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February 28, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

Q. Tomorrow is March 1st, and obviously the stakes of everything go up in the month of March in college basketball. As a coach that's been doing this as long as you have, what do you enjoy most about the month ahead?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, it's the most exciting month. It's what you build up the whole season is built up for March. You get a renewed enthusiasm, I think for the game. You not only see -- it's not that you want it to end, but you see a finish line, and you want the good teams to start sprinting. They get better. It's just the most exciting part.
The start of the season, obviously the newness of it, and then at the end you should pretty much know your team by now. If you feel you've got a chance, then you're very excited about the possibilities.
The one concern all the time is you don't get anyone hurt. That's the biggest concern for us is that we don't get anybody else hurt.

Q. On a similar note, obviously Wednesday will be a Senior Day moment for you guys, and obviously two kids that you've really enjoyed and Casey as well. What are the emotional challenges of preparing for Wednesday night?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think we're pretty good about it. It's the young men. They've had a chance. And Kyle and Nolan will be going for their 120th win. Kyle, his 120th win as a player.
If we win Wednesday, that means he's averaged 30 wins a season during his four years. That's a lot of basketball, and a lot of winning basketball, so it's an emotional thing for them. You've got to be careful that they don't -- those two kids don't get too emotional about it, and had they just play their game, which I think they will. But we'll talk to them about it and try to help them.

Q. Coach, couple questions about Singler. He seemed a little frustrated the other night in Blacksburg because he missed a couple of shots when you could have extended that lead and make a difference. You talked about him being able to set aside his shooting frustration and keep the rest of his game intact. Can you give us an idea where he is mentally in your opinion?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Kyle's always good mentally. That kid's just a winner. The main thing that he felt bad about is letting his team down. Not that he did. When you miss a shot, you don't let a team down. It's when you don't hustle and don't play defense. That's when you let a team down. It's the most fragile part of our game.
But Kyle was all about winning, and that's why he'll end up being one of the top two or three kids as far as number of wins in the history of our program, and the history of the NCAA.
He'll be fine. We need to help him and help our team score a little bit better. We can do that, and we can help him. But he's going to feel bad because he takes on that responsibility.

Q. You mentioned earlier you thought he'd be averaging 30 wins a season. What do you think his career's going to wind up overall in your program's history?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he'll be one of the top four or five players to, I think, ever play here as far as the credentials. When you won the National Championship during your four years, you already set yourself apart. But then when you statistically he's going to be fourth or fifth in scoring. He's going to come close to 1,000 rebounds. He's one of the best defenders we've had here. Really he's been amazing. In my 31 years, one of the really great players that we've had here.

Q. I was wondering if you could tell me your impressions of Jason Garrett when he visited you and your staff recently? What you came away with learning about Jason?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He's a remarkable guy, humble. We really enjoyed our three days together. I loved visiting with him throughout. I was talking to another head coach, even though it's from a different sport, but I really was impressed with the person that he was. Sharp, humble, really, really fantastic guy.
I love the fact that he took a little bit of timeout and we had those three days together.

Q. A lot of things to think about when you think about your upperclassmen, and you look back at the Laettner, Hurley, and Hill era, and of course, J.J. Redick. How do you define the Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith era?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It's right up there with any of them because they won a National Championship. And we have a chance in this year's tournament, if we stay healthy, to compete for another one. Then with total number of wins and what they've done in conference, that's a lot of wins in a four-year period.
Not many programs have had that in the history of our game. I mean, they still can win a few more games. They've won 120 in their four years. I mean, they match up with any of the teams, really, for the four-year period and what they accomplished.

Q. When you look at your three losses on the road this year, one of the things I've noticed is from three-point range you guys have not shot well. You average 23% from three-point range. Is there some common trait in those three games why you did not shoot well?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know what, I think in any sport when you look at the games, this is what's wrong when you do too many steps. If you lose, it's usually because you've done something poorly. Whether it's on the road -- we've lost three games. One of the reasons we lost is we didn't shoot well.
If you're in baseball, that is the game. You didn't advance the runners or you left people on second and third. There is no common thread.
The thing that we did on Saturday is we played well. In our two losses before that, I thought we were outplayed. I thought Virginia Tech played really well, but I thought we played really well. We followed our game plan, and we had many opportunities to win the game. But we didn't lose it because we did something wrong. We lost it because we didn't complete the shot.
So I don't find fault with my team in those situations. And we had good shots. We had the guys who we would want to take the shots, take the shots. I'm okay with Kyle taking the shots he did. He just missed them.

Q. You talked a minute ago about Kyle and his place in Duke history. Can you talk about Nolan's career and for two years he had to develop his game and became a great play era as a junior. This year he may even surpass Kyle in terms of national honors and that kind of thing?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I think he's really one of the most unusual great players we've had. Maybe the most unusual in that he's a good player and contributor for two years, but he was a national champion, and one of the few guys that's a junior. And he's had a great, great year for us his senior year.
I can't really think of anybody like that in our history. I mean, Laettner was always good. Johnny as always good. Redick, I mean, really good. Jason Williams, a little bit like that, but Battier was a starter and Defensive Player of the Year even in his first two years.
So Nolan's ascent to being one of the top players to play in a Duke uniform has been kind of unusual and really remarkable.

Q. I wondered if you could talk about Casey Peters and what it's meant to see him involve from being a manager to a guy who really helps you out every day in practice?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think in certain companies people say well, that was a company man. He did everything for the company. I think pretty much that's what you could say about Casey.
Certainly we didn't recruit him. He started as a manager, did that really well. Through his hard work, he was a pretty good high school player. He turned out to have the strength and the conditioning that would make him a valuable walk-on, and somebody who would help the coaches in practice and drills, but also can step in and be one of the five players in the blue shirts, which he's had to do a lot since Kyrie's injury.
We're lucky to have him, and that's why he was scholarshipped this year as a reward for his hard work and dedication to the program.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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