Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Mark Williams Talks his Big Night

Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Basketball Championship

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Greensboro, North Carolina, USA

Duke Blue Devils

Mark Williams

Postgame Press Conference

Duke 70, Louisville 56

Q. Tonight you set an ACC Tournament freshman record with 19 rebounds in the game. When Coach took you out of the game, were you trying to get number 20?

MARK WILLIAMS: A little bit, but at the end of the day, it's about getting the win. We played really well today, and now it's just on to Florida State.

Q. After having such a game like this, I know it's three games in three days, I know the fatigue factor gets in, but do you feel tired after putting up 23 and 19 tonight?

MARK WILLIAMS: I feel all right right now. But just going to head back, recover, prepare for Florida State tomorrow.

Q. Tell us a little bit about what you guys were talking about at halftime. They had the big run by Louisville late in the first half, and you guys came out and had a good run the second half. What were some of the things you were emphasizing at that point?

MARK WILLIAMS: We just knew it was going to be a fight. We fought for the first 12 minutes and had a little lapse towards the end of the first half. But coming out in the second half, we knew we had to start aggressive and keep our foot on the gas.

Q. How important was Jeremy by knocking down a couple threes in that half to get you some of that margin?

MARK WILLIAMS: He was huge. He made a couple big shots, big plays, so credit goes to him.

Q. It doesn't always seem like you are the most expressive guy on the court, but you had a dunk with about three and a half minutes left that sort of put things away. Can you walk us through what you're feeling in that moment, what that was like for you?

MARK WILLIAMS: Yeah, just expressing some emotion. We lost to that team twice in the regular season, and that feeling hurt. To come out today and play the way that we did, it was fun to play.

Q. What was your team's game plan defensively and how do you think you guys executed so well to be so successful?

MARK WILLIAMS: Yeah, you know, we just watched a lot of film from the first times, made a couple of adjustments. And from there, we made a couple like changes for each player, and it showed good success. It worked out pretty well today.

Q. You guys have played Louisville twice this year. The first game you didn't play, the second game wasn't your best night. Did you feel like tonight Louisville finally got to see kind of what you're capable of?

MARK WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, I didn't play that first time, but from there, I just had to grow, keep working hard. And then today I just got to show a little bit of what I could do.

Q. Did that feel pretty good to kind of show off and be like, this is what Mark Williams is about?

MARK WILLIAMS: I think it was just more important that we got the win today. We're fighting for our lives at this point, so I think that was probably the biggest thing.

Q. That dunk with three minutes left, that was sort of the last occurrence of when it seemed like Louisville was trying to make it a game. What sort of mindset allowed you guys to sort of respond in that fashion throughout the second half today?

MARK WILLIAMS: Again, I think probably just remembering that we lost to them twice. You know, you don't want to lose to a team three times, so just staying aggressive, keeping our foot on the gas and defending.

Q. A lot of times when we ask teammates about a performance like this, they'll say we've seen it in practice all the time so it doesn't surprise us. 23 and 19 is a different animal. Have you felt yourself capable of something like this in practice and will your teammates essentially say that?

MARK WILLIAMS: Yeah, a lot of my teammates have given me confidence. They know if they hit me that they trust me to make the right decision, whether it's to go up or to kick it out. So I think that really just showed for itself today.

Q. Early part of the game, you had some wobbles from the foul line, and in the second half with the game up for grabs, very much on the line, you set up a knock-down (indiscernible). Just talk about that part of your game.

MARK WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was in a slump early, but Coach just gave me confidence to knock down the next one. At the free-throw line, you've got to clear your head from the last shot and just focus on the one in front of you.

Q. It feels like you're unveiling something new almost every game. This game it was like the one-handed offensive rebound tip. Can you talk a little bit about what you've been doing in practice, and have you been adding new stuff to your game lately?

MARK WILLIAMS: As far as the rebounding is concerned, I think that was more just an effort thing, just attacking the glass. Coach told me attack the glass. I didn't really rebound that well last game, so I had that in the back of my head today.

Q. In terms of -- I'm sure you guys have always had confidence each game, whether it's win or lose. But now that you guys have won two in a row, do you feel as a group that momentum and confidence building and how can you continue to build on that and hopefully win another one and another one and another one?

