CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Durham (N.C.) Academy combo guard Michael Savarino isn’t even remotely close to the point where he gets annoyed when people ask him about his grandfather; tends to come with the territory when you’re a high school basketball player who refers to Duke’s legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski as “Poppy.”
“I love having him as a grandfather,” Savarino said. “Of course people are gonna want to know about that; who wouldn’t?”
Savarino is named after Krzyzewski and the restaurant in Las Vegas where his parents got married. Savarino is the son of Krzyzewski’s oldest daughter, Debbie.
Naturally, Savarino has reaped the benefits of being Krzyzewski’s grandson, from attending two national championship Duke wins to three Olympics to great seats at “too many Duke games to count,” but it also comes with its fair share of scrutiny.
“People think that I should be better than most players because they think that he’s teaching me,” said Savarino, who helped Durham Academy knockoff Northside Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) 62-57 Friday night at the Crown Town Classic. “But he just lets me do my own thing. When he comes to games he won’t even talk about the game unless I bring it up. Most people think it’s just cool that he’s my grandfather. They want to see me play when they hear about that.”
Still, even without the bloodlines, Savarino’s play has warranted attention after a strong summer with CEBA (N.C.) where he pumped in 15 points, five rebounds and four assists a game.
This season, Savarino, a 6-foot-1, do-it-all guard, is averaging five points, four rebounds and seven assists a game for the Cavaliers who are sitting at 12-1.
“Michael doesn’t really like all the attention he gets from being Coach K’s grandson,” Durham Academy coach Tim McKenna said. “I think people are pleasantly surprised when they see that he really knows how to play.”
That play has caught the attention of schools like Army, Columbia, and a handful of Division III schools. He’s also pondering joining Duke as a preferred walk-on.
“We’ll see; I’m not sure if I’m gonna play college basketball yet,” Savarino said. “It doesn’t bother me that people ask all the time about my grandfather, but I don’t want or need that attention. I’m just having fun and trying to help my team win. I’m hoping I get to go to my third national title win this season too.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY