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March 7, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach, we'll go ahead and open it up to questions.

Q. I remember when Kyle Singler decided to come back for his senior year, one of the things that was said, he'd been kind of a quiet kid through his career, and leadership was something he could work on in his senior year. Can you talk about how you've seen him do that, what tangible examples you've seen of him doing that.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yes, he has done that. The first thing is he always leads by example. In other words, he works every play and works every day.
When you have a team last year with three seniors who were doing that also, that leadership wasn't seen as much as it is now, where he is one of the two seniors. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores. So that's the very first thing.
Second thing is just to reinforce game plan management during a practice or during the game at a timeout. He can reinforce that by being out on the court, what we're in, the coverage we have to have, what play, what are we doing in that game situation.
Then just motivationally, at times he has stepped forward, whether it be at a halftime, a timeout, on the court there in practice, just gets the team together and talks, gives them guidance which they're looking for.
It's been a really good year for him in that regard.

Q. Coach K, we can all see how Nolan has elevated his game on the court, is doing terrific. What are ways that you can see he's trying to bring his teammates along and raise everyone's play?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he is more vocal than Kyle in his leadership. He's a guy that every day imparts some guidance to his teammates. Not just how he talks, but how he looks. He's been pretty poised, I think, the entire year. He has the face of a winner, then he has the words that a winner should speak.
He's an easy guy to follow. He's been like a big brother to these younger guys, trying to bring them along. I've been really very, very pleased with him in doing that. I think it's one of the reasons he's played so well, has had such an outstanding year.

Q. Regarding Nolan, he's been able to strike the balance between when to score and when to dish it out. Your thoughts on that a little bit? Also what does it say about him as a senior, as a star of this team, that he's talked about how much he's been able to learn, seeking that from a freshman in Kyrie, sort of let him help teach him how to be a point guard?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think he's a perfect example of someone, if you keep your mind open, you can learn from anybody. You can learn from young, you can learn from your peers, you can learn from people who are older than you.
Nolan is open to learning. I'm impressed with that. Part of it is he's such a communicator, so he wants to talk to people, he wants to not just talk but he wants to listen. Listening, that's a good talent to have. Then he'll put it into practice.
From his freshman year to now, Nolan's probably progressed more than any player we've had here. He's a Player of the Year candidate, and rightfully so. When he came in, he was really good. He didn't start. Then he started a little bit. Then he didn't start. It's not like he was this instant star. He's done it because he continually looks for ways to improve.

Q. Kyle and Nolan were part of a really great recruiting class overall nationally. Probably why they weren't among the top-ranked groups, you've gotten as much from those guys as any school has. Did you identify those guys as maybe three- or four-year type players?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We thought they would be here more than one. Then you never know what happens with a kid. Sometimes the kid blows up, which is a nice thing to do. They've just had a nice, steady progression. I mean, Kyle has been good, really good, the whole time. But his last two years he's become a guy who will be a pro player. Nolan has become a pro player this year. You never know if that will ever happen, and you hope that it will. But they've just continually worked at it.
We felt they would be here for at least a couple years and more.

Q. I wonder how it impacts your preparation for the tournament when you don't know which team you're going to play. Do you prepare dual game plans?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Thank goodness we've had the opportunity most of the time we've been in the tournament - gee, maybe all the time. Since it's expanded, I think we've had the bye. So we use this week to work on ourselves. We're on spring break. The guys can get in extra shooting. We really focus on us until Wednesday, through Wednesday. Then on Thursday, you really tone it down and just talk about both teams that we could play, then wait till Thursday night when we find out who we play, then meet. We have an evening game on Friday. We use our shoot-around. We'll go to a gym in Greensboro and get our plan in.
The fact is we've played these teams. Both of the teams we play, we've played them twice. It's more of an update. So that's how we've tried to do it. It's worked out fairly well going into the NCAA tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for being with us today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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