MARK WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think we've got to take it one game at a time, focus on what's in front of us. We can't look at what's ahead. Take it one game at a time, prepare for each game and go from there.FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Coach K on BC Win

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Greensboro, North Carolina, USA

Duke Blue Devils

Mike Krzyzewski

Postgame Press Conference

Duke 86, Boston College 51

Q. I'm sure everyone would love to hear an opening statement, comments about the game, but maybe we can start with the start. You got off to a great start in this contest 10-2 and built on it from there. How important was that?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Huge. In the games that we've played well, we haven't turned the ball over and we played good -- and got good shots, and we haven't started out in a hole. Today playing like that to begin with, and then -- we played a really good game. Our perimeter was outstanding. They shared the ball. We had 22 assists. We shot the ball well.

We came here yesterday. We drove in to do our 45-minute practice just to get a good feel because we knew there wouldn't be hardly any warmup for our game. And our kids really -- the perimeter really shot the ball well yesterday. Sometimes you do that the day before the game and not the day of, but it seemed to carry over.

Obviously our defense was good and we had really good balance scoring.

And the contribution from Henry was key, real key.

Q. Talking about sharing of the ball and all those assists, because you guys moved the ball around so well and moved their defense around. Seemed like some of those plays that could have been second assists because they set up so many good shots for each other.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: That's a good point. A couple of the time-outs when we made those shots, what we reminded the guys of is when the guy makes that extra and then an extra pass, you almost always hit that shot because the guy receiving it, it's like, the other guy said, look, I have confidence in you to hit it. I could have taken it but I have confidence in you.

Those are beautiful plays, and we haven't had a lot of them, but we had a good number of them today.

Q. You mentioned the shot selection and the extra ball movement being so key. Compared to the past few games, maybe the perimeter hadn't been quite at the level you would have liked.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

Q. Is the ball movement and the shot selection, is it that simple for the perimeter guys to continue this rate over the next couple of days?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Let's just do it for the next day. We just got to think one day at a time.

No, they do that. We're not a veteran team, so you keep -- when we won those games in a row, you could see some things developing. And then those two tough losses, we -- I don't know. We didn't move it as well. It's not -- that habit, it's not there yet, but it was there today. Hopefully it'll be there tomorrow against Louisville.

Q. You know better than most about what can happen in this tournament when teams pick up momentum. Can you just speak on that and the history of momentum in this tournament and kind of what you saw from your team today that you feel like can carry over?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I hope we can carry it over. You never know about momentum. Obviously we played really well today. They had fun playing. After losing three games in a row -- two tough ones and then Carolina really kicked us -- you can be down. I didn't think our team was down.

They really practiced well yesterday and very upbeat, and they came in and did that again. They've been good kids. I just hope we can keep it going against Louisville tomorrow. I'm glad it's an evening game where we get a little bit of a chance to prepare, get our guys some fluids, get them therapy tonight and then see what happens.

Q. How much conversation did you have with your team about playing in this tournament and just having fun and playing loose, and did that translate with their effort today?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we had a -- really when we got back from Carolina in the locker room, we came back and had a short meeting and said, look, we just got beat badly, and that's it. That's the end of that season. We're not going to show tape. We're not going to do anything; let's start anew. We tried to carry that over and the next day in our meetings, all we did was have a short lift and had some meetings, and everyone was real positive.

The kids were energetic. You know, they -- and yesterday they were very energetic. Again, coming here was really important, that 45 minutes.

You know, the Greensboro Coliseum is a beautiful place, and I really think when our guys walked out on the court, that lifted them, too. And then I told them before the 45 minutes started, before the balls were given out, that -- I just told them a few stories about some of the games that were played there. The first championship that we won in '86, Coach Scheyer against Georgia Tech. It was about 1 for 11 and we called his number, and he hit a big shot that won us the tournament.

I said, you know, look, Greensboro Coliseum is about moments. I said, try to have a moment tomorrow, and if we have the moment tomorrow, maybe you'll have another one. Don't look at it at five games or anything like that. Just try to take advantage of each day that we're given the opportunity to play.

Q. With your team's youth and then obviously the cancellations last year, with the exception of Joey and Jordan, none of your freshmen and sophomores have ever appeared in a postseason game until today. What have you seen from those young guys' kind of mindset coming into postseason play?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, just excitement, I think the main thing. DJ has had a smile on his face for two days. He's just geeked, he's so excited.

It's neat to see -- for this 74-yearold guy to see these young guys get excited, and that's after losing a few games at the end of the season. So they were able to put that behind them and just play with enthusiasm.

