Coach K and the NBA
The Lakers tried and failed to lure Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski away from Durham, N.C., in 2004.
On Wednesday, during a news conference leading up to the NCAA West Regional at Honda Center, Krzyzewski, 64, again reiterated his love for Duke and said he’s not interested in leaving.
However, he did say that of the three times he almost left to coach in the NBA, the Lakers’ offer was the one he took most seriously.
“They were great with me,” he said. “I could not give up what I’ve got, what I have at Duke. It just wasn’t worth it.”
He added: “I’m good with where I’m at, I’m too old to do anything else.”
Derrick Williams glanced at Arizona’s itinerary Wednesday morning and was surprised to learn his team was scheduled to practice at his alma mater, La Mirada High.
Williams, the Pacific 10 Conference player of the year this season, was underrated coming out of high school but he’s now the big man on campus when he comes back — except, he said, when La Mirada alum Jennie Finch, an Olympic gold medalist in softball, happens to be around.
So what does Williams have to do to match Finch’s status?
“Win a national championship,” he said.
From East to West
The Big East Conference had 11 teams reach the NCAA tournament, but only two reached a regional semifinal — Connecticut and Marquette, which both advanced by beating other Big East teams.
That left Connecticut’s Kemba Walker defending his conference. “We’re still the best conference in the country, I don’t care what anybody says,” he said. “Two Big East teams put two Big East teams out.”
The other five Big East teams were eliminated by Morehead State, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, Gonzaga and George Mason.
On the other side is the Mountain West Conference, which had three teams in the tournament but also has two teams still playing — San Diego State and Brigham Young.
“It shows the Mountain West Conference was a powerhouse this year,” San Diego State guard D.J. Gay said. “People didn’t really respect us in the beginning.”
And how would the Aztecs do in the Big East?
“Wow, trying to set me up,” Walker said, laughing. “Man, I think they would do well.”
Irving is healthy
Kyrie Irving, Duke’s star freshman guard, celebrated his 19th birthday Wednesday and pronounced himself fully recovered from an injury to his right foot that forced him to miss 26 games.
“I feel good going into [Thursday’s] game,” he said.
Irving came back to average 20.5 minutes in the Blue Devils’ first two NCAA tournament games, averaging 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds even though, he said, he was “trying to feel my way through” those games.
According to online ticket search engine FanSnap, tickets for the West Regional were selling Wednesday for nearly twice the price of any other regional’s tickets.
The average price of tickets to the two games Thursday (including ticket company fees) was $743, compared to $386 for the East Regional, $172 for the Southwest Regional and $161 for the Southeast Regional. The lowest-priced tickets for the West Regional were $275.
One fan from Tucson purchased a ticket for Thursday’s games in the lower bowl near midcourt for $2,000 on StubHub. A fan from Seattle found a comparative steal on StubHub, getting a ticket for $80 along the upper baseline for the regional championship Saturday.
Times staff writers Ben Bolch, Baxter Holmes and Chris Foster contributed to this report.
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