COACH K ON SIXERS’ JAH OKAFOR: ‘HE’S A SPECIAL, SPECIAL KID’

Krzyzewski, who coached Okafor last season at Duke, where they won the national title, said people should not judge Okafor based solely on his most recent actions.

By Martha Sullivan

No one in American basketball has more credibility than Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has taken five Blue Devils teams to national championships in 35 seasons.

And you might expect expect Coach K to stick up for one of his former players who has had a run of bad behavior or bad luck.

Krzyzewski defended his former player Jahlil Okafor, who was suspended two games by the Sixers following two separate incidents in Boston.

“Jah is one of the greatest kids ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever,” Krzyzewski told ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil after Duke’s game win over Indiana last night. “He did a couple of stupid things, and so knock him for it. Suspend him, but let’s move on. Make him learn from it, but don’t characterize him based on that. He’s a special, special kid.”

Okafor’s two-game suspension came the same day a second video was released by TMZ showing him involved in a scuffle in Boston. The initial video from that night was posted last Thursday.

Okafor, who will turn 20 on Dec. 15, was caught on video engaging in a brawl with a man outside the nightclub in the early-morning hours last Thursday. The victim filed a report with the Boston Police Department, and police have urged any other possible victims from the second incident to come forward. The videos released by TMZ appear to show two separate scuffles.

“He got into a situation, and he made a mistake, but they also need to have security,” Krzyzewski said. “When we are with the U.S. team, everybody has security because they’re targets. But he’s got to be smart, and he was not.”

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