Tag Archives: Coach K

Monday Musings – The Day Before Tipoff

We are on the eve of the opening game of the college basketball season where Duke will take on Kentucky in Madison Square Garden during the annual Champions Classic. While Duke has been installed as a one-point favorite in Vegas, ESPN gives Kentucky a better than 62% chance to win via their matchup predictor.

Both of these proud programs struggled a season ago but each program is all but destined to return to normalcy where they are giants in the game. Kentucky is deep, experienced, and talented and they will look nothing like they did a season ago.

The Blue Devils have looked sharp early on where Coach Mike Krzyzewski entering his final season at the helm has his team looking ready for the challenges ahead.

We are almost assured of seeing a spirited game played in a legendary venue between heavyweights giving it their all to get off to a great start. And we will see Mike Krzyzewski take one more shot at winning it all, which if it happened would be his sixth national title at Duke.

What we will see all year long are coaches trying to beat the legend on his way out. While Krzyzewski will still be involved in many things basketball, this is the last shot for those facing him to garner a win and they will not hold back.

This will especially hold true for John Calipari where the program is still smarting from a beatdown given the last time the two clubs met. But these are two different teams and let me just say there will be no cakewalk this time around.

In watching Duke, we will see if they can translate early-season success that has not counted for a thing in the standings to a 1-0 mark to start the season.

In order for the Blue Devils to come out with a win, they must be ready for the ebbs and flows of the game which tips after 9:30 due to it always being the prime time event. It doesn't matter who you root for and an opener like Duke-Kentucky will bring a lot of eyes out from around the nation.

Paolo Banchero has gotten plenty of deserved hype, but can he get into the flow against a team that can stay in front of him defensively? So many questions but players are eager to answer the call.

On the other side of things, we will see TyTy Washington taking over the PG duties at Kentucky where he may drive a Porsche to practice from his new NIL deal.

And that is just two players on teams loaded with star potential. We will see some guys literally playing for endorsements in the new NIL era.

To win this game tomorrow night will take teamwork, toughness and not getting too pumped before tipoff happens.

I have seen Coach K at the helm since 1980 and the memories are many. I have seen him claw to the top from a time when people could not spell his name nor took the time to do so thinking it unworthy. Everybody knows his name now.

When I first heard the official news that Mike Krzyzewski would be retiring it knocked me back. I was never one to speculate on which coach would be next for that went on for fifteen years and got rather annoying to those who simply knew you should just enjoy the ride.

Once the retirement news was announced I just wanted to as a fan and homer media guy to simply wallow in his accomplishments via appreciation to have been along for the ride. But there are so many memories that it is overwhelming.

It took me a bit to get on the page Krzyzewski was already on. He refuses to talk about the past only concentrating on this season's team. And now, I am finally there as well hoping he has a well-deserved successful curtain call with what looks to be a special team.

Whether Duke wins the title this season or not, it should be a great journey to try and achieve that goal. And I think Mike just wants to give it his all - his best effort going out and win or lose that is more than enough.

Monday Musings – Tidbits on the Duke Programs

AJ Griffin Injury

Considering that the ball is yet to be thrown up at tipoff the last thing anybody wants to hear is that AJ Griffin had suffered an injury to his knee in practice.

According to Mike Krzyzewski, it is a sprain and that is all the details we have at this time. However, the implications are that he will miss some games and that the staff will be extra cautious with him early in the year.

Griffin is already coming off a knee injury that sidelined him a year ago and yes, that was his knee. But there is no reason to think this might be any worse than has been mentioned already.

With an injury, depth comes into question

The Blue Devils roster is not the deepest it has been for the upcoming season. With the injury to Griffin, this comes into focus where Duke will need some guys to step up.

The hope was that a shorter roster would define roles and thus create better chemistry. It can happen that way but one injury can alter the dynamics in this situation as well.

One would think the starters are Mark Williams, Paolo Banchero, Jeremy Roach, Wendell Moore, Theo John and Trevor Keels with Griffin sidelined indefinitely. Okay, I know. That is six players but the point is that lineups will be altered due to matchups.

The next guys in line are the ones who will take on a larger role, Among them is Joey Baker, one of the team's older players and one who is expected to knock down any open look. I think we will see a rush to prep Jaylen Blakes now for past him Duke has five walk-ons. While those walk-ons are much peskier than some may think, it is hard to see them making a major impact on game day.

The one thing Duke may do all season long is walk on eggshells a bit where possible injuries can occur. And that means every player on the roster will need to pull their weight and be willing to play an expanded role.

I am more of a glass half full guy so I am thinking all will be fine with Griffin over time. But with him already coming back from an injury the news is concerning for everyone who wants Coach K to have a full roster available for his last season.

ACC Media Day tomorrow

You will hear a lot more on Duke basketball and the ACC in general for media day takes place in Charlotte, N.C. tomorrow. You can watch some of it via the ACC Network via ESPN. Be sure to follow @bluedevilnation on Twitter for updates from the Duke perspective.

Countdown to Craziness

It will take place on October the 15th and start at 7:00. Masks are required in Cameron this season. I am not a huge fan of them but glad the show is going on and will adhere as should the fanbase. I am encouraged that there have been large football crowds around the country and few issues and hope the trend continues. Duke has about as good of a setup as they can with restrictions in place.

Am I the only one a tad worried about...

Cameron. With the students having a year away one wonders if they will be on top of things or show some rust. Having seen all the tent city folks over the years who site behind me, skipping a year could have an effect. And there were times when some did not show up for certain games. The point is people are really seeking tickets and Cameron should be packed for Coach K's last ride and I am sure someone knows to finetune the logistics to make this happen.

JJ Starling

Yes, Duke is still in this recruiting race but so are the other schools on his list. I have covered recruiting a long time and Duke has never had success with City Rocks players from the Nike circuit. Of course, they have not offered that many, but most of them have always had Syracuse high on their list which is natural with them being from that region of the country. Their players are always fundamentally sound and that is but one of many reasons the staff wants this kid to take notice that they covet him. Starling has only seen his stock rise and will make a decision fairly soon.

A Note on Football

One has to feel for David Cutcliffe and the program for they lost a game against Georgia Tech that they had in their hands. Even Cutcliffe sounded dismayed blaming himself after the loss. So many things went wrong and that reminds people of what life was like before he took over where Duke found many ways to lose a game. Duke is an underdog in every game moving forward and that will make for a long season.

I honestly saw a lot of improvement against the Yellow Jackets, but letting up untimely big plays, terrible 2nd down calls which led to long 3rd downs, yips in the kicking game, the inability to gain a yard on going for it on 4th down and the list goes on will not allow them to flip this thing anytime soon.

Coach K Retirement, Scheyer Next Officially Announced

DURHAM – Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has won more Division I men's college basketball games than any coach in history, announced Wednesday that the 2021-22 season will be his final year of coaching.

In 46 years as a head coach at Army West Point (1975-80) and Duke (1980-present), Krzyzewski amassed an NCAA-record 1,170 victories. In 41 seasons in Durham, he led Duke to five NCAA national championships – 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015 – and 12 Final Fours.

“My family and I view today as a celebration,” said Krzyzewski. “Our time at both West Point and Duke has been beyond amazing and we are thankful and honored to have led two college programs at world-class institutions for more than four decades. That, coupled with 11 unforgettable years as the United States National Team coach, has resulted in a remarkable journey. Certainly, I have been blessed to coach some of the finest young men and greatest players in basketball history as a direct result of these unique opportunities. For us, there is no greater joy than being part of our players' respective endeavors through basketball, and more importantly, their lives off the court. Our family is eternally grateful to everyone who contributed to our career for the past 46 years. So, to the countless members of our extended family, thank you very much.”

“I can say without hesitation that Mike Krzyzewski is the greatest coach in the history of men's college basketball,” said Duke President Vincent E. Price. “This is clearly demonstrated by his tremendous success at Duke — 1,170 career wins, five national championships, 15 ACC tournament and 12 ACC regular season titles — and his service to our country as the head coach of USA Basketball. But the true measure of his excellence is more personal. It is in his resolute commitment to integrity, fairness, and inclusion; in his transformational impact on collegiate athletics and the Durham community; in the joy, generosity, and inspiration he has brought to countless fans; and in his role as guide and teacher of thousands of players, coaches, and staff at Duke and beyond. Mike, Mickie and the entire Krzyzewski family have been devoted to Duke for more than 40 years, and we are so grateful that relationship will continue for a long time to come.”

“Simply put, Mike Krzyzewski's legacy – never to be repeated again – is truly mindboggling,” said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. “To suggest that Mike has more than earned the ‘GOAT’ mantle within the coaching community, both domestically and globally, is perhaps the greatest understatement of all time. Well beyond all the banners, hardware, titles, awards, honors, etc., Mike will long be best remembered, if not deeply respected and admired, for his unabashed love and utter devotion to his players. Again, the consummate teacher, coach, and mentor, coupled with his highly unique curriculum around life lessons and service will surely live at the pinnacle level of his chosen profession in perpetuity.”

“Mike Krzyzewski has built one of, if not the most, iconic basketball programs in the entire world and will forever hold a very special place in Duke's history and hearts,” said incoming Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King. “To be sure, he has earned a unique position as a legend and Hall of Famer not only via his innate understanding of the game of basketball but by way of his intrinsic ability to connect and impact so many throughout the sports community and well beyond. Furthermore, his incredible love for his players over 46 years as a head coach is simply unmatched. There is no question, Mike is truly one of the great coaches of all time, in any sport, in the world and we look forward to one more season with Mike Krzyzewski at the helm of Duke Men's Basketball!”

Jon Scheyer, who played under Krzyzewski from 2006 to 2010 and was a captain of the 2010 national championship team, has been named Krzyzewski's successor and will be the program's 20th head coach beginning with the 2022-23 season. One of the most respected assistant coaches in college basketball, Scheyer has spent eight years on Krzyzewski's staff and was promoted to associate head coach in 2018.

“Duke University has been a central part of my life for more than a decade, and I could not ask for a better place to continue my career,” said Scheyer. “This is absolutely humbling. First, I offer extreme gratitude to the greatest coach of all time whose career is unrivaled in basketball. Coach K has built the premier program in our sport thanks to his unwavering competitive edge, a tireless attention to detail, a family-first approach and a remarkable compassion and care of his players, coaches, and staff. He has set a standard that every coach at every level should strive to achieve.

“I'd also like to express my sincere appreciation to President Vincent Price, Kevin White and Nina King for believing in me and providing me this opportunity. It is an honor to call this great institution my alma mater, and I'm deeply committed to furthering its academic and athletics excellence while continuing the championship legacy of Duke Basketball.”

“It is fitting, then, that after what we know will be an extraordinary final season, Mike will be succeeded by new Head Coach Jon Scheyer, a dynamic Blue Devil leader who has benefitted from Mike's close mentorship throughout his remarkable career,” added Price. “I am thrilled that Jon, who has been a part of national championship teams as both a player and coach, will be taking on this role. He represents a new generation of excellence in Duke Athletics, and there is no one better prepared or more committed to carry on Mike's legacy and drive the continued eminence of our Duke Basketball program. Under Coach Jon Scheyer, we will witness many thrilling moments to come in Cameron Indoor Stadium."

“The continuation of our culture at Duke is paramount to future success,” said Krzyzewski. “That is why I am so grateful that President Vincent Price, Kevin White and Nina King determined that Jon Scheyer represents our best path forward. He is clearly ready for this opportunity and has shown it repeatedly throughout his playing career and as a coach on our staff the past eight seasons. Jon is a rising star in our profession and Duke Basketball could not be in better hands in the future.”

“Cutting to the chase, Mike Krzyzewski is simply impossible to replace,” said White. “That said, Jon Scheyer is without a doubt the absolute perfect leader to assume this ‘high wire’ challenge. Jon truly embodies all the characteristics of a strong and determined leader, for he is highly empathetic, unequivocally task oriented, instinctively adaptable, flexible and situational, and roughly ‘six standard deviations’ beyond passionate, especially relative to the tremendous aspirations of Duke's student-athletes. Furthermore, Jon fully understands all the immediate (evolving) challenges facing college athletics, and specifically college basketball. As a contemporary leader, Jon couldn't possibly be better positioned to help Duke University, and our players, chart the pathway forward within just the right nonnegotiable programmatic culture and philosophy."

