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Krzyzewski, Allen, Jackson Address the Media

unnamed (4)Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson just addressed the media in Greenville. S.C. before his team takes on the Gamecocks in what is sure to have the feel of an away game.

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Duke student-athletes Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson.

Q. What do you know about Sindarius for South Carolina? Have you been able to watch him throughout the season or from film?
GRAYSON ALLEN: He's really good. He's an old player, he's very tough. And he does a bunch of different things for their team. Scores the ball, rebounds, blocks shots, gets steals. And so he's going to be a very tough matchup for us. I think he's really a big key for their team and with how much he provides for them.

FRANK JACKSON: I think Grayson touched on that perfectly. He's a talented basketball player. They're a talented basketball team. So we're looking for a good matchup tomorrow. And I know he's going to bring it, and the rest of their squad is going to bring it as well.

Q. Initially this region was supposed to be in Greensboro, North Carolina, but because of the HB2 law it's here, and it's a 90-minute drive from their campus. Last night felt like a home game for them. What are your thoughts on basically having to play a road game as a No. 2 seed in the second round?
GRAYSON ALLEN: It's another game for us. And we like tough environments. We played in tough environments all year, really. And I did hear their crowd at the end of our game. When they were coming on to the court, they got a big standing ovation from their crowd. And they're going to be well supported. I mean, we know we're going to have Duke fans in the crowd, too. But it's really just another tough game for us.

FRANK JACKSON: We've been in these tough situations throughout the year. Everywhere we play is a brutal environment. And, you know, I think we'll be ready. And we've been preparing the whole season for tomorrow night and for the weeks to come.

Q. Frank, how do you -- obviously you hear the boos Grayson gets every time he touches the ball from a lot of places. How do you think he handles it? And do you think you could handle it if it were happening to you? That seems like a lot to put on somebody's shoulders.
FRANK JACKSON: It is. And G's a tough kid. And I think with the support from his teammates and from the coaching staff, you know, he's been able to fight through all that stuff. He's not worried about it. We're worried about what goes on in our locker room.

No one knows what we go through day in, day out. But you know, I know that if that happened to me, I have a group of guys who care and love about me, and that's all that matters to us, is what happens inside of our locker room.

 

Coach K, Allen and Jackson address media
Coach K, Allen and Jackson address media

Q. Grayson, I read a story in the Jacksonville paper, which is pretty amazing story about you and your friend Savannah. And I first Googled around and I was surprised the story didn't get picked up very much anywhere else. The fact she died two days before the Elon game, I had to think that that had something to do with the emotions you were feeling during that period of time. Can you comment on that?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Yeah, that's a long time ago. And there's really no connection between that and what happened on the court. And really anything further with that, that's -- the story that was in the Jacksonville paper, that story was for Savannah and her family, and we wanted to get Savannah's story out there. It wasn't trying to make it about me or anything like that.

And so really to answer your question, there was no connection with what happened on the court. And the reason it wasn't out there was just because I didn't want it to be out there. I wanted it to be between me and her family.

Q. South Carolina did a pretty good job stopping a good 3-point shooting team last night, especially in the second half. For Grayson first and maybe for Frank, some of the things that jump out that you saw defensively out of them and how you'll try to attack that kind of defense?
GRAYSON ALLEN: They're very strong defensively and they really just come after you the whole game. I know they forced a lot of turnovers last night and even throughout the whole season. That's really what they do defensively.

And they're a very aggressive defensive team, so they're going to go for blocked shots, they're going to go for steals, they're going to rat at the ball and dig. So you have to be very tough with the ball. And you just have to be tough when you're attacking them.

You can't take breaks on offense, just because of how strong they are and how active they are. And another part of that is they're a very big team. They're very big and long, and even when they go small they're still big, and that really helps with their length and contesting shots.

