The Hall-of-Fame coach gives his thoughts on the growth of women's basketball and the impact of the WNBA and its players.

Coach K Discusses the Women�s Game

NEW YORK - In his latest book, �The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team,� Mike Krzyzewski chronicles the journey of leading the U.S. Men�s Senior National Team to Olympic gold in Beijing last summer.

While making an appearance at the NBA Store in New York City on Tuesday, the Duke head basketball coach along with his youngest daughter and co-author, Jamie Spatola, shared stories about the team�s road to redemption.

During his time in China, Krzyzewski not only guided the men�s team back to the top of the medal stand, he had a chance to witness the best that the women�s team had to offer as well, as they captured their fourth consecutive gold medal in convincing fashion. Watching the Olympic team, as well as the outstanding teams at Duke, Krzyzewski has seen the women�s game grow exponentially over the years.

�I think the women�s game has advanced tremendously,� he said. �With the WNBA giving that incentive to young ladies that there is basketball after college and then with the collegiate game, it�s a trickling down effect. The fact that you can have a dream of playing professionally it helps more girls get involved. TV has done a tremendous of promoting the game and the quality of play has gone up and up.�


Krzyzewski's new book, "The Gold Standard," offers his experiences with the U.S. Men's Olympic team.
Courtesy of Business Plus

While in China, the men�s and women�s basketball teams built a camaraderie, as they stayed in the same hotel and routinely attended each other�s games to offer support.

�The thing that we enjoyed about being with the women in Beijing is that we all seemed to be on the same team, everybody was together,� Krzyzewski said. �We were a team. We all ate meals in the same place and there was a lot of time for interaction and as a result of that both teams ended up supporting one another by going to games. And it was not just going to games, it was the interaction when you see each other, saying things like �Good luck�; �How you doing?�; �Keep it going.� To know that there are people around you that want you to win, not just that team that you are on. It was special.�

As he saw the women�s team roll its way to the gold medal � winning all eight games with an average margin of victory of 37.6 points � there was one thing that Krzyzewski enjoyed the most about the way they played. �I really loved the quality of passing that they displayed,� he said. �They really were unselfish and passed well and I was very impressed with how they did that.�

As a father of three daughters and a grandfather of two granddaughters and three grandsons, Krzyzewski understands the importance of having role models to look to for inspiration. With the WNBA now entering its 13th season, young girls have outstanding women�s players that they can look up to as well as the NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

�Having role models is extremely important in every walk of life and for those youngsters that want to be outstanding basketball players to look up and see a Lisa Leslie, who is magnificent in how she has represented herself and her country, and players like her is invaluable,� he said. �Thank goodness that there is such a commitment to having a WNBA so that these role models are alive and well.