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March 11, 2013

Mike Krzyzewski

Q.  I wanted to ask about Michael Snaer, this time last year you called him the most competitive guy in the league.  Have you ever been more prophetic with the way his senior year has played out and getting game wining shots?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, it's more than getting winning shots.  He was on a veteran team, oldest team in the league, and obviously because they won the Championship, and this year he is on a young team.
So he's had two different roles and he's handled both of them well, and with both teams, he still wanted the responsibility of making a play at the end of the ballgame.  So he's, you know, I'm sure he's been everything and more that Leonard expected of him.

Q.  I'm working on a storey about Jay Billis (ph), curious  how your relationship evolved over the years from both a personal level to both a personal and professional level, and if you can also talk to his professional versatility, as well.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:¬† Well, we are very close friends, and the obvious thing is that he played for me and was on outstanding player for us.¬† Really is a very intelligent player and intelligent off the court, too.¬† Then when he went to law school, he was a member of our staff here at Duke and he was part of two National Championship‑winning teams.
So he had great knowledge for the game.  I think his ability to be able to verbalize things and think through how he processes things helped him tremendously as he got his law degree and then in practicing law, that's helped him while he's been able to do this career now that he has in broadcasting.
So he's really one of the top people in broadcasting, and he's somebody who has put his arms around the entire game, not just watching the game on the court.  He understands what goes on behind the scenes, and has been very, very good about keeping track of the legislative process that impacts our game in such a high degree.

Q.  I wanted to ask about Mason, when you think about the conversation that you had with him coming out of last season and looking ahead to his senior year and then where he is now, what kind of growing has he done?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, he's been tremendous.  He's followed through with everything that he wanted to do as far as making a huge commitment to not just improving himself but to be a leader for our team.  I mean, he's been one of the truly best players in the country.
You know, we are 27‑4 and have had an outstanding year in spite of a lot of serious injury.¬† The one guy constant there, he's had his bumps and bruises, and he's never wanted that publically said before any game, because he doesn't want to give his opponent a better chance at beating him.¬† But he's showed up every night and for the most part, he's played terrific every night.¬† He's had one or two games that were not up to his level, but overall, he's been terrific.

Q.  On Saturday night, you talked about this being an important week but something you might have to be careful with.  Can you elaborate that and the risk and reward involved?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, the main thing is to not overwork them but work them and to get them fresh, but also try to switch get reps so that we can even more familiar with one another again.  He's been back for three games but he's really only been back for a couple practices and those are practices for game preparation.
So these few days‑‑ today is more of a light day, we just met, he lifts and gets some shots in and some individual work in, and we'll go back to doing some team stuff tomorrow but just have balance this week and knowing that it's the week before the NCAA Tournament.

Q.  Given the health of your team and trying to make sure guys are healthy, is this approach any different than past years?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I think it just depends on the team.  You don't want to stereotype and say, this is what you do each year.  You try to at this time get a feel for where your team is at and what they need and use this week accordingly.  And so you know, it varies every year.

Q.¬† I hope you'll indulge an off‑the‑wall question ‑‑
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I've done that for years with you.

Q.¬† Doing a story on some of the winningest staffs of all time; is the '74‑'75 Indiana staff that you were on, what kind of role did you have on that staff?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Carry bags, got coffee.  No, I was a graduate assistant, and whatever Coach Knight and the main assistants needed.  At that time I was in graduate school, so you could go on the road on weekends.  It was allowed at that time.
So every weekend, I was on the road watching kids play throughout the Midwest.¬† But during the week, I was just like a court coach, just trying to help facilitate the drills and basically do that, and learn from coach and those full‑time assistants.

Q.¬† The two main full‑time coaches were‑‑ (Inaudible).‑‑
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:¬† And Billis‑‑ Bobby, Dave and Bob Donewald.¬† They all became really good head coaches and good teachers.¬† All three of those guys were really good teachers.

Q.¬† You've been in this position before, but how difficult is it not knowing who you're going to play for 24 hours before tip‑off?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, it's a little bit like being in a preseason tournament as far as preparation goes.  Like when we were in the Bahamas, you didn't know who you were going to play the second and third night.  We have been through that before.  The good thing is right now, instead of game preparation and focusing on an opponent, we can really look at focusing on us and take a good look.  That's what we tried to do since the game on Saturday night as a staff, and you know what do we need to do during these few days of practice that will help us going forward.
So I think it's very good.  Obviously it's good that you get a bye, but it's just good to focus on you during this time of the year and not an opponent.

Q.  Is there any concern, you've talked about managing Seth's leg problem, the possibility of three games in three days, you had to go through that in the Bahamas; is that a concern and do you approach each game considering that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, we approach every game considering it, and so we will this weekend.  The one good thing is that his leg, he's gotten better.
So you still give him his rest but he does a little bit more now in practice and his leg‑‑ it's not haled yet, but he's better.¬† He's better.¬† So you know, again, we are just trying to take the lead from our medical people and from Seth, and move on accordingly.¬† But we are more optimistic now, you know, still cautious, but more optimistic than we have been at any time during the season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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