Atlantic Coast Conference Operation Basketball

Wednesday October 25, 2017

Mike Krzyzewski

Duke Blue Devils

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Mike Krzyzewski with Duke.

Q. What do you like about this team? What's different about it than previous teams?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, it's becoming a team. It's not a team yet. Hopefully starting Friday night when we play our first exhibition game we'll be able to blend where you can actually use your team. Right now, the guys play against one another.

I like our attitude. I like the fact that we're not injured. We haven't been injured, which we were last year.

They want to learn. I think Grayson's done a good job of leading them thus far. Again, he has to pick that up now that we're going to be getting into games.

But we're big. We're the youngest team we've had since the early '80s, but we're very athletic. And just an average shooting team right now. Hopefully we'll be a great rebounding team.

Q. Just speak on the evolution of Grayson Allen and obviously he has a big leadership role this year, just what you can say how he's grown throughout the years for you.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Grayson is a great player and a great kid to coach. I think the fact that he's been through every part of being on a team -- it's hard to believe that he had DNPs as a freshman where he did not play.

And going into the NCAA Tournament, his freshman year he was averaging eight minutes a game. So I think he has the empathy that's needed to know what it is not to play, to be a part-time player and to be a star.

He also knows what the spotlight does for you when things are going good. And he knows what the spotlight does for you when they're not going good.

So probably no other kid in college basketball has been through that myriad of experiences. And they're all in some respects very, very good experiences. And hopefully what he's learned from all of them will benefit the guys that he has a chance to lead this year.

Q. Looking at your roster, I'm seeing 6'9", two 6'10" and two 6'11" -- how long has it been since you had a team of this size? Have you ever had a team with this much size?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It reminds me of Bobby Cremins' most talented teams that overcame some of the lack of coaching that was evident at Georgia Tech during that time. He's in the spotlight over there. I couldn't help it.

It's a big team. Like, when we play Friday night, four of our top seven guys that will be playing will be 6'9" and above. But they don't run like that. They run like that. And hopefully they'll learn to coordinate their running so that they can play really well together.

I think we could be a really good defensive team where we protect the basket, hopefully not give up second shots and able to cover -- be a real wide and athletic team.

So it's not just up and down height, it's width. I think we can be a wide team. And hopefully that's what that height will translate into. We always play fast?

Q. (Off microphone)?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, they can jump. Very good verticals. I can't quote them here. I'll bring my analytics guy next time and he'll pop those words out to you.

Q. First off, when playing Louisville this year, how weird is it going to be to not see Rick Pitino on the sidelines? And number two, as your team did recently when you took a moment back for health reasons, how challenging is it going to be for Louisville to adjust to a different voice this year?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I'll tell you when we play Louisville what it is. You're asking questions that my wife and daughters ask. Like, how are you going to feel when that happens? And I'd rather wait until it happens and then tell you how I feel.

Rick is a great friend and been one of the great coaches in the history of our game. So it's not just Louisville missing him, not just the ACC missing him. It's college basketball missing one of the greats.

As far as adjustment, the best way to adjust is to have good players. And the one thing Louisville does have is really good players. And they have, along with those players, a tremendous tradition of excellence in playing together and playing hard.

And sometimes in these situations that element, those elements combined with the fact that it's an unusual situation, can produce really good results. And that's what I would expect would happen from Louisville.

Q. Grayson, I thought, gave an interesting answer when I asked him about what type of captain you wanted him to be. He said you acknowledged different types of leadership but that you want to pull parts of leadership out of him, too. He's not naturally a vocal guy. Do you need your captain to be that way?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we need him -- one, I think leaders are different. Not just think, but I know leaders are different. And the very first way that Grayson has led the team is through example of hard work, paying attention to what we want to have done and showing up for every play.

The second way is to impart leadership not just on the court but in the locker room or at a pause where it's individual or collective leadership.

On the court, the way I see it is I don't want him leading when we're on offense. I want him hunting his shot and being one of the most, one of the best offensive weapons in college basketball. That's what I want him to be.

Defensively I want him to talk, and when there's stop action -- free throw, any type of a break -- to get his guys together either individually or collectively. And I want them to then hear him when that game is going on.

And so we've talked about that. And we have to practice it because that's not something that he's done in the past.

Q. We noted with Grayson this morning, he's played with 30 different teammates since his freshman year. You are part psychologist; you are part sociologist. How do you get your arms around that many personalities and learning how to work with a different team?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, again, this is my 43rd year as a head coach, 38th at Duke. You adapt to the changing landscape that college basketball affords you. And it's afforded our program a really neat landscape.

And the last few years, it means that you're going to have a new team every year, basically. And if we're doing a good job and there's still one-and-done -- which may change, hopefully in the near future -- then that's what's going to take place.

You never tolerate a slippage in values. But I think you have to be a little bit more tolerant in performance, that there are going to be maybe a few more mistakes, as long as they're mistakes of commission, and not omission. It's been a really interesting, good time for us.

Q. I know it's still early, but you have a very highly touted freshman class. What about them has impressed you the most so far?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: The fact that they work hard and they want to learn. It's interesting to me, in the evolution of the game, how the thing that -- I don't know if you would think about this or not -- they're not accustomed to watching themselves on tape. They're accustomed to watching themselves in mixed tapes with level music and they never miss a shot and they do a whole bunch of crazy good things.

But watching themselves when they don't have the ball. A phenomenon -- and they want to do that. They want to learn. A lot of workout people right now and they work with guys with the ball.

But for the most part, if you play in a 40-minute game, even if you're the point guard, if you have the ball more than ten minutes, most guys have it less than two minutes, when you have those individual workouts, you never work on the things that you're going to do most of the time, which is play without the ball.

What's your attention? How are you ready? How can you play defense? How do you move when you do not have it so it's an advantageous position when you do get it?

So they're kind of intrigued by that. But they've been a good group. And we're going to keep moving on there and see what happens.

Q. Part of what was alleged in these FBI documents is that AAU coaches, families of recruits, basically third-party people were seeking money in exchange for a recruit's commitment to their school. I wonder how does Duke, in particular, vet recruits or their families, or what is the process that it takes to make sure that the kids you are recruiting have not participated in anything that would be unbecoming of Duke?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, first of all, I don't think that's a rampant thing. I think everyone says it's the tip of the iceberg. Well, maybe -- the iceberg doesn't mean it's the rest -- that everyone else is doing this.

And there are mistakes that are made. I don't know how a coach could possibly know the complete history of a family or a kid when they recruit them. But we hope -- we think we're involved with great kids, great families, and we have full disclosure, and we trust them.

The element of trust still has to be there. And when you trust, there are certain times when -- most of the time that trust pays great dividends. But every once in a while somebody might not tell you everything.

But for us, we've been lucky; they have. And I think for the most part that's what happens in college basketball.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #188 at 2017-10-25 18:14:00 GMT

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