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April 2, 2001
CHRIS PLONSKY: We'd like to welcome Duke University. Once again, if you could, we'll allow Mike to make some opening comments. Please direct your first series of questions to the gentlemen to his left. Mike, congratulations. Go right ahead.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, it's great. I mean, I'm so happy for our team. We beat a great team tonight, a great coach, actually a very special basketball team in Arizona. When we started the game, I watched them on tape a lot. And then when actually watching them to play, I turned to Johnny Dawkins, my assistant, and said, "They're better. We have to play a very courageous game tonight to beat them." And I thought we did. We kept the first half. We were fortunate to be up by a couple with Jason's foul trouble. And I thought Chris Duhon, for an 18-year-old leading our team, handling the ball was sensational. Then the second half, each one of these guys did something that just kept us in the lead. Mike's three threes in about 45 seconds gave us that -- I think a lot of confidence. We got a 10-point lead. Nate, when the stuff was going the other way, got that three-point play. Shane, with a couple of those offensive boards, buckets. And of course Jason with that big three. It was truly a great team effort, and I love the fact that these kids won. They certainly are deserving of a national championship.
CHRIS PLONSKY: Please direct your questions to specific players.
Q. Mike Dunleavy, in the first half, I think you hit your first shot and you missed a couple. Even late in the half it looked like you had passed up a couple shots. Were you thinking anything coming into the second half, and can you talk about the run you went on?
MIKE DUNLEAVY: Yeah, coming into the second half I was just thinking, "Stay aggressive." Coach Collins and I had a long talk yesterday about being aggressive on offense. Shots didn't go for me in the first half, but that didn't change my mindset. I came out in the second half, I think I might have missed my first two. But Chris kicked the three out to me, and it was pretty deep. Shot it; it went in. Then that kind of got me going. And, you know, I was really feeling it. It was good timing, too, to do it at the national championship game.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Pretty good timing.
MIKE DUNLEAVY: Yeah. I'm sure the rest of these guys are thinking, "It's about time."
SHANE BATTIER: Especially his roommate.
MIKE DUNLEAVY: I'm just glad to help out tonight.
Q. Shane, yesterday you said that you were a little disappointed in yourself that you hadn't been able to win the third championship for Coach Krzyzewski. Now that this team has done that, can you talk about what that means to you, what he means to you, and what he means to Duke?
SHANE BATTIER: Wow, I don't know if words could really put my feelings down. Coach is such a tremendous influence in my life. To give him his third championship, and separate him from the pack that has won two is the best way that I could go out. It's my going-away present to him. Coach is the best. He's a mentor. He's a friend. He's a coach. He's a brother. I am the luckier person to have the relationship with him for the last four years. And I know that he'll be one of my most valuable friends for the rest of my life.
Q. Shane, the last ten seconds or so, you're holding your fist, you're crouching down on the court. I'm wondering what's going on in your mind as the clock's running out?
SHANE BATTIER: I was trying to take it in. I said a quick prayer, just thanking the Lord for the opportunity. I couldn't believe it. After all our hard work, to be at that point, looking up at the clock, ten seconds to go, words can't do justice what I felt at that moment.
Q. Nate, five years at Duke. You were a role player, sat back, watched the stars. What was going through your mind at the final seconds?
NATE JAMES: Just finally, we've worked so hard. We stayed together, went through adversity, a lot of obstacles that were in our path. But this team is just so special. To really finally go out on top and to win this national championship is just -- it's a long time coming for us.
Q. Shane, one of your offensive rebounds was a tip-in. It looked like your body was halfway turned around. Can you describe that?
SHANE BATTIER: I think in the second half I had nothing in the tank. I was completely exhausted. I'm a firm believer in guardian angels. A couple of moves I made down the stretch, I firmly believe my two angels were helping me.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Can you do a favor for us? Now that you're through playing, can you leave those guys with us?
SHANE BATTIER: I need them, Coach. But on that play, I just tried to keep it alive. I actually hit it with the back of my hand, believe it or not. I was just trying to keep it alive for my teammates.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: It was one of the great plays that I've seen in this -- in a championship game. It was a great play. It was. And I don't see how he could explain that. I think his will to win, his will to keep us ahead somehow made his -- he had an out-of-body experience or something. It was really an amazing play. I mean, I had perfect vision. I didn't see how it was possible to make that play.
