Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils addresses the media following their game against the Oregon Ducks during the West Regional Semifinal of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, CA. (Lance King/WRAL contributor)

Coach K Talks Duke Exit from NCAA’s

Coach K addresses the media aft his team lost to Oregon in the Sweet 16.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils addresses the media following their game against the Oregon Ducks during the West Regional Semifinal of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, CA. (Lance King/WRAL contributor)
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski 

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: First of all, congratulations to Oregon. They were the better team. That was pretty obvious tonight. They were an old, extremely well-coached team. Great athletes playing together and they knocked us back. They were always in control of the game. Right at the end I thought we could do a Texas A&M thing there when we got it down to 10 and got the three and it rimmed out. But then like amazing things have to happen.

I'm proud of my team. My team had just a great, great year. With the injuries and youth and limited guys, for them in our league to win 25 games, and Sweet Sixteen, just a terrific group. A terrific year, and proud of them. Wish we could have played better, but Oregon didn't let us play better.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Krzyzewski.

Q. Coach, looked like you spent some time talking to Dillon Brooks after the game. I wonder if you could share what you spoke to him about and if you could address that.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I just congratulated him. He's a terrific player. He's a terrific player. He makes their team go. He doesn't have a position. He doesn't have a position. He plays all positions, and he plays them so strong. His versatility, Dana uses it so well. They have a few guys like that, but obviously he's the best one. He's the best one.

One thing I should have mentioned right away, Benson had a great game. The threes he hit to start the second half, I thought we were in a good mood to get going and he knocked down those two. To get eight assists and only one turnover, he's like an unsung hero for their team, with all the athletes and the blocked shots and all of that. The game he played, the floor game and the shots he hit were terrific.

Q. Mike, you've been to the Elite Eight many times. It will be the first time for Dana Altman. What would you say to a coach who has been doing this a long time --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, congratulations first of all. That's what I'd tell him. For any coach who gets there, that's an honor, and you don't know if you're ever going to get there again. You're one step away from -- I think as a coach, we all would like to win National Championships. But you cross a certain bridge when you go to the Final Four. And some of the great coaches in the history of our game have never gotten to the Final Four. So you're one step away.

I think every coach knows, especially him, he's been coaching for three decades. I mean, he's a really good coach. He understands that. He's coaching against another really good guy. You talk about two of the really good guys in the profession, he and Lon are pros. But that's one step away from utopia, and I don't know, National Championships, the penthouse, and wherever utopia is. Thank goodness we've been there a few times.

Q. Coach, the offensive rebounds and the rebounds in general were again a point of emphasis and a big discrepancy --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Not as big as it usually is. We're not 20 or 30 behind.

I don't think the rebounding had much to do with it tonight. You know, the blocked shots, their athleticism where you think you're open and then they're so good laterally and then they have guys that go vertical. That combination, if you do get past the lateral on the drive, boom, the other stuff is there. That combination was, to me, something you just don't face very often. You can't -- first of all, we don't practice that much, we can't, but you can't simulate that. Actually, rebounding-wise we weren't as bad. It was just the other stuff.

Q. Coach, I know he wasn't up here earlier, but Marshall Plumlee, his last game for Duke. What will you miss most about him but not only that but the fact that there won't be a Plumlee on your roster next year?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I'd rather not talk about the Plumlees. I'd rather just talk about Marshall. No kid has improved more in one year in my 36 years here at Duke than Marshall. He was as important a player as we could have especially after Amile got hurt, the amount of minutes, the situations that he was put in. He had a fabulous year for us, and that's what I'll remember.

I'm proud of him. I love the kid. There is no way we have the season -- we've had a terrific year. Not a good one, we've had a terrific year, and he's one of the main reasons for it. In his profession, hopefully he's going to be a pro player, but the service, the best thing you could say, because I was in the service and a captain in the Army, is "well done", and that's what I would say to him, "Well done, son. Well done."

