DURHAM, N.C.- Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski met with the media Tuesday morning for his annual summer press conference.
On last year’s team:
We felt really good about our team at the end of year with all six of our kids graduating. We’re excited about next week for J.J. [Redick] and Shelden [Williams]. We feel good about them and their place in the draft, as we do about Lee [Melchionni] and Sean [Dockery] as far as their careers are going. They’ve done some really neat things... Lee is probably going end up playing in Italy and Sean will have an opportunity to at least be on a summer league team with one of the NBA teams.
On the returning guys:
With our returning guys, the only one that stayed here for the first summer session is Jamal Boykin, just because he’s trying to work on Spanish the whole year. A number of our guys, most of our guys, come back for second semester of summer school including our incoming freshmen.
One of our players, Lance Thomas, is trying out for the U.S. Under-18 team. I was just down in San Antonio meeting with USA Basketball people and watching those trials.
DeMarcus [Nelson] will be back, Josh [McRoberts] and Jordan Davidson are working our camp and will be in the second session of summer school. Jamal will still be here and Marty [Pocius] is playing for his country’s team. Anyway, if they’re not playing some place, they’re in here for summer school. We’ve changed our concept in that we usually have them stay right after school completes and not have them come second session, but with the incoming freshman coming in second session, it’s more of a bonding experience if they’re all here. We can’t work them out or anything, but at least they’re here and they get to know each other.
On Coach K’s schedule:
I have been really busy with USA basketball. I’ve been in a lot of meetings, traveling to Phoenix for meetings and meeting with individual players. I have stayed away from Dwyane Wade; I felt that if I even came close to him, I would get burned because he’s so hot.
On USA Basketball plans:
We actually meet in Las Vegas for a week of training and we’ll select 12 to 15 players to go forward on July 18th. We’ll meet there, train until July 25th, and select those 12 to 15 to take forward. After four days off, we will come back to Las Vegas for four days and have a scrimmage against Puerto Rico on August 1st, which is primarily for our troops throughout that area. We hope to have as many as 10,000 troops at that scrimmage. We’re going play Puerto Rico in an exhibition game in the Thomas Mack Center. I guess it will be unusual for the Duke coach to coach in the Thomas Mack Center on August 3rd. Then we will go to China and play a couple of exhibition games, go to Korea and play two exhibition games there and we’ll actually end up visiting 25,000 troops when we’re there with our team, and then go to Japan. We will visit another 10 to 15 thousand troops there and that’s where we will play for the World Championship. I will be back somewhere around September 3, 4 or 5. I am going to be a busy guy, but it is going to be exciting.
On being with US Team during the busy July recruiting period:
It puts a little bit of strain during the first week. Johnny Dawkins will be with me throughout the whole thing as the player representative on the USA team. He will be involved with everything that I do with that team over the next three years. He is terrific and he is a valuable resource. Mike Schrage, the director of our basketball operations, will also be with me throughout. The first week of training camp, Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski will serve as court coaches. It puts a little bit of strain of how many times you can go see a kid during that time.
On Greg Paulus and David McClure’s injury status...
Greg Paulus is still recovering from his wrist surgery and he will be back for summer school. He is about 90% ready and has had a really good summer. David McClure has been down in Florida and he’s been doing well. We really expect McClure to help us next year. We missed him last year. He is actually real close to IMG down there working out with a lot of these kids who either are testing the waters or have gone into the draft.
On Redick’s back injury:
It was during that [physical at the Orlando predraft camp] that he had a little back problem and had to cancel his interview with Orlando. He came right back here, met with Dr. Richardson and they gave him a cortisone shot in that area and it had a good impact. He just needed some rest. He is in Los Angeles now and they told us two days ago they expect him to be ready to play this weekend. I told him, ‘Your back is probably hurting because you carried me for four years.’
On the recent negative publicity of the athletic department:
I think things happen and when things happen, you should take responsibility for it. The most important thing is that when a situation like that occurs, is to take responsibility for it. You don’t make any excuses, you are wrong, you regret it, you apologize and you ask what can I do now to correct it. That is being responsible.
