3 pick, a deal that was cemented last weekend, Jackson said there wasn’t time to do a workout for Boston.

The draft was nearly a week away and he didn’t have time to work out for a team that had the third pick overall knowing that the top two picks (Markelle Fultz at No. 1 and Lonzo Ball at No. 2) were essentially accounted for?

“If I could have, I probably would have worked out for them,” Jackson said (with a straight face). “But I think everything worked out for the best.”

Yup.

Boston will once again be among the better teams in the East and will contend for the best record like they achieved this past season before their season ended in the Conference finals to Cleveland. 

Jackson will spend his rookie season playing a lot of minutes with a Suns team that probably won’t win as many games as he did a year ago at Kansas (33).

Enjoy.

Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

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Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.

The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.

“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”

In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.

"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."

It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.