This isn’t how legendary Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski drew up his final season in Durham. According to several reports, Coach K’s grandson, Michael Savarino, was arrested for DWI. His teammate, star freshman Paolo Banchero, is charged with aiding and abetting DWI.
The arrests were made by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol early Sunday, Nov. 14.
Savarino was pulled over after a stop sign violation. When a subsequent breathalyzer test was administered, he showed a blood alcohol content of 0.08. In North Carolina, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Savarino’s license was revoked for 30 days, and he was taken into custody without incident.
According to citations obtained by the News & Observer, Savarino was driving a white 2017 Jeep SUV registered to Banchero, who was a passenger in the back seat.
Banchero is a potential top pick in the 2022 NBA draft. He is averaging 19.3 points and 8.7 rebounds through three games. He was charged with aiding and abetting DWI and was cited and released.
“We are reviewing a legal matter involving two members of the men’s basketball team,” Krzyzewski said in a statement released by Duke athletics to the N&O. “Any further actions as a result of this situation will ultimately be determined by the Vice President/Director of Athletics and University officials.”
Driving while intoxicated is a serious matter, and unfortunately happens all too often among college students. But here’s where things get a little interesting.
In the statement, Coach K says the vice president/director of athletics and university officials will determine how this is handled.
That may be true, officially.
But Coach K is the most powerful person at Duke University. If he’s not number one, there aren’t more than two people that have more power.
His daughter, and Savarino’s mother, Debbie Krzyzewski Savarino, is an assistant athletic director at the university. Whether directly involved in the punishment or not, she will know what’s going on and whom to connect.
The reality is Coach K is a deity in Durham; there is no way his grandson’s arrest is going to tarnish his farewell tour this season. The man who has led Duke to five national titles, 12 Final Fours, 15 ACC Tournament titles, and has amassed 1,173 wins (and counting) is not going out like this.
Beyond the adulation and hardware he’s helped bring to the school, no doubt he’s also brought in tens of millions if not more in donor contributions. In short, the man can do no wrong.
This season is his swan song, he might be the greatest to ever do it. At worst, the second best; ever. He has no time for grandsons making unwise decisions ruining his moment.
Savarino’s court date is set for Dec. 9, and Banchero’s is Dec. 8.
The presiding judge and prosecution will be well aware who these young men are and the university and legend they represent. The legal system will run its course and mete out whatever decision and possible punishment.
Once that’s concluded, Duke University will do the same.
All the while with the knowledge that Savarino is the grandson of their living legend and icon.