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October 24, 2018
Charlotte, North Carolina
Q. With what you know about the G league, and Duke having kind of the tradition of players leaving a little bit early, how do you think that will affect the college game and mainly your program?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: You're talking about the new thing, the 125,000, is that what you're talking about? Okay. I think it's great that the NBA is looking for another alternative to see if high school players can have entry into the NBA. To me it's very difficult to imagine, say these two guys were coming out, and how do you allocate them? In other words, if Javin came to me and I'm with the Celtics, I'm with the Celtic affiliate, and I train him the entire time and then he goes into the draft I don't know how you work that out.
So there is a lot that has to be done before we can give a definitive answer in that regard. I wonder in some respects is it a preemptive strike by the NBA to say that we're making this attempt where maybe they might not go forward in 2022 with what they're doing with the so-called one-and-done.
So I think it's good. I think change is good, and to look at it, and I would hope that the college game could keep abreast of those instead of just being reactionary to it.
Q. Coach K, obviously as Zion Williamson, very, very well known, before he even enrolled with you guys, for his highlight reel dunks and all the highlights on video. Could you just expand a little bit just on his entire skill set and other things he brings to the table above the obvious highlight things that he does?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: So, can I use momentum of your question to maybe to ask these guys questions? Because they played with him?
You know, what do you guys think about playing with Zion? And then I'll answer and fill in the blanks for them.
Q. So, Javin, how about you go first?
JAVIN DELAURIER: For me, knowing what I knew about Zion heading into the summer, I was actually very surprised at what a graceful athlete he is. You see all the YouTube highlights and all the stuff that he can do, but his foot work, his body control, and his skillset is really incredible. Going up against him every day has really been a challenge, but it's been really fun, I've enjoyed it.
JACK WHITE: Yeah, you guard this guy every day. You work out pretty quick, but he's so much more than just an incredible athlete. One thing that sticks out to me is his passing ability, he can really pass the ball.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: He means passing, by the way. Passing abilities.
JACK WHITE: Pass. Yeah, passing. He can really distribute the ball, and every time the ball gets into his hands he's a really smart player. He always seems to make the right play. He makes his teammates better. He's a great guy off the floor to be around, great locker room guy. You know, I can't speak highly enough of him. He's been great since day one since he's come here.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I feel like I'm coaching USA Basketball and I'm the interpreter for the Australian team.
Just to add a little bit more, he's been a joy to coach. You know, he's such a good guy. He's an extremely hard worker. He's a good basketball player, and has guard skills and has fit in fabulously and won the respect of these guys and the coaching staff. Just, I think, one of the more unique basketball players that I've had a chance to coach, and the best athlete that I've had a chance to coach at Duke.
Q. Javin, a question for you. You played with a lot of talented scorers last year, and yet when you were in the game, you always found a way to influence the game. This year you'll again be playing with talented scorers. What are your objectives? How do you see your role in terms of blocking shots, getting in passing lanes, setting screens, rebounds with the players that you'll be around this year?
JAVIN DELAURIER: My job is just to come in and try to make as many plays as I can to help us win, and that might be taking a charge, getting rebounds, stuff like that. Stuff that may not necessarily show up in the box score because, like you said, when you have guys who are really talented in scoring the ball, you know, that's what they do.
So I'm going to let them do what they do, and I'm going to do what I do well and hopefully win games.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: One thing I'd add with Javin, two of the things that he will add this year, one he's been an outstanding leader for this group, his leadership, the leadership aspect and his ability to score the ball. He's become a good shooter.
Did you ever think I'd say that?
JAVIN DELAURIER: No (laughing).
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: But he's worked really hard, and we have confidence of him hitting the three and obviously scoring on offensive boards and that. But he's worked really hard on his game as has Jack.
Q. Coach, what can Zion do to get even better in his time with you?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No, he's getting better. One, you learn how to work. You play against Jack every day, you know, Jack has fought him when he's opposed him -- fought him, like competed against him, which that's what he needs. And it's made both of them better players, same thing with Jav. Just his knowledge of the game. Overall, just everything. He has a big upside.
I think people are amazed, really, because they saw all the dunking, and they saw dunks last night too. But he can defend. He can improve in every way. He's going to be an outstanding player for us for the one year, and I think he's going to be -- he has a chance of being even an NBA All-Star.
