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Quotes: Duke 88, William & Mary 67
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 11/23/2016
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“I thought our guys played well and we beat a really good team who does a great job. The last few years, their program has been solid with 20 wins a season, in contention for their league title. Their veteran perimeter is a good one and [Jack] Whitman played really well too. But they’re a good team. I thought our three point defense was excellent. They usually shoot 30 threes a game and we got them down to 21. Our defense was good and our bench helped us. Grayson [Allen] was a little better physically today but he’s still not there. He didn’t practice for two days, but he is better. Amile [Jefferson] is still a little banged up but did a great job again tonight with a double-double. He played with a heavy heart because his grandmother, who practically raised him, passed away. He is a stud being able to handle that and his teammates have been great with him also.”

On the injured players taking part in warmups:
“I think the transition from serious injury isn’t just physical, but it’s also mental. I think to put on your uniform, do warmups as much as you can and be a part of the team is something we wanted to transition them to. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we just don’t know how long that tunnel is. But, I think days like today helped. Harry [Giles] looked pretty good in warmups but he hasn’t had any contact. Marques [Bolden] looked good and Jayson [Tatum] needs to be kept for a little longer. Everything is progressing well and this was a good thing to do.”

On the team’s offensive rebounding success:
“We’ve been rebounding well offensively because our perimeter has been, and Amile. Luke [Kennard] and Grayson each had four defensive rebounds. After Kansas, we talked about how the perimeter would have to make more of an effort.”

On the subs off the bench:
“Antonio [Vrankovic] and Chase [Jeter] helped a lot, as well as Javin [DeLaurier]. They played with a lot of energy. Antonio in the last three weeks has improved a lot. He’s been energetic, athletic and his tip at the end of the half was big for us.”

On Grayson doing other things well:
“He covered [Daniel] Dixon well, but he isn’t there yet. God bless him, he is a stud. He has been a warrior. We have to keep playing and keep getting better and get Grayson healthier. Thirty minutes before the Rhode Island game I didn’t think he was going to play but he said he was going to and he did. He’s a nice kid to have on the team.”

On the discussion of giving players six fouls:
“Until this year, I would have never wanted it. Part of it is the discipline and decision making a coach has to make when a guy gets two fouls in the first half and an early third in the second. From a coaching perspective, those are huge decisions that you would be eliminating from the game. You can’t just look at it as a star player gets to play more. However, if we continue to strictly do these rules, I would like to revisit that at the end of the year. Overall, I would be open to looking at it later. But again, the strategy of teaching the discipline of playing with two, three and four is one of the beautiful aspects of the game that I see.”

Duke Graduate Student Amile Jefferson
On what Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s message was to the team heading into tonight’s game:
“Next man up and to really have a lot of energy tonight.  With it being the holidays, your mind can be on a lot of different things, thinking about family and things like that and just ready to have a break.  It was a big-time game tonight and we played a really good team, so Coach just talked about being tough and together.  And that’s what we were tonight.  I think his preaching is really seeping into our guys because we had contributions from everybody tonight, and it was great to see everybody chip in and help us get the win.”
“I’m starting to get a good feel for the game again and that’s great.  It’s not the same when you’re not out there.  When you first get back out there, you’ve got to get back into it and it’s taken me a few games.  But I’m starting to feel good and my teammates are doing an unbelievable job, so for me and Matt [Jones] and Grayson [Allen], it’s just about being leaders and that’s what I’m trying to do – help our team with whatever I can do, whatever way, shape, or form possible.  I think we’re doing a great job of everybody trying to contribute and help our group.”

When asked for his assessment of where the team stands right now:
“I think we’re in a pretty good spot.  We definitely haven’t hit our ceiling yet, which is really good.  We haven’t become the team that we want to be, but we’re forming an identity – we’re forming an identity around defense and what better way to do it?  I think our guys just have to keep stepping, keep trucking, until our guys get healthy, and once they all get healthy, we’ll be even better than we are now.”  