“Jon Scheyer is, without a doubt, a rising star in the men's basketball coaching world,” said King. “He is well prepared not only to assume his new position relative to coaching Duke Men's Basketball on the court, but to lead this program into the future especially given the shifting landscape of college athletics. Jon has and will continue to represent Duke University in exemplary fashion, and we are undoubtedly well-positioned for success moving forward as one of college basketball's elite programs. I am absolutely thrilled for Jon, Marcelle, and their precious family as they prepare to embark on the next chapter."

The 33-year-old Scheyer has been part of Duke's two most recent national championships – as a player on the 2010 team and an assistant coach for the 2015 squad. He would be the first in NCAA Division I men's basketball history to be named the head coach at his alma mater after winning national titles as both a player and assistant coach at that school. At 35 years of age when next season begins, the Chicago native would become the youngest men's basketball head coach among power conference institutions.

Scheyer will join a fraternity of Coach K's former Duke players or assistants that are now head coaches that includes Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Kenny Blakeney (Howard), Mike Brey (Notre Dame), Jeff Capel (Pittsburgh), Chris Collins (Northwestern), Johnny Dawkins (Central Florida), Bobby Hurley (Arizona State), Nate James (Austin Peay), Greg Paulus (Niagara), Mike Schrage (Elon) and Quin Snyder (NBA's Utah Jazz). Nearly two dozen other former Coach K players, assistants and staffers are currently college basketball assistant coaches or serving in NBA front offices.

A press conference for Krzyzewski is planned for Thursday at 11:30 a.m., while a press conference for Scheyer is set for Friday at 11:00 a.m. Both events will be held at Cameron Indoor Stadium and both are closed to the general public.


  • Led Duke to five national championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015
  • Went 88-1 with six gold medals as the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team, including 24-0 in the Olympics with Olympic gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016
  • Eight-time National Coach of the Year – a total of 12 honors
  • Coached Duke to the Final Four 12 times -- tied for most in NCAA history
  • Won 12 ACC regular season championships
  • Won 15 ACC Tournament championships – an ACC record
  • Five-time ACC Coach of the Year and five-time NABC District Coach of the Year
  • Achieved a final AP No. 1 ranking eight times -- more than double the next best team in the Coach K era
  • Has spent 126 weeks ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, 556 weeks ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll and 649 weeks ranked in the top 25 AP poll – each of those figures are the most by a coach in poll history
  • Has won 67 ACC Tournament games -- the most in league history
  • His 97 NCAA Tournament wins and 35 NCAA Tournament appearances each stand as NCAA records
  • Duke's eight No. 1 seeds under Coach K are the most by a coach in NCAA Tournament history
  • He has more 20-win seasons (36) and 30-win seasons (15) than any coach in NCAA history
  • Has coached 37 All-America selections to a total of 51 honors – the most by any active coach
  • Under Krzyzewski, nine Duke players have earned 11 National Player of the Year honors – the most by an active coach
  • The Krzyzewski era has produced six Blue Devils to earn nine National Defensive Player of the Year honors – more than double the next closest team in college basketball
  • Has coached 28 NBA Lottery picks – the most in Draft history – and a total of 67 NBA Draft selections, including 41 first-round picks
  • His 1,170 career wins are most in NCAA history, while his 1,097 victories at Duke are the most in NCAA history at one school and his 517 ACC wins are the most in league history
  • Served as the President of the National Basketball Coaches Association in 1998-99
  • Named America's Best Coach by Time/CNN in 2001
  • A two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in 2001 for his individual coaching career and in 2010 as part of the collective induction of the Olympic Dream Team
  • Inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009 
  • Inducted to the Army West Point Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011
  • Named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2011
  • Presented the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award in 2012 and the Lapchick Character Award in 2015
  • Has served on the board of the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research since its inception in 1993
  • Has served as an honorary chairman of the Duke Children's Hospital
  • Founded the Emily Krzyzewski Center – a community center in Durham, named in honor of his late mother, whose mission is to inspire economically disadvantaged students to dream big, act with character and purpose, strive for academic excellence and reach their highest potential as future citizen leaders


