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March 23, 2016

Mike Krzyzewski

Anaheim, California

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach, an opening statement?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Thank you. It's great to be in Anaheim, and great to be in the Sweet Sixteen. I'm proud of our team. They've done a great job for us this year. Young, kind of limited in numbers, but they've really grown tough together and have earned their way here.

Health-wise, we're as healthy as we can be right now, and obviously Amile Jefferson is out for the year. Matt's still, when he sprained his ankle against North Carolina in the final regular-season game, he's not -- actually, he sprained it a little bit again in North Carolina, he sprained it in that first one. He hasn't yet completely recovered, but he's good enough to go, so we're ready to go.

Q. I believe I read that Duke is 0-4 in the Pacific time zone. How much have you thought about that and considered that entering this game?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: It's interesting with ESPN, every time I look at the ticker, it's something we haven't done. So we've won 90 games in the NCAA. Yeah, I've never been one to look at what I do on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or whatever. I've looked at what we've done cumulative. So it's our 23rd Sweet Sixteen. We've been in 116 NCAA games, and we're honored like crazy to be in here. I really don't think it makes a damn bit of difference what we've done on the West Coast before. If we started to compete because of Mondays, Tuesdays and West Coast, I don't think we ever would have had five National Championships and 12 Final Fours.

So I don't know, that's probably a longer answer than you might want, but that's the way I look at those things. I think they don't mean a damn thing. Who we play now means a lot, and who we have to play at that time means a lot.

Q. What's it been like coaching the Plumlees? How are they different personality-wise from each other? What is your perspective of what went into his decision to go into the army when basketball is done?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Coaching the Plumlees has been terrific because all three of them are outstanding guys and really good players. Each of them improved. I think the youngster who has improved the most is the one I have right now in Marshall. But athletically Miles and Mason are terrific. Marshall's a really good athlete, but he's made himself a really good player.

They come to work every day and they're great team guys, so we're going to miss them. I'm mad at Perky and Leslie for not having more. But imagine three seven-footers in one family, and what a great family. But we've benefited greatly from that. Have I missed --

Q. Your perspective of his decision to go into the army?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, he got turned on to the military well over -- almost two years ago. One of my former players, Bob Brown from West Point is a three-star general, and he met him. And Marty Dempsey, who is the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs. Bob invited him down to Fort Benning when he was in command at one of the units there and had him participating, and Marshall loved it. They've created an opportunity for him with ROTC at Duke.

He's already graduated. He's in graduate school, where if he does have the opportunity to play professionally, he could be in the Reserves, and then whenever professional basketball would stop, he would want to be in the service of our country.

I'm really proud of Marshall. Marshall's been our most important player, and I think the military stuff has really helped him in that regard.

Q. Could you just talk about what you've seen out of Oregon, and is that a team that as the season went on they moved up the rankings as you've seen them? Have you seen much of them coming through?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We don't watch -- you know, we watch our own neighborhood. And even then you don't watch your own neighborhood unless you're going to play them, so you watch your conference. I know -- actually, Josh Jamison who is on the staff used to work with Kyle Singler, so we've known the Oregon program.

Dana, obviously, is an outstanding coach. What I have learned a lot in watching them now is just how athletic they are. They basically have seven starters, and they play off each other really well. They rebound. They play with a great verve. They're a unique team because they don't necessarily have that traditional low-post presence. One of their better three-point shooters is their top shot blocker, and I'm not sure that anybody has that. So they're unique in that regard.

But they share the ball well. They play hard, and they won an outstanding conference. To win the Pac-12 this year, the Pac-12 was really good, and for them to win shows just how good they were for the whole season.

Q. Talking about Oregon, now that you've had a little chance to look at them more, is there any team with their athleticism in the ACC or on your schedule that they remind you of at all?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: A little bit of Miami. Miami has that depth of athleticism and old and a little bit. But they're unique. Jekiri doesn't shoot threes. Boucher and Bell, they can score and they protect the basket real well. There are not many teams that can be wide athletically where you can do that and play up and down, too. In other words, they block shots.

So that's one of the things that makes them so tough is they can be so athletic going side-to-side, and if they do get beat, they have two guys who protect the basket really well. So it makes it more difficult to score against them.

Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit about the challenges that Dillon Brooks should present?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well he's, I think, their best player. Probably as versatile a player as I've seen. I'm not saying "the most" because Brogdon we've seen a lot. But he's in that category of just really versatile because he does everything. He rebounds, he defends, he can hit threes, he gets fouled. He does everything.

He's the match-up that I think a lot of teams have had problems with, and Dana does a great job of putting him in a position where he can take advantage of match-ups. I think they do a really good job of that. He's a tough match-up for us.

Q. The other three teams in the Tournament are senior-oriented and you're clearly the youngest team here. Is that relevant when you get to this point?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, it is. We have three kids of our seven who are 18, but they've also played 35 games, so they're an old 18. They're almost 19. Then we played in, I think, the conference that top to bottom was the best in the country this year. So you learn by winning and losing and being in those situations.

