Athens, GA (Mar 22, 2009) - In 2nd round action from the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball tournament on Saturday, Duke defeated Texas 74-69. This is the transcript of the Duke post-game press conference as provided by the NCAA and ASAP Sports.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We're ecstatic about beating such a good team. A
real man's game. I mean, that was a big time man's game. Think they're
I thought overall we did a decent job on Abrams where he didn't kill
us. I thought Zoubek did a great job on Pittman when he came in, which
neutralized him. You know, James is as good as anybody. We'd have to
battle every possession. We got that ten point lead, and then Abrams
gets three free throws. Then it gets down to the end and there's so
much game pressure on these kids. Kyle put in one of the most
spectacular tip ins to put us up by two. Just a tremendous tip in. And
then we played Good D.
You know, everybody on the court did something really well after
Kyle fouled out. You know, David on the missed free throw keeping the
ball locked. Obviously, G hitting free throws and coming up with the
loose ball. Elliot making, and getting a loose ball. And Jon making
that play. It will go down as one of the great plays for this team,
you know, just hustling and threw it down the court. And our guys ran
after it like crazy. It's just a big time play.
I'm so happy for our guys. They've been such a good team to coach. I
love my team immensely, and I'm happy for them. Especially after
beating such a good team. Rick's team is just a very, very good
basketball team. So any questions for the players, obviously, then me.
Q. When you grabbed the loose ball and began to throw it, were you
conscious of getting it a long way down the court but not throwing it
too hard as to throw it up the baseline?
JON SCHEYER: You know, to be honest with you, I was just trying to
get it out of there. It worked out pretty well where it landed. I
couldn't tell you I was positive that's where it was going. But I
wanted to give one of our guys a chance to make a play. I didn't know
who was behind me, so I didn't, obviously, just want to give the ball
right back. I knew that there was I don't know what the time was on
the clock, but time was an issue. So I was just trying to get it down
the court and give my teammates a chance to go get it.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think a real critical thing in that is he didn't
throw it back towards their bucket, he threw it towards our bucket. If
nothing else, if they got it, they'd come up against a set defense.
Those are plays that you think of Magic Johnson making and people just
really smart making. You never thought I'd compare you to Magic
Johnson, right? (Laughing) Well, wait a minute. But heady play. That
was a really good play, Magic.
Q. Do you feel like you did a good job containing A.J. Abrams?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I thought we did a good job with him. You try to
limit him from having a great game. I thought he had a good game. And
he causes you to make so many switches that it opens up things. Like
Ward took advantage of it, but at least it wasn't Abrams doing it,
even though they were driving us there for a while.
But overall, we did a good job on him. He's just a quick trigger. He
can really he's one of the best shooters we've played against in the
last four years.
Q. Could you guys talk about the other day you had six guys in
double figures. Today the scoring wasn't as balanced. But you had so
many contributions by guys, Coach mentioned Zoubek, McClure and
Elliot, could you address the contributions of those guys especially
late in the game?
GERALD HENDERSON: I think the other day was more just the scoring,
was more balanced scoring. Today it wasn't the same, but it was more
just play making. You know, Elliot making some good plays. Lance
making some good plays. You know, it was just overall good playing,
not just scoring the basketball.
KYLE SINGLER: Just throughout the whole season kind of a theme of
our team is not really the role playing guys. I mean, we all have
roles on the team, but Zoubek, Dave, Elliot, they all have
opportunities to make plays.
I think they've done a great job over the last couple weeks of
making the simple plays. Well, not really simple, but making tough
plays. Just the little things that might go unnoticed. And those are
the types of plays that they make.
JON SCHEYER: I thought today they did a really good job at the end.
Kyle fouled out, and I thought after he fouled out Elliot made a huge
play, getting the ball in. And Dave that rebound off the missed free
throw was obviously a huge play. So those two after Kyle fouled out
were huge plays.
Q. Fair or not, Duke faces higher expectations than a lot of
programs. What does it mean to you guys to help the program meet them
and take the program to the Sweet Sixteen again?
JON SCHEYER: You know, for us it's not about what other people feel
or how other people feel how we should do in the Tournament or
anything. We have our expectations, obviously. For us with these guys
right next to me it feels really good to get this win with them.
Obviously, we expected to win this. We wanted to, so in that regard
it feels really good.