  • Born: February 13, 1947, in Chicago, Ill.
  • Family: Wife - Carol (Mickie) Marsh; Daughters - Debbie Savarino, Lindy Frasher, Jamie Spatola; Grandchildren - Joey Savarino, Michael Savarino, Carlyn Savarino, Emelia Savarino, Quin Frasher, Remington Frasher, John David Spatola, Mackenzie Carol Spatola, Caden Brodie Frasher, Madeline Joy Spatola
  • High School: Weber High School in Chicago, Ill.
  • College: Army West Point '69 (Bachelor of Science)
  • College Playing Career: Three-year letterman at Army West Point, 1967-69
  • College Honors: Team Captain, 1968-69; Second-Team All-NIT, 1969; North-South Game, 1969
  • Military Service: Army Officer, 1969-74; Resigned as Captain, 1974
  • Coaching Career: Head Coach Service Teams, 1969-72; Head Coach, U.S.M.A. Prep School (Fort Belvoir, Va.), 1972-74; Graduate Assistant Coach at Indiana University, 1974-75; Head Coach at Army West Point, 1975-80; Head Coach at Duke University, 1980-present; United States National Team Head Coach, 2006-16


  • Born: August 24, 1987, in Northbrook, Ill.
  • Family: Wife - Marcelle; Daughter - Noa; Son - Jett
  • High School: Glenbrook North in Northbrook, Ill.
  • College: Duke '10 (Bachelor of Arts in History)
  • College Playing Career: Four-year letterman at Duke, 2007-10
  • College Honors: Co-captain, 2009, 2010; Consensus Second Team All-America, 2010; All-NCAA Final Four Team, 2010; First Team All-ACC, 2010; NCAA Tournament All-South Region, 2010; ACC Tournament MVP, 2009; All-Preseason NIT; First Team ACC All-Tournament, 2009, 2010
  • Coaching Career: Special Assistant at Duke, 2013-14; Assistant Coach at Duke, 2014-18; Associate Head Coach at 2018-present

A “Jeff Capel Sit With Us” Take

Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel is and will always be a part of the Duke Brotherhood. During last evening's Duke win over Pitt, the Cameron Crazies set into motion a chant which went, "Jeff Capel sit with us."

That chant drew the ire of Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski. As the first half ended Krzyzewski went over to the students clearly perturbed, telling the fans to stop it, he is one of us.

Krzyzewski had a locker room to get to, so he could not linger to chat about the situation. And that brings up a key point I will shed light on to make for some clarity.

A Duke Basketball game for Mike Krzyzewski and his staff is all business on game day and especially in live game competition. A look around on game day will see his managers working in military unison. Everything is structured and that is one reason the program has flourished.

Some in the media seemed shocked by Krzyzewski's action, but not so much me. Having covered Duke for over a decade in Cameron Indoor Stadium, I have pretty much seen it all. And for that matter, heard it all be it the fans or what is considered Cameron decorum.

But let's back up a second, for Krzyzewski also said that he misunderstood the cheer during his post-game press conference. And he apologized for the situation, but he was still mildly taken aback and I will explain my take on that.

Here is a comment from Krzyzewski on Capel, “I love Jeff. Jeff is my son, man. We’re part of a brotherhood. Playing against him is very difficult. I don’t like it.”

There were multiple levels of emotion in Cameron Indoor Stadium last night. Krzyzewski has told the media on many occasions he hates coaching against his former players and from covering this team for a long time I know this to be true.

Add to that, Krzyzewski coached Team USA to three Gold Medals and those teams were led in part by recently departed Kobe Bryant. And Duke commemorated his passing with a pre-game ceremony complete with special warmups and 24 ticks of silence.

With so much going on in a game Duke needed to win to move in a second-place tie with Florida State in the ACC, it should not surprise long time followers of the team that Krzyzewski did not like a cheer.

