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March 20, 2014

Rodney Hood

Mike Krzyzewski

Jabari Parker


MODERATOR:  We are ready to begin the portion of the news conference for the Duke student‑athletes.  We have Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood with us.  We'd like to open up thefloor for questions for the student‑athletes.  Anyone?

Q.  Rodney, when you came to Duke, is this kind of the type of games you pictured yourself playing in?  Do you feel like this is vindicating your decision?
RODNEY HOOD:  Most definitely.  You know, one of the reasons I came to Duke is to get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament, to be on this stage.  I'm very excited.  Me and the team are well prepared, and I'm just excited to be here.

Q.  A lot of people consider you guys veterans, but this is actually both of you guys' first NCAA tournament; is that correct?  Can you just elaborate on that, what it's going to feel like playing for the first time in it?
JABARI PARKER:  It will be very exciting, something to look forward to, but I don't want to pass up any teams and look over them.  And try to look forward to the next game.  I just got to take it step by step.  Me and Rodney been talking about it ever since conference play.  We want to put ourselves in a good situation.

Q.  Kind of piggybacking on Mark's question, the Mercer team's got a lot of seniors and they were talking about the urgency of their one and only shot of getting into the tournament and playing here.  Not revealing anything that you have planned in the future, but there's a chance that this could be your one and only shot at this.  How much of a sense of urgency do both of you guys have for this tournament?
RODNEY HOOD:  Every team has a sense of urgency.  This could be‑‑ we're treating it like our last game because if we lose, it is.  They have a great team.  They won their conference.  A lot of older guys, guys that have been playing together for a long time.  We know it's a big task ahead of us.  We just got to come and compete and we know they're going to come and compete.  I think it will be an exciting game.
JABARI PARKER:  Just like Rodney said, they're a team with a lot of experience.  They are kind of looking forward to the game too, because it's their first appearance for a long time.  So we're going to try to treat it like them, like me and Rodney, because this may be the last time we might play together with the guys on the team.

Q.  For both of you guys, you guys have had, at least at points during this season, some tumultuous moments, especially during the December‑January period.  Can you just talk a little bit about what that was like for you guys as a team, and perhaps more specifically what it was like for Coach K to make his way through?
RODNEY HOOD:  It's been an exciting season.  We had some letdowns and we had some great moments.  I think right now, all those times were for this moment right now, just to be at our best at this time.  We're looking forward to the challenge.  We're starting out with a great team and we're not looking past anybody.  They're a really good team and we got to come to play.  There's no easy games in this tournament and this is our first time being here, me and Jabari.  So it's going to be exciting, but we got to be prepared.

Q.  For either of you guys, the lower seeded teams tend to dream about being the teams that knock off a big name school like Duke.  Is there pressure on you guys in these early games to avoid being one of those teams that gets knocked off?
JABARI PARKER:  I think it's pressure if we put it on ourselves.  If we think we're going to come out and lose, then that mentality is going to stick with us.  If we come out positive, we treat it like a No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed, just like they look at us.  So we can do big things against the game.
MODERATOR:  Any other questions?  Gentlemen, thank you very much.  Good luck this weekend.
We're now ready to start the coach's segment of the Duke press conference.  At this time, we'll go ahead and open up the floor for questions for Coach Krzyzewski.  Raise your hand if you have a question.

Q.  Hi, Coach.  I know this isn't your hometown, but it's certainly your home turf.  So I'm just wondering how you feel about playing before the crowd here tomorrow.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  We feel great.  We'd feel great no matter where we play.  When you're in the NCAA tournament, you should always feel that it's a privilege.
This area is enjoying a bonanza as far as the NCAA tournament is concerned because of having four teams from our 919 area code in it.  It's unbelievable.
Again, for us, the main thing was to, after playing in the ACC championship game on Sunday, you play those three games in 40 hours.  It's good to play on Friday instead of Saturday ‑‑ I'm sorry, Friday instead of Thursday, and not have to travel.  So that's the main thing.

Q.  The matchup tomorrow kind of strange in that you're the power conference, but you're a small, quick team.  They're the mid‑major, but they're a big, powerful individual team.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, they're a veteran team.  They're a team that's won not just this year but in multiple years and they've won together.  Extremely well coached.  They make each other better.  And Hall, really Hall would be an outstanding guard in this league.  I think any team in our league would like to have Hall.  He's the player of the year in their conference.
And Coursey, inside, the defensive player of the year, he's just‑‑ he knows how to play.  Reminds me a lot of the youngster Sherman from Notre Dame, who if he gets the ball inside, he's very poised and knows what to do.
They're surrounded.  Gollon, you know, is an emotional leader.  White has been extremely hot.  They play‑‑ they can play 10, 11 guys and they're all older guys and have played a lot of minutes in college.

