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The Rosen Report: The Night I Talked BBall With Coach K

March 17, 2022
Eric Rosen

Opening Comments

Jack and I were travelling Sunday, so I likely missed some news stories. We are in Greensboro, GA for 28 hours for a club fitting for Jack at Taylor Made. I wanted to include a bunch of stories, but the flights were delayed, so I am skipping a few I wanted to include.

Stock futures are down 1% (should be down more) as there is discussion (FINALLY) of banning Russian oil. It would be nice to not be reliant on other countries and be energy independent as we were. Oil hit $135 tonight on the news. It has since settled at $125/barrel. We are decades away from alternatives dominating. Again, in the US, less than 1% of cars on the road are EVs for example.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is having an impact on many policies and countries. For example, the US and European energy strategy are being reconsidered for good reason. Germany is also stepping up its defense spending in response to “Putin’s War.” Switzerland residents are now in favor of joining NATO. Sweden has not been in a war since 1814 and has built its foreign policy on "non-participation in military alliances. Finnish president says NATO membership “under discussion” in Helsinki. Finland shares an 838 mile border with Russia. The relationship with China should continue to be strained given their support of Russia. China is stepping up defense spending by 7.1% in 2022. The countries taking what will be millions of refugees will be impacted for years and let us not forget about the impact on Ukraine and Russian families due to the war and economic destruction. How many years will it take to rebuild Ukraine? How many Russians will need to flee the country? I do not see Putin’s end game. He is destroying his own country and the country he is invading. How much will it take to rebuild?

I have spoken with countless people about the war and many of them well-connected in the region. I was told that Putin did not tell many of his closest friends about the Ukraine invasion. I figured Putin sold his Rubles and any stock positions in advance. Also, his large yacht is never in Russia and he supposedly brought it back just prior to the invasion.

  • Picture of the Day-Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

  • The Night I Talked BBall With Coach K

  • Quick Bites

    • US Markets, Payrolls, Inflation

    • Gas Prices Soar, Biden Approval Ratings Up

    • Putin-Going as Planned

    • Ukraine Exodus, Oligarch Sanctions

    • Trump Related Election Emails

    • NFT Sales Tumble

  • Other Headlines-Many Ukraine/Russia Headlines

  • Virus/Vaccine

    • Data-Improvements Continue

    • Mask Mandate-NYC for Under 5 Years Old

  • Real Estate

    • General Comments

    • Zillow Losses

    • $141mm LA Estate Auction

Picture of the Day

This is not something we see every day, an attack on a nuclear power plant. I remember Chernobyl in 1986, as I was in 10th grade at Cooper City High and we were in panic mode as we did not understand the consequences. The area of Chernobyl remains uninhabitable for 20 miles some 35 years later. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the largest of its kind in Europe, was on fire early on Friday after an attack by Russian troops, the mayor of the nearby town of Energodar said in an online post. The Russian troops seized control of Zaporizhzhia which accounts for almost 50% of Ukraine’s electricity. The fires have been put out and radiation levels are normal. What is next for Putin? This seems incredibly reckless. I fear Putin is unwell with these decisions and others closer to him have suggested the same. Russian are attacking another nuclear facility overnight.

The Night I Talked BBall With Coach K

I think we can all agree that Coach Mike Krzyzewski, also known as Coach K, is one the short list of two for the best coach in the history of college basketball. The only argument in my mind is John Wooden who stopped coaching almost 50 years ago. Here are some statistics to put Coach K’s career in perspective. His record is 1196-366 (.766% winning), he has 5 National Titles, 12 Final Four appearances, 35 births in the NCAA tournament, 5 consecutive Final Fours between 1988-1992, 15 ACC titles, 68 players drafted of which 42 were first round, he has spent 127 weeks with his team ranked #1 and 16 coach of the year awards by various sponsors. Ten of his players have gone on to coach at the collegiate level. Let’s not forget 3 Olympic Gold Medals and 2 World Cup Golds. For a long time, he graduated almost all of his players until one and done became the norm in college. Duke is 26-5 this year and ranked #4 in the AP polls.

Why are we talking about the great Coach K? Saturday was his final regular season home game at home against North Carolina, their big rival. Coach K is hanging it up after 42 seasons. Students have been camped in tents for over one month to get tickets to the game. Tickets to the game were going for $5,392 on average relative to the Super Bowl which averaged $3,800. One ticket is asking $99k and other $17k. I am sorry to say, the big bucks were worth it for this one. I watched the game and yes, I shed tears. I was shocked Duke lost, but not surprised by the coach’s comments afterwards with his sights pointed to the NCAA Tournament.