Q. Grayson, tomorrow is the first time South Carolina is playing after a victory in the NCAA Tournament. You guys seem to do it every year. Do you think that experience that you have can be a help come tomorrow?
GRAYSON ALLEN: It can be a help, but you know our team has never played after a win in a NCAA Tournament either. And we have a lot of freshmen we rely on, and that was their first NCAA Tournament game. And where South Carolina is a very experienced team, regardless of tournament experience. And so I don't know if we're getting any advantage from that. It's just both teams gotta come out ready to play.

Q. Yesterday, Coach spent a lot of time talking about Amile and Matt and their leadership roles on the team. Can you guys tell us what they mean to the team off the court and how important their roles are this time of the year?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, those two guys, they've been in the tournament. They've played a lot of tournament games. Amile's played a lot of Duke games and so has Matt. So they know our coach. They know our program. They know everything.

And so really they can just echo whatever the coaches are saying, and even say some of the stuff they're not. Both of those guys were big parts of our freshmen-year tournament, my freshman-year tournament in 2015.

So they've been here. They've been in the tournament and they have the experience, Amile especially has the experience of really leading the team. And really we're just all ears just listening to them and following their example both on and off the court and how we're conducting ourselves at the hotel.

FRANK JACKSON: Yeah, and I think on court, they're both tremendous leaders, but as you were talking about off the court, you know, being a freshman, they've been able to get me through maybe some hard times and rough patches my freshman year.

So to have those two guys as our captains and team leaders has been huge. They really have been there for quite a while now and they know what goes on. They know how to get through kind of hard times in situations they were in when they were my age. So I couldn't ask for better captains on our team.

Q. Grayson, you said you guys have been in tougher environments all year, so tomorrownight's not going to faze you. But is it different in a NCAA Tournament, a win-or-go-home game to be a road team, do you think?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, just thinking about recently for us, we were playing in the ACC Tournament where we were playing a game and not only are the opposing fans there but Carolina's fans are also there waiting to boo us too. So we've played in games that are supposed to be neutral where it felt like an away game. There's not much difference.

With it being a tournament game, there's always going to be a lot of pressure on the game for both teams. So both teams just gotta play and win.

Q. Isn't it going to be kind of similar tomorrow because you've got Carolina here?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Exactly. It's always going to be like that for us.

Q. I wanted to ask both you guys, because you're shooters, about the mentality of bouncing back from a bad game or bad streak. Luke yesterday had his worst shooting game of the season. You've had good games, great games, bad games. Can you just talk about bouncing back and what you have to think about, both of you because you're both shooters?
FRANK JACKSON: Luke, he's human. He's a human being. You're not going to be perfect all the time. But he's been terrific throughout the season. And he continues to shoot the ball well every single game no matter how many shots or how many shots he makes.

But you just want to have a mindset to stay aggressive. I know that all of our perimeter players are knock-down shooters. And you keep shooting and seeing the ball go in. It gets easier as the game goes along.

GRAYSON ALLEN: I tell guys just to, I like math. I just tell them look at it like math; if you miss four and you're a 50 percent shooter, the next four gotta go in. It will even out eventually so just keep shooting it.

Q. Frank, just in terms of South Carolina, obviously they're a strong defensive team, but they took it to Marquette late in the game with that, I think they had a 16-0 run. They're definitely a physical team on both ends of the floor. You seem to have handled that better toward the end of the season. How will you handle their physicality on both ends, not just defensively but their ability to take it to you guys offensively?
FRANK JACKSON: I'm still going to look to stay aggressive at the same time, not try to let them speed me up, just play my game, let the offense flow into whatever we're running.

Like G said, they're an experienced team. That's what they do. They pressure the ball, they force turnovers. So I think I gotta find the open guy and stay poised and just run our offense.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We're good, health-wise, except for Marques. For about three days now, he's just had flu-like symptoms. We didn't even bring him over here today. Give him IVs and medication and see what happens with him. But the other guys are in good shape and -- ready to play an outstanding team.

And one of the best -- the best, unheralded, great player in the United States in Thornwell. But they're not a one-man team. They're obviously very, very well coached. They're men and they're coached by a man. And so we're going to have to be men tomorrow night in order to beat them.