Q. Shane, I'd like to know, your coach just touched on it about your will to win. You had three baskets in a row. I just wanted to know what you were thinking then when you started to take over.
SHANE BATTIER: Well, my jump shot wasn't falling from three, so I had to look for other ways to score. Loren Woods is such a great shot blocker, was guarding me; I had a free run to the offensive board. A couple of them just bounced my way. I was able to get my hand on them and stick them back in. The one dunk, Loren Woods just left me open. You know, I think it was Jason or Chris who found me with a great pass. It --.
JASON WILLIAMS: It was me.
SHANE BATTIER: It was Jason. (Smiling.)
Q. Jason and Shane, can you guys talk about the lift Mike's 18 points gave you?
JASON WILLIAMS: I think it was great. So many times people are always saying you stop Shane and I, you can beat Duke. We're so much bigger than that. Mike has played and given us great games. Nate also. Like Mike said, he was due. For the past few games, our shots haven't been falling. I could tell by the way Mike was shooting in the couple practices before that he was going to have a great game, and he did.
SHANE BATTIER: Mike Dunleavy's not a great basketball player, he's a phenomenal basketball player.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: He's a what?
SHANE BATTIER: Phenomenal basketball player. It was great to show what he could do. I think he's overshadowed on his team. People talk about Jason and myself. But we believe Mike is just as good as us. So it's no surprise to us he came up huge in this game.
Q. For Mike Dunleavy, I'm just curious, it looked collectively, Mike, that Duke was having some trouble adjusting to their team speed defensively. Those three shots that you hit in the second half, were those maybe your best looks from three?
MIKE DUNLEAVY: I think we got some pretty good shots but, you know, the first one I got I was really open. And then as I remember the next two, the third one after that, there was kind of guys in my face. But I was just in the rhythm, and so it didn't really matter.
Q. Mike, at the end when you went up to celebrate and climb the ladder, cut the net, I saw you kiss the rim. Were you making your peace with the basket finally tonight?
MIKE DUNLEAVY: You got it. You figured it out. (Laughing.) That was basically what I was trying to do. That was a basket that was good to me, and got my little piece of the net and got a little kiss in and, you know, just to say "Thank you."
Q. Jason, this is your final game with Shane. Is this the moment you'll remember from your seasons with him, or are there other moments you'll remember most?
JASON WILLIAMS: Well, there's definitely a lot of other moments I'll remember, but I think this moment tops them all pretty much. I mean, I'm so happy that I was -- that we were able to do something that we couldn't do last year for Chris. And to do it for these four guys, you know, especially Shane and Nate, I'm just really happy. I'm just really, really happy that we were able to do it for them and Coach.
Q. For Mike Dunleavy. Mike, did you get a chance to talk to your father before or after the game?
MIKE DUNLEAVY: I talked to him before the game. He wished me good luck. I received some. Then after the game, just kind of my family was up there; I saw them and just kind of waved to them. We were both really happy. I'm sure I'll spend a lot of time with him this evening.
Q. Jason, there was a critical point in the first half where you and Gardner were going for the ball, two fouls, there was no call. Were you surprised at the fact that you didn't hear a whistle? How important was it that you were able to stay on the court, score nine points, and keep you guys ahead?
JASON WILLIAMS: I was very surprised I didn't hear a whistle. I'm so used to hearing them, especially on me. But my momentum just kept taking me forward. I tried to stop as much as I could; I kind of rolled over him. But I love being on the court, especially in games and in situations like that where it's critical. And when you play with great players, it just makes it that much easier to play the game. And we did that.
Q. Mike Dunleavy, were you already certain that you could thrive in a huge moment like this? Or did you learn it tonight?
MIKE DUNLEAVY: I think I've had a past to play in pretty big games, most recently in the NCAA championship game. Growing up, going through high school, I always felt pretty comfortable in the spotlight, in big-game situations. And, you know, needless to say, tonight in the second half, you know, I found that spot again.
CHRIS PLONSKY: Gentlemen, thank you. We'll continue with Mike.
