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March 25, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. You seem to have a pretty significant size advantage against Purdue. Can you talk about how you can exploit that tomorrow?
LANCE THOMAS: We're going to have to play big. We have to make sure we dominate the boards, and we're also going to just have to be able to play defense. They start us a pretty short lineup. So it's going to be big to guard them, but they also have to guard our size as well. So myself and Brian have to make sure we play a big game.
BRIAN ZOUBEK: We're going to have to establish ourselves early on on the offensive end, especially on the glass. Then, I mean, they only have really one big guy and then a sub for him. So they play four guards and that four position, we have a little bit of a size advantage. And so we've just got to take advantage of it.
Q. The last game against Cal, your shooting statistics, was that something Cal was doing defensively? Was that an off shooting day? Can you talk about that game and how you bounced back from that?
JON SCHEYER: Yeah, you know, it happens. The last game I didn't shoot the ball well. I had a lot of great looks. Guys had me in great positions, I just didn't shoot the ball well. So it's something I just went back to Durham, worked hard on my shooting.
You know, it's also not -- the last game, I don't really base my game on whether I shoot the ball well or not. But for me I just want to go out there and play well, defensively, offensively, and shooting will come.
Q. You said about your mechanics, you said last week in Jacksonville that you want to go back and look at film. Do you see anything in there?
JON SCHEYER: Well, last game against Cal, I was just -- I was pretty passive. Once I started to miss a few, I started feeling pressure on myself because the way we were playing defense as a team, we had a chance to really, you know, extend the lead to a 20-point lead or, you know, at least 20 if I had just a couple of those open looks. So I was just getting tight on my shots and trying to guide the ball in.
So for me that's one thing I looked at. I just need to go and shoot the ball. I know my teammates have confidence in me, I just need to have confidence, too.
Q. But everything looked good you saw on film?
JON SCHEYER: Well, no. Actually I was just really trying to guide the ball in. Really, I was kicking my legs out on a couple of them. That's just something I looked at. For me, I just need to shoot the ball strong like I have in the past.
Q. In your tenure at Duke, the team has been more well known for post-season meltdowns rather than wins. How personal is this mission to you to leave your mark at Duke?
JON SCHEYER: Well, for our class it means a lot. Since we've been here we've lost in the first round of the tournament, first round of the ACC Tournament. At this point we've won a couple of ACC Championships. We've been in this position before in the Sweet 16. I think last year we were -- I won't say satisfied, but I would say a little happy to be there, and I think that showed when we played that game. So for us, there's a lot more steps this team wants to take. You know, this class and this team is on a mission.
Q. Have you guys seen a setup like this? Have you ever seen anything like this?
BRIAN ZOUBEK: Can you repeat the question.
Q. Have you seen a court setup like this?
BRIAN ZOUBEK: I know when we played in Atlanta it was a little different. The stadium was pretty huge. I haven't actually gone out there and seen it yet, but we're going to get used to it today, just get a feel for the court and the stadium. Hopefully we'll be comfortable by the time tomorrow comes.
Q. You were just talking about almost being happy to be there last year. Is it kind of weird like with Duke you guys almost are trying to reestablish that name where for so long Duke was known as going pretty far. Also, how much do you take stock in you guys beating Purdue last year?
JON SCHEYER: In terms of first your question about Purdue, we really haven't even looked at the game, talked about the game really. So we haven't -- we're not playing too much of a factor with that. But with us I think from our freshman year coming here with no seniors, we kind of had to start over.
Also, things that players did before us, whether it was successful or not, carried over into our careers. I know people talk to me about the streak with us not going past the Sweet 16, but things like that happened before we could control things.
So for us, we just want to try to reestablish the program. It's always been a great program, obviously, and just get it back to where it's been.
Q. I wanted to ask, Brian was asked about the building. There is always a theory that shooters have trouble in dome stadiums. I know you won the ACC player of the year last year in a dome stadium. Have you ever found a problem with depth perception or shooting in a dome?
JON SCHEYER: No, I think when I first got to college, shooting in bigger arenas and things like that, it takes a little bit of an adjustment. But last year felt great shooting in the dome.
