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January 5, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

Duke – 85
Alabama-Birmingham - 64

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we beat a really good team tonight. I thought we played well. Told Bob Harris before the game that Mike Davis' teams, they play hard, they play smart, they play together. They're very athletic and they're unconventional with Moore as their center because you don't have a guy on the low post. He's the third best three-point shooter. You have an unoccupied low post and it presents different challenges to your defense. Overall I thought we did a really good job against him.
I think the kid Sanders can start for anybody in our league. That kid is a really, really good player. I think he's got a chance to be a pro. He's strong, shoots. I really like that kid. We did a decent job against him. But he's a big-time player.
I'm very proud of our team because I thought we beat an excellent basketball team today. Nolan was spectacular. He's playing against Johnson, who is the leading assist guy in the country. He was never really rattled by his pressure. He did a good job of covering him, running our team. He scores I think 33 points. Nolan played great.
That was Mason's best game I think at Duke. He was talking. He played with a presence, getting 14 and 9 and 4 blocks. He didn't play tired either. We kept him in there for a long period of time. We had a little bit of foul trouble with the bigs. Ryan Kelly just keeps playing well, keeps improving.
I thought this was one of the better games for Andre because he didn't shoot the ball but he played well. That's a sign of maturity. He's guarding. He's keeping spacing. He's playing well. He didn't get the shots. A lot of times, shooters, when they are not getting shots, they don't do anything else. We played well tonight in order to win.

Q. Coming back to the beginning, the charge call seemed to really spark everyone.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't know which one.

Q. Seems like after the charge call was made at the beginning, it brought you off the bench.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't remember.

Q. You jumped up.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't think it was one call. I thought we were ready to play. You know, we go up I think 24-4, 26-4, 26-3, whatever it was, and you knew that you couldn't keep that up.
But I was proud of my team because you worry that you don't see this team on TV. Already played Miami. Got Maryland on Sunday. I thought we played really hard.
The crowd was great. Even though the students aren't here right now, the crowd has been fantastic all year long. During this break for the two games - Miami and this one - they were excellent.

Q. What are your thoughts on the backcourt starting spot?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think you could go either way. I'd like to have those top seven guys think of themselves as all starters, and the two freshmen come in when they need to so you have a starter's mentality. We can rotate the bigs and that third perimeter position. We might; we might not.
I want those seven guys to feel like when they're in a ballgame, that's a starting unit in a ballgame, like the way Mason played tonight.

Q. What do you think about what Ryan Kelly is doing right now?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He's just playing simple, really good basketball. How many blocks did he have tonight? You know, he blocked shots. Didn't even know he's blocking shots. He understands every play. He's moving his feet very well defensively. He's just getting a little bit better all the time and he's reliable.
You know what Ryan Kelly is going to give you every game. He's smart. He's not the basketball player he will be, but he's a good basketball player right now. He's going to keep showing a lot of improvement.

Q. Is there an update on Kyrie?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No. They have done a C-scan and MRI. The doctors were supposed to have a conference call tonight. He's not ready to play. But do they continue to do the non-surgical? I think that's where it's going to go, that they've seen some improvement there, but I can't tell you that right now because I haven't talked to them.

Q. (Question regarding Nolan's aggressiveness.)
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Nolan's leadership, his poise, his maturity. I mean, I think Nolan is probably playing as well as anyone in the country right now. He's playing great. You have a player like that who shares the ball, plays defense, talks. He's had a good face the whole time. That helps everybody - me especially (smiling).

Q. Talk about his endurance, his ability to play every second out there.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He's older. Number of minutes with older players, if you don't over-practice them, it's inconsequential. Really, I mean, trust me, I do this for a living (smiling).
We make sure we don't wear them out in practice. What they do as far as weight training, conditioning, eating... He's a guy who, after this year, is going to be a pro basketball player. That's what we try to do, is try to teach them how to do that. So playing this number of minutes is what he wants to do.

Q. His numbers jump out, and the way he managed the game tonight, too.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: There wasn't a phase of the game that he didn't play at the highest level, including management, which leads to team stats. I think you're absolutely right.

Q. Towards the end of last year, you used to talk about Kyle emerging as a defensive player. Have you seen that progression? Can you talk about what kind of defensive player he is now?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We had him on Sanders. Sanders could have got 35 tonight. He was loaded. I thought Kyle did a good job on him tonight. A couple times when he had to switch, he got switched to somebody else.
But Kyle, against Miami, in Greensboro, was not on the key scorer. He played off the ball and kind of orchestrated us defensively by talking. So he has two different roles is what I'm saying. If we don't put him on the best offensive player, he kind of orchestrates the whole defense with his talk.
Tonight he had to be on their best guy. That can wear you out, though. I thought he was a little bit short on some of his shots. But that's the least of our worries, is Kyle's shooting.

Q. How encouraging is it to be playing this well but still seeing room for growth?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We're playing well and we're getting better. But it's a long season, and you can always have a bad game. I mean, they're human beings. We have to show them that as we're developing as a team, they're developing as players. That's what makes it exciting.
If a kid knows that you're working on his game, but you're also working on our game, you got a better chance of continuity of good games. Even if you don't win, you're playing well. If you get too focused on just what the team is doing and don't work on individual development, you can lose kids.

Q. The guys were finishing stronger tonight.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: A little bit stronger, yeah. I was happy with our guys. This is a really good win for us. Obviously, we got a big game on Sunday. But it's good.
I like these kids. You know, they haven't made any excuses. They've tried to adjust to new stuff that we're doing. We just have to keep giving them an opportunity to grow as a basketball team.
Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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