Q.  Coach, I want to go back to what you talked about a second ago, about the four teams from the area, and ask you specifically about N.C. Central.  I know they use your facility some.  Can you tell us how that developed and how close you are with Coach Moton?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Really close.  Right after they made it, I texted with him and congratulated him.  And he comes over at times for practice during the off‑season.  He's a good friend.
Our whole school does a lot with Central, and we're both in Durham together.  So we're lucky we have two great universities in one town.  How many towns can say that?
But LeVelle's done an incredible job with his team and Central has had a good history in basketball, but they just became Division I over the last few years.  For him to take them to the tournament this quickly is kind of incredible.

Q.  Coach, I know you've addressed it in the past and have said you're planing on sticking around for an extended period of time.  Given the up‑and‑down nature of this last season for you as a team and, more specifically, for you personally, has retirement in any way, shape or form entered your mind?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Did my wife ask you to ask me that or what?  No, I'm not thinking of retirement.  And it's not been an up‑and‑down season.
I mean, every college coach expends a lot of emotional energy during the season.  A number of coaches have things that happen in their family lives that, just like other people, lawyers, doctors, businesspeople.  You just have to be able to handle that.  That's part of that thing called life, I guess, is what they call it.

Q.  Could you compare Parker's game with that of Carmelo Anthony and talk about freshmen taking on so much of the pressure of the NCAA tournament?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I've coached Carmelo over the last eight, nine years.  Carmelo's one of the great players in the NBA.  Not just now, but ever.  And one of the amazing‑‑ maybe as good an individual scorer as there is.  He and Kevin Durant.
Jabari's going to be an outstanding pro.  He's in the process of development.  To compare the two now, there is no comparison.  But in three, four, five years, Jabari, I think, will be a franchise player.  He'll be a‑‑ he'll be one of those guys that scores‑‑ he'll be a 25‑point‑a‑game scorer, I think, in the NBA.  But he's still developing.  He's a long way from that.  A long way doesn't mean many, many years.  He's just a long way in having the opportunity to experience the game at different levels so then you can adjust.
Like he's still experiencing this level, where there's more contact, the way the game is officiated, the way defenses go at you.  And he'll have to do that when he goes to the pros and adjusts to playing with men.  But the future is extremely bright for him.
As far as the nature of our game right now, with so many young kids leaving, it really adds to the, I think, the heightened interest of the tournament in that Mercer is a team that can beat us, definitely.  Mercer's a team that can beat a lot of people.  Not just us.
There are teams who are seeded in double digits in this tournament that can give any team, in that one shot, a run for its money and beat them.  That wasn't the case a decade ago.  It was the exception.  Now it's the norm because of the age difference, the experience of playing together difference, all those things.  Those are the things that have brought all these teams closer together in college basketball.

Q.  You've built a culture of Duke around defense and it's something that's become kind of part of your program's identity.  This season, your defense has been pedestrianby the standards that you've set in the past.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I don't know what that means.

Q.  Average.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Are we a pedestrian that gets hit by a car when we cross the street?  In Chicago, we don't use that pedestrian thing.

Q.  I'm curious how you've had to deal with that and adjust to that, not being up to the standard you set.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Really, at times we've been outstanding.  After our Clemson game, for a stretch of really about seven weeks, all of a sudden, we were 1‑2.  And then we really played outstanding basketball.  Part of it was that our defense picked up.
Again, I think it shows the‑‑ if you have a veteran team, you kind of pick up those habits and they stay with you.  I really think when we had that break of eight days after we played five games in 11 days towards the end of February, we lost a little bit of something defensively.  Part of it is that your back's not up against the wall during those eight days.  You're probably feeling pretty good.  You're going to be in the tournament and all that kind of stuff.
For a younger team to play really good defense, I think they have to feel the sense of urgency more.  A veteran team can feel it, but their habits are already grounded.  I mean, they‑‑ when they get tired, a veteran team gets tired, it reverts to its best habit, which is probably good defense.
A younger team, when it gets tired, reverts back to an old habit, which is not playing.  And that's kind of our team.  It has nothing to do with attitude or anything like that.  It has to do with being a human being and human nature and how long you get a chance to play together.
We've tried this week to get back to being a better defensive team.  I thought really, in the ACC tournament, we were a good defensive team until the second half of Virginia.  And I thought we got tired.  And Virginia can do that to you.  Also, the tournament did.
Then we gave up points too easy and in critical times where we had a lead, a one‑point lead or possession lead.  Even then we couldn't find the wherewithal to not be pedestrian.
I wanted to get that back in there.  I'm going to tell my buddies that.  I'm going to call my buddy Mo and say, you know, our team's going to try not to be pedestrian.  Then he's going to check me into a clinic.

