Press Conference: Coach K

Press Conference:  Coach K

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski met the media Monday afternoon to preview the match up with UConn, and more.

Opening Statement:

"We got back pretty late last night and we haven't met with the team yet. They have today off. I don't know about the condition of any of the kids. We seemed to finish the game really well, Chris (Duhon) said he feels pretty well, but sometimes the next day is worse. We're hoping to get Chris better this week."

On Chris Duhon Not Making The All-Region Team:

"The main thing is we won. I don't know who picks the All-Region team down there, but (Chris) Duhon was the best player in Atlanta. Not that he needs the individual honors, he just wants to win, but for him not be chosen for that, the game isn't being looked at the right way. No way would we be going to San Antonio without Duhon. The guys he guarded didn't score. He rebounded, scored and had assists and did all those really well, better than anybody in Atlanta."

On This Week's Schedule:

"We'll practice (Tuesday), Wednesday and Thursday (in Durham). We'll practice Thursday in the morning before leaving for San Antonio. Sometimes, it gets pretty hectic trying to practice at the Final Four. We'll get acclimated to San Antonio Thursday night, have open practice Friday and then we're sitting there ready to play the game."

On Xavier And Illinois:

"In Atlanta, we played two good, hot teams. They were both really good. We had to play well to beat them. It was well earned. Not that any Final Four isn't earned, this one was well earned.

On Chris Duhon:

"We can't win at this level without (Chris Duhon) right now, without his presence. He's played really well. The free throws he hit in both games were big. Against Illinois, the only shot he had was that long shot, so when he hit those free throws, they were huge. I think he's getting more confidence. He started taking the ball to the hole more against Xavier. You can tell he's missed his practice time, so hopefully this week he'll get reps in practice. Each of the kids he guarded went form hot to cold. (Illinois' Deron) Williams scored in single digits and he's First Team All-Big Ten. (Xavier's Romain) Sato is terrific, and he held him in the first half and we put him on (Lionel) Chalmers in the second. He's my first option, he conveys what I would like to have out on the court really well. Whatever I'm saying, he's the conveyer of what I want on the court, he's a real smart player. Sometimes when you have smart players, they do things better than what the coach says. They're in the action, we're on the sidelines, they make you look good."

On Having A 20 Minute Halftime:

"We've had some unbelievable meetings at halftimes, some of the best of the year have been at half in the tournament. Luol (Deng) had a chance to talk, we had a meeting at one of the games at the RBC Center. It is a little long. You have to get a good warm up to start the second half. It gets you out of your routine. It's kind of like the five minute delay they can invoke at the start of the game. You're dealing with emotions and psyche, you can get ready to go and then have to wait. We were really ready to go, but with that delay, I didn't do a good enough job to keep them up during that time. They were ready to play, but their psyche gets wacky."

On The Length Of The Games With Longer Timeouts:

"The length of the game isn't that bad, starting times are always difficult. When you play after 10 p.m. and finish after midnight, that's not a very good thing. I don't know how you correct that, but it would be good if someone could."

On What You Tell The Team During The Long Timeouts:

"If you say too much, they don't remember what you said. You may start off with the best point right away, and sometimes you forget what the most important thing is, even the coaches. The best thing is to give them space. Usually I go right to them, but in the NCAA tournament, I hold off a minute before I go in the huddle."

On Luol Deng:

"I gave him too much to consume early this season and I took away too many of his instincts. I reduced what he had to do, and as he becomes instinctive with what we give him, we've tried to add a few different things and that was a better way to approach his game. I was so excited to coach him, I gave him too many presents and he didn't know what to play with. He cares so much, he's always ready to play. Sometimes he tried to think or reason in a game, and you don't have time to do that."

On Connecticut:

"(Jim Calhoun's) built a great program. Jim being on the ballot for the Hall of Fame, there's a good chance he'll be selected. I think he will eventually get in even if it's not this year, sometime soon. He is certainly deserving. We have similar coaching backgrounds. He was a great coach at Northeastern, I coached against him there. His teams competed there. We have two teams that like to compete and since he's at Connecticut and I'm here, we have better players to compete with. He's stood the test of time in a great league doing things the right way.

"I think Connecticut is the best team left. I'm not saying they can't be beaten, but I think they're the best team because they have more ways to beat a team than anybody else. They can beat you with defense, with rebounding, with their inside game, their outside shooting and with driving. They have the experience. The rest of the teams have some of those things, but not all of them. They're a difficult team to figure out how to beat. If all those things are happening for them, they're pretty tough and that's what they've shown in the tournament so far."

