DURHAM, N.C. – Mike Krzyzewski hopes to get a jump-start on catching his mentor on the career victories list later this summer.
Duke will head to China and Dubai in two months as part of a four-game exhibition tour, and that can only help the chemistry on a developing team that had three stars taken in the NBA draft and returns only one senior.
After leading Duke to four national championships in more than three decades at the school, Krzyzewski says he's eager to see how this next group of Blue Devils figures things out.
"I'm excited about the whole process, because it's like a new thing for us," Krzyzewski said Tuesday. "It's like at different times during our 32 years, it's not like you reinvent yourself, but you refresh yourself. We have a new group."
Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Nolan Smith isn't around anymore, and neither is 2010 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Kyle Singler. Kyrie Irving also is gone, after an injury-marred freshman season kept him out for all but 11 games yet didn't seem to affect his draft status — he went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In their place steps a highly regarded freshman class with three McDonald's All-Americans. They're led by guard Austin Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, and forward Marshall Plumlee, the younger brother of the team's only senior — Miles Plumlee.
They'll get a chance to play together when they depart in mid-August for a 13-day tour that includes exhibition games in Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai. The tour is a collaborative effort with Duke's Fuqua School of Business, which Krzyzewski said is opening five campuses around the world.
"Now it's this group's turn to, not just for this year, but to set the wheels in motion for the next few years," Krzyzewski said. "To me, it's very exciting for me to figure out, see how that will all work and what impact I might have on it."
Coach K is 900-284 in 36 seasons at Army and Duke. That's two wins shy of Bob Knight, his college coach and mentor who holds the Division I men's record.
While calling it a "really neat thing" to pass Knight, Krzyzewski says it would be even more meaningful if he were retiring — which he says he isn't doing anytime soon.
"I think if I announced this is my last year in coaching, it would take on more significance, but the fact that I'm not — I have my health, I'm going to coach for a number of years," Krzyzewski said. "I think at the start of the season, we're going to win three games. I hope," he added. "I don't think I, or the guys on my team, will feel like they've got to get this one for the Gipper.
"I'm just going to keep coaching. I feel good. I may not look good, but I feel great, and for me, I'm 64," he later added. "I really think I have more enthusiasm and endurance than I know I had when I was 54. ... So I'm in a place that is perfect for me. I love my school. I've got all the guys on my staff. They're my guys. I've got great kids. I've got a fanbase that supports us in such great fashion. Really, for me, I don't have a negative about my position, and really, it's why I'm here, I'm still here coaching. For me, there could never be a better situation."