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January 31, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach, if you could, please comment about your team and then we'll open it for questions.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we had a real good game against Boston College at home, and yesterday we had our worst game of the year. I just thought we were -- we were just -- we weren't ready to play as a program, and they were really ready to play.
And as a result, they just, you know, handed it to us. Something we need to learn from, and throughout the course of the season, I mean, every week is a little bit different. That week last week had its complete opposite. Hopefully we can get moving in the right direction when we play a real tough team up at Maryland.
I'll take questions.

Q. In the two months since Kyrie got hurt, how have you been able to develop him and keep him engaged with the team even though he has not been able to practice or play with you guys?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think Kyrie has been terrific. I meet with him briefly almost a little bit every day. He's doing some type of physical activity with our trainer to keep him active.
He's a great kid. So he's been engaged with his teammates, and I think he's handled it unbelievably well. The way he started out the year, he's a Player of the Year candidate with what he was doing, and then to have that all of a sudden taken from him, and to maintain a positive attitude, I just think it shows the character of the young man. I think it's more what he's done than what we have done.

Q. What can a player learn when they are out for such an extended period of time and not actually feeling the game as a player?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you can always learn about the X's and the O's of the game, but you can also learn about, remember, he's a freshman, so he's never gone through anything where you're in a program where people are going to come at you every game; and the commitment you need to make to meet that type of intensity, and the emotional stuff that goes into it, the mental and the emotional stuff that goes into it.
And Kyrie is very smart, so I think he's learned a lot from doing that, and he's tried to help his teammates. He's a kid that when he's healthy is not going to sit there watching the game. So he's learned what it means to sit. And to have empathy for someone who is injured but also someone who is not playing.
So you have a chance to learn quite a bit, and I think he's taken advantage of that.

Q. Coach (indiscernible) somebody has 998 wins and is going to get a thousand later this week. Wonder if you can kind of reflect on what does it say about someone who gets a thousand wins, and are there any anecdotes that you can share with your experience with Coach?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, first of all, in order to do that, you need to have an amazing commitment and amazing energy towards the game to teach the game, and Bob has that. I mean, that's why he's in the Hall of Fame, the Naismith Hall of Fame. He's shown that throughout his career. And no one at any level works with the passion any more than he does. And so I'm proud to be his friend, and it's an honor to coach his son. You never had to teach Bobby how to work hard. He came into the program knowing how to work hard and knowing the game.
I told him at the Hall of Fame induction, I presented him, but that means you're just up on stage with him. But beforehand, I said of all of the people going in today, you are the most deserving; and all of these people are deserving, but you are the most. It's not about being a high school coach; it's about being a great coach, and that's what you are. I admire Bob.

Q. A lot of times when you go through a difficult time like you did yesterday, that's when your leadership emerges the most when you come back. Have you seen anything from your guys yet that indicates that, or does that not happen until you maybe practice?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know, we haven't practiced yet, and I would hope that our leadership does come forward. But I haven't -- we haven't interacted as a group yet.
So I don't know what's -- we as a staff have gone through our preparation and feedback and starting our preparation for Maryland, I haven't seen our team yet, but we'll practice in about an hour and a half.

Q. What do you see as kind of the keys for your team in the second half of the ACC season?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we just have to keep trying to develop. Really in all areas. We have nine scholarship players, and we need to, one, stay healthy, and two, keep working at being the team we are now and not the team that we started the year with.
And I'm not sure we have come to the realization of who we need to be yet, because we have been able to win most of our games. Sometimes people don't come to the realization of what they have to do until they lose something. And so we just have to get tougher and play better defense and take care of the ball better.

Q. And that's who you need to be, the team that's tougher and plays better defense?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, that's what I mentioned and that's where we are at.

Q. I was just struck by the coincidence that the St. John's loss on the same day as your Georgetown loss a year ago, which is probably your worst performance. Is it just coincidence, or is there something linking that, playing a non-Conference game late in the season, anything that connects those two, or is it just a coincidence?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I told Mike not to schedule a game on that day next year. So other than that, I don't think it's a coincidence. You know, some of our best wins while I've been at Duke have been non-Conference in late January, usually in February.
So I just think it's a time where you get out of Conference, you can have -- somebody does something to you that might help you, or you do something to somebody that might help you get a better picture of what you need to do during the last part of your season before you get -- hopefully you make the NCAAs before you get to the NCAAs.
But we did not -- obviously we didn't play well at all. And although throughout the year, a team is not going to play well all the time, and what you hope to do is if you haven't played as well, you win. But then there are days like yesterday where the other teams, you just know going in, they are thinking, we're going to kick your butt, and they did.
So I think a little bit coincidence, but part of it is you're playing hungry teams, you know, hungry teams, and that was a very old and hungry team we played yesterday.

Q. What has been the difficult thing that Seth had to transition from a mid-major program into a league the calibre of the ACC even though he was able to practice with you all last year, what are the kinds of differences that he's had to face, and how has he done?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Overall he's done a good job. I think you don't -- I think a kid who transfers, it takes a while. You don't spend a year not playing even though you're practicing in competition, and all of a sudden just hit the ground running.
I mean, two of our other -- two kids who transferred in, we have only had three, McLeod (ph) and Dante Jones and it took them a while, but then they ended up being first-round draft picks.
The main thing is the physicality and the athleticism that you have to face; and also the fact that we are going to get somebody's best shot all the time. So that's something that whatever school they transfer from, that's not going to -- they can't simulate that. The levels of competition that you're going to face is really at a much higher level and it just takes a while to adjust to that.

Q. Against Boston College, he obviously shot the ball extremely well, but what about the other areas of his game?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I'm not going to go through a whole thing about going through Seth Curry. Seth's done a good job. He's a sophomore. He just needs to keep improving, defensively, offensively, talk more. He's a great kid and he's working at it, but you know -- and his role is different than when Kyrie was here. So he's had to change a role where you have to work harder to get a shot.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for taking time being with us today. We'll hear from you the same time again next week.

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