Q. You mentioned Sindarius Thornwell. Does he remind you of anybody you might have coached throughout your career?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He's really unique. He's so unique. I'd hate to -- I think he's him, you know? And he leads their team in everything. But then he's their leader. And then you don't see as much on tape until you see him in person.

But last night I saw a couple times where Wojo was giving a signal to his team what to run. And then you would see him tell his teammates, this is what they're going to run. And then put -- come on. That's -- that's not alive and well in our sport. Like, he's really like an old-school great player. And I say that with the highest level of compliment.

Q. I read today that 37 years ago you were hired at Duke. You've put together an impressive coaching tree. And Frank Martin said yesterday that he patterned his defensive philosophy after your Duke teams. What does that mean to you as a coach to have that type of legacy?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I'm honored that he would say that. I didn't know he said that. And if you're in the business as long as I've been in, that means you've probably had pretty good success. And so someone's going to pattern a little bit what you do about any of those guys.

Like I'm sure Roy, Jim Boeheim. Pitino, these guys, they've stood the test of time. And he can hang his hat on his own thing, because he's really good. But I'm really pleased to hear that. That was a nice thing for him to say.

Q. I wanted you to help me with a little history.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't know about that.

Q. 1969, NIT, you played South Carolina. Did you defend John Roche that night?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I did defend John Roche.

Q. What memories?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We won. He had six points. And I'd like to say it was because of me. But it was because they played a double-high offense. They put their two big guys at the elbows and they screened for him. And one of my teammates, Mike Levey, was so good at it, he just yelled stuff at him. And I think John never went to that side. So I knew he was only going to the side that Dick Simmons was on.

And, you know, there was no shot clock or anything. If there was a stat for time of possession for an NCAA player, I probably would have won it that year, because I kept -- I was not allowed to shoot. And I just went from side to side trying to get the ball to our two shooters. And we won, I think, 57-45. I think that was it. That was a good one. That was a good win.

Q. Sticking with the historical angle, what do you remember about Bill Foster when you replaced him?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, Bill was, I think, one of the innovators about promotion. He was not only an outstanding coach. He's really an outstanding guy. And, but he promoted the game well. He did things earlier than people did them.

Like it would be unbelievable if he was a coach in this era to see what he would do with social media and -- he was just really innovative. And some of the things that he did at Duke -- our logo, not this one, but the other one -- I think he's the one who started that. And just a good man. Good man. Loved by the kids who he had the honor to coach.

Q. How has Grayson remained an integral part of what you guys do? He's coming off the bench now, but now that you're immersed in the tournament, what is key to what you guys do?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: The main thing is he's healthier. He knows he's as good as anyone on our team. And you can only put five guys out there. And so by putting him in when we do, we can keep at least two of our major scorers in all the time. He, Luke and Jayson, those are our three best scorers.

And it actually, I think, helps us keep a better offensive continuity. But he'll play as many minutes as anybody in a game. And end-of-game situations and end of half. Like the end of half yesterday was big. For him to hit that 3 and then Jayson get the block, we had like a five-point differential there. But Grayson's playing real well.

Q. As someone who appreciates good defense, what were some of your observations last night watching South Carolina, in addition to Thornwell and some of the things they do that makes them so good?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they'll be as good as a defensive team as we've played against. First of all, they're together. Every position is pressured. You have to work hard to get open. And then they rebound well. You have to beat a great defense.

And we have to be strong to get open and strong in our movements, because they're going to be strong in trying to stop us in doing that. When you say a team plays physical it doesn't mean that a team is fouling. They are a physical team, and when you're physical and you play hard, it usually means you've got a well-coached team, and that's what they are.

They're an extension of their coach. He's a really good -- he's a tough competitor. And his kids believe in him. And he's built something really good here.

