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April 5, 2015

Quinn Cook

Matt Jones

Tyus Jones

Mike Krzyzewski

Jahlil Okafor

Justise Winslow


THE MODERATOR: We do have Duke University with us. Coach, we'll start with an opening statement from you and then take questions.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We're honored to be in the game against a great program, a great team in Wisconsin. You know, Bo, for especially these last two years, has put together a championship-level team. They'll be extremely difficult to beat tomorrow night. We got out of the game last night without any injuries, so we're good. We've just started talking a little bit to our team about Wisconsin. So our complete scouting report, that is not in yet. That's what we're going to do when we go on the practice court here today. But we're ready to go and honored to be in the game.

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions.

Q. Coach, I know you're focused on the task at hand. With Paul George set to return a few blocks from here, your memory of that night and him coming back so quickly?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It's great. Paul and I have developed a great friendship. We correspond all the time. We did yesterday. Anxious about tonight. He's handled everything magnificently. Certainly we hope that he has a complete comeback and helps the Pacers in their playoff hunt. We're anxious also to have him come out when we meet this summer in mid August. It's not a training camp, but we'll have three days where we bring all the guys who might be on the Olympic team in Las Vegas. Certainly Paul will be part of that group. Really happy. Also want to thank the Pacer organization of how supportive they've been of USA Basketball in this regard. Really good people.

Q. Tyus, what makes Quinn such a special leader for this team?
TYUS JONES: Just the way he shows up every day and gives it his all, the competitor he is. He leads not only by how he's playing, but he talks to us and communicates with us. There's never a day where he doesn't show up, he's not the leader, he's not leading by example. Since the first day we got there on campus, he's just really took the leadership, you know, as something that was important to him, and he wanted to lead this group, be the leader of this group. So we've just followed him ever since.

Q. Coach, defense has always been a staple of this program. But it's been man-to-man defense. You've modified that a little bit playing more zone. Why have you been so effective in that? Why did you decide to change?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: When you have a veteran team where guys have been in your program for three and four years, you can teach the defense better. Then also the older guys can help teach the younger guys. When we have a young group like that, you're only going to get to a certain level of playing team man-to-man defense. So you have to do some other things and do more variations within the man-to-man defense. These guys have learned at a quicker rate, though, than I would have expected from a young team. We've been outstanding on the defensive end, primarily in the man-to-man, but with some modifications.

Q. Coach, I promise you won't need your notepad. But with what Wisconsin was able to do in knocking off an undefeated team, in what way does that remind you of your '91 team? Does that concern you at all in any way?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, the main thing it reminds me of is that we both were very good. We were as good as the team or better than the team, though we weren't the undefeated team. Wisconsin was every bit as good as Kentucky. And Kentucky's great, don't get me wrong. Wisconsin's a great team. So to me it wasn't surprising whoever won that game. In 1991, we were not surprised that we could win. We had three guys that could match up with them. We had the best player on the court in Grant Hill, but he was a freshman. Then we had Laettner and Hurley. We weren't shabby. We were pretty good. In order to beat an undefeated team, you have to be really good. I mean, Wisconsin was great last night, especially in pressure situations. What Dekker has done in the last few games in pressure situations has been phenomenal. The plays, the shots that he's made, just big-time shots, daggers, for Arizona and for Kentucky.

Q. Coach, Wisconsin has a historically efficient offense. When you watch them offensively, what is it that stands out to you?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they can score from every position. Usually an efficient offense means that you can help off of everybody. It gives room for each of the really good players to have more room to operate. They don't turn it over, and they hit free throws at a high percentage. They put pressure on you the entire time. You have to play five guys. You have to play them hopefully without fouling. Then they have great spacing. They're just a very difficult team to defend. They usually play at their tempo. They're comfortable in that tempo and obviously very efficient.