But your point is a good one, and now they have played one. Now we've got a chance to play another, and hopefully we can do well in that.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the two games with Louisville and kind of what you've taken from those two as you get ready to play them for the third time?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, let me decompress here a little bit. They were both really outstanding games, and their veteran backcourt was the difference. Johnson is terrific. Jones in the last four or five minutes of a game is probably the best in our conference in managing the game and making the right decisions. So we're going to face them again, and we'll try to do stuff where we can limit them.

That's the main thing is to -- I mean, they're really good, but those two guards are exceptional. They're going to be professional guards at some level.

Matthew Hurt Makes All ACC


GREENSBORO – Duke sophomore Matthew Hurt has been named the 2021 ACC Most Improved Player and was selected to the All-ACC First Team, while DJ Steward was tapped to the All-Freshman Team and senior Jordan Goldwire earned All-Defensive Team honors as the conference's men’s basketball postseason awards were announced Monday.

Hurt becomes the second Blue Devil to claim the ACC Most Improved Player award, joining Grayson Allen in 2016. He is Duke's 75th All-ACC First Team selection, which ranks second in conference history, and the 50th player to have earned first-team status under head coach Mike Krzyzewski -- the most such honors in the ACC in the Coach K era.

Duke has now had at least one All-ACC First Team pick in 14 consecutive seasons – the longest active streak in the conference and the second-longest in ACC history.

A native of Rochester, Minn., Hurt was one of the ACC's elite offensive performers in 2020-21, finishing the regular season as the league's scoring leader at 18.7 points per game while also ranking first in conference-only scoring (18.6). Hurt shot 155-of-277 from the field (.560), which ranked second in the ACC and 36th nationally, while his 2.36 made three-pointers per contest were fifth-most in the league. On Feb. 27, he poured in a career-high 37 points on 15-of-21 shooting against Louisville – the highest scoring game in the conference this season. Hurt was tapped the ACC Player of the Week twice and named Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week in late January.

Of all returning ACC players, Hurt's points per game improvement of +9.0 from last season (9.7 to 18.7) is second-best in the league. He also increased his field goal percentage from .487 as a freshman to .560 this year, while his three-point accuracy rose from .393 to .437 and his rebounding numbers nearly doubled from 3.8 as a freshman to 6.2 this year.

This season, Hurt is one of four players nationally – and one of two from power conferences along with Iowa's Luka Garza – averaging better than 50 percent from the field, better than 40 percent from three-point range and making 7.0+ field goals per game.

The ACC's leading freshman scorer this season at 13.0 points per game, Steward becomes Duke's 31st All-Freshman selection. The Blue Devils have the most All-Freshman picks in conference history, followed by North Carolina, which increased its all-time total to 23 with Caleb Love and Day'Ron Sharpe on this year's team.

Steward reached double figures in scoring 16 times during the regular season, including in 15 of the final 19 games. He was twice named the ACC Freshman of the Week (Dec. 21, Jan. 11), and he enters the ACC Tournament with at least one three-pointer in 19 consecutive games. The Chicago native is aiming to be the seventh Blue Devil in the last eight seasons and eighth in the last 10 to lead the league's freshman in scoring. Duke has had an ACC All-Freshman selection in each of the last 10 years.

Goldwire led the ACC in assist/turnover ratio during the regular season (+2.76), while ranking second in steals (2.32) and seventh in assists (4.1). A tenacious on-ball defender, the senior from Norcross, Ga., had 19 multi-steal games – the second-most nationally this season, while ranking 15th nationally in steal percentage (KenPom). Only Georgia Tech senior Jose Alvarado, who was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, has more steals over the last two seasons than Goldwire's 98. With a 2.32 steals average in 2020-21, Goldwire is on pace for a top-10 steals-per-game season in Duke history.

He becomes Duke's 19th selection to the ACC All-Defensive Team, the most in league history. A Blue Devil has been named to the All-Defensive squad in three consecutive seasons, with Goldwire following Zion Williamson (2019) and former backcourt mate Tre Jones (2019, 2020).

Georgia Tech's Moses Wright was recognized as the ACC Player of the Year, while Florida State's Scottie Barnes took home both ACC Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year -- snapping Duke's streaks of three straight ACC Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year winners. Virginia Tech's Mike Young was selected Coach of the Year.

