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2017 Men's Basketball Banquet
Quotes: Duke 75, Florida State 70
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/28/2017
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“It was great to have Amile [Jefferson] back healthier. For him, that’s how he’s played most of the season. For the last few weeks with his foot, he hasn’t been able to practice. It has limited him and it has limited us. Tonight, he was great. He and Matt [Jones] were seniors tonight and Frank [Jackson] was sensational. Frank has had a really good year, but down at Miami he almost won the game for us. We played against another athletic team down there and we did a good job. We were one possession away from winning. Overall, I’m proud of our team; they’re really good. We’re good. We went to Jayson [Tatum] on some isolations late and he came through. He can make shots. We don’t call a play; he makes plays. We were able to get the ball to Luke [Kennard] to press in. We didn’t make a turnover against their press, so that was huge. I saw something. I don’t read a lot of papers, but there was something about us slumping. You’ve got to be kidding me, especially when we lost two games. We lost two one-possession games. We played our butts off; we won eight of our last ten. Our guys are playing great, fighting like crazy. Some days you don’t make that one-possession play and our league is so unforgiving if you don’t make that play. I want to thank the crowd, terrific all season long, and all of the line monitors and all of the people who get that straight for us.”

On Jayson Tatum’s maturation:
“Well he would be even better, there’s no question about it. He is really good right now. You’ve seen a different player in the last couple weeks. He has been good all year, but in the last couple weeks he has been one of the best players in the country because he is rebounding, too. He had nine rebounds tonight. He has gotten points and rebounds. He’s defending. If we were watching tape, I’d show you how wide [on defense] he’s gotten, like in the help side and talking. It just comes when you are able to practice. A lot of these guys have just missed a lot. Especially him, not that he’s playing so much. He is who is he supposed to be.

On Grayson Allen:
“Grayson has not been able to really practice. You could tell he’s not there right now. We will see in the next week what we can do with him as we head into not just our last game and the ACC Tournament, but the NCAA Tournament. We have to get him healthy, because he’s just too valuable for us.”

On Frank Jackson’s comfort level:
“Well he is an attacker. Frank is unbelievably talented and tough. Just the growth of a freshman and you could see it at Miami. He just was different; he was better. Just like with Jayson [Tatum], I mean Jayson has been good all year, but you could see in these last games, when we started winning, he was at another level. That’s what’s happening with Frank. So hopefully we can keep Amile healthy and get Grayson healthy. Today was a tough day to play bigs. They had five guards in there and we got tired. They wear you out. We were able to play well enough and handle that. We were able to win, but they are an outstanding team. We beat a really, really good team. For Leonard [Hamilton], the job he’s done, they play so many guys you would think that someone is going to have a bad attitude. But they cheer for each other, they play and are going to be a tough out for anybody.”

On defense in the first half:
“Terrific. We had our hands on balls and [Xavier] Rathan-Mayes was not able to drive. I think he is probably one of the best guards in the country because of his assists to turnovers. Tonight, he only had one assist. That was a key to the game. Usually he sets the table and he’s been averaging, in the last four to five games, about seven assists a game. Our goal was to keep him out of the paint. That’s why we hard-stepped in on the screens and tried to not contest the perimeter to keep [the paint] congested. We actually were doing that pretty well until we got worn out and they just pushed it down our throats there at the end, but we still had enough to win.”


Duke Graduate Student Amile Jefferson
On how it felt to get the win in his final game in Cameron Indoor Stadium:
“It’s an amazing feeling to be here in this moment with this group.  Yes, it’s my Senior Night, but it was this team’s last game in Cameron as a group. I love these guys.  I try to lay my heart out on the floor every time I’m in Cameron because that’s what our fans, that’s what our program, that’s what Duke, is built on.  To leave out with a win and the way we did, to get contributions from everybody, was nothing short of excellent.”

On the play of Frank Jackson tonight:
“Frank was unbelievable tonight, just playing so mature, being a veteran.  Yes, it was Senior Night but we had guys play like seniors. That’s what we need.  None of our guys are freshmen anymore.  It’s February so we’re all in together.  We’re all players.  Frank did that tonight and it was great.”