Q. Jahlil and coach, just to narrow it down, how do you deal with Frank Kaminsky? Do you look forward to the challenge?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: We have to deal with the entire Wisconsin team. So it's going to be a collection of myself and my teammates working together on both ends of the floor. They're better than just one player. We're going to have our hands full come tomorrow night.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, it won't be a one-on-one matchup. You know, they do a lot of things where you're switching. We'll have different matchups. It won't be one guy against another. I know how you like to do it in the papers, put one guy, it's like a boxing match each time. It hardly ever works out that way, but it's cool to put it down that way. You know, Kaminsky has been a great player. Again, he and Dekker, end of clock, end of game situations, they love it, they respond. They'll be really a tough team to beat.

Q. What is the toughest thing, besides the time constraint, of having to get a team ready for another big game so close?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think overall, always to move on. When you win a Final Four game, no matter who you beat, it's huge. And we're all human beings. You have to fight human nature of wanting to stay in that moment for a little bit longer before moving on to the next moment. I think for both teams, the team that moves on the best and the quickest will have a little bit of an advantage. We do get an opportunity in our conference to do this because we play a lot of Saturday/Monday, Sunday/Tuesday games. Most of the time there's some type of travel. One of those games is at home, one is away. Really we have a little bit more time because we're in one location than we would with that scenario. So our guys are accustomed to that scenario.

Q. Coach, regarding 1991, the emotions of that game, I think you said in the past that game is almost as your national title game. Talk about the emotions in the locker room after that game, if you do anything differently for your team for the game against Kansas two nights later?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It wasn't just the emotion in the locker room. I thought we handled that well. It was the emotion in the hotel, where our fans were literally delirious. It was so packed, they were right next to you. They didn't think we would beat Vegas. We were the ones who thought we could beat Vegas. We had to make sure we didn't go into their environment, into their place. Christian and Bobby and Brian Davis did a good job of that, too, of moving us to the next thing because we had to beat a really good Kansas team on Monday night here.

Q. Tyus, you had 22 against Wisconsin earlier in the season. What was working well for you in that game? How have you and the team grown since that meeting?
TYUS JONES: My teammates setting me up to make plays. We were all just working well off each other, making shots. I think we've grown on both ends of the floor since that game. Both teams have grown a lot. They're a better team than they were in December. I feel that we're a better team, as well. You know, that's all we've done is just try to improve on both ends of the floor and sharpen up.

Q. Mike, you talked yesterday especially about the difficulty in getting here, how tough it is. How much more difficult is it when your team is expected to get here? And Quinn, those kind of expectations, are they more motivation or is there some pressure involved in that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We don't have unrealistic expectations. In other words, we know we're a good team, but we're one of many good teams. So we're going to have to beat really good teams in order to get here. I like to deal with it as a team and not what other people expect. I've said all year long that we didn't want to live in the past of a first-round exit from the NCAA, nor a national championship or Final Four thing, we just wanted to be in this moment. For some reason, we've been able to do that. I think we've really enjoyed the whole journey. I certainly have not felt any pressure of expectations. They can answer, but I haven't. We've kind of really been in our moment. I don't know how you guys feel.

Q. How have you stayed in that moment?
QUINN COOK: Just trusting the process, just enjoying our ride. Every team each year has their own journey, their own ride. We've just been having fun, not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. The feel to win is definitely one of the motivations. We want to be one of those teams that coach is bragging about five or seven years later for us. It's motivation for us to be special. Our chemistry has been great all year. It's just been better. So to be up here with these guys right now is a true blessing.

Q. Coach, what was your initial reaction when you got both Tyus and Jahlil to commit? How unique was it to get two players of that level to pick a school together?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I told them, What took you so long? No, I was pretty happy. They did it a cool way, surprised me. The decision didn't surprise me. I thought it was right and that they would do it eventually. Obviously, you're always happy when it happens. The way they did it was great. It showed a sensitivity that most teenagers would never have. It's really a good thing. That's the kind of young men they are. I saw that throughout the recruiting process. But the way they made their decision and handled it was not cool or whatever, it was sensitive. I think when a player can understand a coach's feelings, and a coach can understand a player's feelings, there's a great chance that they can have a terrific relationship. That's what we've had.