Hurt was joined on the All-ACC First Team by Wright, Louisville's Carlik Jones, Virginia's Sam Hauser and Pittsburgh's Justin Champagnie. The All-Defensive Team included Goldwire, Alvarado, Wright, Virginia's Jay Huff and NC State's Manny Bates. In addition to Steward, Sharpe and Love, the All-Freshman Team was comprised of Barnes and Louisville's Jae'Lyn Withers.

The voting for the league's annual awards was done by the ACC's head coaches and a panel of media that cover the conference.

2021 ALL-ACC TEAM FIRST TEAM

Moses Wright -- Georgia Tech -- 344 pts

Justin Champagnie -- Pitt --343

Carlik Jones -- Louisville -- 327

Matthew Hurt -- Duke -- 310

Sam Hauser -- Virginia -- 281

SECOND TEAM

Keve Aluma -- Virginia Tech -- 277

Jose Alvarado -- Georgia Tech -- 244

Jay Huff -- Virginia -- 214

M.J. Walker -- Florida State -- 200

Aamir Simms -- Clemson -- 176

THIRD TEAM

RaiQuan Gray -- Florida State -- 167

Isaiah Wong -- Miami -- 102

Quincy Guerrier -- Syracuse -- 55

Prentiss Hubb -- Notre Dame -- 42

Armando Bacot -- North Carolina -- 41

Scottie Barnes -- Florida State -- 41

HONORABLE MENTION

Michael Devoe -- Georgia Tech -- 35

Kihei Clark -- Virginia -- 31

Alan Griffin -- Syracuse -- 29

David Johnson -- Louisville -- 22

Nate Laszewski -- Notre Dame -- 18

Jericole Hellems -- NC State -- 13

Tyrece Radford -- Virginia Tech -- 10

Note: All-ACC Team points are determined on a 5-3-1 system (five points for first team, three points for second team, one point for third team).

ACC PLAYER OF YEAR

Moses Wright -- Georgia Tech

ACC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Scottie Barnes -- Florida State

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jose Alvarado -- Georgia Tech

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Matthew Hurt -- Duke

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

Scottie Barnes -- Florida State

COACH OF THE YEAR

Mike Young -- Virginia Tech

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

Jose Alvarado -- Georgia Tech

Manny Bates -- NC State

Jay Huff -- Virginia

Jordan Goldwire -- Duke

Moses Wright -- Georgia Tech

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Scottie Barnes -- Florida State

DJ Steward -- Duke

Day'Ron Sharpe -- North Carolina

Jae'Lyn Withers -- Louisville

Caleb Love -- North Carolina

Duke-Gonzaga to Play in Vegas Next Year

LAS VEGAS – The Duke men's basketball program has announced a marquee opponent for the 2021-22 regular season – a heavyweight bout vs. Gonzaga at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The game is set for Black Friday – Nov. 26, 2021 – bringing together two of the nation's most prominent and successful programs in the Blue Devils and Bulldogs. Public tickets are on sale beginning Friday, March 12. Game time has yet to be announced.

"We are excited to play in Las Vegas next season against such a great program," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for Gonzaga and the program Mark Few has built there. The results speak for themselves. Certainly, this will be a showcase game during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and we are honored to be part of it."

Duke and Gonzaga have met four previous times with the Blue Devils winning twice at Madison Square Garden -- 61-54 in 2007 and 76-41 in 2010 -- and once at NRG Stadium in Houston in the 2015 NCAA Elite Eight, 66-52, en route to the national title. The Zags won 89-87 in the 2018 Maui Invitational title game.

"We have nothing but the utmost respect for Coach K and Duke," said Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. "We look forward to playing in an exciting event in a world-class facility, that will get the focus to college basketball between two great teams early in the season."

Duke returns to Las Vegas for the first time since christening T-Mobile Arena with the first college basketball game at the venue -- a 94-55 win over UNLV in front of a standing-room only crowd of 19,107 on Dec. 10, 2016.

Veteran Las Vegas promoter bdG Sports, which annually hosts the Roman Main Event tournament and the Korn Ferry Tour's MGM Resorts Championship in April, has contracted the marquee matchup.

Tickets range from $39 in the upper level to $169 in the lower level sideline club seats. A limited number of courtside tickets will be available for $299, $499 or $799 depending on the location. Tickets will be on-sale to the public starting Friday, March 12 at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at AXS.com and t-mobilearena.com.

For complete information, visit www.dukezags.com or on social media at @VegasMainEvent.