CTC: Coach K Post Game

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski met the media following the team’s exhibition debut on Saturday night.

Opening Statement:
“Well we won and that’s the main thing. It was a great night. My daughter, Debbie Savarino, really orchestrates this whole thing tonight and she did a fabulous job with her people. I think the crowd responded, people had a good time, and our players really played well. I thought they played really hard and well. They played at a tempo that we have been trying to practice at. I think with the crowd and that atmosphere, they responded to it. It was a really good night.”

On Justice Winslow:
“Justice’s thing was just a cramp.”

“As good as Jahlil [Okafor] was, I thought Justise was really good also, he is a powerful player.”

On the team’s health:
“Everybody got out okay. So far, no one has missed a practice yet. Hopefully, we can stay healthy. I do think the way that they do practices now where you do 30 and 40 two-days really helps you, because you can pace them a little bit more. So, we can give them tomorrow off, come back for two days, take a day off for Operation Basketball, and then come back for another three days and take a day off. That kind of thing has been really beneficial for us. I would think that other coaches feel the same way.”

On Jahlil Okafor:
“He is a dominant player. I thought Marshall [Plumlee] actually played pretty well against him. Jahlil, he just makes shots. When he works even more to get some easy shots, then he will continue to grow. He shares the ball, too. He played great tonight.”

“He has a great feel for the game and because he has such gigantic hands and great feet, he needs to have the ability to improvise. So we want that, but we would like to have a couple go-to moves. Today, he really faced the basket well. He hasn’t really been shooting his shot from the outside, but he can shoot it. He is a good free throw shooter. He will pass it, too. We have to be careful that we don’t just throw it in there and watch. There are going to be double teams, but we feel we can surround him with guys who can shoot the ball. He is a special player and a great teammate. The guys really like him a lot.”

On the team combinations:
“We tried to look at different combinations. The guys in the white in the first groups are the guys who are playing a little bit better together. We tried to keep that group with Tyus [Jones], Jahlil, and Justise, and Amile [Jefferson] and Matt [Jones] really fit in well. Then we look at Tyus and Rasheed [Sulaimon] together, without Jahlil.”

On Rasheed Sulaimon:
“I thought Rasheed played really well tonight. All the kids played really well tonight, but Rasheed was excellent.”

On team chemistry:
“I think there is good chemistry on our team. Amile really helps in that regard because he connects the dots a little bit. Matt Jones does a really good job of that because he doesn’t need the ball long. When somebody doesn’t need the ball long and they play hard and are efficient, that helps. Because Jahlil needs to get the ball and then Tyus is dribbling, there is not that much time to have the ball. The guys need to figure that. I was quite pleased with all of them, to be frank with you. They have been practicing well and they played really well tonight.”

On Matt Jones’ new confidence:
“He’s a sophomore. I don’t think it’s knowing the system, I think it is knowing himself better. A lot of guys in college have to find out who they are and be comfortable with who they are. I think he is really comfortable with who he is. He was that at times last year. If we hadn’t had him against Alabama, I’m not sure we would have won. There were times last year when he really helped us, but he wasn’t able to be as consistent as we think he is going to be this year.”

On the excitement the team brings:
“I like my guys; I’ve said that from the start. I am really happy with these guys. We just have to see how we will grow. The major thing is we hope we can stay healthy. Then, I think we will grow really well.”

On strategy moving forward:
“A big thing will be when we play someone, because then I can see how we can sub and keep pressure on people. For Jahlil, he can run even better if given a blow for a while, at least we think he can. Sometimes when you play like this you get in a bad habit of running a little bit slower because there is no sub.”

On the team’s defense and full court pressure:
“We are trying to push it all the time. If a perimeter guy gets the board, he can push it. He doesn’t have to get it to Tyus or Quinn [Cook] or Rasheed. He can push the ball. Justise, Matt, and Grayson, we have really good depth on the perimeter.”

“It is making people work 94 feet. You hope there is erosion of another team’s continuity and it forces a team to use their bench, especially at ball handling. We are trying to play like we did during [Bob] Bender’s time and the late 1990s and early 2000s, where we have really good athletes and guys who can pressure the ball well, a number of them.”

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