Mike KrzyzewskiDuke Head Coach
On the game:
“This is a big win for us because we beat a really good team. Mike [White] has done an excellent job with his team. They’re very good defensively and that’s why he had a hard time those first 12 minutes and then the last 28 minutes we really executed well offensively against a really good team. So proud of my whole team but Amile [Jefferson] played a fantastic game against a really good player. But yesterday both Amile [Jefferson] and Jayson [Tatum] were not with us. We had no practice yesterday with them because they were both at funerals for their loved ones. Amile’s grandmother who helped raise him passed away and they had a funeral in Philadelphia and Jayson was in St. Louis for the funeral of his great grandmother. And for those kids to come back, we just haven’t practiced very much with injuries and all this, and so for our guys to respond this way was just outstanding.
On his balancing his roster when all his players are healthy:
“That’ll be a Rubik’s Cube [laughter]. No, that’s a good thing to have. First of all I hope they get healthy. Marques [Bolden] has not practiced yet. He played in that one game for 12 minutes, so I’m just anxious to get them all at practice. They’ll fit in. They’ll al respond. They’re good kids and they’re all about winning.”
On Jayson Tatum’s defensive intensity in the first half:
“That’s a great point. We actually said that at halftime that his steal and pressure kind of turned the game around. And it turned him around I think too. He also had a great block that time. He had eight defensive rebounds, so your point is well taken. I thought that was a big turning point for us and he did it defensively for us.”
On playing in The Jimmy V Classic:
“It’s always an honor to play against a really good team. That’s the very first thing and we played against a really good team. It’s always an honor to play in Madison Square Garden and we played in Madison Square Garden. It’s a great honor to play against a really good team in The Garden where you’re bringing attention to the fight against cancer. Coach Valvano and I in his last six months became like brothers. In between games, you watch his speech again and he looked so good. He looked great, but he and I, his wife and my wife, flew up that morning and Pam Valvano would always carry this really big gold bag, and it was his vomit bag. That’s all he did the flight up. He was so sick. And God bless him, when he went on, boom. And then when he was done, boom.
“It’s a great honor. Kind of emotional, not during the game, you kind of throw yourself in the game, but before and now after. I miss him and I’m glad he had the vision to get this thing started.”
On his team’s chemistry given their limited practice time together:
“They like each other and when they were all healthy, Jason and those guys in October before Jason got hurt, in practice that’s all they did. They just made plays for one another and we haven’t been able to do that completely, but you can see signs of it. And when you have Amile in there, he’s a basketball player, so he’s making those plays too and what we’d like to do is get Marques in there so then you get a low-post presence, although Amile was a pretty good low-post presence today. Amile played one of the great games, and God Bless him, he was fantastic.”