Q. This can be for you and the players, you talked last night about Joey Baker making a jump this past week. What have you seen from him over the summer going into the preseason?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, let these guys answer, then I'll add if I need to.
JACK WHITE: I mean, first of all, I love Joey. Since day one I've looked at him as kind of my little brother. I see a lot of myself in him.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Brother, his little brother.
JACK WHITE: My little brother. I see a lot of myself in him since day one, same as all the freshmen, it's the same. He's come in and worked hard, just the improvement I've seen in his game since the summer up until last night in the exhibition game has been tremendous. It's a credit to him and the work he's put in. Really buying into the system, and working out how he can really contribute to the team and help us win. He's done a great job, and I'm really excited to see how he's going to continue to improve as the season goes on.
JAVIN DELAURIER: Like Jack said, Joey's a great kid. He's supposed to be in high school right now, and he came and worked his tail off over the summer. You can see how much he's improved. From when we first got here to last week, he had an amazing week of practice. We went and talked to him about it. We're like, Joey, we see you getting so much better, keep working hard, keep it up. And last night he came in and showed a little bit of what he can do for us. He can really help.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I just echo those. By the way, I see Bobby Cremins in the back, and while he's still awake, I wanted to say something. You know, Bobby --
You haven't met Coach Cremins yet.
JACK WHITE: No.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I want him to be Matt Harpring, okay? That would be a good thing. We're going to get some tapes and show you. Obviously, Coach Cremins was one of the great coaches in our league, and we've had storied battles to include the worse game that the ACC ever had, a 47 to 45 game when we were both building our programs in Cameron.
Q. First of all, what were you able to take away from last night, and for Javin, what's up with the foot?
JAVIN DELAURIER: The foot is good. It's getting better. Just really trying to take my time with it and make sure it's okay and it's not going to be something that's nagging.
And last night was a good test for us. We saw some things that we can do really well. We tried out some new lineups. Saw some potentially very scary things. Then also we saw some things that we need to work on, especially talking in transition and making sure we have defensive balance.
JACK WHITE: Yeah, I think last night was a good game for us, a good learning experience. At the start of the game we were a bit rusty, but I think as the game went on we really improved and worked on things we needed to. We came in at halftime and addressed a few things, and I think we can really see the difference in that in the second half. I was just really happy with our first game out as a team, and looking forward to competing with these guys in the future.
Q. Coach, you had a great deal of success with Tre Jones' brother as your point guard a few years back. In what ways does Tre's game remind you of Tyus's game, and what are things he does differently?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they are different in the fact that (Inaudible) command defense in high school. And he's now a really good pro, and he played good man-to-man for us. But we usually put Quinn Cook on the ball. When he played, Tre can really play defense. He puts disciplined pressure on the ball kind of like how Amaker, Hurley, Wojo, Duhon, those guys, he does that, and that starts our offense. He, like Tyus, is a pass-first point guard. The ball doesn't stick in his hands. Really easy to play with.
At this time in his career Tyus was a better shooter or looked to shoot more. We've got to get -- I think Tre's a good shooter. He doesn't look to shoot as much. But they're both winners, and that's the similarity, and easy to coach and great teammates to these guys.
Q. You mentioned at this event before that college basketball at the start of the season just is too slow out of the gate and didn't generate enough interest. Do you then like the conference next season playing league games right at the start, or would you like to see that experiment as a full-time approach?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I liked the way we're doing it this year where we've taken the Champion's Classic with us and Kentucky and Kansas and Michigan State starting off that night. It was brought up that this might be a good thing for the ACC. I'm not a huge proponent for it, but I'll go along with it to see if it would -- again, a number of the coaches wanted it, so let's take a look at it.
The fact that 20 games will be played, that makes it better, I think, because you have to fit them in. It will be interesting what happens with the proposals that they have the oversight committee on looking at what you do at the 31 games and what that will do with events, you know, tournaments. Will a team get to use 31 games or will we have 27, the four-game exemption or how that works out. So we're in that exempt and how you do it. So the fact that the ACC is going to do this, I think it's worth looking at and then evaluating it after that year.
Q. With Duke playing in Hawaii in a couple weeks, is this an opportunity for a lot of family members to travel over to watch you play?