On If Duke-Connecticut Is A Rivalry: "I'm not sure it's a rivalry, but it's a great game. I think of rivalry as somebody you play every year three or four years, like North Carolina and some other ACC teams."

On The 1999 National Championship Game:

"I don't think the Championship game in 1999 has anything to do with this game. For me it has no bearing. When we play two weeks ago it has no bearing on the current game. It's one of my pet peeves in sport when you show history like Duke is 122-88 against this team. Who cares. The players don't care, the coaches don't care, they are factoids. It doesn't make any difference. If we've never played Connecticut, it has no bearing on this game. None of our current players have played Connecticut. If this conjures up memories of that game, fine, but as a coach, I want to know if (Emeka) Okafor goes to his left or right, how many shots (Ben) Gordon will get, will (Rashad) Anderson ever miss. It's one of those things I picked up in the military, if its not pertinent, don't pay attention to it."

On How He Coaches The Game:

"You just have to go about your business. You coach every game hard, you try to win every game, you go after it. In the end, when you decide you don't want to go after it anymore, you step back and see what the score is. You live in the moment and that's what you owe your team. If I do something on my person agenda, that's not fair to the players."

On Duke's Defense This Season:

"We've been a really good defensive team all year, that's how we won 18 straight. We were playing great defense during that time. Then I think we let up because we started to score more. The Maryland game here, we played great, and then it was sporadic. In the tournament, we've played great defense. Kids know you have to step it up a little more.

On Shelden Williams And Emeka Okafor:

"(Emeka) Okafor is going to be the best player he's played against. You're not going to be able to stop Okafor, he's going to be good, you just don't want him to play great against you. Shelden just has to stay out of four trouble, we're a better team with Shelden in the game."

On Shavlik Randolph:

"Shav's played great in the tournament. He's gotten in foul trouble, but he's all over the place right now trying to make plays. He made a play where he went over one of our guys and got the block but it looked like a foul. His foul trouble has reduced the amount of time I'd like to play him. He made a great play, the ball went into him, he passed out, called for the ball, hit a hook, went down made a block but fouled out right after that. He's very valuable for us."

On Duke's Foul Trouble And Playing With Fouls:

"The officiating has been really good. The game (Sunday), it was such a tough game, everybody was playing so hard defensively, there were a lot of fouls. I believe some of the things we've done in the regular season have allowed our players to play with fouls. There's a discipline you can't learn in practice, you have to learn it in the game. I've never agreed with the theory of 'he has two fouls, you can't play him' or 'he has three, take him out.' There's no rule like that. If I know that's your rule, I'm going at that guy. You can't let your opponent to know that and you don't want your team to know they'll be out if they get two or three fouls, you don't want them not to play hard. Shav is learning that now, Shelden did a good job and so did Luol playing with fouls."

On His Family And Youngest Daughter Getting Married:

"Having my whole family at the game and my brother especially and my buddies from Chicago was great. (My youngest daughter) Jamie is getting married in June, she graduated from Duke. It's ironic that she's marring the former caption of the Army basketball team, her mother made a good decision doing that a long time ago.

On If The Publicity And Notoriety Of Duke Basketball Helps Other Duke Sports:

"Does Coke eventually help sell Diet Coke. Obviously. It's a brand. How does a brand help? If it's a good brand, it helps in anything you do. It's not only helped our athletic program, it's helped our University in countless ways. On the other hand, the University has helped us. It's a team effort, we're just a part of it. Definitely the notoriety, because it's good notoriety, we've tried to use that with the hospital, with the Fuqua School, the Capital campaign, and all those things."

On Showing The Team Past Tapes Of Successful Duke Teams:

"Even during the first four games, we've tried to do things with tape from past teams and with different things, not just motivation. Letting them know what we're in. The night before we played regional championship game, we had excerpts from six of our regional championships throughout the years. It showed the excitement of who they played against. They see (Christian) Laettner and Alonzo (Morning) going for a jump ball and they know we had to beat Georgetown that year to go to the Final four. We let them know about the moment, you can't assume they know about the moment. We'll do some of that before the game Saturday."

On Luol Deng's Halftime Speech:

"It was somebody doing something that should be done. If it's done by a player, a coach can do the same thing, but if a player says it, it has more impact. He felt it and he said it. A lot of times people hold back their feelings and what they say and a group doesn't move forward. We moved forward."

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