Q. I know it's really fresh, but taking a step back, looking back, would you say that this team met or exceeded your expectations coming into the Tournament?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we expect to win every time we go on the court or else I shouldn't coach, you know. That doesn't mean we're going to, but when we started the year, we had four guys coming back, who only one of them started, from the National Championship and we have a lot of young guys. Then we lost our best rebounder and leader on the court. Our team could not even have been in the Tournament. Instead this group of kids fought like crazy and went through a gauntlet of Louisville, Virginia, North Carolina, and Louisville, and we won three and almost won the fourth one and it made us. It knocked us back, too. It knocks a lot out of you, but it defined the season and put us in a position where we're No. 4 seed and pretty good.

I wish we could be more fresh and all that, but you go into all those battles, you can't be. That's why I'm proud of my guys. I mean, they still battled at the end. There was a part of that game where you could just get blown out because they're hitting threes and they're playing so well and they're in control. All of a sudden, again, I'm not saying -- not like I believe in the Easter Bunny, don't tell anybody, or fairy tales, but when we got it down to 10 and Brandon had the three at the top, I've been involved in stranger things. I thought my team, if you hit that, they're gutsy enough to win. So that's why I love them.

It wasn't smooth for us tonight, but, again, playing them it's not going to be very smooth. They're so good.

Q. How long do you think about a game like this before you have to switch your mind and prepare for coaching Team USA?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, I owe it to my group to be their coach and make sure that they feel the pride that we feel for them in what they've done, and then make sure as they move on, whether it's a freshman to a sophomore, whatever, that we put them in the right spot.

But, you know, I have a hard time when you lose and you've been a loser. When you lose and you've been a winner, I'm okay with that because not everybody wins. That's why winning this whole thing, there aren't very many. There's only one team that's going to win this whole thing.

So I take pride in what my guys -- they were winners this year, and I want to make sure they feel that and then they get in the right spots academically, basketball, what Brandon is going to do, Marshall, all these kids. That's my responsibility.

But I'll be ready. I've got a little medical procedure I've got to take care of, but I'll be ready for USA.

Q. Mike, when you look back at your scouting of Oregon, what does Jordan Bell offer that Chris Boucher does not, even though they're both tall, they're both post players and they're similar in that regard?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they're both good. They're two of the best shot blockers in the country. You know, Boucher is somebody that stretches you with shooting and Bell is athletic and inside. But both of them protect the rim. When they have both of them in the game, it's tough to get there.

But they're both terrific players, so there's not going to be that much difference except that one shoots threes and the other one doesn't.

Q. Apparently after the game Dillon said that you told him that he was too good of a player to be showing off at the end like that --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I didn't say that.

Q. He said of you that you were right.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: You can say whatever you want. Dillon Brooks is a hell of a player. I said, "You're a terrific player." And you can take whatever he said and then go with it, all right?

I want to thank all of you. I want to thank all of you, and thank you, especially, for following us and following us so well during the year. I appreciate the invitation to play in this great tournament more than anybody. We've been in it longer than everybody, and we lost to a hell of a team. We lost to a hell of a team. And all the volunteers that make this tournament what it is, we want to thank them for that because it's the greatest show on Earth, and it's the greatest show on Earth, and it's an honor to be a part of it. All right. Thank you.

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Don’t Underestimate Duke

5c3d2697-abd2-4bc3-8c86-884a7169e159No matter where you look these days, whether it be Jay Bilas at ESPN or  beat writers, not many are giving Duke a chance to continue their season. There is pretty good reason be it the well documented loss of a key cog in Amile Jefferson to limited depth and players still developing.

During yesterdays question and answer sessions, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and players Grayson Allen and Matt Jones fielded both bait and doubt.  Many tried their best to show that Duke might be overlooking their opponent, the Oregon Ducks.  Others threw negative stats up and each time they were met with deflection to something more positive from the Duke coach.

It seemed that some were making Duke out to be unfamiliar with Oregon or that questions pointed to the Blue Devils being on life support.  One never knows until the game is played who might be right in their speculation, but this Blue Devil team has been more than tested.  This group, thin as it is, has been through a gauntlet in ACC play where six teams are playing in the next two days.  While the Duke team could indeed be that house on a cliff as Krzyzewski hinted to, it doesn't mean that the foundation is ready to fall just yet.

