Sweet 16 Press Conference Quotes

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski met the media this week to discuss the upcoming trip to Austin

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the upcoming trip to Texas for the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Duke will face Michigan State at 7:10 p.m. ET at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, in the Sweet 16.

Opening Statement:
"We had a real, well not completely an off day because we lifted yesterday and just went through the plans for the week, but we're going to conduct our first workout in about a half hour. Sean [Dockery] was a little bit banged up, not about his knee but his backside from the fall he took and he was hobbling around a little bit yesterday, actually quite a bit, but he should be okay for practice today"

On Michigan State:
"We've looked at it to see who they were then and who they are now. There are three things that Michigan State brings that are of real concern. One is their depth, two is their quickness and three is their experience. They were that a long time ago, earlier this season, and they're better at it now. Their running game is even better. They're real good, they've had their team together all year, they know their roles and they can really advance the ball well. Like North Carolina advances it well, Michigan State advances it just like them. They've gotten better on their defense, especially full court, they've made a commitment to using their depth and coming at you and Tom [Izzo]'s teams have always played good defense. They're playing it a little bit differently in the full court now, a lot of face guarding, an aggressive style. They play real hard, they're a real good basketball team."

On J.J. Redick and Daniel Ewing's performances in the first meeting between the two teams:
"They made some tough shots. I think when you play a good team you have to make some tough shots. We did not get much inside that night and hopefully we'll have a little bit better balance. I'd like to have those two guys do the same thing but I don't think that's going to happen. They played really good defense and they're not going get tired because they can sub. They can give you a lot of different looks. They can go real big with [Paul] Davis, [Drew] Naymick and [Kelvin] Torbert, where Torbert is playing the third perimeter guy and they can go small with Torbert and Anderson playing the two bigs. So they give you a lot of different looks so continuing to know who our matchups are against will be a big factor in the game."

On keys to the game:
"We just gotta play, you know what I mean. There's no secret. Hopefully we're in a condition to do that and stay out of foul trouble so that the guys can do that. There won't be an x and o for that."

On whether it is good to play a team you've played already:
"Not the real good ones. I'd rather play a team that is not so good. It happened so long ago that it doesn't seem like its even this season. I'm sure they'll use it as a motivational tool but for us, it was November. That's a long time ago"

On whether there's value in familiarity with how the guys play:
"Michigan State is a top program, so our guys know who their guys are, they've probably played in summer basketball, probably tried out for U.S. teams together, that type of thing. Sean [Dockery] being from Chicago with Shannon Brown, that type of thing. So they'll be much more familiar with this team than the first two teams we faced. Mississippi State was very talented, and Daniel [Ewing] knew Lawrence Roberts very well from when he was a young teenager but you don't see them all the time, you see Michigan State all the time and you get very familiar with their personnel."

On the coaching trees of Coach K and Tom Izzo:
"It's very important. One it means that we've been coaching a long time so we've been able to keep our own jobs and secondly, it means that we've probably hired real well so those guys are very good. They've made us better while they were on our staffs. [Doug] Wojcik just got the Tulsa job on their staff and the guys on my staff, I'm not announcing any jobs for them at this moment, but I'm sure that they'll be very successful head coaches. It's something I am proud of, I'm sure that Tom [Izzo] is also."

On the team's defense, at what point did it become good:
"I don't think there's a point because it's a week to week thing. At times we haven't been good defensively and sometimes it's when you haven't been good defensively that you realize that that's the only way you're going to win. It reinforces your commitment to playing it every possession every game and so the games we haven't played as well in, I think we haven't rebounded in or we let up defensively at times. They haven't been much, like when we didn't play as well against St John's, our defense won the game for us. We didn't play as well against Delaware State and our defense was the factor, but that's later in the year, we already learned our lesson. This has been a very very good defensive team but it's very different than the teams that we've had in the past and how we've tried to put it together."

On Duke basketball:
"Well I don't know what being Duke means, hopefully it means you're given a chance to win, that's the main thing it means, that were going to play hard. I think it's important all the time whether you're a player, a team, just a person, to understand who you are, what are your strengths and what are your weakness. I have to see who I am as a player, as a person and say okay, who is this person, who is this team, and how do you now be successful. We're constantly telling our team that. Sometimes when you have success, you win a couple games, you win something big and all of a sudden you can start thinking you're somebody you're not and you have to remind them that who we are is good just remember that. That's been real critical for our team all year. And being that is good, when we are doing that stuff we have a chance to win."