On keeping low media profile during the spring:
I think it is important for me to remember my place. I am the basketball coach. I am not the president, I am not the athletic director and I am not on the board of trustees. You have to be careful not to make statements outside of your realm. However, behind the scenes, I have tried to be very supportive of our athletic department, the coaches, the players, our president and the board of trustees. To me, the real story about this spring, without talking about the case because you have to let that run its course, is the community. I love our community because for the last few months, a number of people who have come into our community and raised a lot of questions, which they are entitled to do, that could have provoked things that where not a part of this situation. Our community is so darn good that they did not allow it. I don’t look at this being a white community, an African American community, a Hispanic community, I look at this being a great Durham community. The students at the two universities [North Carolina Central and Duke] should be applauded.
I do think for us as a university, we have to always be mindful of the fact of the major reason we are here is because of our students. We have to give our students support in whatever situation, you have to be there to support them, to give them guidance and to just to be there and say ‘We are with you.’. That is what I have tried to do behind the scenes. Giving support does not mean you are choosing sides, giving support is what a university should do whether it be at North Carolina Central, Duke, Forham, Illinois or Army. We are in the kid business and that is what I have tried to do behind the scenes.
I don’t like the remarks that attack athletics, not just at Duke but anywhere and I think that the people that do that are very narrow-minded in the total scope of what a university or college does. All of the coaches that coach here are teachers. I write about 100 lesson plans a year and they are different ones than the ones I used the year before. I then have a chance to coach games and all that, but we teach more than coach a game. We know our students very well and the lessons that are learned on the court compliment the lessons that are learned in the classroom, because it should be unified effort in an educational process.
At the U.S. Military academy where I went to school, it [athletics] was a way of learning about teamwork, about spirit, about how to handle success and failure, how to be a complimentary player, a star player, how to be loyal, how to communicate in a frenzied moment, how to communicate to show compassion. In other words, it’s a crucible of real life things, that’s what sports do and to learn those lessons while you’re getting this education that you get, the great education that you get in an English classroom, in math or whatever it is, that combination is total education.
We have many great graduates of this university who participated in intercollegiate athletics who are running major corporations, who are operating on people, who are defending people, who are counseling people, and to say that intercollegiate athletics is not an integral part of any university is so ridiculously wrong. It is so narrow-minded and I’m glad that our administration and our board of trustees recognize this.
On Coach K’s behind the scenes support:
I have just tried to add support, whether it be just saying to my athletic director ‘I’m with you’ or to my president, ‘What can I do.’ With our lacrosse coach [Mike Pressler] and his wife, who are beautiful people, whether it’s taking them out to eat or having them over to our house. We have done those things and we are proud of them. The Presslers are our dear friends.
I don’t know what Mike Pressler did wrong in this case, whether he’s judged in a whole other thing that’s another matter. He is a good man. My feeling is that he is here 16 years, his players, former players and families swear by him. As far as my friendship with him, he is going be my friend.
On his special assistant to the president status:
I do not know how formal it is. I think that because of our visibility, we obviously have an impact on our university. I am not saying we are the major thing or whatever, but obviously we have an impact. I love my university. I love Duke. Duke is a great school and it will always be a great school. How it handles a situation like this will determine how much more it can grow and how it will grow. I wear my Duke stuff everyday. I am proud of being the Duke coach. Being the Duke coach has given me more than I could ever give to Duke and I think most graduates would say the same thing.
On whether there has been a more trying time at Duke:
No, this is the most trying time. That is the way it is. If you are going be here for the long run, you are going to have trying times. That is what happens, whether it is a business or a family, if you are in it for the long haul. There have been a lot more great times, but if you can’t accept and handle the trying times, then you don’t deserve to hold that mantle of what Duke has in national community.
On the impact of the lacrosse situation on the basketball program...
The two things people use against us in recruiting is that Duke is too hard and that you are not good enough to play there because they have too many players. The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community. We have amazing race relations and I think basketball has been a part of the process of bringing the community even closer together because of the great kids we have.
On other schools using playing time as potential negative recruiting tool against Duke:
If we have more players that are ready to play, we will play them. One of my guys brought me a crazy stat after the Boston College game when I coached my one 1,000 game as a head coach. The stat was that in 20% of the games I have coached, we have been the number one team in the country. It is crazy that we wind up in a fifth of our games as the number one team. That is an extreme and we are an extreme. You should expect extreme response, positive, negative, underhanded, whatever because it comes with the territory. In the 31 years I have coached, I have never said one word about another program. I just wouldn’t do that; we have too much to say about Duke and our program.