GERALD HENDERSON: I think our standards have been so high, because
in the past we've had teams that won. Trying to uphold that standard,
you know, we're not really going to worry as much about what people
think about us, but the biggest thing is just to win.
Q. If I could get Kyle and Gerald to talk about the offensive
rebounding there in the closing 80 seconds or so. You guys really
showed a lot of toughness on the offensive boards when it was really
gut check time.
KYLE SINGLER: Yeah, well, sometimes you just kind of kind your spot
in the right place at the right time. But crashing the boards, getting
second opportunities for us is huge. You know, kind of gives us a
second life. Especially down at the end of the game, it takes time off
the clock which is huge, too. So getting on offensive rebounds, kind
of towards the end of the game was definitely a big play for us. And
having Gerald rebound the ball offensively and defensively is a big
play for us, just because he's able to do it. And over the last couple
of games he's been doing a great job.
GERALD HENDERSON: I just thought that one of the biggest plays was
Kyle's offensive rebound tip. You know, Coach called a play for me to
drive to the middle, I blew the lay up, but, it's just amazing to see
him jumping over everybody and tipping it in. My mind immediately went
to like Nate James and Luol Deng, and them tipping it in, you know, in
the NCAA Tournaments in the past. So it's just great plays like that
that put us in a position that we are now.
Q. You obviously had your way with Justin Mason early in the first
half. And when Varez Ward was on you in the second half, were you
surprised how much difficulty you had getting to the basket? I was
wondering how you described the scramble after Elliot's missed free
GERALD HENDERSON: The first half they were playing the ball screens
a little differently. Pittman wasn't in the game the second half, so
they were switching off of him. So it was a little more difficult for
me to get to the basket. But there were some plays where I had some
straight line drives and got to the basket, either got fouled or
So it was just a matter of me either pulling it off for my jumpshot
or getting all the way to the basket. You mean off the missed free
throw. Yeah, the one where Dave was in there, he made a heck of a
play. Coach told him to try to get in there to tip it without fouling.
He tipped it. Elliot tipped it. I knew once I got it that we had the
arrow, so they just fouled me. That was that.
PHIL WARSHAUER: We'll continue with questions for Coach Krzyzewski.
Q. You seem to take great pride in the way this team has grown up
the second half of this season. If going from a team that loses in the
first round of the tournament, second round of the tournament to
winning what you call a man's game in the last two minutes. Can you
talk about the way they've grown up?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think people follow us closer about stuff like
that than any team in the country. Each team has to be given a chance
to grow. I'm really pleased for, again, I said it after the ACC
Tournament, our junior class. Our junior class has been the back bone
of this team. You develop backbone. You're not born with backbone. You
develop it. And you develop it by playing a tough competition. They
did that for the last two years and they did it again this year.
They've become a really good basketball team because they stuck with
it. I love this team. I have the best kids. I have the best kids. I
wanted it so much for this team, because to share their joy and the
accomplishments of the last couple weeks has been just a tremendous
opportunity for me. I'm glad that I've had this opportunity to share
it with them.
Q. More on that growth. When Kyle fouled out and some of the
contributions you mentioned earlier, McClure, and the Jon Scheyer
unbelievable pass, there are so many intangibles that happened after
one of your best offensive players, best players, fouled out of the
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I'm anxious to just watch the tape. It just seemed
like there was a lot going on out there. And there were a lot of Duke
players touching the ball or trying to make plays. I know Elliot was
really down about missing the two free throws, but he made a good play
to get to the line. I mean, chasing down that ball.
There was some confusion there. First, I thought we were shooting
two free throws, then I thought we were taking the ball out of bounds.
Then we're shooting two free throws again. So what I was saying to the
team changed because of what we were being told. You know, that's not
good. If the kid knows he's going to shoot it the whole time, I
wouldn't have taken the time out. I would have saved the timeout. I'm
glad they got it right in that. But I just told them I take
responsibility for that. You made a heck of a play. Then two of his
teammates made great plays after it.
Q. This day started ominously for the Conference, the specter of
Black Sunday looming again. Were you aware of it, and how aware and
did it play into your mind at all?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I knew that the two teams that were going to
play here were going to give good efforts. In the NCAA Tournament so
much is match ups or one play. I was watching the end of the Florida
State game last night, and Tony Douglas puts them up by three, then
they're up by 1. The kid makes an unbelievable play. I felt badly for
them, because I thought they could make a big run.
