Press Conference: Coach K

Press Conference:  Coach K

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski met the media Monday afternoon regarding his team's match up agaisnt Illinois.

Opening Remarks

"We've been off since the game on Saturday. We're physically about the same. (Chris) Duhon will be out of practice and we're not sure when he will or if he will (be able to practice) before the game on Friday. We'll just play that the way we have to play it. Obviously we're excited to be going down to Atlanta. It's a great region, playing the Big 10 champion Illinois. It's going to be a heck of a game. They have great guards. Bruce Webber has done a terrific job his first year with those kids. They all believe in him and what he's doing. He gives those guys, especially on the perimeter, a lot of freedom. Their perimeter is one of the best in the country. That's going to be the key for us, if we can stay with them. They exploded yesterday against Cincinnati. They put on a show. I know they'll be coming in very positive."

On being the only team in the Triangle still in the NCAA Tournament

"We're standing. I think that the other teams had terrific years. In the NCAA Tournament, everyone's got their own race. If you pay attention to what other teams are doing, you end up watching."

On Shavlik Randolph

"Shavlik has had a really good year and he really had no preparation for this year because of his injury. When people say how much did you do in the off-season to work on your game, he couldn't work on his game. Even in pre-season, in September, and part of October, what he did was tempered by his recovery process from the hip. He's had a terrific attitude. When you come back from injuries like that, when you live an injury for a long period of time-he lived this injury for two years-there are certain physical habits that occur. I know that from my hip operation. Even as I had my hip replaced, each time I had it, people said, 'Well, you're limping,' and I said, 'No, I'm not limping.' You don't even know that you're doing it. You just have to change your whole physical way of doing things. Shav hasn't really had that ability to do that except during the season. He's just starting coming on and being more athletic probably the last two weeks of practice. Actually, last Monday's practice was the most athletic I've ever seen him, and I've watched him since he was a sophomore in high school. We took about 15 clips from that practice and put it on tape and we just had him watch it. I personally watched it a few times with him, and said, "This is who you are." It wasn't even that he was dunking. He's just moving fluidly and he's carried it over. I'm not only anxious for what he's going to do. Hopefully, we play more than just one game. With an off-season ahead of him, he's got a really good future and that's a nice thing to build on."

On Chris Duhon

"He was really thrown into a very difficult leadership position last year as a junior because we were so young. We weren't a real talented basketball team. We had good talent but not great talent. He had been on two teams where he had a great leader with him one year, Battier, but we had really good talent. I just think we had no way of telling him what was in store for him. I think when he couldn't figure out how to do it with interaction of players, he tried to do it physically, on his own. He's not that good. I'm not sure anybody's that good-to put a whole team on his back. Having gone through that though and us being 26-7 and winning the tournament, it's not like you had a bad year. A lot of people in this league, or any league, would like to have that year. Everyone is telling him that he's got a bad year because he plays at Duke. This year, he's had a great year, and I don't hear people saying he's had a great year because he is at Duke. The kid has been one of the most courageous players in the history of our conference. He's been terrific. I'm very, very proud of him. What he's learned over this year was to lead by example and by word. I hope he's a little bit better by Friday night so he can play even at a little bit higher level."

On Duhon playing hurt in Raleigh

"He played very well, but he could not really shoot the ball well. He never looked for his outside shot. I think he could have driven the ball more. He actually got free throws, driving. But he would have to be very selective in his drives. We told him, 'You've got to do a little bit, but don't go overboard.'"

"I thought Sean [Dockery] played great. He was really under control. I thought in both games, Sean did a really good job. That was nice to see, not just for this year, but for the future. He and Shav were huge bright spots for us in those two wins. Because we won by a lot, sometimes you can overlook the fact that they were better than they had been at any other time this year."

On being so dominant in the first two rounds of the tournament "We should have won the first game by a lot. The first three or four seeds at least, if they were playing a 16-seed, would have won. Alabama State had a great year, but they weren't the champions of their conference in the regular season. We were ready to play. You're going to win pretty big if you're ready to play that game. I think in the Seton Hall game, we just played good defense. I think they got worn out. They played a really great game against Arizona, the late game, and then they had to come back early Saturday. I think that was a factor. I don't think it was that we played 'lights out' basketball. I think we played well, but not as well as the scores would seem to indicate."

On what it means for teams like Xavier to get hot down the stretch of the season

"You get very confident. You're not beaten down. They're up. With Illinois, they were still a young team when they started the year. They're an older team now. Because they've won, especially later, I think they're an older confident team. They understand one another. They're not going to lose. You're going to have to beat them."

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