Much has been made of Oregon and their 30-6 record for good reason.  They are eight players deep, solid in all phases of the game but they are not unbeatable.  Yes, they have six players from California and they are not battling a three-hour time adjustment that Duke has to do.  But this Duke team as flawed as some make it out to be can survive and advance.

For Duke it starts with  Marshall Plumlee, who Krzyzewski calls his most important player.  The senior must of course stay out of foul trouble but his leadership has been phenomenal.  While all of the Plumlees have been good at Duke, none of them have taken on a role as large as Marshall.  This will be the third and last Plumlee's biggest challenge to date, but if heart means anything, he is capable of completing the mission.

Duke also has the best one-two offensive punch in college basketball in Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram.  In many folks opinion, Ingram is the best freshman out there.  He will not be returning to Duke next season, so this is his swan song.  This is the time he will leave his lasting memory.  Ingram can do special things and it will take his best effort to date for the Blue Devils to move on.

Grayson Allen has been put into an unfair category with Duke legend Christian Laettner.  Having been around both players in their playing days, I find the comparison way off the mark.  Allen, while confident is not cocky off the court.  The only thing these two have in common is that they are great players who play with tenacity when the ball is tipped, but it ends there.

Allen has had a sensational season for Duke where he has made himself with the help of the staff into one of the best college basketball players in America.  Having Allen on your side is a good thing and Oregon, despite their defensive prowess will have to deal with that.

The key for Duke in this game will be play of the rest of the Blue Devils cast.  Duke needs smart minutes from Derryck Thornton who is capable of having a solid game.  They will need for Matt Jones to be on top of his game on defense.  The Blue Devils could use good minutes from Chase Jeter who will see time and he is capable as well of making a difference.

But perhaps the one player who must find his moments is Luke Kennard.  His shots might not be there like normal in the way the Ducks play defense and his adjustment to that and scoring the ball will be something to watch.

Duke can and will win this game if they get a solid performance across the board from its rotation.  But it will take all cylinders running in unison which is why so many doubt them going into tonight's game.

The Blue Devils have won some big games this season, but none of them would be as huge as tonight's game.  Oregon is the beast of the PAC 12, but Duke is a team that has faced adversity and doubt all season long.

I'm thinking Duke will show up an they have something left in the tank.

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Allen and Jones Talk Duke vs Oregon

9a87d330-44d1-4e05-aa58-20f3664f10acDuke players Grayson Allen and Matt Jones addressed the media in Anaheim earlier today.

Q. Matt and Grayson, your coach said that Marshall is one of the most important players on this team. How has his leadership really helped you guys throughout the NCAA Tournament and before?

MATT JONES: For me Marshall's our anchor, especially on the defensive end. For a guard to hear your big man call out the screens, kind of call out the coverage, it helps you a lot. He gives us ultimate confidence. More times than not, Marshall's the biggest player on the court. So to have the biggest player on the court on your side, you definitely want that.

GRAYSON ALLEN: He's done a great job being our emotional leader. He plays with a lot of fire down there. He makes plays that are effort plays, ripping down rebounds, coming over and blocking shots. Then he shows his emotion and it really fires us up and brings us all energy.

Q. Looking at online pictures of the hotel you guys are staying in, it seems a little castle-esque. I was just curious to your reaction? If it's a little different from where you guys have been staying this year?
GRAYSON ALLEN: It reminded me -- I'm from Florida, so it reminded me as a little kid going to Disney and staying in one of those hotels because that's pretty much what it is. It's a little different. It brings back memories of your childhood definitely.

MATT JONES: Yeah, it is different, like G says. I like the fact that Disneyland is right across the street or whatever. But it's different.

Q. Coach said that your ankle, I guess, is not quite 100% healed from the North Carolina game. I was curious if that was what was bothering you against Yale or if that's something that continues to wear on you?
MATT JONES: It's something that I just try to take care of day by day. Some days hurt more than others. But against Yale, I just had a bad game. Luckily my teammates were there, like always, to pick me up.

