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January 24, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now Duke basketball head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Coach, if you could, a few comments about your team, and then we'll open it for questions.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I thought we did a good job last week with two road wins, and you know some of our young guys are getting better, the big guys, Ryan Kelly had a really good week, and I think Mason continues to rebound well and Miles gave us energy and we got a boost from Thornton, especially in the Wake Forest game.
But one of our veterans who is having I think a terrific year, especially once we started, after Kyrie's injury is single Kyle is going to end up being one of the top-five stat guys in the history of our program, and he just has gone quietly about getting 20 points and eight rebounds and playing defense and being the warrior. I thought he had a heck of a week.
So we are anxious to play Boston College and then go up to New York and playing in the Garden against St. John's.

Q. Doing a story on Rutgers' assistant, Jimmy Carr, and his son. Wondering if you would just be kind enough how you got involved in that situation and how you're helping them out.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I'm not sure how much for helping them out. Duke is helping a lot. It's unfortunate, he's gone through a heck of an experience and his family have been spectacular in their support. Duke, the Medical Center, has been great. They have found a team here that can team up with their passion to improve their son's condition.
Chris Collins on my staff, who is fairly good friends with them, couple of practices and we just try to give them encouragement. I don't know how much we are helping but we are there when he needs a little bit of release to just get a break from being in the hospital. His son's going through quite a bit, and so whatever little bit we can do, we are happy to do it.

Q. If I can just follow-up, in terms of coming to the Garden for St. John's, what do you see from them recently and what do you think about what Coach Lavin has done there?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know what, I don't know what they are doing recently, because I haven't watched them. I just know that they are in a great league and they are doing well. They have won big games and Steve has a veteran team, he has more seniors than anybody in the country on his team, and he has a great staff and we'll study them after we play Boston College.
It's always an honor for us to go up and play St. John's in the Garden; the history of the game, two programs like Duke and St. John's to be at Madison Square Garden is a pretty good day.

Q. Can you talk a little about the year Nolan Smith has had?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, Nolan is having a great year, and he had a great year last year, and he's improved even more. He's got a lot on his plate for us, especially since Kyrie's injury, and handling the ball, defending the ball, scoring the ball, leading the team. He's done all of those things at the highest level. He's having an All-American type of year.

Q. Do you have anything to say to your team to keep them focused?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It's a collective effort. As a coach, that's one of the main things we try to do here, because we are a program that has had a lot of good things happen, and you don't stay that way without continued hunger and a pursuit of becoming the best you can be.

Q. A little bit more on Nolan Smith, he's on pace to become the first player to lead the ACC in scoring and assists, and he's also guarding the ball for you. I've noticed in certain situations you've talked about trying to take a little bit of the responsibility and the burden away from him. Can you talk about the fine line between a guy who does so many things well and making sure you don't give him too many responsibilities and how you're negotiating that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I've never heard of a guy who is considered to be an All-American being given too many responsibilities. I mean, that's why they are an All-American type player. And as soon as you start reducing that, then you're playing defense on your All-American player. I mean, I don't understand, really I'm not questioning you, but whenever you say someone is going to get tired -- the great players in our league, not just at Duke, they have a lot of responsibility, and they want it. They prepare for it. They thrive on it.
You know, Nolan has to continue to do that, and now as people try to defends him and do things against him, we have to come up with counters so that we use him in difference places, or else then we are not doing our job using him.
But number of minutes and level of responsibility is not going to go down, for he or Kyle. I mean, that's what they have prepared for. That's what they want and whatever that last game is, hopefully it's a win for us, but if we lose in March, it won't be because those two guys are tired. You know, it will be because someone was better than us on that day.

Q. If you would talk about the development and growth you've seen from some of your big men recently, good performances from Miles and Ryan in particular?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think our big guys are going to keep getting better, because they are young players, and it's their time to get better.
You know, they played a number of minutes, practice-wise, they are a priority, they are not playing behind people. Age-wise, two sophomores and a junior; they are in a good period of time for them. It's their time.
I think they go to their strengths initially. Mason has recognized that rebounding is a strength and blocking shots, and not many people rebound well and block shots, so that separates you when you can do that. The scoring will come.
Ryan is a really good outside shooter, but you know he's blocking shots and he's rebounding. Miles has given us a lot -- this past week, he gave us great energy and coming off the bench, he and Tyler Thornton, both, they gave us great energy in both the State and Wake games. So we are pleased with the way our big men are coming along.

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your familiarity with Steve Donahue, he seems to be one of the rising stars in coaching in college.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's done a really good job with a veteran BC team. They have really good talent. But a new coach coming in has to implement a new system and sometimes that's harder to do with older guys than younger guys. They seem to have responded really well and he obviously did a great job at Cornell.
So I mean, he's an outstanding coach and a good guy. We are lucky to have him in our league.

Q. Just to follow up on Ryan Kelly, when practice began in October, could you see right away or did he show right away the strides that he had made over the summer, and what did you notice different about him?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's 25 pounds heavier. Although I saw him during the summer as he was gaining the weight.
You know, really, we knew that Ryan Kelly would be a good player. Last year, he's just, you know, really under weight for the physical play that you have at this level. And it wasn't for lack of effort or lack of talent. He just wasn't ready.
And you know, putting on weight, strength, and he had that right away. He started our practice sessions already a different player.
He's a real easy kid to coach. He just wants to do, he wants to do whatever the coach wants him to do. You don't have to -- there's no couch time with him as far as, do you understand this, son, or why is the world turning this way. You don't have to ask any of those questions. You just tell him what to do, practice with him and he's a no-maintenance kid.

Q. You alluded to after the Wake Forest game that the next thing in his development is probably getting down more inside and making some moves down in there that maybe he has not shown.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know, that will come. I think Ryan can score inside. The position he's playing, he's not playing like the five; he's playing more the four. So he doesn't get down there very much.
But if he gets down there, and I think that he will be a good decent scorer initially, and then a really good one eventually; and that's not a priority right now, because of the position he's playing.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for taking time for being with us today. We'll hear from you the same time next week.

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