home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


November 23, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

Mason Plumlee

Tyler Thornton


Duke – 68
Kansas – 61

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, any opening comments?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  It was just a great basketball game.  Both teams were so deserving of winning, and that's what makes a great basketball game where so many kids are making big plays.
The physicality, clean physicality of the game, the crowd, the kids responded from both teams.  I thought our defense really picked up in the second half.
I thought the key guy to the game was Mason.  You know, Mason really played like such a man with physicality and size.  When you're playing with a guy that's playing that hard and that demonstrative it gives you confidence.  It gives you a lot of confidence.
I think it started with him.  It's tough to single out anybody else, but I'm telling you just effort‑wise, I've done this a long time, that was the key to the game.  I know he didn't make the all‑tournament team or whatever, but he made my team.  We don't win this championship without him.
Then the little guy next to me, yeah, I thought his three to put us up by two.  Johnson made such a big shot, and it could have knocked you out.  Instead we came down, and Tyler just drained that three.
The shot he hit at the end of the clock‑‑ there have been about five times in the last two games or in the last five seconds of the shot clock we have a color that we call out that you've just got to get a shot off.
We call a color, and he always had the ball.  Four of the five times we scored, and the fifth time I thought he might have even gotten a foul.  But the last one we called the color, and it's a dream shot.  I mean, we're lucky.  People say it's a lucky shot, but I will tell you I'm lucky to have him on my team to shoot the shot.
Sometimes you're just on a bus with a guy who deserves to win, and for that moment we were on his bus.  Thank goodness he knew how to drive it.
Proud of my team.  Honor to play Kansas always, and Bill's team.  They're terrific and our kids were terrific, and we were fortunate enough to win.

Q.  Coach, what is it about this arena that just brings out the best in you guys?  Can you recall in your other trips here a better atmosphere than tonight?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  This was as good an atmosphere as you could have, really.  Unless you're at someone's home court for that home team.  That's what makes Maui.  You can watch these other tournaments, and it's never full, right?  I mean, it's good basketball, but the atmosphere just isn't there, and that's why it's been a real honor for us to be here.
You have to be a little bit fortunate to win five of these and win all the games.  It means a lot of our guys have made good plays.  I'm happy for Ryan, for the big guys.  They can now tell Wojo he's not the only Duke player on the wall.  Ryan can kind of‑‑ I'm not sure he'll have guts to do that though.  We've loved being in the tournament.  It's so well run and classy all the way.

Q.  Tyler, how would you describe the final shot you had?
TYLER THORNTON:  When Seth kicked me the ball, I looked at the shot clock, it was 3 seconds, and I just tried to get up a good shot.  Once it left my hands, I kind of thought it was going to be good and luckily it was.  There were a lot of plays leading up to that play that we did on defensive ends.  That was very important.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  You're not going to talk about the screen we set for you on that?

Q.  Coach Self said he might not have been able to see the rim on that last shot.  Did you see the rim?
MASON PLUMLEE:  I saw the rim.  But it was a tough shot.  I think Johnson was on me.  He contested really well.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  It's right in front of our bench.  When he shot, it looked good.  Obviously it was good.  I couldn't believe he got the shot off.  I mean, getting the shot off was the main thing because then you keep the clock running.  Got a chance for an offensive rebound.  It going in was obviously amazing.

Q.  Tyler, how you come in and get nine shots, where did you get the confidence?
TYLER THORNTON:  We shoot those shots every day in practice.  I don't get as many opportunities to shoot those, but I'm always ready whenever the opportunity comes and I'm open, I knock those shots down.

Q.  Coach, you were pretty demonstrative trying to fire your team up early in the second half.  What was your thought process there?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I want to win.  I wanted them to see that I haven't retired yet.  That it's important for me and for them, for us, for this team.  They see me emotional a number of times, but with this emotion, it was all four of them.  Sometimes it's against them or fighting something that they're not doing well.  But we were all together tonight.  It was a cool thing.  I loved the way we played in the second half and competed.  It was such a bond there tonight.
That's the beauty of basketball when that happens.  Win or lose, it was a good thing for our team today.