On the upcoming matchup with North Carolina:
“This Carolina team is a really talented team.  They have inside and outside [talent], one of the best players in the country in Justin Jackson, so Saturday will be an amazing game.  We’ll have to come out tough and ready to fight.”


Duke Junior Grayson Allen
“I thought we played really solid defense throughout the whole game and that was very consistent.  Our offense kind of exploded right there at the beginning [of the second half].  And then Frank [Jackson] played incredible today.  He was huge for us, especially that offensive explosion he had in the second half.  He was really solid, handling the ball and getting us into our stuff. I thought he was big.  He has improved a lot [since the beginning of the season].  He’s getting a lot more comfortable out there. He’s a lot more poised with the ball and he’s really handling the pressure well.  That’s huge for us. We obviously believe in him because we’ve seen him do it multiple times.  He had a lot of experience at the beginning of the year, which I think really helped him.”

When asked what Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones have meant to the Duke program during their tenure here:
“They’ve been great.  The three years that I’ve been here, they’ve been incredible.  Amile was a leader from the time I stepped on campus and Matt has just been huge with his dedication.  Both of them are just the ultimate team guys.  They just buy in completely to what Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] is saying, to what we’re doing and what’s best for the team.  I think that’s huge. It just sets a great example for our whole team.  Their dedication to the program is huge. It feels good for us to be able to have a win for their last game in Cameron and send them off with smiles.”


Duke Freshman Frank Jackson
“We tried to run as much as we could and defensive rebounds were huge for us.  I think, for the most part, we did a great job on defense. We were able to run off those defensive rebounds and get easy buckets.
 
“I try to stay aggressive. I try to look for the open guy. I try to get to the basket.  The basket was open tonight and I was able to attack and my teammates, they give me all the confidence in the world. I try to stay as aggressive as I can.  That’s my game.  I can get to the basket and [the coaches] just tell me to be myself.  Obviously it was our last game in Cameron for the season and I wanted to make the most of it.

“This is a big win for us and I know we’ve got a tough one – a really tough one – coming up this weekend at Carolina.  Hopefully we can get the win there and these wins will jet us into the [ACC] Tournament.  I know we’re hungry.  We’re willing to do whatever it takes to win and to be at the top.”


Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton
Opening Statement:
“I thought Duke’s pressure created a lot of problems for us in the first half. It kind of stifled us and we had very little ball movement and execution on the offensive end. They overplayed us quite a bit and it seemed as though they took us out of any type of offensive rhythm. You know, it was compounded by the fact that we were one for, I think, 10 on point-blank layups. That normally will be your demise. We were never able to dig ourselves out of that hole. I thought we played them down in Tallahassee. I thought our defensive pressure kind of bothered them. I guess turnabout is fair play. Their pressure tonight took us kind of out of rhythm here. I thought they did a very good job in the game plan. They gave us opportunities with our big guys and we got the ball in the post there. We didn’t finish them and they were able to get some momentum. We dug back in there late in the second half. It was kind of almost as us driving the ball to the basket. We kind of ditched what we had normally been doing only because we had a difficult time running the offense because of their ability to create the indecisions and stifle us with their defensive. They had great defensive play.”

On the second-half offense:
“Well we went to a smaller lineup and attacked the basket off the dribble, got to the foul line a little bit and were able to create some offense by driving the ball to the basket and creating easy opportunities for ourselves. We got a few stops, but they are an excellent offensive team. They have five positions on the floor that are capable of scoring points, so it really challenged all our defensive principles. They’re a good basketball team. Tonight they just played an awful lot, a lot, better than we did tonight.”

On guarding the perimeter:
“Well they really didn’t have to get threes. They were scoring in a lot of ways. I think they scored quite a few points off of our turnovers in the first half, which gave them some easy opportunities. I’m not really sure what we did different. We always try to guard their three-point line, but they were determined they were going to drive the ball to the basket in the first half. They did a very good job of it.”

On not fouling in the last two and a half minutes:
“Well what we had done, we were right where we needed to be. We needed the stops. They’re an excellent free-throw shooting team. You know, putting them on the line and giving them the double bonus wasn’t [ideal]. I mean we got stops and we put ourselves in frequent position, but each time we got right there, they knocked down a big shot. They’re a good basketball team.”

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