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Quotes: Duke 89, Boston College 68
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/24/2013
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“Our guys did a good job today. They had great intensity defensively after the first TV timeout and the rest of the half. Second half I thought we started the half really well, to get that lead. You would like to have them play at that level defensively and they are not going to give up, they are a good team, coming off a huge win over Maryland, almost beating us, putting themselves in a postion to beat us, so they are a good basketball team. Steve [Donahue] has done a great job, and you can tell they have great unity and they have gotten better throughout the year. So we beat a good basketball team this afternoon. I liked the way two of my freshman finished today. Rasheed [Sulaimon] had a sensational game, and one of the things he did today was he played through contact and finishing instead of trying to just get the shot off, he played through contact and it’s a sign of growth. He made a lot of outstanding plays today and Amile [Jefferson] did the same thing. Amile played through contact and that’s one of the things you have got to learn about the game. Mason’s been the most important player for any team in our league this year. I think he’s been the best player in our conference and without him, when we walked off the court in Miami and Ryan not playing, for us to be 11-3 right now is sensational. I know you all would like to write about Duke being a machine and all that kind of stuff because of the success we’ve had, but our kids have done a great job. I said last week in the press conference and on radio, the story is not a loss, the story is how much these kids have won without Ryan [Kelly]. That’s a huge story. I mean you’re 9-3 and Ryan is going to be back soon. What does soon mean? I don’t know, but he’s going to be back and Mason [Plumlee] has been the guy. He’s been the strength. I love the way he’s played because in the first half, you know we were scoring so much from the outside and from drives, and he wasn’t impatient. He had three shots but he had eight defensive boards and he made three sensational defensive plays. One to get a loose ball that got us a three point play, just with unbelievable energy. Then in the second half we went to him, and he was like a battering ram. Getting fouled, passing the ball out, he has had a great, great week, I love his response to the performance at Maryland. What a great, mature player’s response to a poor game and I ‘m proud of him. We’re going to take tomorrow off, a mandatory day, and obviously it’s another big week. The schedule has been crazy in February because you have these nine o’clock games and you play them away and you come right back on Saturday so I think Virginia has played terrific and obviously Miami is the best team in our conference this year, so it’s a huge week for us and hopefully we’ll get ready.”

On Mason Plumlee’s Defense:
“Mason is a heck of an athlete. This past week we had three days when we had three straight days of practice which we haven’t had in a long time and we worked hard on our defense. Mason is an outstanding defender, he’s going to be doing that for the next 15 years of his life, defending the ball screens, so hopefully he has learned how to do that here. One of the main things though is when he’s talking. Not just his physical movement, but his talk. His talk makes us a better basketball team on the defensive end.”

On Rasheed Sulaimon’s Defense:
“Rasheed will eventually be one of the better, as good as anybody on the ball because he’s wide and he’s a really good athlete. He’s learning how to play that defense. Some of that comes natural and he’s worked on it. It’s the off the ball stuff, and for any freshman to be alert when you’re not guarding the ball. I think he could still get more steals off the ball because he is so quick. He should be a great defender. This kid’s got it. God gave him long arms and 6-31/2 or 6-4 and quickness, but it’s a process.”

On How to View this Season:
“First of all we have been trying to survive, which no one believes. That’s what we’ve been trying to do and get better while doing that. After these two wins, we know we are going to be an NCAA team at some level and we’re not paying attention to the conference race, we’re not paying attention to seeds, the only thing we’re paying attention to is the next game. Whenever Ryan [Kelly] can come back, if he can come back during the regular season to try to get him back into a little bit of a groove with our guys, so we are running our own race. It’s been a good one, we’re going to try to keep doing it, but we’re not going to compare it to anyone else’s race include past Duke teams. This is our race and we’re going to try to be focused on that.”

On Getting Ryan Kelly Back:
“I think it’s more ‘what is he able to do.’ The fact is that he’s a very unique guy, that’s what made us a unique team. We have to make sure when he does come back that the good things we’re doing now are paid attention to and not just getting him back involved. That’s why it’d be good if somehow he could get back before the NCAA tournament. With Kyrie [Irving] we weren’t able to do that, but hey look we’re going to play Kyrie. With Nolan [Smith] and Kyle [Singler], you would’ve liked to have a couple games to see, I think it would have been better. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that with Ryan.”

Duke Senior Ryan Kelly
“I’m feeling very good, progressing quickly I think, and just trying to get into a position where I feel good about coming back and can help our team.  There’s still no real timeline.  Obviously, I want to be ready for the Tournament – that’s the biggest thing.  But it’d certainly be very nice as well to get out there for my Senior Night.  I’m working hard every day with the medical staff and my coaches, and I’m feeling really good and I’m progressing.  It’s about getting into shape and doing all of the little things necessary to get back on the court full-time.”

“There’s no question I’d love to play on Senior Night.  That’s something that, as a Duke basketball player that’s been here this long, you look forward to.  But I’m listening to my medical staff, and I’m going to do whatever they tell me is best for me.  They’ve been doing an incredible job for me, and between Jose Fonseca and Nick Potter, they’re getting me healthy, and I feel great.”

“This week coming up is a big week, obviously, as the season is getting shorter and shorter.  I’ve done a lot of stuff on the court in the last few days but not a lot of running on the court.  I’ll have to pick that up.  I’ve been doing most of my running in the pool, but I feel really good about it and my foot’s feeling good.  As this week progresses, I think I can become more and more a part of practice.”