But as far as my ankle goes, it's something that's tolerable. At this point everybody's going through something, so I just had to get through it.

Q. I don't know how much you guys have had a chance to watch Oregon at all. I noticed a lot against Saint Joseph's they pressed a lot and that's kind of what you struggled with against Providence. How much have you seen and what is your takeaway with their athleticism?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, we've definitely watched a lot of film on them. We don't get to see as much of them during the regular season because of West Coast and East Coast, but we have seen a lot of film. They're a very athletic team, and that's what makes their press good. They have athletic guys. They have a lot of size out there on the court with four guys around the same height. So for us we just have to be sharp and handle the press. Like he said, we didn't handle it well against Yale, but hopefully that will be a learning experience and we'll be better.

Q. This is basically a follow-up to the last question: What challenges either in terms of individual match-ups or tactics does Oregon pose for you individually and collectively?
GRAYSON ALLEN: They're a very athletic team. You look at them and you could argue they're one of the most athletic teams in the country with a combination of size and just athleticism they put on the court. Their guys attack you. So offensively they can really spread the floor, at times go five out, and that's tough for most teams to guard the way they can take guys off the dribble, kickout, and almost all their guys can hit threes. It's a tough team to defend.

Then defensively with the lineup that they do have out there, it allows them to switch a lot of stuff because they all can guard similar positions. That's a tough team when you have versatile players like that.

MATT JONES: Kind of like what G says. They can attack us, like we try to attack others with four guards, and very athletic big men. Like G said, their athleticism can really affect people, and the way they play, they play really hard. They're very well coached. So we just have to try to match their intensity.

Q. Grayson, there are a bunch of big-name programs that play in this tournament every year, Kansas, Carolina, Kentucky, but it seems like when people see Duke it inspires maybe some extra strong feelings. Have you guys experienced that? And do you have any thoughts on maybe why that is?
GRAYSON ALLEN: At this point in the Tournament, Sweet Sixteen, it doesn't matter who you are, you're going to get the other team's best. Doesn't matter if you're Duke or whoever you are. At this point I don't think that's a factor for the other team. We know when we go to gyms that there is going to be a section of Duke fans, a section of Oregon fans, and then everyone else is rooting against us, so we're okay with that.

Q. If you could both answer this: Among the teams left in the Tournament you are among the lower-scoring second-half teams. To what do you attribute that? Is it even worrisome to you at all?
MATT JONES: I don't think it's worrisome. We've proven time and time throughout the year that we can score the ball, no matter the half. Obviously we haven't had, like you said, the second halves that we would like, but we're fortunate to have another game to where we can try to put a complete game together, first and second half. So as far as scoring the ball goes, that's not really our problem. We've been fortunate about that. We just have to get stops.

GRAYSON ALLEN: For us, we just need to stay in attack mode the whole game. We have a lot of scorers on our team, and with that we have guys that come out to hot starts. Luke and Brandon can really just get going early. So for us, we just have to fight through the little break at halftime and come out in the second half attacking the same way.

Q. I believe Yale had 20 offensive rebounds, scored 21 second-chance points. How important will it be tomorrow to be physical with Oregon and keep them off the glass?
GRAYSON ALLEN: It will be very important, especially with their athleticism, and they send a lot of guys after the glass three, four, sometimes five guys. In the St. Joe's game they got a big bucket at the end off an offensive rebound, so we know that's going to be key. It's been one of our weaknesses, but we want to try to make it a strength for us, defensive rebounding, and really limit second-chance opportunities.

MATT JONES: Yeah, like G said, that's one of their strengths. But like I said earlier, we're fortunate enough to have another game. Anything can happen. We can come out and have our best rebounding game. So we just have to focus on that and focus on our game plan.

Q. Matt, how much during the course of the season do you refer to what happened to last year and the experience you guys had? Because you're in a place where you've all been before. You've experienced the highest you can get, and Oregon's still trying to break through to that level. How much does last year's experience help you?
MATT JONES: It helps a lot. We have guys that have been here before, so obviously we can take that experience and just make sure that the younger guys know it's going to be a different atmosphere. The first and second round was good, but it's nothing like Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight kind of atmosphere.