Q.  Coach, I remember after the Clemson game last year, Rasheed didn't play particularly well and then right out to the floor to start shooting again.  Has that attitude helped him through some of the ups and downs you've faced?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Yeah, Rasheed‑‑ all of our guys have good attitudes.  They're young, developing players.  All of them.  Tyler isn't now, or Josh.  But Andre is who he is.  But Rodney's still developing.  Jabari is really developing.
So they're going to have ups and downs in performance.  But their attitudes have been really good.  I mean, this has been a good group of kids to coach, and they're a lot better now than they were two months ago and a whole lot better than they were in November.
They're still not as good as I would like them to be, but the clock and‑‑ the clocks stop right here.  Just whoever you are right now, you've got to show it.  Hopefully that will be good enough to do a good job tomorrow.

Q.  Obviously, each year is unique and each team is unique.  Can you give us a couple things maybe on and off the court that are unique about this year's team?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I've already said a lot of those things.  I don't know.  I would just be repeating myself, really.  The youth, the fact that our two most talented players are in their first year of playing for me.  I don't know when that's happened.  Dawkins and Ojeleye, you know.  I mean, so it's‑‑ that's very unique.  But that's just the way it can work now.
I mean, year to year, a program that's been fortunate to have the stature that we've had over these last three decades, our programs are going through constant change.  Constant change.
We have to be very adaptable to that change, and hopefully we make the adjustments and adapt well and give our teams a chance to try to win a National Championship.

Q.  Coach, I wanted to follow‑up on the same thing about how the game and your program has had to change over the years.  There's obviously a gap between the Kentucky model where you bring in a bunch of one‑year, one‑and‑dones and the model that, say, Mercer has, they're all seniors that grew up together.  Where do you try to walk the line now with your program between getting guys that are very possibly one‑and‑dones, but also getting guys that will stay and develop?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  I think most of the NCAA still has the model of guys who are going to be four‑year players.  The only thing that disrupts that is instant gratification, where a kid‑‑ where they're transfers and there are more transfers now.
The other thing that can mess up a program is the rule of the fifth‑year player, you know, we're leaving.  So programs that have built and all of a sudden you lose a guy in the fifth year to a major program.
We have to try to get the best players.  We don't know that they're‑‑ if they're one, two, three, or four and done.  And then we adjust accordingly.
During the '80s, Amaker and Dawkins and those guys were going to be there.  In the early '90s, a guy like Hill could have gone, didn't.  For us it changed in the late '90s, and we've been trying to adapt accordingly since.  Overall, we're still pretty good.
But to do the stuff that you did then, it's almost impossible, I think.  I mean, year to year.  But you strive to.  For us, we would like to contend for a National Championship each year.  I'm not saying you can do that, but you would like to attempt to do that.  That's a lofty goal.  So then you're judged‑‑ we're judged by that lofty goal that we set for ourselves.
But I'll tell you this, I've been proud of all my teams.  My teams‑‑ and I'm proud of this team.  They've won a lot of games.  They've won big games.  Our guys are in huge games.  Tomorrow is a huge game for us.
I'd like to end by saying the amount of respect we have for Mercer and their program is as high as it can be.  We know that tomorrow's game is going to be a very difficult game, and we hope that we're ready for it.
If we're fortunate enough to win, then we'll get ready for whoever's next.  That's the way you got to do it nowadays.  It's not given to you.  It's not given to you.  You got to keep earning it.  But because of what we've done‑‑ a lot of people think these guys have done that, that this group of guys have done that.  They haven't done it.
Rodney and Jabari, this is their first NCAA tournament.  Just like for the guys at Mercer.  For Mercer, all those kids, it's their first NCAA tournament.  For a number of our guys, for almost half our team, it's our first NCAA tournament.  So I hope it's a good one for us.  All right?  Thank you for introducing that‑‑
MODERATOR:  I'm afraid that's all the time we have, Coach.  Thank you very much.  Good luck this weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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