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January 10, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach, if you could, a few comments about your team and we'll open it up for questions.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We won a very hard-fought game against a very ready Maryland team last night. I thought they played great against us. We got really good contributions from two kids off our bench, were able to win the game.
So we're in good health. No new news on Kyrie. He's going through the same procedure that we were doing before as far as non-surgical. He'll be reevaluated again in another week. Just moving along in that direction.
So I'm open for any questions.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Coach, I'm sure one of those kids you're mentioning was Seth. Talk about in the last year and a half how he's embraced his responsibility to the team, coming off the bench, being so ready to play when he comes in.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think it hurts anybody when you're away from the game for a year, even though you're practicing. I think Seth has done a really good job of trying to acclimate himself to the speed and physicality of this league, of this level of college basketball. I really think he's made a big improvement over the last couple weeks as far as the speed that he has to play at. He just has to play faster.
The speed and physicality is something that he's adjusting to. But he's doing a much better job. Last night, he was terrific because it was one of those times in a game that you can't hit a shot. I mean, their defense and you combine to make it almost impossible to hit a shot. He came off the bench and hit shots for us and kind of knocked the wood off of it.
He's going to be a valuable guy for us throughout the rest of the year.

Q. As for your next game against Florida State, Chris Singleton was Defensive Player of the Year. He's only a junior. Can you talk about the career he's had there in Tallahassee.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He's progressed into being one of the best players in the country. He was on the select team of collegiate players that participated and worked against the World Championship NBA players this summer. I thought he distinguished himself in those practices as being somebody who can play at this level, at the NBA level, and do quite well. Especially the practices up in New York before we went over to Europe, Chris was terrific.

Q. Coach, you got Singleton, who is a big kid who is good. You just played Jordan Williams and Reggie Johnson in the league. There's a lot of kids in this league for some reason who are big and good. Jeff Allen is playing well. I thought all the good big guys were supposed to leave for the NBA and not play in college.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, I think you see what we see as coaches every year in that there's always new people. The league attracts outstanding players. Sometimes people don't see that while a few of those players are developing. They see the end result. When the end result leaves, you wonder, Are there any other guys? There's always other guys. That's what the league does.
We have some of the best big guys in the country. Jordans Williams can hold his own against anybody in the country. I think he's one of the best guys in the United States. And Johnson has proven himself to be one of those really good big guys. Tracy at NC State, he's been hurt, he's not as big, but he's as crafty as anybody in the low post.
So the ACC has a lot of really good players inside.

Q. You mentioned Kyrie earlier. What exactly is that toe injury?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know what, I'm not a medical person. It's a very intricate type of situation because it can be repaired surgically or non-surgically. The non-surgical method is what they want to do, and we agree with them. It's too complicated to talk about. Actually, it's not anyone's right to know that. It's his toe.
The thing that we've been very straightforward about is what his status is. I mean, we think there's a good chance he's out for the whole year. But he's progressing well. That's the main thing, is what his future will be.
We're going forward with him not being able to play. That's how we see it, and we would never push a kid if something miraculous happened. We're giving you updates, not because on February 1st he's going to appear from the rafters and start playing again, but because we just want to let everyone know that it's progressing.

Q. Coach, could you talk a little bit about Josh Hairston, what you liked about him when you recruited him, how his development is going so far.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I think Josh has done a really good job. He's an under-sized big so he can play at the four, at the three. He's showing a lot of improvement in practice, will be given even more opportunity as the season progresses.
He has a great attitude and unbelievable work ethic. As a result, he's going to keep getting better and better. He needs to keep getting stronger and stronger because it's a lot more physical than it was in high school.

Q. Having looked at film on Jordan Williams, having faced him last night, what specifically sort of sets him apart in terms of his ability to play?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think he has the best hands of any big guy that we've played against by far. I mean, he catches everything. He catches with two hands because he has a big frame and good balance, so he doesn't have to try to ward anybody off. He has his space. He really has good movements, good agility around the practice.
Gary does a great job of getting him the ball. They do good things for him and he's really good. So it's that combination. But he has great hands. He can really catch the ball.

Q. Coach, you look at your team this year and you won your 15th in a row last night. You have been pretty much flawless through most of the season. You probably don't look at it that way. What is your biggest area you would like to improve on?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I know this sounds like 'coach speak', but we've only played seven games with the team we have. We played eight games with the team that we had. So who we have, we need improvement in every area - every area. The kids have shown a willingness to do that.
But we're very much a work in progress, whereas the first eight games we were a work in progress, but we were pretty darn good work already.
You have to differentiate. It's not 15 games as the same team, it's seven games as the same team. We're not going to give those other eight away, but they really don't have as much bearing on this team right now.

Q. When you look at Kyrie and his latest prognosis, do you foresee him coming back?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No. I already said in the press conference that we don't. I've said that repeatedly, that I don't see him coming back. But the dead slot we have to prepare for. His is a serious injury and it's coming along well. But we're prepared to play the rest of the season without him.

Q. You seemed to get a big boost when Tyler Thornton came in the game last night. With his defense, hit a little runner for you, what did you like about the effort he gave you? Do you think he's capable of sustaining that as you get into the ACC schedule?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, anyone who watched the game last night could see that you like everything that Tyler Thornton did last night. He gave us energy when there was none. He gave us a boost when we were getting knocked down, when we were getting beaten. He provided that defensively and offensively. He had four steals and took two charges in 12 minutes of play.
I mean, that's an exceptional performance by anybody, but especially somebody who hadn't been playing much and hadn't played in the game yet. Hopefully Tyler can continue to help us in that way. That's what we need. We need to keep finding new things that players do as we develop our team.

Q. Did he show you that same kind of energy when you practiced?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, he's a good practice player. He's good. Do you think he's a bad guy?

Q. No, no. What I meant to ask was, in practice, does he seem to energize things with the way he plays in practice as well as he did last night?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He gives a hundred percent effort in practice. I mean, you have to practice hard in order to be prepared to be good. He's been doing a great job in practice.

Q. Coach, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about Florida State, what a team has to do well to go down there and come back with a win.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they start off being outstanding defensively. They have great length and athleticism, really one of the best players in the country in Chris Singleton. They can score off their defense. Like any team in our league, you're better at home than you are on the road. That's just the way it is.
They're experienced. They have experienced guys. They're not a young team. They're a team that has played together and won big games. They'll be a very difficult opponent for us.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.

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