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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE OPERATION BASKETBALL


October 29, 2014


Mike Krzyzewski


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Q.  Mike, when you look at this team, obviously Tyus Jones and Okafor coming in, with Amile and with Quinn, they talked a little bit about how they've been challenged by the new guys.  What have you seen in practice as far as those challenges?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, our practices have been very competitive, and we've been lucky that we've had 16 practices and everyone has been healthy, so that makes it even more competitive.
We only have 10 scholarship players, but all 10 kids can play, so when you go five on five, they go after one another.
One of the neat things is that I don't think our players look at it as freshman, sophomore, junior or senior.  They've really come together as a group.  They're a really good group of guys.  Most of them would like to be on the team that has Okafor on it.  I think they feel that makes them a little bit better.

Q.  This league has great teams, great coaches, great environments to play in.  What do you enjoy most about coaching in this league and about coaching at Duke?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  I like coaching at Duke because it's a great school and we're able to get good guys to come to it, and they've been supportive of me for 35 years.
The league, you know, when I came in, and looking out in the audience, two of my really good buddies in Bobby Cremins and David Odom, we were in the league in the '80s when it was the best, and there was a brotherhood in the league, and it was really genuine.  That spirit and that camaraderie and that excellence has only been enhanced as the league continues.
We're now at a time where it has a chance to really go back to the level, really being the best, because it was the best in the '80s.  It's been one of the best since then, but there's a chance to be the best.  When you add Syracuse and Notre Dame and Pitt and Louisville and these teams, you've added the best of the Big East to the ACC.
I think it's time to really get this league at another level.  I think it'll bring out the best in all of us.  I think more teams obviously will make the NCAA Tournament.  I think that more of us will be hardened, toughened by the fact of going through that that way.
I know during the '80s and early '90s, when you got to the tournament, you had played a hellacious schedule against great teams, and I think it helped.  I know it helped me at Duke in the development of my teams.

Q.¬† Talk about Quinn Cook.¬† He's a senior this year.¬† He's shown flashes but has been inconsistent during his career.¬† Talk about his development during the off‑season.¬† And then also, do you think this team has something to prove?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I'll start with the second one first.  They don't have anything to prove except what they're doing this year.  If we won the national championship, they wouldn't have to prove the national championship again.  What you did in one season is completely irrelevant to what you're doing in this season.  If you take anything from the last season to the next season, I think it's a mistake.
You have to start out fresh.  Each guy starts out fresh.  We're not going to put the score of the Mercer game on the scoreboard or anything like that.  Just like after 2010 we didn't flash our national championship rings.  You've got to concentrate on who you are right now.
In Quinn's case, Quinn has been a really good player for us.  He's started probably in 60 percent of the games he's been at Duke, so I wouldn't call him inconsistent.  I would call him a good player who's been good enough to be a starter at Duke in 60 percent of his games.  He's been a winner for us.  He, like everyone else, has got to learn what their role is going to be on this team and embrace it, and how you use it to enhance what your total effort should be, and that's you winning as a team and not any individual thing.
Quinn is a great kid.¬† He's one of our co‑captains along with Amile, and we look for big things from him.

Q.¬† You've obviously groomed players over time‑‑
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Did you say ruined players?

Q.  Groomed players.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:  Oh, I thought the question was to Cremins.  (Laughter.)
Q.With the players that you've been able to groom over time and the climate now, it's more one‑and‑done, you have the opportunity that that might happen on the team after this season.¬† How have you embraced the fact that there is some change and that the NBA is always right there knocking on the door?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† Well, it's not just‑‑ it's been a fact of life for us for 15 years, over 15 years.¬† I mean, we're accustomed to guys going one‑and‑done, too.¬† That's just the way it is.¬† It's nothing new.¬† That's what you have to do is you have to cram in more in a short period of time, and I think you have to be more tolerant of slippage, that there's going to be slippage, it's not going to be perfect, and try to get as much in and not overdo it, like give them enough where they're still instinctive, the least amount of slippage, and where they can be instinctively reactive offensively and defensively as a team.
That's what we try to do now.¬† We really have a different team every year.¬† Our team this year is a lot different than our team last year and how we're going to play defense and offense.¬† We have an inside presence now.¬† We have great depth on the perimeter.¬† We're so young, but it's different, and so you don't try to cram‑‑ don't try to fit it in how my '92 team played or '98 or 2004.¬† Those days are not‑‑ those aren't the days.¬† Do what you need to do today, and that's what we're trying to do with this group.

Q.¬† Just to kind of piggy‑back off the last question, as a coach, would you like to see a rule implemented to help keep players around longer than just one year?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† You know, we have no control over that.¬† We don't make the‑‑ now, we do have influence on new rules to enhance what will happen for the student‑athletes we have and the rules of the game.¬† But the NBA and the Players Association are the ones who decide what happens.¬† I think the NBA would like to have two years, and I'm not sure that the players' union would want that.¬† So we're really a slave to whatever they want.
I do think if we had someone in charge of college basketball that that person should develop a relationship and be the face of our sport and talk and develop relationships with the NBA and the players' union and figure out what's best for basketball.  That's not done, so we're reactionary instead of being part of the process.  We are reactionary.
Adam Silver has tried to involve college basketball really as much as he can, and he gets a group of us together to talk about it, but it would be better if we had like a person who just does that, just‑‑ it's been a frustrating thing for me for 25 years, so I don't know why we haven't done that.

Q.¬† The Syracuse‑Duke rivalry got off to a really good start last year.¬† How do you see that rivalry evolving now over the next few years?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† Well, I think that's one of the great things of expansion is that you bring storied programs like Syracuse, Louisville and these teams in, and we have storied programs, a number of them, in our conference, and when you put them together, something new and good can happen.¬† In the case of Duke and Syracuse, it wasn't a‑‑ they weren't two great games.¬† They were two great events.¬† And so our conference, it's not just producing games.¬† These games, they end up being events.¬† For years people have talked about Duke and Carolina as being an event.
I think our conference is not one‑dimensional right now.¬† It can have a number of them, and I think that's great for the game, and I know Jim and I have talked about it.¬† We're lucky that we're a part of that right now, to be a part of two events like that.¬† Those two days were great for college basketball and great for the ACC.¬† I think it was great for Coaches Versus Cancer because in one of them Jim auctioned that coat he threw off for I think $14,000 that we got to raise.¬† So I think we're going to take turns on who throws a coat and try to auction it off each year.

Q.  How hard is it to get the high school kids that are the great players?  It used to be in demand at the high school level to blend in and play team ball at the college level.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI:¬† I think it just depends on who the kid is.¬† For the four kids we have in this freshman class, it's not hard at all.¬† They're more than willing to do whatever the team needs, and I think that's part of the recruiting process in any kid, whether he's identified as a top‑20 player or not.¬† To make sure that they want to be a part of something bigger than them.
When these kids are ranked and that, that's not their final rank.¬† Like I just got through coaching a U.S. team where three of my top players were Kenneth Faried, Klay Thompson, and Stephon Curry, and coming out of high school, none of those guys were‑‑ I think Faried was the 124th rated power forward.¬† But they're great pros.
That's why there's a lot of good players, and how they develop and how long they stay and how long you have them, it's produced an amazing amount of parity in our sport, and that's why there's so many teams that can win the whole thing now, because of this constant change that's going on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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