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January 3, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

THE MODERATOR: We have with us Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach, a few comments about your team and we'll open it up for questions.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We had I thought a really good game. Miami is very, very good. We had a good game last night against Miami. Frank's team can be very explosive. We were fortunate they didn't hit some shots that they normally hit. But their back court, very difficult to defend. Johnson got into a little bit of foul trouble. He's 9 for 10 on the floor, has developed into one of the better big men in our conference.
No one really played well for us. I thought our big guys did a good job of especially defense on the ball screen. We're going to get a little bit more word on Kyrie this week, although his thing is still long-term. We're just progressing in that and get an update during the week as to where he's at.
I'll take any questions.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Mike, for lack of a better way to phrase it, is there sort of a point of no return on Kyrie of when he can come back and when he can't?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: If he had surgery, then he would definitely not be able to return. Even if he doesn't get surgery, there's a chance he could not return. But if he has surgery, there's no way that he can return for this year.
Along the way, we're just following whatever the specialists say on this, the course of action they want to follow.

Q. Last night you said something about taking your team out on the floor for each season, the ACC season, talking about placing their own stamp on the program. I know you like to look at body language and eyes. What did you see with this edition when you did that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We're very young except for Nolan and Kyle. These other guys have not established their ACC collegiate egos as to who they are as players. They're still very much developing. They're a willing group. I mean, they have really good enthusiasm. They want to learn. They've had good attitudes.
A key thing, if you're fortunate to have had success in the past, a new group can't assume that it's just going to happen, that it just happens. Each team, you try to let them know, you don't go through every team, but you talk about each team, what they had to do, losses they incurred, difficulties individuals had as they were developing into sound ACC-level players.
That's what we're trying to get across. It's a realism as to where you're at right now. Not that you've just been born into a rich family. In sport, there is no such thing. You got to do it every year.

Q. Clearly your focus is on this team is getting it better. During these huge victories you've had recently, was there one moment that touched you?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You're right about wanting to move on, just get along with our own team. I think the best thing was the reception of the people in Greensboro, the fact that it was sold out. There were so many Duke fans from many different locations. They wanted to stay around. Anyway, it was something I didn't expect. I thought that was really the best moment.
Jason Williams and guys on my staff, former players, to see how happy they were, that's a good thing because without them, you know, you wouldn't be winning many games.
But I thought having the game in Greensboro made it even a little bit more special.

Q. Can I ask you about the Plumlee brothers. We tend to look at them almost as if they're joined at the hips. Even last night you said something about the Plumlees. Are they interchangeable parts or do they bring different things to the table?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: They definitely bring different things to the table. Right now there's three kids along with Ryan are really establishing themselves, one on the board, two on defense with ball screen defense, and the ability to block shots. Miles can be more of a scorer than Mason right now. Mason is really a good passer. Both of them probably in the halfcourt, Mason is a better shot blocker.
But, no, they're different players. They can obviously play together, and they did play together last night. I think they're in a good spot right now. They're in a real good period of growth. Ryan Kelly, all three of them. Since we've come back from the Christmas break, there's really very good improvement. They have real big upsides. If they can stick with it, keep those good attitudes, I think they can show continued improvement.

Q. Since Kyrie Irving went down, Nolan Smith was put in a position similar to Jon Scheyer was asked to step up in a situation. How has Nolan progressed so far?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't think that's exactly right. Nolan has been asked to do more. Jon was great, one of the best players we've ever had here, but Jon didn't cover the ball.
Nolan right now is doing everything. He's on the ball defense, running the team, and he's also scoring the ball. His role really right now I think as important as any kid in the country. He has a huge role.
It's different than the one that Jon had. Although we wouldn't mind having Jon and they could share that role (laughter). But Nolan is playing great. Last night he was the difference-maker.

Q. Looking back at your season last year, you lost your opener. You've only had one game in conference last night against Miami. If you could look back at last year's team, how could you compare that team to this year's team?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know what, I wouldn't do that. I don't do that. I don't see any reason to compare because they're two different teams. I just wouldn't do that. I don't think it would be a smart thing to do. Last year really has nothing to do with this year, so there's no point in comparing for me.
Again, I'm not against you comparing it. I find it totally useless for me to do that. Non-productive, let's put it that way.

Q. Could you talk to me a little bit about Casey Peters. As a coach, how rewarding is it to see somebody work their way into position the way he has? He and the other guys who aren't on scholarship are playing bigger roles in practice.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they're playing bigger roles. Casey has done a really good job and now he earned a scholarship because we only have 10 kids on scholarship. When a walk-on does a really good job like that, we have scholarships available, we reward them with that. Casey's done a really good job in that.
The fact that we have nine scholarship players available to play now means that a walk-on has to be in all the time when we're going five-on-five. Casey and the other two walk-ons have even a higher level of importance for what we're doing.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about him and kind of the transition from manager to a full-time player, what it was like watching that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's a good manager. Then he stopped in and helped out in drills as a manager. He did things afterwards. There were some pickup games for guys that weren't playing. He stepped in. Sometimes the assistant coaches will play against the managers or the walk-ons just to keep them sharp.
Casey, he played well. In between being a manager and when we awarded him the opportunity to be a walk-on, he had a good summer where he worked out well, got a little bit better to where we felt we could use him.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for taking time for being with us today.

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