I have two personal Coach K stories I would like to share with my readers. I was a huge college basketball fan in the 1980s-1990s. I could tell you every starting player on the major teams and was a true fanatic of NCAA basketball before it was ruined by one and done. Today, I could not name 5 starting players in the entire NCAA for $1bn.

One of my closest friends, Chris Seter, played basketball at the University of Michigan, He is 6’9”and won a National Championship in 1989. I was asked to be a groomsman in his wedding in September of 1996. I remain traumatized some 25 years later given the height disparity involved.

For the rehearsal dinner, Chris sat me next to Coach K, given my love of the game. I am not sure I have ever been more excited in my life. I was hanging out with the legend and I was nervous. I was asking him of questions about anything other than basketball as I figured he is sick of talking about his sport. After about 15 minutes, Coach K looked at me and said, “Eric, come on. I am sitting next to you for a reason. Chris told me you are my biggest fan. Are we going to talk basketball or not?” Well, I almost started crying and I fear the great coach regretted those words. I was pounding him about players, games, plays, coaches…until his head was spinning. I think it was one of the best nights of my life and it showed me what a great guy he was by allowing me to talk to him about basketball. I am not sure he has such fond memories and probably got a restraining order on me after that dinner.

The next day, was one of the low points in my life both literally and figuratively. I had to stand up at a wedding with people who are giants. The best man was 6’9” and Rob Pelinka, GM of the Lakers was up there with me at 6’6.” Let’s not forget the bride’s brothers were a hulking 6’2” or 6’3” tall. I was mortified at 5’9” and walked on my tip-toes to fell less small. I felt as though I should be a ring bearer, not a groomsman. It was a Catholic wedding which meant kneeling. I could not do this as I would look too short, so I was in the athletic stance position with more core engaged. I swear I almost died in that position. I was shaking at the altar as I was using muscles for 10 minutes at a time. These people sure kneel for a long time! I was dripping sweat when I walked down the isle after the ceremony with the groom’s sister who was 6’ without her heels. I am hopeful no video of this day surfaces, as it would be too humiliating.

My next coach K memory was from 2011. A few Wall Street guys went down to a game at Cameron Indoor arena at Duke. I had never been to the 9,314 seat facility which is legendary. By comparison, the Garden holds 19,812. Mind you, I have been to every major sporting event, court-side at the NBA finals, World Series, prize fights such as Mike Tyson, Bowl Games…..Nothing and I repeat NOTHING comes close to the environment at Cameron.

Note how close the students (Carmeron Crazies) are to the court.

My favorite Duke game I watched on TV was “the Shot” in the 1992 Regional Final vs Kentucky. With a 2 seconds on the clock, Grant Hill threw the ball the length of the court to Christian Lattener who caught it and made the shot with no time left. I feel it was one of the greatest games in the history of college sports. Duke went on to defeat Michigan (Fab 5) in the finals in 1992 to win the title.

Coach K has done countless leadership seminars, and I was fortunate enough to watch one. Here are 5 of his key leadership insights with the details in the link:

  1. Create shared ownership

  2. Tailor coaching to the person

  3. Hear concerns and respond thoughtfully

  4. Unite big egos

  5. Show your emotions

Coach K, thank you for decades of memories, turning boys into men, being the best coach and showing charter and leadership. You always did it with dignity and grace and set the bar for everyone else. I wish you happiness in your retirement. You have millions of fans and even some UNC alumni will miss you. Yeah right!

Quick Bites

  • I mentioned this in my last piece. I was of the belief that inflation was going to peak in coming months, but did not foresee the Ukraine invasion. I now fear inflation could last longer than I thought just a few weeks prior. Higher food and oil prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could send U.S. inflation to the highest annual level since 1981, based on estimates of the impact on global supplies from Wells Fargo. If oil remains above $100 a barrel and the Commodity Research Bureau Food Index increases 35% from the end of last year, it would add 1.3 percentage points to the consumer price index this year, according to a research note Thursday from economists led by Sarah House. Average annual CPI is forecast to rise 5.1% in 2022 after increasing at a 4.7% pace last year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. We all have examples of higher prices of R/E, cars, food, consumer products, commodities, travel, rental cars…. Food prices jumped 20.7% in February (year over year) according to the UN. On a related note, I thought this headline was interesting: The Fed has been terribly wrong about inflation and is going to have to 'bite the bullet' on rate hikes, says Wharton's Jeremy Siegel. I am not a big Jeremy Siegel fan, but have been screaming about the Fed for a long time. FYI, Lumber prices are back through the roof and are only 20% from last summer’s high levels.