On how much the freshman class will be relied upon:
A lot, but that is exciting for us. One the great things about college is that there is turnover. We won’t have any seniors; we have DeMarcus [Nelson] who will hopefully stay healthy the whole year. Our younger guys are going to have to be older and we feel very good about the four freshmen. Gerald [Henderson] is physically and emotionally ready. Jon [Scheyer] is an outstanding player and Brian [Zoubek] is big and will be able to help us. Lance [Thomas] is a warrior and this experience [U.S. Under-18 team], if he makes this team, will help. They are going play and we will actually be deeper.
On landing three recruits in three consecutive days last summer:
With those guys, we thought they would come to Duke. It didn’t matter for me if it was in three consecutive days, it just worked out that way and then we paid the price, the fourth guy we got we had to wait.
On advice given to Shelden last summer about entering the NBA Draft:
You factor in everything, but for Shelden, he was going to be picked at best in the last ten of the first round and he is a better player than that. Shelden is really one of the great guys and we thought he could be in the top ten and he will be. He will actually be in a position that will shock some people, but not me. He comes in ready to play and could end up being a starter right away in the NBA.
On how demanding the past 12 months have been:
This has been the busiest year of my life, by far. I am pacing myself by having people help me make good decisions. It is a huge honor and a huge commitment and there are three priorities, our family, the Duke program, and USA basketball. I did get a chance to spend a lot of time with my family down at the beach in May instead of August. We spent some family time earlier and my family has adjusted their schedules to figure that out. The infrastructure of our Duke program is so strong; Johnny Dawkins could run any program in the country. He could do this every bit as well as me and I think Steve [Wojciechowski] and Chris [Collins] have the potential to do that too. I have a strong program. I have people who will step up and they have, so that has made it a lot easier for me.
On N.C. State head coach Sidney Lowe:
He is a good guy. He is a State guy and he has been a really good coach. The one great thing he did is surround himself with a terrific staff. I think they will do well. We are supportive of him in that regard; we are going try and beat them when we play them but he is a good man.
On possibly playing a more up-tempo style next year:
I don’t know yet, I think you have to watch them. We are going play more players. One thing with younger guys there is more of a chance for inconsistency and there is more of chance of playing with emotional energy and getting tired. We need Greg [Paulus] to be a leader. We need Josh [McRoberts] to be an outstanding player and we need a healthy DeMarcus [Nelson] because he will be a really good player if he is just healthy. You start out with those three guys and you build from there.
On the development of athletic dept code of conduct:
It is in the process of being developed and actually a good base is what the lacrosse team came up with, but each team has, at least ours has, an unwritten code of conduct. Our first rule with a team is don’t do anything detrimental to yourself or to our program. That gives me a lot of latitude so that I can judge what is detrimental to them. As we come up with this new set of conduct, we have to be careful that we allow the latitude to lead and not just rule. The latitude to lead is huge in teaching and having a good team or a good university. You don’t let a rule govern what you do; you let a principle govern what you do. Instead of a code of conduct, I would rather have a code of values.
On the addition of a practice facility near Cameron:
It is a very exciting time for our athletic department because we are in the process of clearing ground soon for a new facility. Our academic support is not big enough, so this new building will produce amazing opportunities that were not afforded our athletes beforehand. On the other end, there will be a huge meeting area, a space where you can actually 300 400 people together. There are going to be a couple floors of office space for new programs, new counseling programs, and new development programs. It will be a center of academic and athletic excellence. I call it a center for excellent human performance. It comes at a good time; we are going have these programs, not just a code of conduct or a code of values. We are going to actually put into principle some of these counseling services.
On Nate McMillan:
Nate was an outstanding player in the NBA and has been outstanding at two franchises as a head coach. He is a really good defensive coach and a good disciplinarian. At our meetings that we had in Phoenix, he was impressive.
On Rudy Tomjanovich:
A huge story of the USA team is Rudy Tomjanovich. Rudy is going direct scouting for our national program for the next three years. He was our Olympic coach in 2000 when they won the Olympic gold medal and he is coming back to direct the scouting for us. He is back because he loves it and seeing that type of spirit at the national level is exciting. Nobody writes a story of Rudy Tomjanovich doing that, but it is a heck of thing. He is just a good man, good man.