On the Austin Regional:
"It's a great region. We have four unbelievable programs, three that have won national championships. In Utah you have... there was a program there before Rick Majerus, you can ask Bill Foster and the guys there before him. Utah has always been a great basketball school but they've played for the national title and they have arguably the best big man in the country. It's quite a Final Four for Austin. There will be a lot of good basketball there."

Importance for Daniel [Ewing] of being a senior:
"I think Daniel's handled being a senior really well. Really he's played better in the last few weeks. He's had a really good year, but he's played better when you would think you would get like it's your last go around. Like Sunday against Mississippi State he was terrific. I spent four years trying to get him to be more emotional. It's better that he is who he is, I would just like for him to get mad sometimes. That's why when he was getting all those technical fouls it could not have been more unbelievable in the history of our program for that kid to get anything because he's such a good kid. So he'll handle that well. He'll handle that real well.

"When we won the ACC championship up in D.C., his defense was and has been great all year long, but when he guarded Julius [Hodge], he did a great job on him. It's neat to see seniors play their best right now, and I think for N.C. State that's what is happening and for us Daniel doing that. They've been two keys for the fact that both of us are still playing. The main thing that works is he's good, he's steady, he comes all the time and then he'll be outstanding at certain times. He's never bad, you know from Daniel Ewing that he's going to be a really good player. I always want him to do more, because I think he's capable of it."

On Michigan State:
"They advance the ball really well. They put pressure on you both offensively and defensively. There are not many teams that do that. They press you defensively but they pressure you offensively too. You have to be a very alert basketball team to handle that type of pressure."

On the proposed 20-year age limit for the NBA:
"Id like to know more about it. When do you have to be 20? What are they going to do if you're not 20? Is there going to be something new to take the place of the CBA? I'd just like to know more facts. I think just to generalize and say 20 would be good for everybody, I'd like to know more about it. And we won't know more about it until the players union and the NBA get together and figure out when they're going have it, when its implemented, and how it's done. It could be very good for basketball it just depends on how it's done"

On returning the program to its previous level of success after the 1995 season:
"We didn't want to be back to where we were before, we wanted to be better. We wanted to be more well-rounded, we wanted to have a broader base in what our program was doing. It wasn't just about trying to win an ACC championship, it was to be more a part of our university community and our community at large. There was just a better plan and part of it was because I finally had time to think. Going to seven Final Fours in nine years you didn't have time to think about anything else, at least I didn't. Being out like that gave me an opportunity to look at it with a broader stroke."

On coaching this team this season:
"I've loved this year. If we would have lost to Mississippi State I would still say I loved this year because my guys have worked hard every day. You have to define your own success. If every day our guys work hard and we're a good group where we believe in one another than we've been successful. If we didn't win the ACC, I would still feel that way about this group. They've been a really good group to coach, no matter what has happened. Things happened. You should be positive about your approach and how you handle whatever happens."

On State and the three triangle schools still being in the tournament:
"I think it says a lot. This is where the ACC started in the Carolinas and specifically North Carolina. To have these three storied programs involved and have opportunities is great. I said after the game on Sunday, I'm really happy for Herb [Sendek] and his kids. He can coach and his kids play hard, and they've got a shot at it. I'm happy for him."

On Johnny Dawkins' impact to the program as a player and coach:
"It's been at the highest level in both aspects. You can see it more when he was playing, because he was the leading scorer in the history of our school and all that, and college player of the year, and a lottery pick. As an associate coach he's like having another head coach and Johnny can be a head coach at a lot of places and having that maturity and experience personally and in the game is invaluable for me and for the kids."

On coaching at end of game situations:
"Depends on who you're letting go, it's instinct. If you have a kid who wants to make a play instead of one who wants to run your play I think I would let him go because him wanting to make a play is better than my play. You have to give them an opportunity to be players. If they look confused or I am not sure, I'll probably call a timeout and give them a structure that they want to work from. The kids that do the best are in the moment and they make plays and then you live with that. You live with the result of that play."

On the team's attitude:
"Our team has very good character and they believe, there are no bad attitudes. There hasn't been a day, a play where we've had a bad attitude and as a result were usually on the same page. And they work very very hard. I also think that this team has loved playing for Duke University as much as the 24 teams I've coached before this. In other words, they understand that there is something bigger than them and those qualities give you a chance. We do have talent. We have a kid who's ACC Player of the Year and may be National Player of the Year. And Shelden Williams is first team all-conference, and Daniel Ewing. We just have our limitations and we need to recognize that. But we don't have limitations in character or teamwork."


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