    • In 2010, wheat prices jumped 58% around the time of Arab Spring. Since June, wheat prices are +137%. I am not sure how strong the causality is, but presume Pippa Malmgren is far more articulate on the subject than me.

    • Biden’s approval rating jumped on his handling of the Ukraine situation. President Joe Biden’s approval rating jumped 8 points in the past week, according to a large national poll released Friday. Support for Biden’s handling of Ukraine rose an extraordinary 18 points over the same period. And while no single poll is ever totally accurate, this one conducted by NPR the PBS NewsHour and the Marist Institute suggests Biden’s abysmal ratings over the past several months could be turning a corner. In the same NPR/Marist poll on Feb. 25, Biden’s overall approval was 39%. On Friday, it was 47%. Meanwhile, support for Biden’s handling of Ukraine soared last week from 34% to 52%, led by double digit increases among Democrats (+ 27 points) and independents (+ 17 points). The poll surveyed more than 1,300 adults, and had a margin of error is 3.8%. This CNN story is entitled, Is this the beginning of the Joe Biden comeback? For the sake of the USA and the world, I sure hope so, but you will excuse me if I don’t yet declare all is well in the White House just yet.

    Other Headlines




    • Chart is self-explanatory and data continues to improve across the board.

    • Pandering to rank ignorance, Mayor Eric Adams is leaving the school-mask mandate in place for children under 5 — who face utterly trivial risk from COVID, and significant risk of learning failure from masking. In the entire rest of the world, next to no one ever made toddlers mask at all — and the kids were fine. In the 46 states in the American Academy of Pediatrics database, from zero to 0.01% (that’s one in 10,000) of all child COVID cases resulted in death, and those few overwhelmingly involved serious complicating factors. The total US death toll for all under-18s in nearly two full years of the pandemic is below 800. A massively high percentage of the deaths had at least one comorbidity. I am adamantly opposed to this mask mandate for little children. It is absurd and I believe does more damage than good at this point in the pandemic.

    Real Estate

    • Royal Palm in Boca is up to 7 listings after only 4 last week. Three are under construction, one is a tear down. One is a home we considered in 2017. I thought it was worth $4mm at the time and it sold for $4.4 six months later. Today, it is listed for $8.8mm. Recall, when I moved to Florida, there were approximately 70 homes for sale for an average price of $4.9mm in 2017. The average listing price today of the 7 homes is $12mm and one is a tear down. So, 1% of the homes in the community are for sale which is down from 8-10% pre-crisis. This includes the debacle house I wrote about in the last note which is on the busy street and must contend with bridge traffic three times/hour and is listed at $9.7mm. Separately, I spoke with a reader who lives in Broken Sound, a gated community in Central Boca. He bought a small home for $70k in 2019 and he was told by a broker it is now worth $500k. Yes, Florida is on fire. The issue is you must join the club for 6 figures and the annual dues are very high. When he bought the house, the membership was more than he paid for the home and you lose the initiation fee when you leave.

    • Listings giant Zillow lost more than $880 million on its failed home-flipping business in 2021, the company reported. According to the Wall Street Journal, the otherwise profitable home-listing and real estate advertising company ended up losing nearly $530 million overall, with the bulk of the losses coming from its since shut-down Zillow Offers, which was responsible for the majority of Zillow’s income — $6 billion of ithe $8.1 billion it generated — but none of its profits

    • A 105,000-square-foot Los Angeles megamansion that was listed for $295 million sold at a bankruptcy auction for $141 million, ending a 10-year saga of soaring debt and failed dreams. The auction for the property, known as “The One,” ended Thursday night with the highest bid at $126 million. Including the buyer’s premium, the final sale price will be $141 million, according to Laura Brady, CEO of Concierge Auctions, which auctioned the home. The price makes it the third-most expensive home ever sold in Los Angeles, behind Marc Andreessen’s $177 million purchase last year of a Malibu compound and Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the former Jack Warner Estate in Beverly Hills for $165 million.

    Eric Rosen
    The Rosen Report