On what he’s been able to do on the court:
“A lot of it is hip work and strengthening my hips, a lot of lateral slides, which has been good, getting shots up – I can still shoot it.  [It’s been] a lot of basketball things, just nothing live yet.  That’ll be the big test obviously.  I have to go out and play again.  I’m confident that that’ll happen soon, and that’ll go well.”

On the comparisons of his return to Kyrie Irving’s return in 2011:
“We’re different players, different positions.  There are some similarities with the timings, but I think in a lot of ways it’s very different.”

Duke Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon
“I just want to go out there and play my game and not worry about the last play.  That’s one thing I had to grow up with, and I think I’m doing a better job of that now, just worrying about the present play and not worrying about what happened last play.  I just have to continue to play my game, be confident, and not second-guess myself.”

“I thought we did a great job of moving the ball around, setting great screens, and just playing with each other.  When I had the open shot, I took it.  We did such a great job of moving the ball that on my drives, a lot of it was on rotations where guys were running out hard on me, so I just gave them a little fake and opened up to the lane.  I just thought we did a great job of moving the ball and playing together, and I was just fortunate that a lot of my drives were there and a couple of my shots could fall in tonight.”

On his improved play since a subpar performance against N.C. State in Raleigh:
“I had to just take a self-check and have confidence in myself.  Early on in the season, I thought I was doing a lot of second-guessing and not wanting to make mistakes.  Now my teammates and the coaching staff have a great deal of confidence in me, and I just always want to make them feel proud of me.  I’m just trusting in myself and trying to play my game, not worrying about what happened in the past and just worrying about the present possession and trying to win every possession.”

Duke Senior Mason Plumlee
“I didn’t think we started out too well.  That first four minutes, Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] was a little angry at us at that first media timeout, but then we picked it up.  It started with our defense.  When we pay attention to the scouting report and do a really good job of that, it translates, and I thought we did a much better job.  [Olivier] Hanlan had like 20-plus and really kept them in the game up there [at Boston College].  I thought our guys did a great job on him tonight.  We just really played good defense.”

On Rasheed Sulaimon’s play and the possibility of his winning ACC Freshman-of-the-Year honors:
“There’s not another freshman I’d rather have on my team than Rasheed.  And that’s easy.”

On the impact of Ryan Kelly’s return and the transition for the team:
“I think it’ll be a smooth transition.  I know everybody’s talking about Kyrie [Irving] and Nolan [Smith], but you had one guy playing point guard and then another guy came in and played point guard.  And that position is so different from playing the four for us because Nolan, a lot of his stuff was having the ball in his hands and making decisions, and then, all of the sudden, he was playing off the ball and didn’t have the ball in his hands all the time.  I don’t see his transition coming back being difficult like that was.  And really, that transition [with Irving] wasn’t that difficult.  Kyrie played great – Arizona was on fire that night.  We’re judging his comeback by one game.  He really played well against Hampton and Michigan, and Arizona was on fire.  He had 30.  It was a tough loss.”

Boston College Head Coach Steve Donahue
Opening Statement:
“Unfortunately for us I didn’t think we handled the first trip to this building very well for most of the guys. Our seven scholarship players are all freshmen and sophomores, so for the first time this year we didn’t play with a lot of poise on both sides of the ball. Eventually we settled in, but by that time it was too late. I don’t think there are too many teams in the country that can come into this building and beat Duke. They are playing terrific basketball.”

On what happened in the first half:
“Here is what happened, on the offensive side they scoot up. The game is being played too fast, they are not making great decisions. They try to do too much. On the defensive side of the ball, we tanked, ‘I got my man, I am OK.’ Just not as a unit. I thought that is what we did.”

On experience taken away from game:
“You know, we are at the point in our program where we try to learn from every experience. Not that I want to see us get our asses kicked, but if it is going to happen I want to see how we respond. What could be the hindsight? That is who we are. Next time in this experience we are going to be relaxed and calm. Trust in your teammates. It is all part of the process.”

On first five minutes in first half:
“I think Duke has a lot to do with that. They do a terrific job of swarming the ball and not really helping on ball-side kicks. I think that is the best thing they did on defense. If you look at it they only gave up four from deep, we are obviously a team that relies on that. I thought they did a little different today; they were great at pressing the ball screens.”

On positives:
“I thought we turned the ball over 10 times in the first six minutes of the game. We don’t turn the ball over that often. After that point we didn’t turn the ball over very much, shot a high percentage from the floor and got good looks almost every time down the court. That was the positive for me. We didn’t guard very well. I give Duke credit, [Rasheed] Sulaimon in particular. He can shoot over us and he did that. The problem was that we didn’t handle that for the first eight or nine minutes of the game we didn’t handle that very well, it was a 20-point game. I thought we kept our poise with the basketball and shared it.”

On Rasheed Sulaimon:
“Not really in this game, because we were down by so much. With all due respect to him, they have seven other McDonald’s All-Americans that you have to worry about. The thing that I take away, Duke in their prep for the game, they respected us. I felt they weren’t going to let what happened at our place happen again today. In a strange way, I want our guys to learn from that. They have an attitude, they posted up hard, they guarded hard. They play like winning teams do.”