Q. Quinn, the first game at Wisconsin. That was your first true road game. Coming out of that, what did that do for you as far as your confidence and camaraderie? Coach K, if you could also address what that meant.
QUINN COOK: It did a lot for our confidence, especially for our young guys, it being their first true road game. The way they responded and played against a veteran team, a confident team just coming off the Final Four. It was shocking to me how we performed, especially our younger guys. They're a different team now. We're a different team. They're a lot better. They're playing as good as anyone. So we got our hands full tomorrow. But I think, to answer your question, it did a lot for our confidence, especially for our younger guys.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You never know how a team's going to respond in huge games and in away games. So the thing I saw was they weren't nervous. I mean, you can't teach that. They had it. Win or lose, I was going to come away from that game knowing that this would be a team that wouldn't be afraid of the bright lights and the big stage.

Q. That night when you walked off the floor at the Kohl Center after beating the Badgers, would you have been surprised if anybody walked up to you and told you you would be meeting again for the national championship? How are you different from the Badgers?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I wouldn't have been surprised about them. I would be a little bit about us with all the young guys we had. I mean, we're a young team. I thought for them, they weren't at full capacity. Dekker was playing injured. I think it was a bad ankle that he was playing on. So we were realistic. We won the game, but I also knew that Wisconsin wasn't their best. The fact of us playing now, we both have earned it, to get here. Their road and our road has been a difficult one. We've responded. But it doesn't surprise me that Wisconsin's in it. Coming into the year, I thought they would be the best team in the country. And pretty much they have been. You know, it's just that Kentucky's undefeated performance overshadowed, I think, just how good Wisconsin has been until last night where there were no shadows anymore.

Q. Coach, obviously entirely different personnel. But are there any characteristics of this team that you remember were also present in the 2010 team that won it?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We were such a veteran team then, more halfcourt. Really it's a different team. I mean, they're all great kids and they believe. I think the similarity is that they played as one and they believed in everything. But the way we play is really entirely different.

Q. Coach, what was the process of watching the second game last night? Do coaches get together and watch it, players get together and watch it? What do you do as you're watching the game?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we're studying it. You all keep us here for a long time. While they're doing drug testing, showering, all that kind of stuff, we're hoping that we can get out of here by halftime. Most of us did. A couple guys had to still stay for drug testing. So I watched on a TV the last 10 minutes of the first half here. My staff was out watching it in person. Then when I got back in our meal room, we had the game on and watched. They don't watch it anymore. Obviously, when the staff comes back, we stay up pretty late and not only watch last night's game, but one of the assistants has a highlight tape ready for them, then we start watching games. We're up till about 5:30 or 6:00, watching game, having fun, trying to figure out how to defend Dekker and all these guys, Kaminsky. So that's what we do.

Q. Coach, you've been in the title game with a lot of teams obviously. How are you different as a coach from the first time you did it? What have you learned that you do differently now than maybe the first few times you were here?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you keep learning about the game. It's not just the title game, it's what you learn about coaching. You're constantly learning about the game. I'm a better coach now than I was in '86 or in '91 or '92. Just to be in the moment. It's more what you learn about the game, about this game. I think the Final Four is a different animal like when you come in, just so you are not happy to be here, you know, that you're in this moment. Because there's so much time, you know, between that Saturday or Sunday, then Saturday. So handling that is what you learn the most, not so much about a title game, I think.

Q. Jahlil and Justise and Tyus, Coach Krzyzewski told us the other day he doesn't typically wear the championship ring that he's been wearing, and he wanted to wear it as a 'reminder.' Does him wearing that ring in any way speak to you or communicate anything to you?
JAHLIL OKAFOR: Yeah, that's what we want to get. We've always talked about us having the opportunity to have a national championship ring. That's what we want to do. So him wearing that really helps me. We even have Nolan, who won in 2010, he wears the ring. Really helps us out.