I'm really proud of my guys for what they've accomplished thus far, but I'm also on them to do more. We believe that we can do more. That's something with youth -- youth believes it has endless opportunities. People who are older or players who are older know that this might be their only opportunity, their last opportunity. So we hope that what Marshall can bring in bringing that sense of urgency to the younger guys, it's helped and hopefully the message will still resonate with the rest of the team.

Q. In an era where all kids love Steph Curry, how do you remind your guys to not necessarily play like Steph Curry?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No, I'd like them to play like -- I've coached Steph twice, and if they can play like that, that would be cool, man. It would be a lot better.

I think Steph is a great example of preparation and consistent preparation and love of the game. You see it manifested in his talents and what he does. But the preparation that he has and the attitude that he has on a day-to-day basis to do his best are amazing examples for kids. I think he's an amazing example for constant improvement, constant love of the game, constant hunger to show that he can do it again, never satisfied, all those things are alive and well with Steph Curry. Those are great examples for our guys to watch. So we like when they watch him.

Q. Coach, last night at Staples Center after the Lakers' game Kobe Bryant was talking about the one-and-done rule and saying he didn't think it made any sense. I know you've expressed opinions in the past, voicing your displeasure about that rule. Also. Kind of a two-part question: How has that rule affected the way you build a team? And two, short of changing the rule, Adam Silver spoke last night and kind of made it sound like he wasn't in favor of changing it --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he is in favor. He's come out and said two years.

Q. Right. But he said at the same time he recognizes the reality that kids have to make a living and stuff. So it kind of sounded like it wasn't going to change. So given that, and given that they've kind of dropped any pretense that college basketball is kind of a farm system for the NBA, do you feel there is anything that the NBA could do to help make the situation workable for you guys?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think the NBA has tried. It's not just the NBA, it's the players' union. It comes about in the collective bargaining agreement, and so both parties have to come to grips with what's good for them. You know, when they're looking at things, they should be looking at what's good for them. Then what the NCAA should have is somebody, a face who is in charge of college basketball who would meet with the head of the players' union, who would meet with Adam Silver and express the concerns of our collegiate community and work in concert.

The fact that we don't have anybody like that and have never had anybody like that, we pay a price for that because then we don't give them input. They don't have the feedback that they need to have to help make maybe decisions that would help us.

It is what it is. I personally would like to see if a kid is good enough to go right out of high school because they have a dog's life. They're not doctors, lawyers and coaches and people, writers who can write forever and coach forever. They do it in about a 12-to-15-year span. So if you're that good, if you were in entertainment, you'd already have stuff out there. If you were in tennis, if you were in a bunch of different sports, you'd be out there. But if not, I'd like to see them stay for two years because then they can gain the maturity and be halfway towards a degree. But that won't happen. We're going to go with what it is.

To build a team is more difficult. Although the guys that don't get a one-and-done player would say, man, I'd like to have that one-and-done player. I would tell you this, the one-and-done from high school is not the story of college basketball. The one-and-done with the fifth-year graduate player is what is the main story for college basketball. There are many, many more of those. And that's hurt a lot of our mid-major programs when these kids leave and go. Many, many more. Very few one-and-done from high school, very few compared to that.

Q. We all know what Grayson Allen has done on the court and the improvement he's made. But how much has he improved as a leader this season?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: The main way he leads is how he plays. This kid comes every day and he's as good a competitor as there is in college basketball. He's a great kid. He works that hard in practice, but he also works that hard in the classroom. He's an Academic All-American, a great teammate. So it doesn't surprise me the success that he's had. He's just a balanced, balanced kid. I love him.

Q. You've had your fair share of one-and-dones as of late, and I can see this being kind of a tricky time of year for them, obviously with the most important games in their college careers and the huge life changes that are just around the corner. In your experience with these kind of players, have you ever taken them aside and sort of checked in on them and seen how they're handling what is a pretty daunting period?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Do I talk to them?

Q. No, specifically about that?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, you talk specifically about a guy being a senior, a guy ending his career, yeah. You never let the obvious go unsaid. So before we start postseason, I sat down with Brandon and said, "How are you? You're going to be a first or second pick or whatever they're saying, how does that affect you?" To let them know that that will happen, and he'll be all right no matter what are. So just go for it.

He's fine. He's not looking ahead. He's been beautiful. Brandon Ingram has been unbelievable. He works hard and he's played well. The pros are not even on his mind. He just loves to play basketball, and that's good. Sometimes a kid in this situation can feel pressure and not perform or rationalize and look ahead where he may not fight until the end. That hardly ever happens with us, but that can happen.

With Brandon, if we lose here, it won't be because of that. It will just be because the other team played better, the kid he guarded played better.

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