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Quotes: Duke 110, Georgia Tech 57
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/04/2017
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“We played really well. We played more like we practiced and we’ve been able to practice. The group and how we had is more like what we wanted to do since October but we’re doing it now in January. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to postpone my surgery for a few days, to move to this point to get us moving the right way where Grayson [Allen] could be at point, Frank [Jackson] also … the two of them together. Get Harry [Giles] in the starting lineup. Try to get seven or eight guys in a rotation where they know, where seven or eight of them feel like they’re starters. Stuff we would’ve done in our first or second exhibition games if we had them but we didn’t have them so this is where we’re at. We were very unselfish; seven guys in double figures, 24 assists, so good job by our group.”

On his impending surgery:
“I’m all right. Obviously I need surgery. I feel like a guy who is all right and who needs surgery. I’ll be happy when it’s done. This has been about a month. You try to beat it and you can’t beat it. I do know how to beat it. You have to get surgery and I have the best guy, Allan Friedman, so we’ll do that. And I won’t be in a hurry to come back until I’m ready because I made that mistake in my younger days. I’m too old to renew that mistake. I do feel confident about the direction we’re going. Obviously I feel really confident in my staff. Jeff [Capel]’s been a head coach and a very successful head coach. He could’ve been a head coach the last couple years at a number of places. The other guys … Nolan [Smith] will come on as an assistant while I’m away and he’ll be able to do the things an assistant would be able to do. I’ll watch film tonight to see and try and get our game plan going and all that. Try to do some pre-op work and MRI and everything tomorrow early. The other thing is, I don’t know how I’m going to feel, so I don’t want … that’s what I did in the past. I thought I had it figured out, but it was something I didn’t know. That was really not very smart. Got to let it happen and take my time, but I’ll be back. This isn’t about me not being back, unless God forbid there’s some type of complications. We don’t anticipate it. I’m in good shape. It may not look it but whatever. The biggest thing for me over the past month is how tired you get because of pain. Tonight, just in pain all the time. You just want to punch it, but then you’re punching yourself.  I’m ready to have this taken care of.”

On Grayson Allen’s return:
“Talking with Kevin White and there were things behind the scenes that we’re doing. I think it’s appropriate what we’ve done. We feel like it was appropriate.”

On Harry Giles’ development:
“We wanted to try to push that process a little bit by starting him. We see him in practice keep getting better, better being more comfortable with contact. Like ‘Oh yeah this is what you can do’ and all that. And in shape. So we had it where we were going to kind of split time. Marques [Bolden] had a good second half, but [Georgia Tech] has kind of a smaller lineup so they spread you. So it’s a little more difficult to have that, just replacing each other. Harry was diving for loose balls. He had the double-double. He doesn’t have the athleticism yet that he will. He’s made really positive steps forward. He’s got such great support from his teammates. He loves to play. I’m just glad it’s progressing like this. I think he’s still a ways away from being who he will be, but hopefully that will happen while he’s at Duke.  That’s what we’re working for.”

On the team’s ability to share the ball better tonight compared to Saturday’s game:
“Saturday was  … first of all [Virginia Tech was] really good. They were primed for us and we were awful. I was awful. It was one of those moments in time where you just … might as well just flush it. You’re really not going to get anything. It was also the end of us patch-working our team. Like who’s healthy, who’s not. We don’t want guys hurt. Do we have enough guys to play and all that. So now we have the guys and so we said, ‘Ok let’s start, it’s October 15 or whatever. Let’s start.’ Our practices have been hard and the kids have responded. It’s given them the chance to get to know each other in the roles that are familiar for them and not playing the extended minutes. Some of these guys were playing 40 minutes a game. Tonight it helped Matt [Jones]. Matt had his best game in about a month. He’s a good player, but sometimes you ask these guys to do a little bit more than they can do and they forget what they can do. They try to do a little bit more instead of being themselves. This way, they get to know each other better. The game Saturday will be a tough game. These games will be tough games and we’ll see how we grow from it.”

Duke Junior Grayson Allen
“I was just out there and attacking and trying to be smarter, and we tried to share the ball.  I think we did a very good job of that tonight.  We had multiple guys with a lot of assists and I think 20-something assists on the night, which I think was a season-high.  That’s how we want to play.”

On return from suspension:
“Being away from the game like that, it does feel like a long time, but I’m very happy to be back and move on.  It’s tough to watch because if I did all the right things, I would’ve been out there.  And I didn’t and with that part of it, I let my team down and I’m sorry to the guys for not being able to be out there with them.  It’s not anyone else’s fault but myself and so that part of it, as a competitor, really hurt, but I’m very happy to be back now.”

When asked how the team approached the game tonight, given the fact that it would be Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last game for several weeks:
“Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] is our leader and we’re very happy that we came out and played great – for ourselves and also that we came out and played great for him.  And you know that with him going away, he’s going away with a win.  He’s still going to be a big part of what we do, but we’re very confident in ourselves moving forward.”

