The key to winning the title
by Eric Prisbell, USA TODAY Sports
The 12 active national title-winning coaches in men’s college basketball have seen seismic changes in the game over the past few decades.
Against the background of the 75th NCAA tournament, USA TODAY Sports offers lengthy interviews with these dozen active title-winning coaches, all of whom still are head coaches at the Division I or II level. They provided a window into their ever-changing world, offering perspective on several big-picture issues that affect modern-day college basketball.
Saturday, March 23 question: What was the defining characteristic of your last title team?
Calipari: “They were unselfish. When your fifth and fourth leading shot takers, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, are the No. 1 and two picks in the draft, it says a lot. When Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the locker room prior to the Vanderbilt SEC tournament championship game says bring me off the bench and let Darius [Miller] start because he’s not playing well and we need him in the NCAA tournament, that tells you what my team was about.”
Krzyzewski: “They had ownership and tremendous experience together. They were one. The starting five. Individually they were really good, individually you could pick some weaknesses. But collectively they really did not have – I am not saying they were this powerful – but they didn’t have any weaknesses. They were one. They were old and good and together. Old, good, pretty talented and together is nice combination.”
Williams: “I thought our 2009 team was really, really good because we had guys who could score at every position and appreciated the defensive end of the floor.”
Self: “Competitive spirit. They played well, but they loved it when people challenged them. Loved it. Lived for it. We would have a big lead and somebody would make a run and you could see they huddle up and say, Okay, now it’s time. They loved that moment.”
Donovan: “Really, really connected as a team. Really unselfish. I would say the No. 1 thing is an internal will. There are so many things that are charted — field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage, rebounding, rebounding margin, assist-to-turnover ratio, steals, blocked shots — but I’ve never … [For more on Championship Coaches Round Table: The key to winning the title, click here.]