Q. The other day you talked about the HB2 bill. But now because of it you have a pseudo-road game in the second round as a 2 seed. What are your thoughts on the kind of atmosphere you guys are going to run into tomorrow night?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know, we're okay. We're fine. We usually always play in front of a packed arena. And when we're on the road, we're always in an arena where people want to beat us. We'd rather have an upbeat crowd. I don't think it will hurt us. It probably helps them because it's nice to hear people cheering for you. But it won't be intimidating to us.

And it's just the way it is. I have no complaints. Let's just play. We're okay. If we lose, it won't be because we couldn't -- because they had more people here than we did. It will be because they played better defense than we played offense, you know.

Q. I'm kind of fishing here, but we haven't really seen a lot of the, quote/unquote, madness this year, the buzzer beaters, the crazy upsets. Is there anything -- what would you attribute that to?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I haven't watched the whole tournament. There have been a number of close games, just because you haven't seen one team hit one more shot than another doesn't mean the tournament's bad.

You know, I mean, you know, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Somebody said that one time before. I think when you see the teams that are so-called favored to win, it means they're playing well. I don't think that means it's a dull tournament.

Q. PJ Dozier has a lot of length and athleticism. Is there a player you guys have played against that maybe compares to him? And what does he do that's so special?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's really good. He's got a great wing span. He's a basketball player who doesn't have a position. He can be used anywhere. They use him a lot at the point. But I wouldn't call him a point. He's just -- and he can defend a lot of people.

Again, I don't like for me to kind of compare players. You guys do that. You do it probably better. I know you guys make predictions better than me. So those two things -- comparisons and predictions are in your court, all right.

Q. I want to follow up a question I asked Grayson. I have a very good Duke friend, you may not believe that, but I have a good Duke friend, Dorn Parnell (phonetic), sent me a good example from the Jacksonville paper about Grayson and his friend Savannah. It traces their relationship, the fact that she died a couple of days before the Elon game. And at that time you said, trying to keep -- coaches trying to keep everything in the family -- and you said you guys don't know half of what's really going on. So --
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Actually, more than that. More than half.

Q. 90 percent. Right. So I don't want you to comment on this particular case, but as an example of something that the public might not have known at a time when --
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think, Art, you hit on a point for all these kids, in that, again, we live in this quick-judgment, shallow-analysis world really because of Twitter and all of this stuff to get something out. And we don't have to document anything. We don't have to investigate. We can hear something and we put it out. And then we're not held accountable for whether it was true or not. And it can take on a life of its own. And that's for any player.

And we're dealing with college kids who are growing up, and they're not professionals. And as educators, we're supposed to preserve and educate the kids that we have the honor to coach, and not to appease a quick-judgment, shallow-analysis type of judgment on things. And so that's all. And we're going to continue to do that. And we'll bear the praise or the criticism of what happens in that regard.

Q. Grayson said that the story didn't get circulated very much because he didn't want it circulated. Was the story written --
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: That's a shallow analysis. In other words, if somebody wanted to look deeper, it wouldn't ruin their story. A lot of people don't want their story ruined. They want to create a story. And by more in-depth analysis a lot of times the story would go away. And then you wouldn't have a chance to tweet it or have surveys or judgments or all these things that people have right now. And, again, so be it. But we can't live in that world, in the world -- I can't live in that world.

Q. It seemed that would have been a good story for the public to know, to balance it. But he said they wrote it just for Savannah's family and that's all he wanted.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: God bless them for doing that. And there's a lot of things all these kids do on all teams that go unnoticed that coaches do and whatever. But it's called using your platform the right way, and not just for bringing attention to yourself, but bringing maybe comfort, some help to people and not everyone needs to know it.

There doesn't have to be a TV camera or a Snapchat or a tweet of it or Instagram or anything. A lot of times that ruins it. That ruins it. And so, again, we're not the only -- look, there are a lot of these kids who do things like that. And he did that and he's done more. But we're not going to say, well, now it's okay that he tripped. We're not -- like he did that. That was wrong. But there's a lot more into it than that.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.