Coach K’s Duke squad has been a bit of a roller coaster recently, so you can forgive the legendary coach for using a bit of hyperbole in discussing the performance of returning star forward Ryan Kelly.
After Duke suffered an upset loss at the hands of Virginia, the Blue Devils were reeling (well, as badly as a top five-ranked squad can reel, that is). The Cavaliers had ticked off the regal Coach K by storming the court, and the team was set to face fellow ACC power Miami only days later.
And all of it was without Kelly, a 6-foot-11 matchup nightmare who can score in bunches. He had been out indefinitely after sustaining a foot injury in early January, and finally made what the Cameron Crazies were hoping would be a triumphant return against The U on Saturday.
Well, one can probably call 36 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes ‘triumphant’ — but for Coach K, a man who has seen it all but still had to deal with the stresses of trying to keep his championship-caliber team afloat in Kelly’s absence, the return was even bigger than merely ‘triumphant’.
It was transcendent.
“We were all privileged to see one of the performances of the ages by Ryan Kelly,” Krzyewski said. “And me saying spectacular or whatever doesn’t even do his performance justice.”
If that sounds a little extravagant, well, that’s because it is.
But, again, you can forgive the guy a little bit for a ridiculous statement. After all, Kelly did lead Duke to a wild, 79-76, win over Miami, with March Madness coming up faster than anyone thinks.