Q. Coach Krzyzewski, Johnny Dawkins was talking about how this win fills a hole that was left in his heart from '86. (Inaudible.) Can you talk about that team and how that team helped you get here?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: For all three of the members of my staff, they were part of teams that, you know, Chris Collins was a starting guard when we lost in '94 to Arkansas. Wojo was the point guard when we lost to Kentucky in the regional championship game, and they went on to win the national championship. I think in '99, Johnny, you know, had been on my staff. I remember we lost to Connecticut. He was, I think, the most devastated. There's been a void. He was a player that was deserving of a national championship. I mean, there are a number of them who don't get it from a lot of programs, but he certainly was of that ilk. He was one of the first guys I tried to hug tonight. And my staff, just to let them know that it is -- it does make it, like they're a part of it. For Jay Bilas and Mark Alarie, David Henderson was in the stand, I think all those guys were here tonight, those four senior starters for us in that '86 team, I know that that helps. That helps them a lot.
Q. Mike, obviously winning at any time is special. But after '99 when you lost all your team, and to do it so fast with these guys, does that make it special in its own way?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I think when I look back on it, I'll add some depth to, you know, like in the past. But I just try to focus so much on the year. And I've thoroughly loved coaching these kids. They've been so good. They've given me their hearts, their minds, and not only that, they've given it to each other. I wish, you know -- I think you can see it, the courage they show game after game. But they're just a beautiful group of guys. They're like old-fashioned guys. They really want to be on a team, and they share things. And I think it starts with what Shane and Nate, the way they act. Because they've allowed the younger guys to be stars and have their roles. And at the end of each year, there's always a part of me that wants the year to be over. I can tell you tonight, even though we won the national championship, I wish I could coach these kids longer. I'm not tired. I'm not tired. Just because they keep giving. They keep giving you stuff. It's been, like, such a good year. I'm so lucky. I'm very lucky.
Q. Mike, you always talk about how the basketball gods sometimes are smiling on you and sometimes they're not. When Jason and Jason Gardner go for that loose ball, did you sense that the basketball gods were smiling on you? How important was that to the game from your perspective, knowing you could keep one of your best players on the floor?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I think the way the game was called in the first half was really the way the play was called. You know, nobody got into the one-on-one; they were allowing guys to play. Jason made every effort not to foul. So I think he made an incredible athletic play. And, you know, I think the officials in other plays during that half, you know, were not trying to penalize somebody who wasn't trying to foul. I mean, heck, with one minute to go, we could -- timeout, we got it inside to Boozer and went up, and I thought there was -- it was a hell of a play. And Wright made a block. I think -- you know something, you can go through a bunch of plays. I just think that was the way the game was called. They didn't want to penalize kids for trying to avoid fouls. Wright was trying to avoid a foul then, and he made a play.
Q. You always said how fortunate you felt to have had a player like Grant Hill in your program. Now that Battier's career is over, can you assess not what he meant as a player, but as a symbol in college basketball?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: : It's so good to coach him. In his career, our team won 133 games and lost 15. Are you kidding me? Just to show you how much confidence I have in him, when we practice, after our kids stretch, they get together in a huddle, you know, they say some things. Usually as a coach I would get into the huddle and say something to them before each practice. After about three days in October, I just stopped doing it and I allowed Shane to talk to the team. So, I mean, that should just tell you, you know, how -- I mean, I've never done that with a kid. I trust his leadership so much and what he's going to say, that at the start of every practice, I allow him to be the guy speaking -- it's not like they all sit down and take notes or anything, but in a huddle. Because I knew that they should hear his voice in huddles throughout the year, in the locker room throughout the year, that he would be in some way better than my voice.
Q. What about as a symbol of college basketball?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I don't know. That's something for you all to --. Certainly the fact that he's there for four years, you know, he seems pretty fulfilled with it. You know what I mean. He's become a great player. Probably the most recognized kid playing basketball, you know, college basketball. He deserves that. So he'll reap whatever rewards there are. I don't think he stayed for those rewards; he stayed because he loves college and he wanted to develop in all ways.
Q. Could you talk about the play of Loren Woods tonight, and did you anticipate that he would be on Battier?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We thought he would be on Battier. It's the best I've ever seen him play, even on tape. He dominated for a while there. We couldn't stop him. And he seemed very poised, you know, like he had great composure. And then one of the things that he has going for him is if you foul him, he's going to hit his free throws. That makes it even more difficult to defend the big guy, because, you know, you can't body that as much because you're concerned when he goes to the line. Like Carlos fouled him at one time at the elbow, you know, trying to deny him the ball. He goes up, right away. So, I mean, he's really good. They're an amazing team. I mean, they're a team that could win, you know. They could be here right now instead of us. I thought it was a great game. It was a great game. Classy kids; their coaching staff is so good. What a great showcase game for college basketball.