So we have to make sure that they're tuned into what we need to do. Make sure they're focused on the game plan and just to have fun. Because at the end of the day, it's just a game. If they have fun and be themselves, we should be all right.

Q. Oregon as a program in general, what have you guys made of their ascension as a program since Dana Altman arrived in 2010?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Yeah, he's done a great job. You can tell they're a very well-coached team and they're very talented as well. It's a credit to him doing a great job recruiting. Look at the team they have, they have a combination of young guys. Dorsey is a really good freshman and older guys as well. So to have that combination, I mean, he's doing a good job there.

MATT JONES: I think what really impresses me is how hard they play. They play together. You can tell that they're comfortable with each other, and that's a credit to their coaching.

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Coach K Speaks from Anaheim

ee26f9bc-f7bc-4fcc-bc48-22a6aa09e464Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed the media earlier today in Anaheim, California.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Thank you. It's great to be in Anaheim, and great to be in the Sweet Sixteen. I'm proud of our team. They've done a great job for us this year. Young, kind of limited in numbers, but they've really grown tough together and have earned their way here.

Health-wise, we're as healthy as we can be right now, and obviously Amile Jefferson is out for the year. Matt's still, when he sprained his ankle against North Carolina in the final regular-season game, he's not -- actually, he sprained it a little bit again in North Carolina, he sprained it in that first one. He hasn't yet completely recovered, but he's good enough to go, so we're ready to go.

Q. I believe I read that Duke is 0-4 in the Pacific time zone. How much have you thought about that and considered that entering this game?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: It's interesting with ESPN, every time I look at the ticker, it's something we haven't done. So we've won 90 games in the NCAA. Yeah, I've never been one to look at what I do on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or whatever. I've looked at what we've done cumulative. So it's our 23rd Sweet Sixteen. We've been in 116 NCAA games, and we're honored like crazy to be in here. I really don't think it makes a damn bit of difference what we've done on the West Coast before. If we started to compete because of Mondays, Tuesdays and West Coast, I don't think we ever would have had five National Championships and 12 Final Fours.

So I don't know, that's probably a longer answer than you might want, but that's the way I look at those things. I think they don't mean a damn thing. Who we play now means a lot, and who we have to play at that time means a lot.

Q. What's it been like coaching the Plumlees? How are they different personality-wise from each other? What is your perspective of what went into his decision to go into the army when basketball is done?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Coaching the Plumlees has been terrific because all three of them are outstanding guys and really good players. Each of them improved. I think the youngster who has improved the most is the one I have right now in Marshall. But athletically Miles and Mason are terrific. Marshall's a really good athlete, but he's made himself a really good player.

They come to work every day and they're great team guys, so we're going to miss them. I'm mad at Perky and Leslie for not having more. But imagine three seven-footers in one family, and what a great family. But we've benefited greatly from that. Have I missed --

Q. Your perspective of his decision to go into the army?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, he got turned on to the military well over -- almost two years ago. One of my former players, Bob Brown from West Point is a three-star general, and he met him. And Marty Dempsey, who is the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs. Bob invited him down to Fort Benning when he was in command at one of the units there and had him participating, and Marshall loved it. They've created an opportunity for him with ROTC at Duke.

He's already graduated. He's in graduate school, where if he does have the opportunity to play professionally, he could be in the Reserves, and then whenever professional basketball would stop, he would want to be in the service of our country.

I'm really proud of Marshall. Marshall's been our most important player, and I think the military stuff has really helped him in that regard.

Q. Could you just talk about what you've seen out of Oregon, and is that a team that as the season went on they moved up the rankings as you've seen them? Have you seen much of them coming through?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We don't watch -- you know, we watch our own neighborhood. And even then you don't watch your own neighborhood unless you're going to play them, so you watch your conference. I know -- actually, Josh Jamison who is on the staff used to work with Kyle Singler, so we've known the Oregon program.

