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Quotes: Duke 90, Virginia State 59
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/28/2016
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“This is a good night for us because a lot of things went wrong. So guys were placed in positions, like Matt [Jones] his hamstring started to tighten up so we’re just not going to take a chance on that. Then Grayson [Allen] got bumps and bruises so he’s out of the game and all of the sudden the group that you’d been practicing with, Jayson [Tatum], Amile [Jefferson], Marques [Bolden], Matt, and Grayson, well it’s not there. For the young guys, it’s their first time, so I thought they were a little jittery, Frank [Jackson], Javin [DeLaurier], and Jack [White], which they should be, but they’re a little more jittery because these events happen right away. Then the second half I thought we played very well defensively. Frank did really good, and that’s part of it. That is why you do these games. They were placed in some unusual situations tonight because of our physical condition. It’s kind of nuts right now, you know we’ve got to get healthy. We have to get healthy. And they played really well. You know, they won their league and they got their guys back. Obviously, they’re not as big as we are, but they’re older, they’re well coached, and they run good stuff. They run good stuff and they’re not going to be jittery. But in the second half, I thought we did a really good job. Marques was outstanding. His rebounding and rim protection in the second half was really good. Javin gave us a jolt of energy, so that’s something that might not have happened if these guys weren’t hurt, so that’s a good thing. The extended minutes that Frank had were very good. Luke was outstanding, but that’s how Luke’s been playing and more pressure was on him tonight because not having those older guys in there with Grayson and Matt to the extent they should be. I thought overall it was really good, this was all really good for us. We’ve just got to get healthy. We don’t play again until next Friday. We’re just going to bring them in tomorrow and watch tape and try to get them two days of therapy and then come back Monday.”

On Luke Kennard:
“I do expect him to step up. I’m not planning on playing anyone that extended minutes, because then fouls, tired, things like that. There was no way to have a rotation of any sort tonight, just the convoluted. It’s a crazy game as far as that goes because there is really no plan that you can have. This is what we have to do now. No this is what we have to do now. But the things that we always had to do were keep him in the game so that he would be the poised one for those young guys to get their experience. And he was. He did a really good job tonight. I mean, really good job.”

“He doesn’t have to force me to play him. He’s played great. To be quite frank with you, I think he’s played, if you had to grade everybody, he’s played the best overall since we started practice. We kept him out in September for a while because a little bit of a sore toe. So he missed a little bit. It didn’t hurt his conditioning. He’s played great. I’m not surprised by what he did tonight, and he got 30, and again he probably got more shots. I don’t know. He might still get that number of shots with those guys, it just depends on the night and who is guarding him. The thing he did tonight, he guarded the point for a long time, and he played point for a good long period in the second half. We got a lot of experience for emergency situations. We would like to kind of not have as many of those situations if we could. Marques was very, very good. The five blocks were excellent.”

Duke Junior Grayson Allen
On how Duke’s depth in the frontcourt will impact the team this season:
“Offensively, it’s an adjustment, knowing last year we were able to space the floor with a guy as skilled as Brandon [Ingram] at the four and with his shooting ability.  It was really spaced and that allowed a lot of driving, a lot of kicking.  This year, a lot of times we’ll have two bigs in the game or Amile [Jefferson] will be the second big.  And so we know with Amile, he’s a guy that can handle it.  He’s a guy that can penetrate and knock down the mid-range jumper.  So it’s just adjusting to your personnel.  We can also go small too when we have everyone healthy and play spread out like that.  That’s the difference offensively.  Defensively, we have a lot better inside presence this year.  Marshall [Plumlee] did a great job last year, but we have depth this year at that position, so we can really be aggressive, attack the rim, go for boards.  I thought we can rebound a lot better than we did tonight, but that should be a strength for us going forward.”

When asked how the depth in the post affects the spacing for Duke on offense:
“We just have to get adjusted to it.  You have to see the court and know that if there are two bigs in, you have to get some movement, or someone needs to go screen away or screen down.  We set up different things – we have different sets with two bigs.  We know we can have high-low post feeds with two bigs because the bigs that we do have, they can score around the rim.  And on defense they really protect the rim.”

When asked if there is any comparison between Duke’s depth and versatility compared to previous Duke teams he’s played on:
“Not really, just because of the size that we have and the depth that we have at that size.  With Marques [Bolden], Chase [Jeter], Amile [Jefferson], all those guys, they can rebound the ball.  Then you bring Javin [DeLaurier] in the game, and he’s just a ball of energy and has this insane athleticism and this insane motor.  That’s so good for our team and that gives us the opportunity to throw a lot of different lineups at teams, but also we have to adjust accordingly and know who we have in the game.”

Duke Sophomore Luke Kennard
“It was a collective effort together tonight.  In the first half, we really didn’t play the way that we’ve been practicing.  Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] mentioned that.  We practiced a lot harder and that wasn’t us.  That’s not who we want to be.  That’s not who we’re going to be.  But we did a great job sharing the ball.  We had a couple of guys that had to go out with a couple of injuries early, and we had guys that stepped up.  The second half was much better I thought altogether, and that’s what we need.  We need guys to step up and give us energy off the bench. ”

“We have guys that are competing in practice that want to get better, and that’s what they’ve done.  The freshmen, they’ve gotten so much better just throughout their time here so far.  We have guys that step up and they want to do good – they want to play their role to the best of their ability.  That’s what we need from them.  We have guys that are hurt right now, especially with Jayson [Tatum] out, so it’s an opportunity for guys to come in and really lift our team up and really show our team what they can do.”

Duke Freshman Frank Jackson
On being a team leader as a freshman:
“You really have to be a team leader.  You’ve got to get your teammates open, you’ve got to bring the energy, but I’m lucky to have the assistant coaches and Coach K to guide me through the process.  I like to think of myself as a leader, on and off the court.  So that’s something I can to do full time.  It’s still kind of challenging because you’ve got all these older guys, older veterans, who’ve been through a lot.  But they have respect for me and I have respect for them.  We push each other, day in and day out.”

On the play of Luke Kennard tonight:
“That’s Luke.  He can hit open shots, he can create his own shot, and you know he’s going to hit a lot of shots, especially when he’s open.  In practice, everything goes in.  He definitely puts the extra time and work in and gets up a lot of shots, so he’s consistent with his work ethic for sure.”