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The beginning of the Coach K - Jason Kidd story


It's long-forgotten history ... expect between the two protagonists, Jason Kidd and Mike Krzyzewski and a witness to history, Billy King.

In 1993, Duke had gone to the NCAA Final Four five straight years and won the national championship the year before. They was favored to do it again, with Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill on the team.  To get there, Coach K had to get past Cal and its freshman point guard, J-Kidd.  It didn't happen. Kidd was just too good.

As Tim Bontemps recounts, it was a case of Kidd willing his team to win, just as he did in the NBA for the next 19 years.

With Duke up by one, Kidd got ahold of the ball off a broken play and did what he became known for: fixing broken plays on the fly.  As Tim Bontemps recounts...

"Kidd, who had followed the ball into traffic once it got knocked away, somehow came up with it and, in one motion as he was falling toward the court, flipped it up with his right hand over his shoulder, off the glass and through the net — while being fouled — to give Cal a 78-77 lead, one he would extend to 79-77 with the ensuing free throw."

That was it for Duke. No Final Four. Kidd finished 11 points and 14 assists. Bontemps didn't talk to Coach K, but he did talk to someone who watched the game, Billy King.

"Duke has always figured out ways to win those games," said King, who had graduated Duke four years before. "That was a game where you were almost in shock when they lost, because they never lost like that before."

Kidd and Coach K of course eventually hooked up, winning the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, part of Kidd's perfect record in international play. And Kidd ran the Nets training camp at the Mike Krzyzewski Basketball Center this week. But Kidd won't let King forget. "Billy? I just tell him once in a while that I’m undefeated against Duke."