Dana, obviously, is an outstanding coach. What I have learned a lot in watching them now is just how athletic they are. They basically have seven starters, and they play off each other really well. They rebound. They play with a great verve. They're a unique team because they don't necessarily have that traditional low-post presence. One of their better three-point shooters is their top shot blocker, and I'm not sure that anybody has that. So they're unique in that regard.

But they share the ball well. They play hard, and they won an outstanding conference. To win the Pac-12 this year, the Pac-12 was really good, and for them to win shows just how good they were for the whole season.

Q. Talking about Oregon, now that you've had a little chance to look at them more, is there any team with their athleticism in the ACC or on your schedule that they remind you of at all?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: A little bit of Miami. Miami has that depth of athleticism and old and a little bit. But they're unique. Jekiri doesn't shoot threes. Boucher and Bell, they can score and they protect the basket real well. There are not many teams that can be wide athletically where you can do that and play up and down, too. In other words, they block shots.

So that's one of the things that makes them so tough is they can be so athletic going side-to-side, and if they do get beat, they have two guys who protect the basket really well. So it makes it more difficult to score against them.

Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit about the challenges that Dillon Brooks should present?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well he's, I think, their best player. Probably as versatile a player as I've seen. I'm not saying "the most" because Brogdon we've seen a lot. But he's in that category of just really versatile because he does everything. He rebounds, he defends, he can hit threes, he gets fouled. He does everything.

He's the match-up that I think a lot of teams have had problems with, and Dana does a great job of putting him in a position where he can take advantage of match-ups. I think they do a really good job of that. He's a tough match-up for us.

Q. The other three teams in the Tournament are senior-oriented and you're clearly the youngest team here. Is that relevant when you get to this point?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, it is. We have three kids of our seven who are 18, but they've also played 35 games, so they're an old 18. They're almost 19. Then we played in, I think, the conference that top to bottom was the best in the country this year. So you learn by winning and losing and being in those situations.

I'm really proud of my guys for what they've accomplished thus far, but I'm also on them to do more. We believe that we can do more. That's something with youth -- youth believes it has endless opportunities. People who are older or players who are older know that this might be their only opportunity, their last opportunity. So we hope that what Marshall can bring in bringing that sense of urgency to the younger guys, it's helped and hopefully the message will still resonate with the rest of the team.

Q. In an era where all kids love Steph Curry, how do you remind your guys to not necessarily play like Steph Curry?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No, I'd like them to play like -- I've coached Steph twice, and if they can play like that, that would be cool, man. It would be a lot better.

I think Steph is a great example of preparation and consistent preparation and love of the game. You see it manifested in his talents and what he does. But the preparation that he has and the attitude that he has on a day-to-day basis to do his best are amazing examples for kids. I think he's an amazing example for constant improvement, constant love of the game, constant hunger to show that he can do it again, never satisfied, all those things are alive and well with Steph Curry. Those are great examples for our guys to watch. So we like when they watch him.

Q. Coach, last night at Staples Center after the Lakers' game Kobe Bryant was talking about the one-and-done rule and saying he didn't think it made any sense. I know you've expressed opinions in the past, voicing your displeasure about that rule. Also. Kind of a two-part question: How has that rule affected the way you build a team? And two, short of changing the rule, Adam Silver spoke last night and kind of made it sound like he wasn't in favor of changing it --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he is in favor. He's come out and said two years.

Q. Right. But he said at the same time he recognizes the reality that kids have to make a living and stuff. So it kind of sounded like it wasn't going to change. So given that, and given that they've kind of dropped any pretense that college basketball is kind of a farm system for the NBA, do you feel there is anything that the NBA could do to help make the situation workable for you guys?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think the NBA has tried. It's not just the NBA, it's the players' union. It comes about in the collective bargaining agreement, and so both parties have to come to grips with what's good for them. You know, when they're looking at things, they should be looking at what's good for them. Then what the NCAA should have is somebody, a face who is in charge of college basketball who would meet with the head of the players' union, who would meet with Adam Silver and express the concerns of our collegiate community and work in concert.