On what Coach K has shared with the team about the process that he’s about to go through:
“Just that he’ll be away for a little bit and he’ll still try to be involved when he can.  We have a lot of confidence – and he has a lot of confidence – in his staff, Coach [Jeff] Capel, Coach [Jon] Scheyer, Coach [Nate] James, and Coach Nolan [Smith], and we’re very confident in that moving forward.  We’re going to listen to everything they say.  Coach Capel is going to be a very good coach for us, and we’re confident we’re going to be the same team moving forward.”

Duke Sophomore Luke Kennard
On Duke’s fast start to the game tonight:
“It just started with unselfishness.  We shared the ball, we made some big plays, and that’s who we need to be.  We have a lot of playmakers, we have a lot of scorers, we have a lot of talent, and when we put it out on the court and we play together like we did tonight and we share the ball, it’s a beautiful thing.  It’s beautiful basketball and it’s a lot of fun to play.”  

On having Grayson Allen back on the floor for Duke:
“It’s great.  It’s great to see one of our leaders leading us.  He’s such a special player for us, and to have him out there, it’s a lot of fun to play with him.  The way that he created for other guys, the way that he made plays, we need him to do that all year and he’s going to be a really, really special player for us.”

When asked how the team will approach Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s absence:
“We support him. We’re going to be right there for him, and we want to keep playing, especially tonight, we want to build off of this and keep playing well from now on.  We believe in the other coaches to do a great job, and we’re just going to continue to grow from this.  It’s going to be different.  It happened once last year, at Georgia Tech, but Coach Capel, he’s been a head coach and we have trust and we really believe in him.”

Duke Freshman Jayson Tatum
“Today was probably our best game so far as a collective unit, the way we moved the ball, everybody scoring and having fun.  I think that’s how we should play all the time.  I think we were more together today and everybody was having fun.  Nobody was down.  Everybody was just worried about winning and it showed.  Nobody cared about who scored just as long as we scored, and we were having fun doing it.”

On Grayson Allen’s return:
“It was great. We definitely missed him against Virginia Tech.  To have someone like him and Frank [Jackson], they push the ball extremely well.  He can score at will and the thing he does best, he can pass.  The defense collapses every time, so he always finds the open man.  I think we did that well tonight.  We got a lot of assists and found the open guy.”

Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner
Opening Statement:
“Not much to say besides we got our butts kicked tonight. The way Duke was shooting, it was like they were standing on a pier shooting into the ocean and so we have to give them credit. We had trouble guarding some of their penetration and rotations all night long. They were just on fire. Obviously the stars aligned with their energy with having Grayson Allen back and Coach K’s last game before his leave of absence. They were absolutely terrific offensively. We’re the most inexperienced team in all of college basketball. There is going to be some ups and downs and each game is unique. Saturday we had a great win versus North Carolina and tonight wasn’t as good. We play Louisville on Saturday so we have to play better and try to steal a win on Saturday. We have to be ready to play.”

On the win versus North Carolina:
“They didn’t shoot the ball well and we did. We were the aggressor and tonight, Duke was the aggressor. That is just how basketball is. It’s such a make and miss game. When a team is shooting the ball like they did tonight, I mean they had 16 threes, it just makes it really hard. With Grayson in there, they are just a completely different level team.”

On being too quick on offense:
“We tried to run our plays and they did a good job pressuring us. We had limitations offensively and we have to be able to score the ball. We’re not a big team either and we really rely on getting to the free throw line. But again, that is credit to Duke. They were the aggressor and they had things flowing. They had us in rotation most of the night and that made it really tough.”

On Luke Kennard offensively:
“They were on fire. Whether it was bad defense or great offense Duke, they were just on fire. I don’t know how many teams would have beat them tonight to be honest with you.”

On taking a timeout early:
“I didn’t want it to get out of hand early. I wanted to try to stop their runs. I like to have one, maybe two timeouts at the end of the game if it’s close. But on the other hand, you want to make sure the runs don’t get out of hand.”

On Duke’s atmosphere:
“I knew it was going to be tough but the league is tough. I knew there was going to be great energy in the building. They were coming off a loss against Virginia Tech. Grayson Allen was coming back and Coach K’s last game before surgery. I told our guys that we couldn’t be into all that and we have to focus and be the aggressor. We did that for the first few possessions but then they were just on fire.”

On Grayson Allen playing:
“I assumed he was going to play. I officially found out when they put the starters up 15 minutes before the game.”

On younger guys:
“We are the most inexperienced team in all of college basketball. We’re in year one of a rebuild. When I got the job, they said I probably wouldn’t win a game during ACC play so I’m glad we got that out of the way the first game. It’s going to take time. We have two great games under our belt at VCU and North Carolina. If we want to move up in the ACC, we’re going to have to improve in many areas. We will continue to get better.”