Atlantic Coast Conference Operation Basketball

Wednesday October 25, 2017

Grayson Allen

Duke Blue Devils

Q. You sticking around and seeing all these different teams that have come through, what are the challenges in basically meeting a new freshman class every year and trying to make them gel immediately because you've seen the importance of that?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Yeah, well, the difficulty is learning to play with a brand new group of guys each year. That's pretty much what it's been. But we have to gel really fast, and I think Coach does a great job of doing that. It starts with leadership with them, but then it's a lot of stuff that our captains have to do.

My freshman year, Quinn did a great job of that, and that's part of the reason we were so successful. And then thankfully we've had great leaders, and now this year it's a little different. We only have one senior, and that's me. But the freshmen are doing a great job of listening and learning, and they want to understand, but the challenge is they've never played a college basketball game before, and that makes up half of our team right now. So we have to prepare them as best we can for it.

Q. Kind of along the same lines, have you picked up any clues as to how this group is relative to the ones you've been a part of so far? What do you look for to know? Or does that only show up once the games begin?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Yeah, it's hard. You can't really tell until games start, and it's still really tough to compare groups. What I have seen from practice, though, is this is an extremely talented group, so stuff that they don't do yet like talk, might be a little bit late on defense, but they can still make the play because they're talented. But we're just trying to get them to the place where they're in the right spot, and they'll be even better. But they are an extremely talented group, and I think that they're all going to be ready from the start of the season.

We've had great practices, and like in our blue-white game that we just had, that's always close. We're challenging each other in practice, and I think that's a really good thing.

Q. The days of one-and-done, you've stuck around, you've decided to finish your college career. What's your reasoning behind that and sticking around and seeing your entire college career through?
GRAYSON ALLEN: I never saw myself as a one-and-done to begin with. When I was coming into college, I figured I would be here for four years, and so as each year went by, that was still kind of in the back of my mind. A big part of it was I wanted to get my degree. I wanted to finish. Part of the reason why I'm back this year. It was always really important to my family, and so that's one of the big things I wanted to do.

And there's also -- there's nothing like being at Duke, nothing like playing in Cameron, and so I'm going to use every last ounce of eligibility I can to stay there.

Q. You said you're the lone senior; captaincy is a serious deal at Duke. You lost it last year. Did you have to earn it back in any tangible way, or was that kind of you're the senior, you need to be this guy?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, I had to earn it back, and part of it is being the senior, I also had to be that guy. It was part of earning -- it was showing Coach that I wanted to lead, and then the other part of it was gaining the trust from my teammates over the summer and during workouts that they trusted me to lead and they had the confidence in me.

But I'm very confident that I can do that this year and very confident to lead this young group.

Q. It was alluded to earlier that you've played with a lot of different guys. The count is 30. There have been 30 different student-athletes that you've played alongside of. Is there any one of those that gave you a sense of student leadership that has helped prepare you for this season?
GRAYSON ALLEN: That might be a record. But I think my freshman year, the one who had the biggest impact on me was, Quinn just because when I came in as a freshman I was so quiet, never spoke. I could walk into the locker room and just be completely quiet. And it wasn't because I had anything against the guys, I was just shy and kind of nervous being at Duke. Quinn made it a point to try to talk to me every day, get me out of my comfort zone, and that was -- and at the time I was ninth or tenth guy on the team. So I think that type of leadership was big. Quinn led from the top of the group with Jahlil and all the way down to me who probably wasn't going to play at all during the season. So that really stuck to me, and that's something that I try to do this year on this team.

Q. Coach talked about this thing called Whoop that you all have. Can you talk about that and the other technologies that you all are using this year?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Yeah, so the Whoop band measures strain in recovery. The big thing it does, I think, for us is our recovery and sleep, tracks the quality of sleep, how much sleep you're actually getting. Like for me a big thing was if I go to bed, if I'm in bed for eight hours, I'm really not getting eight hours of sleep. It's like six and a half, something like that. So it's been really helpful for us and kind of knowing our bodies and knowing everything that it takes to recover.

We use a lot of other technology during practice, a lot of stuff that tracks our motion and movement, tracks the load that's being put on our bodies during practice, and the coaches are using it to just measure our workload, make sure we're not doing too much, and at the same time not doing too little. So I think it's been a really good tool for us, especially this summer when we're doing conditioning and not really playing any games.

Q. The blue-white game back on Friday, Alex O'Connell looked very comfortable on the floor, packed house, of course, at Cameron. Is he nervous? What type of player do you think he'll be this year? What are you seeing in the locker room and so on?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, he hasn't been nervous, and that's been a great thing. He had an incredible week of practice leading up to countdown. He's cutting off the ball, he's making a lot of different plays, offensive rebounds. He's understanding to learn how to make plays without the ball, and I think that's one of the big things for our team. If he continues to do that, he'll definitely get on the floor. Making plays without the ball, playing defensively and just being active, that's a big thing for our team and something that we need.

Q. Which freshman that you've seen is kind of as-advertised, and you say, yeah, he backs up the hype?
GRAYSON ALLEN: A lot of them do. I think the one that stands out a lot is Marvin, just because of his size and athleticism, and you don't see that a lot. When I first met him, I was surprised to see that like this guy is actually 6'11", and yeah, his head is going to be above the rim on almost everything. That's something you learn to play with. I mean, in countdown, when I saw him running down the middle, I threw the ball way too high, and he still went and got it. It's a luxury for me. I can make some bad passes and he'll still make them look good. But it's really incredible to see some of the stuff he does around the rim.

Q. You've got so many players. How many players will Coach play this year?
GRAYSON ALLEN: That question is better suited for Coach than me. I have no idea. But I mean, as you saw, I keep going back to as -- you saw in the blue-white game, we have a really deep team, and it's close talent-wise, and that's why really any five that we put out there is going to be close matched up against each other.

I have confidence in guys from top to bottom, but you have to ask Coach how many will actually get out there.

Q. Fill in the blank: I, Grayson Allen, will be successful this year if...
GRAYSON ALLEN: If this team plays together. I think that's the biggest thing, and all the guys want to. We actually have to put it together, and it's tough to do because when you're a freshman, you come in and you've been the best player on your team your whole life, and so for me, that's an adjustment I had when I came in freshman year was learning to play with guys that were a lot better than me. And so this year all the guys on this team have to learn to play with each other, use each other's talents and skills, and it's going to be really important, and a lot of that responsibility is on me to lead.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #166 at 2017-10-25 12:50:00 GMT

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