I thought Maryland, what they did, I think they probably ran out of
gas. Gary did one of his best jobs.
So to see North Carolina and ourselves advance is great. But it
wasn't a good weekend for the last Friday and Saturday. Saturday
picked up after the loss. But hopefully we'll both be able to continue
to win. That would be a nice thing.
I thought the atmosphere in here tonight was great. Everyone was
talking about us being booed and all that. I thought our fans and the
ACC fans who were here were tremendous for our basketball team. I
heard a few when I come out, but I expect that. It was bad that my
family was doing it, but that was the only thing that hurt. My
daughters are booing me (laughing).
But I thought our Duke fans and the ACC fans who were here were
tremendous in their support of our team. I kind of knew that going in.
That's why I've never said I was concerned about it.
When things are in Greensboro Greensboro has been the heart of the
ACC. When you get down to it, you want the ACC to do well. I've
learned that from being here for 29 years. So I appreciate all that
support from the fans.
Q. Watching you while the guys were talking, it seemed to really,
really have this look of appreciation and satisfaction on your face.
What is so particularly pleasing about coaching this group?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I've seen them grow. In our program when you
have we've had good talent in our program during the last 25 years.
But a few years ago with guys going pro, or guys not coming because
they went pro, all of a sudden we hit a period where a year, where we
had all these young kids. Then people just put it on them that they're
supposed to win the NCAA Championship or the ACC. They're 18 and 19
So I've seen them grow up and stick to the work. That's why these
last two weekends have been so gratifying to me, because it's a
culmination of a lot of work and commitment. Winning the ACC and now
advancing again. You know, I've got good kids. Come on these three
guys, you want to hang with them. They're good guys.
I've been a part of a bunch of championships, ACC, Final Fours, a
National Championship. But to do it with this group feels great. I
mean, I'm so happy. I am really happy. I can't tell you how happy I
am. And I'm happy because I'm sharing it with these guys.
Q. Gerald Henderson seems like he's playing stronger and stronger
with every game. Is that more due to design or is he just getting that
hot as time goes by?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's had a really good year. And down the
stretch I just rode him. We were going to sink or swim with him, and
we're swimming. Not only that, but he can make a play. He can make a
play. He had that open three. I thought he was going to knock down
that three. But he's the guy that we go to, because he can get his own
You're talking about our I don't think G answered that question as
well. Ward did a hell of a job on him. I mean, he was more physical
with him. We had to do a few different things to kind of get him open
on the wing. But Ward was really tough on him. And Ward had a great
second half. I mean, if they won, you know, Ward would have been the
hero, I think. Not just because of the offensive plays he made, but
the defensive effort he exerted. He's been outstanding in both of
these games here for them.
Q. You talked yesterday about how those high expectations are a sign
of respect for your program, is there any sense of relief though on
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, no. I'm past relief. I think part of it was
coaching the Olympic team. I coached three years, three summers with a
lot of pressure on me, putting a little bit of my career on the line
because you got to win. I told myself I'm not going to do that to be
relieved. I'm going to do it and have the time of my life. When we won
the Gold Medal I was exhilarated and not relieved. When we won today I
was exhilarated and not relieved. That is the message I want to send
to my players so they never feel that pressure.
I told our Olympic team and I told our team, we need to play because
of anticipation, not expectation. Anticipation gets you forward,
expectation inhibits. I thought our team has done that, especially in
the last few weeks.
Q. I wanted to ask about Nolan, seemed mid season he might have hit
a wall, then after him and Neil came back, seems like he played with
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We're trying to get Neil to come and hit a few
more of our guys. Maybe it jars you (smiling). I think his emergence
last weekend in these two games was kind of the catalyst for us
winning. You know, all things remaining the same, if we don't have
Nolan, we're not going to win. He seemed so comfortable with what he's
I think the big thing was the Outside the Lines piece that came out.
I don't know if you all saw it about his dad passing, and that
relationship. I thought that being out there helped. I know I've
talked to him about it. I can't even imagine being his age and having
I think instead of him telling everybody this is what I've been
going through, they did it in such a spectacular way, I think it was
kind of a relief for him. I think that helped, too. I think he's just
really at a good point right now. But I do think that piece had
something to do with it.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports