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January 16, 2012

Mike Krzyzewski

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I'm ready for questions.

Q.  What's been the biggest challenge for Austin as you've gone a little bit deeper into the season?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I just think he's going through what a freshman goes through.  There's adjustments to everything.  And overall he's done it really well.  I mean, there's adjustments to more physicality, speed, height, experience, freshman year.  I mean, there's not one adjustment.  All freshmen have to go through it, and he's done it fairly well to average about 14 points a game with the schedule we've had.  He just has to continue to make those adjustments.

Q.  Does ACC play for a freshman, any freshman in general, are there differences in that level of play or that atmosphere maybe from the non‑conference schedule?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think our non‑conference schedule is so difficult that there's not that much difference.  I mean, we played Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Washington.  So he's accustomed to playing against top‑level teams.
So the conference just gets everybody a new lease on life.  It's like starting a new season over with experienced players on every team, whereas when you start the season that's not always the case.  The newness now in conference play is that you start zero and zero so it gives everybody a new lease on life.

Q.  I'm working on something on Andre Dawkins.  I wonder if you could describe the best you can the arc of his career up until now at Duke, coming in early, family tragedy he had early on, and starting and not starting.  How would you describe sort of the arc of his career as to where he is now?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think he's had a terrific career.  I mean, he's been part of a‑‑ he's been a national champion, he's been an ACC champion, he's been part of two 30‑win seasons.  He's on a team that's 15 and 2 and he's been a major contributor in all those areas.  I think he's had a terrific career and was a huge factor for us obviously last night.

Q.  That's what's led me to this.  I noticed in the two losses you guys have had this year he hasn't scored.  Can we read something into that, that that's a huge piece of the puzzle for you guys?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think in the two losses we've had, you probably look and see that there are a few other guys that didn't score like they did.  In other words, we got outplayed.  It wasn't because of one single guy not scoring.  It was because we got outplayed.  I wouldn't hold any significance into that.  I'd rather take that as a team responsibility and not Andre's responsibility.

Q.  Obviously when he picks you up like you did in last night's‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I think when anybody picks you up‑‑ in those two games nobody picked us up, including me.  We're obviously a better team if Andre is scoring, just like we're a better team if Seth is scoring and we're a better team if Miles and Mason are rebounding.  In other words, to be a really good team, the things that you do well as an individual player, you need to do those things.  And somebody stops you from doing it, then we're going to have a harder time winning.  In those games, both those teams did a good job of negating what Andre does and also what a few of our other guys did.

Q.  When Andre has lost playing time, what has held him back and what gets him playing time for you?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, he's gotten a lot of playing time.  We're going to go with the guys all the time who are playing well in a game, and we'll have a very flexible group out there.  In other words, we have a number of guys, we don't have just five starters.  If Andre would play that way every game, and I don't know if he can, but he's done it a number of times, which has helped us, and just like you're trying to get consistency.
But two of the biggest games we've had, the one last night and one against Michigan State, there's no way we win those games without Andre's performance.

Q.  I wanted to ask you a little bit about the variety of your leaders.  You've talked about establishing consistency.  You guys are 15 and 2 and in the top five, but it seems like there's a different one or two guys every night that steps up.  You've got five or six guys that can do it but not one that does it every night.  Is that something you're learning to live with, or would you like to change that or get it down to one or two guys you can count on being among your leaders every night?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I think that you have to be flexible in the group that you have, and the group we have has‑‑ they're 15 and 2, and they're overall doing a really good job without just having one or two guys.  So we have to be flexible in how we bring a team like this along, like we were, I think we have been and I think will continue to be unless we see an emergence of consistent excellence by a few guys, or one guy.
I really think the guy who's played unbelievably well since Christmas is Miles.  I mean, and you see Quinn Cook playing better.  We just want to keep seeing improvement, and we'll adjust accordingly.

Q.  About Andre, you said in the Virginia game that it was his best defensive performance at Duke.

Q.  He has a big offensive game the next game.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, I thought he was good defensively last night, too.  You know, Andre is our best and most athletic perimeter defender, and he's a really good athlete.  Just because he's a good‑‑ he's a really good athlete.  And we play better when he asserts himself defensively like he has.

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