JUSTISE WINSLOW: It's just a great reminder of what our goal is, every practice, every game when we huddle up. Coach has the ring in the center. It's a constant reminder of what our goal is, serves as a great motivator every day to get better so one day we can reach our goal.

TYUS JONES: Like they said, every day when you see coach wearing that ring, it's just motivation for us all, that that's what we're working for, that's what we're trying to accomplish. One day we all want to be able to have one of those. It's just a good reminder for us and something that's motivating.

Q. Mike, you mentioned that you really like the way Tyus and Jahlil committed and how sensitive they were. Can you explain what that process was like.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I'm not going to go through exactly how they did it. But they coordinated things. I'm not usually on group calls. I don't do that. Or group texts. I've done a couple with these guys. I always say the next day, You're proud of me that I was able to do it. I think was it Jah said, Have you talked to Tyus? I said, No. I need for Tyus and I to talk to you. I said, Well, you arrange that, I'm not going to be able to do that. So they did. That's how they did it. They've introduced me to a new world in a good way. They were great. The recruiting of these guys has been just so good because there haven't been any extraneous things. In today's recruiting, hardly ever is a high school coach involved anymore. A lot of times there's always somebody else. Nothing wrong with that, but there are other people involved. With all these guys, it was only the parents. It was always only the parents, and it was straight up. It was so good. It was kind of old-fashioned really. That's why when you see the parents of these kids, they're our best cheerleaders. They're behind the bench. They cheer for one another. They come from good stock. They come from very unselfish stock. It started in the recruiting process.

Q. With so much talent on both teams, what or who do you think will be the X-factor in this championship game on Monday night?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I think anybody. I don't know if there's an X-factor. I know that's a common phrase that's used. They all can be. Both offenses are geared to anybody stepping up. We both have very unselfish teams. So somebody can have a night. I think we're both geared that if someone's having a night, we'll go to that guy, or these guys inherently will go to that guy instead of, Oh, it's my turn. In other words, both teams share the spotlight really well.

MATT JONES: Kind of like what coach said, whoever steps on the floor on Monday, they have the opportunity of having a big game, and has had a big game throughout the year. Both teams are great teams. All the players are great players, so...

Q. Tyus and Jahlil, can you expand on what Coach K was saying. Kids talk about packaging all the time. It hardly ever works out. What specifically did you have to do with the group phone calls and group texts to make it happen? How much did you talk about potentially trying to win a national championship while you were doing that?
TYUS JONES: Well, first, we talked a lot about winning the national championship. That was a big reason why we decided to play for coach because we knew we'd have the best chance and opportunity to do that. As far as the group calls and stuff like that, it was just about communicating with one another. Me and Jah talked almost every day, and our parents communicated back and forth quite often. Oftentimes we got on the phone with coach. So it was just about communicating, keeping the lines of communication open. It was really easy for ourselves, you know, to go through the recruiting process.

JAHLIL OKAFOR: Like he said, a bunch of people always say they want to be package deals. I think what was different about Tyus and I was the fact we had our families involved. My dad, his mother. His dad, my aunt. We're all just one big family. I consider his mom my second mom. Likewise him with my dad. We had our families involved, and that really helped out.

Q. Mike, you've had a long and diverse role in this game. What would a victory on Monday night do for you in a historical context and this program under your watch?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we have our spot already. I know I'm one of the really good coaches. I know we're one of the really good programs. Monday night is about them. They shouldn't think of anything else. It has nothing to do with Duke historically or me. I sound like I'm going to retire, I'm not here anymore. But it's not about us. They know that. We've sent that message throughout the year. So I want to be in their thing. Then whatever happens happens. Whatever happens happens. We've done enough to have our place. If we can do a little bit more, then that will be great. But it will be greater because of what happens and how these guys do it. It's their moment. We're in it with them.

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