Even after the air was cleared and apologies made, the chant still puzzled Krzyzewski and others who realized the timing of the cheer was off and the head man seemingly thought the cheer was taunting at first.

"I apologized for you know... let us think of a different chant," said Krzyzewski before lightening the mood offering up some basic cheers. He continued by saying leave the other guy alone meaning Capel.

But he also brought up the fact that what was said was not a basketball cheer. Look, there is no doubt the Duke students meant "Jeff Capel sit with us" chant as adoration and respect. And to be fair, the students follow the lead of a single individual who starts the cheers.

What was questionable about the timing of the cheer is that it bled into live game action. Also, the "So and so, sit with us," chant is in place for a prospect or recruits, former players and the occasional celebrity visitor to Cameron but not the opposing coach.

I mean, was Jeff Capel expected to acknowledge the cheer during live game action? Trust me, the coach of another team in the heat of an ACC basketball game is not going to smile and wave even if he is a Duke alum.

In fairness to the students, the cheer started during a timeout. The problem is it continued for a good bit during game action and was awkward. While Krzyzewski and Capel are locked on their teams in live game action, the cheer felt out of place.

The truth of the matter is that the cheer while innocuous in nature came at an inappropriate time. And it is the first time I have seen the cheer used in a way that I cannot fathom why the support was not on game action.

I see the whole issue as a learning experience for all. But it is expected be it fair or not for some who steer the cheers to do so with a basketball IQ. Save the cheers for the right time but do not distract from actual live game action.

The good news is this will fade, but because of the situation, Krzyzewski will get a little bad press from varying uninformed spins. It was an emotional night where people should be talking about the former Olympic coach and the Duke tribute to Kobe Bryant not to mention a good win.

The students can give their coach an assist and help keep the focus on where it should be just paying a little more attention to detail. But make no mistake, Krzyzewski and Duke need the Cameron Crazies and he stated that he loves them, something that did not get lost in translation.

Louisville Knocks Duke Back But Not Out

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski pretty much called it like it was when he said the Louisville team ran their offense better than Duke did in the Cardinals 79-73 win over the Blue Devils.

This was after be brought attention to one of the most physical games of the ACC season which saw Duke drop its second consecutive ACC game which dropped them into third place.

"The term “freedom of movement” was not alive and well tonight. I hope we don’t have the rest of the conference like that. That’s not good basketball," said the Duke head man in his opening statement to the media.

Earlier in the day a few of the ESPN talking heads had been talking about the game trending towards physical play and letting a lot more go with concern to movement than in seasons past.

The Louisville offense kept it simple, score in the paint or by the three-point shot. Of their 79 points, 65 of them came in the paint or on made three-pointers. And the Cards knocked down 50% of their three's to boot.

On the other side of the ledger, Duke connected on 6 of 25 from the three-point stripe. But take away Matthew Hurt going 3-5 and the Blue Devils were just 3 of 20.

Duke also had trouble executing their offense after staging the comeback where the Cards once held a 15 point lead. But the Blue Devils struggled to execute the offense in the last few minutes of a close game.

Louisville won by kicking the ball out on fast breaks, especially in the first half when they turned Duke over early and often. There initial play to start the game knocked the Blue Devils back while giving the visitors confidence and they held on for the win

Duke had some positives in a game they'll certainly learn from participating in. They were literally on the ropes but managed to keep fighting putting themselves in a position to win.

Cassius Stanley tallied career highs with 25 points to go with 11 rebounds. Matthew Hurt continued to contribute on the offensive end and not to be lost were the 7 rebounds and 5 steals Jack White contributed. Duke also cut down their turnovers to just six after starting the game with ten in ten minutes.

All in all, this game took a herculean Louisville effort, their bigs making threes, foul trouble and some guys having career games on the other side of the ball for Duke to lose.

There is no doubt that this win will propel the Cardinals into a better position mentally after they stumbled a bit early with three losses. But Louisville was always a top ten team and will be the remainder of the season.

Duke, on the other hand, was handed its third loss of the year, and this will likely drop them to the bottom of the top ten in the polls this week. But do not expect that to last provided the Blue Devils remain healthy.