I think at this point in my career I feel comfortable wherever. It's just a matter of like today is an important day for everybody to get a feel for it and have a hard workout and just get adjusted to it.
Q. You mentioned that Purdue has one big and one backup. That's JaJuan Johnson. What do you know about him, what do you think of him?
BRIAN ZOUBEK: Yeah, he's a really good player. He's come up huge for them in some big games. He has a pretty big stat line. He's capable of a really big game. He's been definitely, if not their most consistent, one of their most consistent scorers and rebounders.
So doing a good job against him is obviously going to be very important for the game. And so, I mean, I'm going to be ready for him. I'm excited to play.
Q. The Big Ten teams have given the ACC trouble all year. Is that in the back of your mind today and tomorrow?
LANCE THOMAS: As of now I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about what this team has to do to win. When I think of that, I know we have to just play harder than them. I'm pretty sure that it was insightful for them to have a chance to play against us again. And we're not, you know, going to sit back and be fat cats and worry about what we did against them last year. Putting that behind and actually doing it again is going to be key.
That's our mindset right now. Our team's very anxious to play right now.
Q. Are you familiar with Omar Samhan has become like the darling of this tournament by himself. Are you familiar with that?
JON SCHEYER: I've heard. I've heard some things about him, yeah.
Q. What do you think Coach K would do if you guys talked like him and, you know, talked about how much you love Taylor Swift and had a Blog going, your own website, YouTube postings? What would Coach K say?
JON SCHEYER: Well, to be honest with you, I've heard some things about him. A lot of people are talking about him. But I don't know what he's been doing or saying. I haven't been paying attention to that.
But with us we always just want to talk about our team. That's how coach always wants us to talk about. So I don't know what he's said or what he's done, I just know people have been talking about him.
Q. Did anybody watch the NIT game the other night?
BRIAN ZOUBEK: I didn't.
LANCE THOMAS: No, I didn't.
JON SCHEYER: No.
Q. Since you're the video game master, have you played the Coach K app? Have you solved it yet?
JON SCHEYER: No. A few of us were -- well, a lot of the team were messing around with it on the bus the other day, and we were just getting a kick out of it. It seems like a pretty fun game though (smiling).
But I haven't beat it or anything like that, if that's what you're asking (laughing).
BRIAN ZOUBEK: He's close though, he's close.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Krzyzewski.
Q. Throughout your program's history, you've had some great big guys, the Laettners, the Williams, the McRoberts, the Boozers. Is this more of a big guy by committee team as opposed to the one mantle piece guy?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think that's a really good observation. We've brought in, those four big kids play every game. You know, Miles was starting, Miles started two-thirds of the season. Brian has started the last third. I would say, though, that Brian -- the most consistent big guy has been Lance because he's been kind of our glue on defense. He's our best defender.
Then Brian, although he's played well all year long, the last five weeks he's -- I mean, he's put up some really outstanding games. I think staying out of foul trouble. You know, you get a high double-double in a big game. In his first start he had a high double-double against Maryland. You know, you get more confident. He's a fairly confident player right now.
Both he and Lance really talk well for our defense and our offense. When you have big guys who talk, not to the other team, but to your own team, it's a cohesive type of action for them to do that.
Q. Since the injury to Hummel, have you found Purdue to be pretty unpredictable?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: They've won most of the time. They're still here. So they're that predictable.
Q. 11 points in a half against Minnesota. Now they're in the Sweet 16. What have you seen that they've done consistently since that Minnesota game?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think what you should look at in Purdue is that when you have an injury to like an All-American player, I mean, Robbie's an All-American player. There's a period of adjustment. So, basically, during that period of adjustment, it's kind of like November and early December games for them, except they mean even more right now.
So during those times as you're evolving, you're going to look bad sometimes. I would say they didn't look very good against Minnesota, but you learn from it and you evolve, and they evolved.
That Minnesota game with them turned into a win over Siena, and a win over Texas A & M. So that's what type of group they have. They've had a period of time to adjust and evolve, and who they are now is the best that they can be right now. Whereas, you don't look at them as who they were when they played Minnesota because they're not that team. They've evolved. They're an outstanding program.
Q. Where does this team out of all the teams that you've coached at Duke, where does it stack up?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I don't do that. Yeah, especially in Houston. Battier would kill me. No, we've had too many. We've had ten Final Four -- I'm not going to go through our teams. But I love my team. I love this team as much as any team I've coached. Not more than some of the teams, but as much because they're more of an old-time team. They've grown up together.
They understand what makes them good. That's why they've won 31 games and have advanced this far. Won regular season and tournament championship in the ACC. They know who they are, and they like who they are. They don't try to be something different, and I like that. They're very consistent, and easy to be with on a day-to-day basis, so we don't wear each other out.
Q. Is Shane giving you a hard time now that you're in his hometown?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I haven't talked to. A couple of the other guys Wojo has talked to Shane. He's injured. I just talk to former healthy players (laughing).
Q. I'm going to tell him.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, he's making a lot of money. He should be on the court playing for the Rockets (smiling). No, I'll see him tomorrow.
Q. It's been, I guess since 2004, you guys last went to a Final Four. How would you explain the lull between then and now in terms of not making it?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know, there are two words when you compete that are interesting -- since and never. Since and never. I'm glad we're in the since. Let me leave it at that. Each team is different. What we have since done is pretty good, and what we have done since then has been really good.
We're proud of everything that we've done. But there is a reason why not many people win these things over and over again. It's because it's very difficult, and you have a different team each year.
So since 2004 we've still gone to Sweet 16s. We've probably won as many games in the last two years as anybody. I'm proud of our guys. But you're not always going to win a National Championship. And you're not always going to get to a Final Four. Those are difficult things to do.
As long as we're competing for it every year -- I think we've been to, I don't know, 11. 11 out of the last 13 years to the Sweet 16. I'm sure that measures up with anybody.
So, again, since and never, try to look at those words and see which category you would rather be in. How long has it -- you know, I won't even get to that. We'll do it after the season.
Q. No, go ahead.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, no. Since and never, just analyze those two words. We like being in the since category.
Q. Do you feel any more pressure?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't feel pressure at all.
Q. For the season?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: If I felt pressure, I wouldn't have coached the Olympic team, you know. I coach because I like to -- that's pressure, by the way.
No, I love what I do, and I do it because I want to compete. If we lose when we're competing and we're competing hard, I'm fine with it. If we win, it's better. But the ability to compete at the highest level is what you want an opportunity to do. And these young men have given me a chance to be on their bus right now to come to Houston and compete for a chance to go to the Elite 8.
Q. You were just talking about your storied history and program what you've done, also how much you love this team and maybe had this senior class. This senior class, did they have trouble living up to the expectations of what Duke used to be?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, you know, like you know for a while when I dated my wife I had trouble living up to the expectations of her former boyfriend, you know. Then I mean -- come on. Just judge people for who they are right now. We're not the Yankees. We're not -- thank goodness we're not the Cubs, who are my favorite, you know (smiling).
It's different. It's college. They're different kids. Just give them an opportunity. These kids have won 111 games. 111 games. I'm sure that matches up with most people or exceeds most people for a four-year period.
So I love them for who they are right now. They don't have to be perfect. If we're able to advance, I won't love them anymore, but I'll like being with them for a lot longer.
You just have to keep it -- perspective is another word - since, never, perspective. This is a good thing. I'm going to write another book on words (smiling). After we get through the game.
Q. Have you ever played on a raised court like this?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Listen, I never played on TV, you know (smiling). There were pictures that they went through real fast when I played.
Q. Has your team ever played on a raised floor like this? And given Kyle's penchant for going into the press table and after loose balls, are you worried he might fall off into the abyss?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I haven't been out on this court. We've been on a raised court before. That's part of coming here today and tomorrow during the shoot around to get adjusted. When I go out, I'm going to be interested in site lines from the bench. I usually sit during the game.
So can you do that during this time? I like to sit and hear my assistants talk to me while the game is going on. I've got to see how that -- we have to adjust. But everyone's got to adjust. I'd be concerned always in whatever you do, logos, raised courts. I'd always look at how it effects potential player safety and what we're doing.
Q. I know you want Jon to keep swinging. You're not worried?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah.
Q. Anything you're going to say to him? He said he went back and went through some films and he said he might have gotten a few shots?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I've talked to him. I talked to him right after our last game, you know in the locker room and at the airport before we were getting it. I just one said keep shooting. But I would -- he's been shooting his shot differently.
He doesn't shoot the same shot all the time, and that means you're thinking about different things. A huge thing for the guy who brings the ball up and this is at every level, is the ability to concentrate, concentrate on your shot when you get it, because you're concentrating on running your team. Then when you do get the ball, there are times when you're not completely focused on the shot, and you can shoot a different shot each time.
Jon wants it so badly. Like I came in and heard his answer. You may have asked it where he said, "I knew we were playing great defense, and if I hit the shot we could break it open," or something like that. So that's not the reason you take that shot. You should take your shot because it's open and you shoot it. So he's putting more on it.
I asked him, when you took the shot to beat Georgia Tech and win the ACC Championship, you know, what were you thinking about then? He said I was just thinking about hitting my shot. I said, well, just do that.
I'm not worried about it. I just would like to see him enjoy it, and not put the pressure -- when I say pressure. It's not walking around here like tight, but he wants to do so well that at times he's putting a little bit too much weight on each shot he's taking.
Q. What challenge does Zoubek face in the guy his size it seems a lot of teams want to bring the big guy away from the basket. I know he seems to be healthier than he's been. But what challenges does a guy his size have in today's game playing defense?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's done a really good job of moving his feet and playing position defense. He's not going to win many sprints when you lineup the whole team, if any.
But if that half court setting he moves his feet pretty well on the pick-and-roll, and then how do we defend it? Do we trap it? Do you step in? Do you zone it? There are different ways of doing it.
What we try to do is put him in the best position when we have our game plan, depending on who we're playing to talk to them about that. Then he practices that especially for that game. He's really a good student. You know, he gets it.
I'm very pleased with his defense. He's kept out of foul trouble, keeps his hands up. On the offensive end, hasn't gone over people's back like he has. He's been very mature player.
Q. You once said something along the lines of one of the keys to success is to anticipate as much change as possible. How has that played into your ability to remake your team from year to year and have the sustained success that you guys have had over several decades?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, for me it's been one of the key factors. Just being able to look at your team and say, Okay, what did you do this past season that this team can still do? What could you add, delete, or whatever, to make it better? In other words, what can you do to make this team the best? And devise your system within the parameters of motion offense and man-to-man accordingly, and that's what we've tried to do.
I've learned even more the last four years -- well, it will be my four years now with the National Team. Working with Mike, Nate, Jim, coaching against a lot of new coaches, great coaches in the international game. How they adapt accordingly. So I just have been trying to do that.
With this team we're much different than we have been over the last few years, and next year we'll be different than we are this year. Hopefully, we'll still be competitive like we are this year (smiling).
Q. The Plumlee family as an entity is very well known in Lafayette?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they love -- that's where they met.
Q. She played at Purdue, he played at Harrison High School, and the boys spent a lot of their life there. The grandfather is a professor there. You know the family. I know your program's a lot about family. Can you talk about the Plumlee family as a whole and your respect for them?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, we're so lucky to have them, the whole family, in our program. When we played at Purdue last year, I knew of the background and everything, but then when we were there, I found out even more. Also the immense respect that they have for Gene Keady. And Gene is one of my best friends in coaching. You know, one of my best friends. I love Gene.
His camps were where the Plumlee's went, and where Perky worked and all that kind of stuff. So we understand that. That's the type of program Purdue is, too. I think we're very similar in what we try to do with our players, how we try to develop our program. Matt's done an amazing job there. But a lot of people before him have done amazing, especially that guy named Gene Keady.
End of FastScripts