When Mike Krzyzewski watched Monday night’s national championship game, one player stood out.
No surprise, it was the same player who earned Most Outstanding Player honors for the NCAA tournament: Shabazz Napier.
The senior point guard scored 22 points in the 60-54 win over Kentucky. The win was UConn’s fourth championship since 1999.
Coach K talked about Napier’s contributions on the final episode of Basketball and Beyond of this season.
“Napier was a star before the tournament,” Coach K said. “He’s one of the top players in the country, was truly the shining star.”
Krzyzewski compared Napier to a current NBA All Star point guard.
Napier reminded me some of Chris Paul in the tournament. I’m not saying anyone is as good as Chris Paul, because he’s the best the world at the point guard position [...] Chris can get by you and get into the lane and he doesn’t leave his feet. He’s still dribbling and making a play in the lane with his feet and dribble in control. Guards sometimes go in there and penetrate and leave their feet and dish, or they go in there and they dish or shoot. Napier, he does some of what Chris Paul does…he probes when he gets into the lane. It shows a tremendous amount of poise.
At the end of every college basketball season there’s much debate about which players can transition effectively to the NBA level. Krzyzewski thinks there’s no question that Napier could survive.
“I see him at the next level,” Coach K said. “He can shoot, he’s always calm, he’s putting people in the right direction. Basically that’s why they won.”
Coach K took to the airwaves throughout the college basketball season on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. The ninth season of Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, co-hosted by Dave Sims, is available on SiriusXM On Demand.