"We just have to get older. I’m really up on my team. It’s a long journey. I’ve never told you that we’re great. It’s a process for us, playing these two teams," said Krzyzewski who continued, "Getting beat, we have to learn from it and move on. It’s a long journey.”

Coach K Talks Duke Win over MSU

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed the media after the huge win over Michigan State last evening.

Opening statement

We played so hard and we needed to, to beat them. The crowd was great. Tom's teams are so good, and this team really advances the ball probably as fast as anyone in the country, and so overall, I thought we did a good job of getting back. Actually, we had a lot more fast break points than I could ever have imagined in this game and so much of that had to do with Tre (Jones) and how our big guys ran the court, especially Javin (DeLaurier). Javin had not played to the level he is capable until tonight. He was a difference maker for us. I thought our big guys did a very good job. Yeah, we won a tough game. On becoming a top five team… This is a huge win, but that doesn't mean you've arrived. We are placed in a very difficult situation, our conference put us in a situation where we will get back at 4 in the morning and literally, we are in the toughest week of our academic year, the week before exams. Two of our kids took tests last night here and now we got to go back and in the next day, Thursday, we fly to Blacksburg (Virginia). It is really not a good scheduling thing by our conference, and we will see how our guys react. Obviously, we are real pleased with a win and now we got to put that behind us very quickly.

On the veterans playing a big part in the game…

It is a good point and Joey has just worked every day. He comes to work everyday and every time he is put in the game, he's done well. In our last game against Winthrop, they are very good, they could be an NCAA team. Joey (Baker) and Jordan Goldwire were the difference and Jack (White) has been just solid. I think he had a couple blocks and three steals, and he had a big three, so everyone contributed. We needed to; they are a very deep team. The foul trouble that we had, especially in the first half, kind of can mess you up a little bit and they hit us with that run right away and I thought our kids really did a great job after the timeout of regaining poise and get control of the game.

On Vernon Carey…

He played a great game. Our guys look for him and the key for him is he is 9-for-12 from the free throw line and he missed a couple on the break. He could've had over 30 in this game and our guys look for him, but really for a freshman, especially for a big guy, to have that poise in the post is commendable. On Vernon Carey's big play in blocking shot after screen… Then I had to sub him because he was gassed. He is not just a big guy, he's a basketball player. He has really good lateral movement but playing at this pace, you get tired so the subbing that we did were for all of our big because Jack was on the perimeter and big. It helped a lot.

On what he saw from his team defensively…

We had blocked shots and got some turnovers. We didn't go into the game thinking we're going to block as many shots or get the steals. Our guys were really tough in making an extra play. Like you were beaten, the team was beaten, but then we weren't. We had probably about eight plays like that where there could've been scores for them and our kids just made that extra play. That was superb. That's not coaching; that's what I mean, the competitiveness that they had. They got beat and then they still recovered, which saved the game for us. Saved the game for us, no question.

On his message to the team before big games like this…

I just tell them, if you want to sing your song, you want to sing it in front of a big audience. You not only come into our program, but you're coming to Michigan State's program wanting to play in these type of environments. I didn't know how our kids would respond. You can want and then all of a sudden you get and it can go sideways, but tonight, they wanted, they got and they responded. Cool thing; I'm proud of them for doing that.

On the friendship between him and Coach Izzo, and calling him a couple weeks ago…

I admire the heck out of him and Michigan State's program. We have two of the best programs in sport, not just in basketball. We have it because of the values and the standards, the principles that he evokes and we do too. And it started with Jud (Heathcote), too. I mean, Michigan State is the crème de la crème and we are too. There's not one. When you are that, you have ultimate respect for the guy leading the other group. I know he has that for me and I have that for him. Consistent excellence is not easily achieved and Michigan State has had consistent excellence because of Tom and his amazing staff. I mean, his staff has been together for a long time and the support. Their former players are like our former players. They feel like they are part of a family. And Tom – what is this, his 25th year? He's a young whipper-snapper (laughing). 40 (points to himself). When you have that continuity, then those players come back and there's family. Not many programs – hardly any programs have that. They do and we do; we're two of them. That's why we're very, very close