Skip to main content

 Opening Statement: “We got back 7 o’clock Sunday morning and so Sunday was just trying to get acclimated back to being on the east coast. Yesterday was more of just another recovery day with recovery lift and so today will be a normal practice and then we’ll take off tonight. Everyone’s healthy. Obviously, really excited – being a regional champion is unbelievable, and that’s what makes the event on Saturday for all four teams – it’s the most amazing day in college basketball, to bring four champions together and then play for another championship. So, we’re very excited about being a part of that and very honored.”

On playing North Carolina for the first time in the NCAA Tournament:
“I haven’t looked at it as us against Carolina, I’ve looked at it as ‘we’re playing in the Final Four.’ So, the history of that I’ve not paid any attention to…Usually we’ve been a high seed if we’re in and if you’re a high seed they’ve tried to put conference teams where you wouldn’t meet until the end, so the closest we came was in 1991 when we were both in the Final Four and Kansas and North Carolina played the game before we played Vegas [UNLV]. Either we both were going to be eliminated or had a chance to play for the National Championship so then that would’ve been for everything. That would’ve been something. But yeah, I guess it just works out that way.”

On the significance for the sport overall:
“I think the significance that four of these teams that have been four of the winningest teams in college basketball – to be under one roof – and the team and the program that Jay [Wright] has had at Villanova, which in the last 5-6 years has been the leader so to speak, in accomplishment – that’s an amazing thing. The way this tournament has gone too, it’s amazing that that’s happened.”

On the expression “crossing the bridge”:
“Well, I call it in coaching or in teaching – let’s just say in teaching – you get a chance to help an individual or group cross the bridge of limits and that’s the whole purpose for education and whatever is to change limits and increase what a person is capable of doing. As a teacher, if you help that person or team go through and develop a new limit, I call that ‘crossing the bridge,’ and it’s the best thing that a teacher can do. That’s why we should celebrate teachers in our country. You know, we get paid a lot as coaches and whatever, but there are so many folks out there who, the reason they do this is to cross those bridges with kids. Especially in amateur athletics – you wouldn’t say you’re ‘crossing a bridge’ with a pro team, they’ve crossed a lot of bridges. But you get a chance to do that with a team. I mean, what Hubert [Davis] has done in his first year to get his team to do that is magnificent. Same thing for our guys – it’s unbelievable, and we should take joy in that. Now there’s another one and this one leads to the National Championship.”

On the growth and maturity of the guards over the last few weeks:
“We wouldn’t’ve won – what are we, we’re 32-6, so we’ve won a lot of games. We won a lot of games and won the league before we played poorly for two weeks and so, they have done that. What happened during that time is that we played really good teams who played well against us, and we didn’t practice to the level, just because we’d come off of eight out of 11 road games and stuff like that and so, that hurt us. Our approach hurt us, and you went back to the other side of the bridge and your habits that weren’t going to do very well. So, that period of time from the loss to Virginia Tech to playing Cal State Fullerton, we had great practices and we’re healthy. So, we got better. We had a heck of a region and so we were in four really tough games against teams that played really good defensively and physical – they made us better. We had to be better in order to beat them. So, we’re playing better than we did before that lull and I think the lessons that we learned from those mistakes, and then the competition you get better. You get better when you beat really good competition and that’s what happened for our team, thank goodness.”

On Mark [Williams]’ growth on the defensive end:
“I just think his maturity. He has really increased his lateral movement, his ability to guard side to side and as a result, he’s able to get to balls better. Length doesn’t necessarily get you to a ball, lateral movement does. He’s been able to move his feet really well. Heck, against Arkansas, those three offensive rebounds and then full court the euro step, it shows just how much he’s improved on that end and that equates to the defensive end.”

On if the season feels like a long goodbye (succession and continuity):
“The plan that we had was for the continuity of our program, not to get gifts, and it’s worked. We have great continuity in our program. With Jon [Scheyer] taking over, what’s happened in recruiting – not just this year, for next season, but for the following year – we’ve had great continuity and in order to do that, I stayed on the job, and I still wanted to coach. So, this wasn’t about getting recognized, although that’s what you get. That’s what you get when you live in this neighborhood. So, I’ve never looked at it as last, I’ve looked at it as – I look at our program as a continuity. It’s not going to come to an end whenever the last game I coach is done. It will continue and it will continue better because of the plan that was put in place, an excellent plan.”

On the parity/experience of teams across the NCAA:
“Well, it’s the oldest college basketball has ever been. So, as a result of that, it’s going to be tougher to win. I think [Shane] Battier played the most games here – 130+ – we’re playing against guys who have played over 160 games, sometimes they, three of them were on the other team. That’s a lot, and that’s what’s happened, that’s why we shouldn’t be shocked at anything that’s happened in the tournament, because the age differential is dramatic. For us it’s been dramatic the whole [season] – especially the last two [games]. Texas Tech, boy are they good. They’re really good. He’s such a good coach – not that the other guys aren’t – but he, that was a big time game for us.” 

Nikco Sports is doing a cool Duke Blue Devils Final Four 2022 Limited Edition Framed Photo Collage for those with Duke rooms this one chronicles the tourney

Resale ticket prices for the #FinalFour are trending down over the last 48 hours. Cheapest ticket fell by over $100 while cheapest 100’s Level seats are down 50% from Monday. Check out my pals @Ticket_IQ for your fee-free tickets >> here.

%d bloggers like this: