With NCAA rules giving programs more time in which to practice for the upcoming season, coaches are now faced with the task of figuring out what to do with the extra down time that comes with having 42 days for 30 practices. How’s Duke going to make use of some of its extra time? The Blue Devils are headed to New York during the school’s fall break this weekend for a “field trip” of sorts.
Mike Krzyzewski’s team will get some on-court work in during their stay in the Big Apple but they’ll also participate in some educational activities according to Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News & Observer. The four-day “Duke Elevate” tour will include visits to the Museum of Modern Art, the Apollo Theatre, the National 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center. The traveling party will also take in a Broadway show and spend a day at West Point, where Krzyzewski attended college.
There will also be conversations with influential Duke alums and supporters, including Grant Hill and Goldman Sachs partner Ashok Varadhan, who was a team manager during his time at Duke.
“We’ll practice each day. We want to develop our team, and we want to develop our guys,” said Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski. “We try to do that on the court, and we also try to do that off the court and exposing them to different experiences, hoping they can learn from whether it’s the people up at West Point or gaining a greater perspective by visiting the 9/11 memorial, just being together on the road. All of those things go into us growing together as a group, getting to know one another better and educating ourselves on what we need to do to be successful as a team.”
Last year the Blue Devils spent some time during the preseason at Fort Bragg, and there’s definitely value in such experiences. Instead of merely lounging around during a long weekend with nothing to do except for practice, the players will be able to pick up pointers that can help them achieve success in areas other than basketball.
As for the basketball portion of the trip, the Blue Devils will be able to get some work done in unfamiliar surroundings, which could benefit the team by their having to adjust to a routine that differs from the one they’re likely used to.