Duke Senior Matt Jones
When asked how it will benefit Duke down the road to face William & Mary’s offense tonight:
“As far as the split-actions and just the moving and cutting and trying to space the floor, I feel like other teams are going to try to do that with the foul calls and rules and things like that, so it definitely helped us a lot to see that.”

On where Duke’s defense stands at this point in the season:
“I think we’re doing a really good job.  Obviously, you can always improve; it doesn’t matter who’s out there on the court.  So overall I think we’re doing a good job with the hands we’re being dealt.”

Duke Junior Grayson Allen
“It’s about time I made some shots.  It felt better to see the ball go in the net.  The confidence in my shooting never left me.  It was just I had to make them and finally tonight I was able to make a few.”
“The way it is right now, you have to adjust to the way the game’s being called because it is being called differently this year.  You can’t put hands on guys.  You’ve got to learn to play defense without fouling.  You’ve got to move your feet.  The second you put a hand on a guy, there’s the whistle.  It’s every team that has to learn to defend that way, and I think at the beginning of the year, it’s just teams adjusting to that.  As a scorer, you have that freedom of movement where the guy’s not going to be grabbing, pulling, pushing, all that stuff, so us guys on the perimeter, we know we have that freedom of movement when we’re driving and cutting.  It’s a lot better that way – you’re not getting bumped off of everything.”

“We’ve been playing with the same guys to start the year.  We know how good we are, we know that we’re still improving, and we know when we incorporate these guys back in, we’re just going to be that much better.  But right now we’re very confident with what we have.  We’re not playing a waiting game where we’re waiting for guys to get back.  We’re going full speed with what we have, and we’re approaching every game that way, and I think the group that we have right now has done a great job of fighting with a shorter bench, just being tough, and really playing a lot of minutes.  Luke [Kennard] has stepped up huge for us, and I think he’s going to continue to play that way throughout the year, so it’s just a matter of adjusting our team when those guys do come back.”

William & Mary Head Coach Tony Shaver
Opening Statement:
“Duke is pretty good, they’re pretty hard to guard. Offensive efficiently. I think they are number one in the country and it is obvious why. They’ve got a lot of weapons, they use their weapons very well. We could not stop the dribble drive tonight and I thought defensively that we didn’t do a good enough job defending the three as we would have liked to have, but you choose your poison on where you try to stop them a little bit. I was really proud of our kids, the second half especially. We had some stretches where we were not very good. We played Louisville about nine days ago and we didn’t compete the way we want to compete, we didn’t play to our standards and I think tonight we did a much better job in that respect. I feel much better about our club after this ball game.”

On his team coming out and fighting tonight after not competing against Louisville:
“I thought we had a great start. We trapped ball screens tonight a little bit early which I think helped to get us aggressive and a good positive mentality as a team out there. We need to shoot the ball well, we missed a lot of shots. We are taking some bad shots, but we are missing a lot of shots. We really need to shoot it well to be a great team. I thought we competed much harder tonight and really, I am proud of that.”

On the play of the two big guys down low – Jack Whitman and Nathan Knight:
“Jack played really well, we can’t keep him on the floor. He only played 16 minutes tonight because of fouls and I think in 16 minutes he had 13 points and four rebounds. He is our best player right now, he is doing really good things for us. I think Nathan Knight came on as a freshman and gave us some nice moments. He plays like a freshman, he is great for one moment and then he does not execute the next, but that is probably true with every freshman in the country. Really proud of what he has given us as a young freshman right now.”

On his seniors’ struggle in first half but how they came back and played really strong in the second half:
“We challenged those guys a little bit. Our best players have to play well and we have not gotten the best play out of Omar Prewitt and Daniel Dixon this year and their play needs to step up just a little bit. We challenged them a little bit at halftime and I thought they really responded in an extremely positive way. I am really proud of what they did the second half. Across the board not just scoring the ball, but they handled it better,  they drove it well, they shot it better, defended  better, got their hands on balls so those two guys have to give us that same kind of effort every night.”