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March 18, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

Mason Plumlee

Nolan Smith


Duke – 87
Hampton - 45

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I was really proud of our team. I thought we were very sharp for the full 40 minutes. You know, I think it showed the amount of respect we have for Hampton. To be champions of the MEAC and so well coached, good kids and we played really well today for the full 40 minutes. Very happy with our performance. I thought we were sharp throughout.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mason or Nolan.

Q. Mason, how important will it be for this team like last year's team for the bigs to start hitting the boards the sale way y'all did this game?
MASON PLUMLEE: It will be very important and Miles did a great job of that today, but just collectively as a group we have to stay on the back boards, and, I mean, there has to be a constant throughout this run.

Q. Mason, Coach Joyner just said that you and your brother move a lot better than he thought you would and that tape doesn't do you justice. How does that make you feel, and do you think that maybe you're starting to open some eyes?
MASON PLUMLEE: That was very nice of him to say. I thought we moved well, and, like I said, Miles coming away with 13 rebounds is huge, and, you know, Ryan taking charges, moving his feet defensively. I thought as a group we moved our feet really well on defense, not just the bigs but everybody and it started with our ball pressure.

Q. Nolan, just the talk a little bit about Kyrie's return and what allowed you guys to do defensively. It seemed like were you really extending and really picking them up deep and what you can do with the depth that he's given you, and also if you could talk a little bit about it about what you thought of him?
NOLAN SMITH: Kyrie looked good today. When he's on the court, he brings obviously another talented guard. We get to pick up defensively pressure and knowing that we have guys like Kyrie and Tyler that both can come in and do the same thing that myself is doing on the court, he played a great game today. In the second half he looked a lot more comfortable, just expect him to get better and better with more time:

Q. This is for Mason. Going back to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, I know coach had said that the bigs had become much more active. We saw it in the three games there offensively. Been strong defensively all year long. We saw some of the same things today. What, or if any, are you doing differently over these last four games to really become really active on the offensive end?
MASON PLUMLEE: I think it starts with the guards getting us the ball and in good positions to score as well as going after offensive rebounds. I think a lot of our points have come off of offensive rebounding. We just got to play strong, and when you're playing with good guards, they're going to find you and hit you in the right spots. We just have to be ready and finish strong.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student athletes? Okay. Thanks guys. Questions for coach.

Q. Mike, what was your impression of Kyrie out there today and how it will affect what he does on Sunday?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, the main thing is my total focus is not on Kyrie, it's on our team. So I thought our team was sharp and I thought Kyrie was sharp. Yeah, you can't come on the court after being out for three months and not having -- and only having very limited practice time and expect just to be fluid, but I thought as the game went along, we were fortunate we got him to play 20 minutes. And the way the game went along, because we were playing very well, we were able to have him in with the unit that he was -- has been practicing with. So that gave him familiarity, wasn't worried about getting in Nolan's way or anything like that. He could run a team.
I was really pleased. I thought he was very confident as it moved along, you know, just -- we're fortunate to get that many minutes for him.

Q. You seemed to do a lot of experimenting today. How much of that had to do with Kyrie and trying to get him back in with different people and different combinations?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We really didn't do much experimenting. Experimenting would be a difference defense, different offense, stuff like that. Rather, we're trying to in the first half see what kind of a rotation we might have using Kyrie, and then in the second half we weren't worried about a rotation, we were just worried about getting quality minutes for our bench and making sure that they're fully vested into this tournament.
So, those were really -- we didn't change -- actually, we didn't press in the second half. We never picked up full court in the second half. We only picked up half court, and that's pretty much what we've done all year. First half we tried to pick up full court, and it's not a thing that we do real well and I'm not sure that we'll be able to do that much of it, because you don't have much practice time and it's tough to make that change, you know, at this point in your season no matter who you have come back.

Q. Coach, I was wondering if you could talk about not necessarily obviously picking up full court, but defensively the guys were saying that now that you have more people in your guard rotation that you can pressure the ball even more than could you in the past. Can you talk about how that ball pressure helps you defensively and gets your fast break going?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: For man-to-man defense it all starts with ball pressure. Not just on the point, but at any part of the perimeter, even if a big guy is out there to pressure the ball.
If you do a good job of it, you can take away some vision. It's not so much vision of the offense -- vision of the offense and maybe force an offense outside of its normal area of deployment. To have more guys being able to do that, the better.
But, again, I still think the key to today's game, although we won by a lot of points, was Nolan'a pressure on the ball. You know, that's something that, you know, from the ACC Tournament we've -- we continue to do today, and it makes everybody more active defensively when you see the ball being attacked the way Nolan and then Kyrie was doing it but also Tyler was doing it today, also.

Q. When you looked at what Kyle Singler has done over the last, you know, 11, 12 games, his shots have been falling, just the 3point shot hasn't been going down. At what point does it become a mental thing for a kid when it's not going in?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No. He's fine. Kyle is all about winning. There's no -- really, there's not a kid that I've coached who is more about winning than him, and I'm not worried about any of his shots. He'll play really well no matter what. He's not a worry. He's coming back another year, then I wouldn't have to worry about him for another year. He's won 124 games in his college career, so he's pretty good. I'm sorry.

Q. Can you talk about how big it was today getting that valuable experience for your bench, getting to play quality minutes today?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yes. I think it's really important. I mean, you start a tournament and you never know how many games -- this might be your only game, and to get double figure minutes for ten guys is huge, you know, going into Sunday because they can play a number of people. They're a very -- John's -- John, I think is one of the great coaches in our country and they have quality kids and they play as one, but they have a good bench and getting minutes like this for our bench helps immensely.

Q. Last year your big guys played a key role at this time of the year. How would you assess where your guys are right now in that area?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Good. Our big guys are playing well. They're rebounding well, they're very efficient offensively, and I was really -- I was really interested in one of the things Mason said, you know, about moving their feet. For a kid to be able to say that, that means he's embraced that. We're not playing just up and down, we're playing laterally, and when you have big guys being able to play laterally, you're going to be a better basketball team, and they've done a good job of that.

Q. Coach, one of the changes you made a few games ago was to insert Miles in the starting lineup. He had 13 boards today, most of those in the first half. Talk a little bit about that change.
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know, we just felt we knew -- we need to be a little more athletic and physical. It -- it didn't have any impact on Ryan, you know, as far as his player ego or whatever. He's done very well since coming off the bench, and when we look at those three kids as three starters, both Plumlee and Ryan Kelly and Miles, I think in the last four games has 18 offensive rebounds, you know, and that's a lot. That's a lot. He would have had -- we didn't -- we hit a good percentage, and he didn't play very much in the second half, but I think he had three, four at halftime so it's been -- he's been very good. He's been very good for us.

Q. Back to the bench coach, can you talk about the decision --
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Put me back on the bench? Sounds like a command (laughter).

Q. Sorry about that.

Q. Back to thinking about the bench, I should say. Can you talk about the decision to sub in the groups of five versus just twos and threes as we have seen?
COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: The second half I was really pleased with our starters. You have a 17-point lead at halftime and held them to 22 points and you can get sloppy, and our guys played great in those first five minutes of the second half, and I just thought at that time we were -- even though y'all think we're going to win the game at halftime, I'm still not sure, but I think the way we're playing, we're going to win and that it would be better for us, for their minutes, to put them in a environment that they've been in in practice.
And actually our bench when they came in, they didn't score for about three minutes but they had great shots and they rebounded and they played defense. So I was pleased. I thought that was a good way of going through the rest of the half.
THE MODERATOR: One more question. All right. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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