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November 27, 2013

Mike Krzyzewski

Jabari Parker

Tyler Thornton


DUKE - 74

COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  We were tight offensively.  We got Jabari throwing really well.  I thought Quinn did a great job of controlling the game, and our captains, Tyler, Josh and Rodney, even though Rodney was in unbelievable foul trouble the whole game, really gave us the leadership that was needed, and then Rasheed helped us.  We beat a really about basketball team tonight and we are proud of our effort.

Q.  Jabari, the offense seemed to move so well through you; how have you been able to gel so quickly and so well?  Seems quite natural on the floor for you and your teammates.
JABARI PARKER:  I have a long way to go.  Need to stay sharp and be sharp at the beginning of the game.  I lacked that the first couple of minutes.  Nothing is ever too easy, and give me open looks whenever they look at Rodney or look at Q.  I try to get the opportunities as much as possible.

Q.  Jabari, your impressions of Madison Square Garden, your first time playing here, and the opportunity to play for a championship Friday night against Arizona?
JABARI PARKER:  Getting the W is the most important.  I have my own aspirations and my own dreams about playing here.  The team goal is just getting the win and that's all that matters and that's my mind‑set.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I'll answer the question about Friday's game.  We actually go one game at a time and I haven't given the scouting report in the last three minutes.

Q.  Given what you said about the team concept, individually you've had a number of big games in a row.  Did you expect that?  What did it feel like?
JABARI PARKER:  I just do whatever I have to do for my team.  Like I said, it's for my teammates.  They give me open feeds, open looks and all the things you don't know.

Q.  Was there some event in the past that you two were roommates‑‑ can you tell us what that was like and about your friendship with him?
JABARI PARKER:  We got a steady friendship.  We played with each other in the Under 16, Under 17 USA team.  We've just been good friends ever since then.  He's always a cool guy.  He comes from the West Coast and my dad was from out there for a long time, so we can relate a little.

Q.  When was that?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  The youth 16, USA Basketball.

Q.  Tyler, could you talk about the defensive mind‑set you guys brought into this game and how important it was to keep them out of the paint?
TYLER THORNTON:  They were a good driving team, very athletic.  They had a really good guard in Releford.  Quinn did an amazing job of staying in front of him and keeping him off the paint.  In the halfcourt we did a really good job of communicating and playing together and limiting them to one shot.

Q.  Were you satisfied with the way that your players came out and gave effort in the first half, considering what happened in the Vermont game?  There were a couple close games.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Teams play well against us.  It's a great opportunity for the sun to shine on a program, and so we have to expect that.  I have a young group, so they are not accustomed yesterday to seeing a team that's different from the team they see in tape.
And with Alabama, pretty much what they saw on tape is what they saw tonight, because Alabama's been playing well.  I was really proud of our defensive effort tonight, because we did not play well defensively in our last two games.  I thought we just felt we could out‑score and win those games, and we were fortunate to win both of them.

Q.  You talked a little bit yesterday about how important it is for this group to go through experiences together to come together and grow as a team.  How much was the overall trip in just playing another elite opponent on Friday like Arizona, like what you had in Kansas‑‑ to get better as a group when you leave New York?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, actually for both teams.  I think Alabama is going to be an NCAA team and Releford is one of best guards in the country and they are well coached.
Arizona is older and they are really big for us.  Over the years, we have always played really difficult schedules and this year is no different.  I'm just glad we have an opportunity to play for a championship.
I mean, that experience, not just playing against a very talented and‑‑ Arizona is probably ahead of some other teams.  Arizona, Michigan State, because they have guys who have played prominent roles, back.  And then they have added a great guard and a great wing to their lineup, and so they are big.
It will be‑‑ it will be like different, completely different, from playing this game.  These guys are drivers, more perimeter.  Although Jacobs had a really good game.  But they really‑‑ they can post three guys from their starting lineup.  They post their front line.  You know, that's where we are not real big.  That will be interesting how we try to get that going.

Q.  Wanted to follow up on what I asked Jabari, I know you had 27 tonight, and looked like it came natural, but in your opinion did he put the team on his shoulders, or were those points and what he did, did it come within the throw of the offense?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  No, it's the flow of the offense to go through him a lot.  And we had incredible foul trouble with Rodney.  I mean, usually it's the two of them, and Rodney played nine minutes in the first half and then disjointed minutes in the second half and so we went to Jabari even more.
I tell you what, what Matt Jones did was huge in this game, and then Quinn scoring.  Quinn can be either the leading scorer or the second or third leading scorer in a ballgame.  So Quinn has to shoot the ball.  I thought his shots in the first half, those threes, were huge for us.

Q.  I know that it never got to be a one‑possession game but in the second half Alabama seemed to be effective using its full‑court pressure on you.  Is how you guys dealt with that a concern at all for you?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, it was about a half hour ago, because they are good at it, and they were desperate.  And then once we is got into a rhythm against it, then we scored against it.  We had two huge shots against their pressure the last four minutes, lay‑ups, and then Tyler made an amazing play to get that steal and lay‑up.  To me that kind of said it. 
But we are concerned about anything.  You know, in a game, they are going to do something good against you; unless you're playing somebody really bad.  And they did that better than we did for awhile and then we finally broke it.
I thought our defense overall‑‑ in fact, we gave up 22 points on turnovers, okay, and we only allowed 64, so that meant our halfcourt defense was very good.  Our halfcourt defense gave up 42 points tonight.  That's the best that we've played halfcourt defense.

Q.  You've had so much great success over the years in this building.  Do you talk about the importance of coming here and what it means, or does it just speak for itself?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  No, it's really important.  We love New York.  We play one of our home games here every year.  It's an honor to come to New York and play in the Garden.  I mean, are you kidding me?  And I want every one of my guys to have that experience on a yearly basis, if possible.
Kids dream, and coaches dream, of playing in this place.  I played in it when it opened.  By the way, it opened a long time ago.  And it was an honor as a player to be in it, and then whenever I had a chance as a coach‑‑ there's something about the place.
Even with the shootaround this afternoon, and just the way the court is lit, the sound, how the ball bounces; there are different sounds here.  You all don't think of it that way, but every once in awhile, if you were in a gym, like Cameron sounds different where we play and the Garden sounds different; the Horn sounds different.  And it's all good.  Those are things that people recall when they think of their playing days.  So it's a great experience for us.

Q.  How do you help a team develop a killer instinct?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  First of all, by having killers.  I mean, that's the best thing.
Are you suggesting that we don't have a killer instinct?

Q.  They made a 12‑0 run to commandeer an 18‑point lead.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I would say that we are playing a good team.
So when you watch basketball‑‑ like tomorrow, there will be numerous games on, and check how many teams will that leads and somebody comes back on them.  And you would probably ask‑‑ would you ask that same question of all those coaches who lost in runs?
I know you cover football, baseball, basketball and a number of sports.  In our game there's a thing called runs, okay.  And we're 6‑1, and obviously we had a little bit more run than someone else.
It's too bad you couldn't give credit for someone who played really well tonight.  Like when that does happen, where a team doesn't fold, it's spectacular.  A lot of teams in that situation would lose a game.  I guess we had enough killer instinct to survive and win by ten points.
I'm very, very proud of my team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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