The fact that we don't have anybody like that and have never had anybody like that, we pay a price for that because then we don't give them input. They don't have the feedback that they need to have to help make maybe decisions that would help us.

It is what it is. I personally would like to see if a kid is good enough to go right out of high school because they have a dog's life. They're not doctors, lawyers and coaches and people, writers who can write forever and coach forever. They do it in about a 12-to-15-year span. So if you're that good, if you were in entertainment, you'd already have stuff out there. If you were in tennis, if you were in a bunch of different sports, you'd be out there. But if not, I'd like to see them stay for two years because then they can gain the maturity and be halfway towards a degree. But that won't happen. We're going to go with what it is.

To build a team is more difficult. Although the guys that don't get a one-and-done player would say, man, I'd like to have that one-and-done player. I would tell you this, the one-and-done from high school is not the story of college basketball. The one-and-done with the fifth-year graduate player is what is the main story for college basketball. There are many, many more of those. And that's hurt a lot of our mid-major programs when these kids leave and go. Many, many more. Very few one-and-done from high school, very few compared to that.

Q. We all know what Grayson Allen has done on the court and the improvement he's made. But how much has he improved as a leader this season?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: The main way he leads is how he plays. This kid comes every day and he's as good a competitor as there is in college basketball. He's a great kid. He works that hard in practice, but he also works that hard in the classroom. He's an Academic All-American, a great teammate. So it doesn't surprise me the success that he's had. He's just a balanced, balanced kid. I love him.

Q. You've had your fair share of one-and-dones as of late, and I can see this being kind of a tricky time of year for them, obviously with the most important games in their college careers and the huge life changes that are just around the corner. In your experience with these kind of players, have you ever taken them aside and sort of checked in on them and seen how they're handling what is a pretty daunting period?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Do I talk to them?

Q. No, specifically about that?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, you talk specifically about a guy being a senior, a guy ending his career, yeah. You never let the obvious go unsaid. So before we start postseason, I sat down with Brandon and said, "How are you? You're going to be a first or second pick or whatever they're saying, how does that affect you?" To let them know that that will happen, and he'll be all right no matter what are. So just go for it.
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He's fine. He's not looking ahead. He's been beautiful. Brandon Ingram has been unbelievable. He works hard and he's played well. The pros are not even on his mind. He just loves to play basketball, and that's good. Sometimes a kid in this situation can feel pressure and not perform or rationalize and look ahead where he may not fight until the end. That hardly ever happens with us, but that can happen.

With Brandon, if we lose here, it won't be because of that. It will just be because the other team played better, the kid he guarded played better.

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Duke vs Oregon X-Factors

c2d3b563-b2dd-46dd-aacf-17d8b936dca1A variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome is referred to as an X-Factor.   Guessing what these possible anomalies are is not an easy task, but we'll give it a try.

When talking about Oregon and how they have progressed this season, it doesn't take long for Tyler Dorsey to come up.  You may have read my Oregon preview where I said it's hard to try to shut down the Ducks by concentrating on one player and I stand by that. But if there is a player who could go off, it may be Dorsey who will be playing in front of family members and friends galore. The reason for so many backers is that Dorsey is a Los Angeles native.

Dorsey is a long, 6-4 guard who was recruited by Duke.  He eventually chose the Ducks in that they would use him as a shooting guard, where the Blue Devils had eyes on him to run the point.  More often than not, players like to step up against those who recruited them and Dorsey can do this minutes from his home town on a national stage.

In Dorsey, Oregon has a kid who I see as the possible X-Factor in this game in that he can score the ball in varying ways. It will take a solid effort from the likes of Matt Jones to contain the talented freshman.

I am going to stay with a freshman in naming the X-Factor for Duke in this game. The Blue Devils have a California native on their roster as well in Chase Jeter.  While he is in the rotation as the seventh man or second player off the bench, the make up of this contest will give him minutes.

Jeter is running his  own race with concern to development.  He is barely 18 years old and is still adjusting to the college game.  In my opinion, Jeter has a bright future at Duke and he can start his ascent with some solid minutes in his home state.