JACK WHITE: Yeah, obviously, Hawaii's about halfway between Durham and Australia, so it will be a good opportunity to get some family and friends out and have a look and experience college basketball for the first time. So really looking forward to that, and also just going out and competing with my teammates and trying -- trying to win the tournament.
Q. Javin, you shook your head. Is that just too far of a distance to go?
JAVIN DELAURIER: Yeah, we ask Jack all the time, "How did Duke even find you all the way down there?" And it's always funny when he talks about going home because he gets two winters. Like when it's summer here, it's winter there. So it's a lot of fun that we have with him with him being in Australia.
Q. Coach, how did you find him all the way down there?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We actually saw tape of him. And then we're really -- one of my best friends internationally is Patrick Hunt who headed the Institute of Sport in Australia. I've known him for -- he now heads FIBA, their technical committee, and he knew about Jack. He vouched for him as a good kid, and obviously we saw on tape he's a good player. We're lucky to have him.
Q. Continuing with the international theme, you have a pretty good Canadian player joining you this year, what makes RJ Barrett unique?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's an outstanding basketball player, and really ahead maturity-wise. He seems like he's a senior or a junior at least. He's always played up with the National Team and been the leader of whatever age group he's with. But has played older all the time. Playing for Kevin Boyle at Mumford where they were undefeated, he's just ahead. He's a winner.
He's just an outstanding basketball player that is truly positionless, and is a really good teammate. He's a good guy to play with, a winner, a real winner.
Q. A question was asked earlier, what type of team do you think you'll have when you come back to this building in March?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: A healthy one, I hope. You know, hopefully Javin's thrown that boot and given it to someone else who might need it, hopefully. Not to wish any harm or anything I say might be taken a little bit differently. So I didn't mean to harm anybody. But healthy would be the main thing.
And I think we're going to be really together. This group likes one another, we're going to be a lot better than we are now and hopefully we'll be worthy with our work and our effort to have a chance to win.
Q. Could you just expand a little bit on calling Zion Williamson the most unique player you've coached? Is that just uniquely based off his athleticism?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, the athlete. The best and unique athlete, and most unique player I've ever coached was Laettner because he won all the time. But no, being he's just, you can't say Zion is like somebody, you know? He has a chance to be -- he already is like a one-name guy, you know? Not many people get that. And he can back -- I think he'll be able to back it up.
So, yeah, he has a great support system in his family too and his community. You know from being there how good he is with kids, right? Yeah. He's a Pied Piper. He just has so many good people skills. So that along with his extraordinary athletic ability and work ethic, it's like the perfect storm for uniqueness and success.
Q. Jack, your game has progressed over the last two years. How would you describe yourself as a basketball player at Duke University?
JACK WHITE: I think I guess just solid. I think I've really tried to work on my consistency with my game. I think my three-point shot has improved a lot since I've gotten here, and my defense and leadership as well. You know, I still need to work on my ball handling a lot and keep that tight. But I feel I can -- I don't want to hear it, Javin.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I think he's going to confession (laughing).
JACK WHITE: But, yeah, obviously playing against great teammates every day, guarding since my freshman year, Jason, Matt, Grayson, to last year, Gary, and all these guys, I'm guarding great talent every day. Obviously now this year the same thing too.
So I think just playing against these guys every day, it can only help it get better. You know, that experience for me has been great. I wanted to come here to challenge myself, and I knew that was going to help me get better as a player on and off the court.
This year I'm looking to be a dependable player for the team, consistent, a leader for us, and just someone who is willing to do anything to help us win.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Can I say one thing too. Just on behalf of Duke Athletics and especially our basketball program and me, because I've been in it as long as this guy, we lose a true superstar in our conference at the end of this year in Brian Morrison. You know, what he's done in promoting the league and getting us together, and getting -- he's been terrific to work with. We want to thank him for all that he's done for our program and for the ACC. What a class guy.
He's walking around here today. It's his last hurrah for Media Day. And if you see him, give him a hug. He deserves a big hug. He's been a stud guy. You talk about unique, Brian Morrison has been unique, and it's helped the growth of this great conference. So on behalf of Duke athletics and Duke basketball, just a huge thank you to Brian Morrison.
THE MODERATOR: With that said, Duke, thank you. Good luck. We'll see you back here in March.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports