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March 29, 2010

Mike Krzyzewski


DAVE WORLOCK: Good luck and safe travels to Indy. We'll see you soon.
COACH IZZO: Thank you. Bye.
DAVE WORLOCK: We're now ready to take calls from Coach Mike Krzyzewski from the Duke. Congratulations on making your 11th Final Four. Certainly an historic accomplishment for you as a coach, and more important to you, to the program and as a university. Thank you for taking the time this afternoon to join us and take questions from the media. We'll go ahead and get started right away.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I apologize that my voice is not good. Dome stuff and sitting on a stool out in a windy environment produced a hoarse voice.

Q. After you have been a part of a number of Final Fours, can you talk about the diversity within this field and whether or not you thought we would end up with this kind of a Final Four?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know, I didn't give much thought as to how the Final Four would look. I think when you're in the tournament, you just have to focus on your next game. As you see it unravel, I think for all of us coaches in college basketball today, no one's surprised that anybody beat another team.
There just isn't the difference that there was, especially a decade ago, with some of the top, historic programs, if any difference, and the emerging programs. Teams from the non-traditional big conferences, I mean, there's just a lot of good basketball teams right now.
You can get beat by a lot of people. I guess that's what the tournament has shown.

Q. Over the last few years, you've had your detractors, people saying, Coaching in the Olympics might take too much from the program, people questioning your recruiting, the usual questions. In light of all of that, is there some personal vindication for you getting back to the Final Four?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, not really. You know, you're in our area and you know that anyone who's successful over a period of time is not just going to have detractors in a few years, but throughout your career. That's just part of the game. Everybody has that. Not to take that personally. No one is going to get everybody supportive of them. So I think you just go about your business.
This isn't about my vindication or anything like that. It's about coaching this group of kids, who deserve your full commitment. And I think coaching in the Olympics has made me a better coach. I not only think that, I know that, to coach these young men.
Usually a lot of people have opinions, whether they be favorable or unfavorable, and they don't have all the information that's necessary to form valued opinions. I would rather listen to people who I trust and have them tell me the truth about how our team is doing, how I'm doing. I react to that; not to talk shows and articles.
In one way or another, I mean, we certainly have had more than our share of people saying we're really good, you know. So you can't go in that direction either. You've just got to stay focused on what you're doing right now with this group.

Q. What does this one mean to you, getting back?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I'm really very, very excited for my team. I really love these guys. They have suffered from comparisons, which shouldn't happen. It absolutely shouldn't happen to what's happened before. You know, it's a different landscape, you know. It's different. They haven't been given credit along their careers for what they are doing or for what they are trying to accomplish.
I'm really pleased for them, especially my senior class. They've been great kids to coach, and true competitors along the way.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Singler's game yesterday. Is there any concern at all or is that one of those deals where you understand that happens?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, again, I think Kyle is a great player. He's not always gonna play great. You know, a few games before that, Scheyer was 1-11 and we won. In fact, he still played pretty well. You can't give knee-jerk reactions when a kid just doesn't perform at a top level. I mean, he's trying to fight through it. A lot of us, if we were -- most of us, if we were trying to guard Dunn, it would take away from our offense. I mean, there's no question about it. Dunn I think is one of the best players in the country.
Also early foul trouble. Kyle had two fouls in the first five minutes, and you tend not to be as aggressive as far as attacking the basket, going into the post. You can get into a mode where you're a little bit more conservative because, you know, on the court you're a valuable asset even if it's not at a hundred percent.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about, you remember Joe Mazzulla from the last time you played West Virginia. Can you talk about him and have you seen him on film lately?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I just started when I got back last night. I stayed up and watched one of their games and watched another game this morning, one with him and one where he wasn't starting. You know, he had a phenomenal performance against us a couple years ago, almost a triple-double. They were good then, and they're really good now.
Mazzulla is just one of those really tough competitors. You know, he's a winner. He's going to fight you. I think as a result of that, his skill level isn't given enough credit. He's a good basketball player, in addition to being those things.
You know, I watched the Kentucky game when I got back last night. His drives in that game were phenomenal. You know, I mean, they were really good basketball plays. Someone says, Well, he's not a good scorer. Well, he scored pretty well; and he's not that good of a ball handler. Well, they didn't take it away from him and he made plays.
So I just think he's a good player. I think he's a really good basketball player, and he's going to fight you for the full 40 minutes.

Q. Also there's talk about whether or not 'Truck' Bryant would return. Would he pose any problems for you if he comes back?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, he's good, too. He's their starting point guard. I would expect him to be back, from what I've heard. That just gives them more depth. After Mazzulla played so well, sometimes when a kid has been out, a team becomes better, then he comes back and they've gone up a notch as a team.
Whether who starts or not, I think we have to be ready for both of those young men to play.

Q. There's so much made of Duke in terms of the popularity of the program. I know a lot of that has to do with the success of the program. I've read comparisons to the Yankees that people either love or hate them. Could you speak to that? Further, is there a certain type of makeup for a player when you're recruiting, that person has to understand what it means to wear that jersey in hostile environments?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think any program that's had continued high-level success, and we're not the only one, but there are a number of them in college basketball, you are going to have, especially in your conference, a target on you. I'm sure Kansas has it in their league. I think we have it and North Carolina have it in our league. Kentucky probably has it in their league. There are a number of programs who have that.
I think youngsters who come into the program have to know, and I think it's exciting for them to know, that every game they play will be an exciting one. You know, there usually aren't going to be any empty seats when you're playing. You're going to be watched a lot. As a result of being watched a lot, there are going to be people who really want you to win and really want you to lose.
I think that happens when any program at any level of sport that has continued success and high visibility. That's just going to happen. The thing that is different from the pros is you don't have the same guys. Jeter is not coming back for every year for us, and Rodriguez, that kind of stuff. You know, the young guys coming in have to try to understand that.

Q. You have some memories of Indianapolis, do you not?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Oh, yeah. I mean, great, great memories. We won our first national championship there. But I've always felt over the years that Indianapolis is as good a Final Four setting as any. Having it right downtown, Indianapolis is such a beautiful city, they've done a great job with their downtown area. I like a Final Four where you just walk around the city and then you walk right to the game. It just takes over the whole city.
I think Indianapolis does that. Obviously, Indiana, the state of Indiana, loves basketball. So it's just a great setting. Whether we were in it or not, I would say that about Indianapolis.

Q. In as much as Duke and West Virginia haven't played much in recent years, although they used to be regular annual foes, how much of a benefit would it be for either team to look back at that game of two years ago?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I would think both staffs will look at it. There's different players. The players who returned from that game are all different. I hope Mazzulla is different, and he's not gotten better than the way he played in that game. He's pretty good, but he was great in that game.
But, you know, we'll review that game just to try to recall. But for our team, it's not about, you know, Well, they beat us two years ago. That's too long. This is about the Final Four. It's about who each team is right now.
But we'll definitely look at it just to see, you know, are there any things that we did then, they still do, that kind of stuff. Also, you know, when you're coaching now, we don't play till Saturday, you're used to two-day preparation. We end up watching more tape than we should right now anyway, probably overprepare. I think that's what you got to guard against right now, trying not to overprepare.

Q. Is Da'Sean Butler better than he was two years ago, in your opinion?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I don't remember him that much. I don't remember that game that much, just that we got beat. We play a lot of games.

Q. He was a regular in that game.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I can tell you right now that from watching Butler throughout the year, but especially the two games I've watched since we won last night, Butler is one of the best players in the country. I mean, he's a great player, and a clutch player. I mean, there's nobody who's hit as many big shots as this kid. You know, he loves the moment. Having a guy like him on your team is what every coach would like. Bob does a great job of positioning him properly and getting him the ball.
He's a great, great player.

Q. You've had some great leaders in your tenure at Duke. Could you tell me where Jon Scheyer may rank among the good leaders you have and anything about his maturation has surprised you, whether being more vocal or more of a facilitator on offense since he came to your program?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know, nothing really surprises me about Jon. I love Jon. He's not just been a good leader; he's been a beautiful young man to coach. I mean, Jon has never had a bad day where he hasn't tried. He has a perpetual great attitude. That's infectious with his teammates. He's been a 2,000-point scorer at Duke, while being very unselfish. He's been willing to accept any role, which I think is leading by example, whether it be coming off the bench at times as a younger player, or being an off-guard, to now where he handles the ball.
But he's somebody that everyone loves on our team. So Jon is not a confrontational guy. But when he talks, all the guys respect what he says. He along with Lance Thomas have provided us outstanding leadership, because Lance is more emotional and gets in your face type of guy. Jon doesn't do that. Jon is not like that. Jon is emotional in more of a sentimental way, has such a good heart. Lance is more emotional in the other way.

Q. I know you said you haven't got to watch many games. West Virginia made it this far not shooting well. They've done it defensively. What have you seen that makes their defense look so tough?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we're two teams that have gotten this far without shooting it well. We haven't shot it well either.
I think it makes both of us as teams understand if we have a chance to win, we've got to play every possession on the defensive end and rebound. Although we play our defense in a little bit different manner, I think the motivation to play it, the motivation to rebound is the same. You know, we understand our offenses are not going to be as predictable as our defense in rebounding. So I think they're more athletic than we are. We're a little bit taller inside, but overall they have such good length. They use their length very well. They practice it.
Bob is one of the great coaches. You know, he's a good friend. His kids do what he asks them to do, and he asks them to do a lot, and he asks them to do it together. It shows on the defensive end of the court. They're a very unified team.
DAVE WORLOCK: Thank you Coach Krzyzewski. Safe travels. We'll see you soon.

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