Playing in California could aid in Jeter's comfort level and his size and length could help Duke against the long and lean Ducks.  The freshman has had some key moments down the stretch this season for Duke and is quick off his feet.  With his ability to grab some timely boards and quick put backs on the offensive, his minutes could be a difference maker.

There are many more X-Factors at play when Duke takes on Oregon in Anaheim tomorrow evening.  But keep a close eye on the play of Tyler Dorsey and Chase Jeter, for their success in this game might be the edge their team needs to move to regional championship.

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Oregon – These Quackers are Tough

ducksWhen the Blue Devils take to the court in Anaheim this week, they'll be facing a very solid Oregon squad.  There will be no time change for the Ducks who will be plenty alert during an 8;00 or so start while Duke players will have to adjust their body clock.

It wasn't that long ago when a trip to Anaheim to face another PAC 12 team in Arizona, turned out to be disastrous.  Duke was returning Kyrie Irving to the court and had hopes of going to the Elite 8 but they fell apart as the Wildcats simply could not miss in the 2nd half.

The Blue Devils are a thin group and an inexperienced one with concern to the six players who get the bulk of their minutes.  It has been mentioned in an article that the Ducks play just seven players as well, but their group has been around the game longer.  And a look at minutes played shows that they clearly go eight deep -- so take note of that ESPN.

The Quackers are tough.  They are athletic and interchangeable on the defensive end.  In fact, they most impress me with their defense.  If you took a look at their most recent win, they make it tough for teams to get into their offense and seem to be everywhere with their active zone.  And they will switch up their zones late in the game to show a different look which is why they are in the Sweet 16. That means that Duke will have to zip their passes to open men and depend more on  relocating the ball than one on one drives.

Oregon is one of the hottest teams in the nation riding a ten game winning streak.  They are an impressive 30-6 on the season where they took care of business in their conference.  One comes away even more impressed when looking over their wins and losses this season.  Their worst loss may have come to Stanford.  It's safe to say Duke will be looking at that tape and that Krzyzewski may pick Johnny Dawkins brain.

The Ducks have a player Duke recruited as well in smooth operator Tyler Dorsey who is averaging 13.7 ppg.  His play is getting better and better.  Their top two scorers are Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook and they feature a fourth double figure scorer in Chris Boucher.

As I mentioned earlier, they are deeper than Duke  and three more players in Dwayne Benjamen, Jordan Bell and Casey Benson play more than 20 minutes per game. All of these kids are good free throw shooters but you want to foul Bell at just over 50 percent if the game is on the line.

Oregon is bigger than Duke.  They are all long compared to the Blue Devils roster and that's what makes finding holes in their zone defense especially challenging.  And the Ducks feature no less than six players from California on their roster which makes for some emotional home cooking play to come.

If you are paying attention, the picture should be clear by now, that this will be a tough match up for Duke for the Blue Devils are a clear underdog.  While this site does not advocate wagering, the line has climbed from 2 to 3 in a day in favor of the Ducks.  With so many factors from home town players to being from the west coast being in their favor, expect said numbers to climb even more.

Here is the main reason it will be tough for Duke to beat Oregon. The Ducks have eight players who play big minutes and each of them has stepped up this season.  What this means is that you simply cannot concentrate on shutting down a single player and not have another one rise to the occasion.  Meanwhile, Duke looked vulnerable in their first two games of the tournament and to close out the season.

Oregon will put non stop pressure on Duke trying to exploit their ball handling.  Yale did this and the Ducks have much better athleticism to execute the same strategy.

The Ducks wasted no time in turning their attention to Duke after their win over St. Joseph's and their players were cool and confident. Much like the Arizona game where Duke lost in this same building hoping to go to the Elite 8, this will be an away game for the Blue Devils.

Nobody overlooks Duke and every team seeks the opportunity to take down a college basketball giant.  Oregon is no different and they have players playing in their back yard on their turf.  If I have made them out to be a challenge, it's because they are.

Duke is capable of winning against the odds and we'll talk about that next.  But the Duke fan base should be aware of how huge of a challenge this game will be for a team that has faced adversity all season long.