Q. With Battier leaving this year and so many young players still continuing with you, is this the end of an era or the beginning of an era for your team?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I think our program is not an era program; it's, I think we've been pretty good year after year. I don't know, I think we'll be really good next year. Hopefully, we'll come close to having the camaraderie we had this year and the leadership. But, you know, we'll be, I think, very good again.
Q. Shane played every minute here in Minneapolis. Was that conscious coming in? Did you talk to him about that? Does that speak to his value to the team?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: He's conditioned to do that. Everyone talked about our depth all yearlong, and, you know, if -- I know from being in this tournament that your big-time players are going to have to play 36 to 40 minutes if you're going to win. And why would I not condition my guys to do that during the year? I mean, so he was conditioned to do it. He knows how to play tired. He knows how to think tired. He knows how to lead tired, because he's done that in November, December, January, and February. And, you know, we look at a season, we don't look at it just game to game. We try to look at a big picture. You know, he's always a key guy. He's always the key guy.
Q. Congratulations, Coach.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Thank you.
Q. Any thoughts about Lute bringing his team to the championship game in spite of great personal grief?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, certainly I'm inadequate to express what an amazing accomplishment that is and to try to understand the support system that he's created for himself there through his great coaching. Because there's no way, there's no way that you could do that alone. I told our team, you know, in preparation for this game, like as tough as we think we are, they're equally tough. They've been through so much. And I guess there's a little part of me that's sad that they didn't win, because of the respect I have for what they've done. If we would have lost, we would have lost -- I would have been very happy for them, let's put it that way. Just because of what they've been through.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Sanders' contribution during the last month after not playing a whole lot during the season?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know, it's a great question, because when I talk to the team after, you know, right after -- not right after the game, we had to hear songs and cut nets and do everything. But by the time we got there, I singled out Casey, Reggie, and Matt Christensen. I said, "We would never be here today if those kids didn't step up when Carlos went out and create a success environment for our basketball team." We changed the system, and Casey in particular stepped up, and so did Reggie and Matt. That's why we're here. It's also in the last week, in working with those kids, to get Carlos ready. I mean, Carlos worked really hard with Wojo this week, but also with those other kids. They were so -- they were very important, extremely important. They were the first guys I talked about. I'm glad you asked that question, because that -- it shows some good insight.
Q. You talk about what a joy it was to coach this team in particular. Did that allow you to be a little bit more loose and able to coach maybe a different way than you have in the past?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I think I'm pretty loose with my team. If you asked the guys who played for me, hopefully my jokes are still funny. But I get real close to the guys on my team. That's the most rewarding thing about what I do. I felt that this team in some respects, the more I learned about it, was a little bit like my two national championship teams in that you had to let them instinctively play more. And it was because of like Hurley on that team and Jason on this team, they just -- there's some musicians, I think, who don't have to go to music school. You know, I mean there are some people who sing that are just -- these two kids, like Hurley and Williams, they're just -- I don't know the right word, but they have such a feel for the game. And to put them in a -- in too much structure would really stop them. And so you kind of ride them. And I told Shane, too, that when we were getting the trophy, I pulled him on the side and I said, "You know what, thanks for letting me ride you." I think that, you know, we've won three national championships, we won a lot of games. At times, it's not your time; it's someone else's time but you just happen to be with them. That's why I tell our guys, always surround yourselves with good people. It may not be your time, but if you're with them, it happens to you. I really kind of feel that about this team, and with Shane in particular. It kind of was the way it should be. It was like a story book. I'm glad I was in the book. I wasn't the main character, but I'm glad I was in the book.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the future, next year possibly without Shane and also the prospects of maybe Jason leaving for the NBA?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think Jason has already said he's staying; and so I think, like I said before, I think we'll be good. You know, we have a good kid coming in. We have a transfer sitting out who's really good. Nick Horvath didn't play at all this year because of an injury. Casey is going to be, I think, really good. Carlos, when he has an opportunity to, you know, be the focal point, like he would be next year, you know, I think will be good. I mean, there will be a number of teams good, but I'm looking -- I'll be looking forward to coaching them. I just, we have to replace the leadership that Shane and Nate gave us. That's something that you can't, like, figure out how it's going to be. But hopefully by being around those guys, we learned a little bit about that.
CHRIS PLONSKY: Mike, congratulations.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Thank you. Thank you very much.
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