Q.  Coach, coming here into Maui, did you ever think Ryan Kelly would be MVP of the Maui Invitational?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I really think Ryan's going to be one of the best players when he finishes up.  He's going to be a pro.  I didn't know.  I was just hoping he'd win some games here.  You don't know if you're going to win the whole thing, so I don't think of MVP and that.
But any of the guys that start for us, because we're balanced, could have been.  Ryan I think was deserving for three straight days in what he did, but he wouldn't be MVP if Mason didn't play well tonight.  If we didn't win, he wouldn't be MVP.  So that's the kind of balance we have on our team, and he knows that, and these guys know it too.
But they're happy for him.  They're really happy for him.

Q.  Coach, that bond that developed in the second half that you spoke of, where was that most evident?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  On the defensive end of the court.  We held them to 26 points in the second half.  I thought they outplayed us in the first half.  Not that we were playing poorly, but they were really very good.  We were kind of fortunate to be down by only four.
But then in the second half, we played a little bit better, and it showed up on the defensive end.  Really with the physicality of Mason wanting the ball inside, just, I don't know, it's just one of those neat things that happens in competition.
For these guys to experience it as key players, that's really the first time for Mason at this level.  It's usually with Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving and Jon Scheyer.  It's a big day for Mason.  I thought he leaped a couple levels tonight.
The only way you do that is experiencing it.  It's not coaching.  The kid does it.  He did that tonight.  I could talk about him for a long time tonight.  It's one of the beautiful things in coaching when you get to see a kid do that.

Q.  Mason, why don't you make a few comments.  Coach has said some nice words about you and you obviously played a great game.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I said some great words about him.
MASON PLUMLEE:  Well, like Coach said, we wouldn't have won if it wasn't for everybody.  It's a great feeling.  We couldn't be happier.  I think the thing that's neat about our team is everybody's happy for each other.
There's not one guy that wouldn't say they're ecstatic about Ryan making MVP.  Austin making All‑Tournament team.  There is not one more guy on the team that was more deserving of hitting those shots than Tyler.  Seth had a great week.
It was such a great three days.  I felt like we knew a little bit about ourselves coming here, but this couldn't have been a better tournament for our team not just in terms of winning it, but wait we played and the way we finished it was just awesome.  It was fun to be a part of.

Q.  Coach, Austin makes the All‑Tournament team, but at the end of the game, you have Tyler Thornton on the floor.  Just curious about your thought process?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Just defensively we needed it.  Austin had four, and he got banged up on his shoulder a little bit.  It wasn't that we were‑‑ he didn't do anything wrong.  It was just that team out on the court was so good defensively that you didn't want to mess up with it.
He's fine with it.  He'll win a lot of games for us, and he has.  That's why he made All‑Tournament team.  He's played well here.

Q.  What were your impressions of Kansas today?  How good do you think they can be by March?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Like for all of us, we've got to stay healthy.  They're not as deep as they normally are, but their first six or seven are really good.  You have Robinson, and you can do a lot of things because he gives you strength and points and physicality.
Their perimeter can really defend.  They can really defend.  They're big, they're tall.  They're not 6'1", they're 6'4", 6'3", and Bill's one of the best coaches and a good friend.  I think he'll have a lot of fun watching this team grow.  I think it will keep getting better because they have good character and we do too.

Q.  What's it like to have (Inaudible) on the court next to you?  And the confidence that he has for the next game?
STUDENT‑ATHLETE:  He's so calm under pressure.  You'll notice at the end of games a lot of times they just pop him up to the top because a lot of guys can't stay in front of him.  He's one of our best free‑throw shooters.
So having a guy like that that's dependable and you know what you're going to get every day.  He was consistent all three days.  Like you said, that does give you confidence.  I know I love playing with him.
TYLER THORNTON:  He's a very smart player.  He does the little things.  At the end of the game, that's what's most important, especially with the games that are really tight.  You can always count on him.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Thanks to Dave Odum and Lynn for hosting this.  They did it well.  I was a little bit suspect having a, you know, a retired coach throwing this, but you guys did a great job.  Thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297