Skip to main content

Q. Coach, it’s been an incredible run, an incredible history for you. Sitting here knowing this is the last season, just what’s going through your mind and just what you can say about this moment.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, that’s not going through my mind. My mind is on this season, and when it’s over, I’ll know that it’s my last. These guys deserve for me to be in their season, so that’s where I’m at. I think they would tell you that that’s where I’m at.

Q. Coach, to have a coach waiting on the bench, what’s the benefits of that knowing he’s there and you can coach him throughout the year, and for the players to be able to have that transition with Coach K and also your new coach?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he’s not a coach in waiting, he’s my associate head coach. He’s been with me for eight years, and he’s basically going to do the same fantastic job that he’s always done and then take over and continue to do that job. But these guys can talk about Jon or whoever else you want them to talk about. You guys should say —

WENDELL MOORE JR: Coach has been great, especially my time being here he’s helped so much, not only on the court but off the court things. I think the transition is already going to go smoothly, and I honestly don’t think there was a better person for the job.

JOEY BAKER: Following that up, I think Coach Scheyer is an amazing guy. He’s fully bought in to each individual guy on the team and the overall team success. Kind of speaking for him, he’s not really thinking about next year, he’s fully bought into this year, and that goes for the whole team.

Q. As everyone knows and has mentioned, this is your last year, you’re retiring after this year, but —

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: You all don’t need to keep reminding me. (Laughter). I’m 74 and I still have a memory, all right? I’m good.

Q. Going into the season, is there anything besides that sixth championship that you’re looking to accomplish?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No. I just — what I do for every year, once I learned how to coach, it’s to be in the moment, to get to know my guys. I feel great about my relationship with each individual player on our team. Because it wasn’t like last year, I actually spent a lot of time — have spent a lot of time with them, and not being on the road recruiting has been a Godsend for me as far as developing those relationships. Look, I’ve loved what I’ve done, what I’ve been doing my whole life. I’m going to continue to do it the way that I’ve done it.

Q. You had mentioned a few weeks ago that Wendell had not just a great summer but a sensational summer. Can you elaborate on how you’ve seen him grow from his freshman year to now and some of the new elements he’s incorporated into his game?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, I wish you didn’t say that in front of him. He gets a big head. No, the expression of trust your work, well, in order to trust something you have to work, and he’s really worked hard in the spring in becoming a better athlete, becoming healthier. I’m very impressed with the job he’s done, and same thing with Joey. They’ve both worked really hard. We’ve been together for a while, so that’s been a cool thing. I’m so happy that they’re my co-captains because they have really added a voice in our practice sessions that has been a good one. You need that from a player’s perspective.

Q. I wanted to ask Wendell and Joey, with you guys both being from North Carolina, grew up watching Duke, how does it feel to be the last captains for Coach K for his final season?

WENDELL MOORE JR: Like you said, growing up in North Carolina, Duke basketball was really all I watched growing up, so it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to play for Coach and ultimately play for Duke. To be able to do that on his last team, most people may call it pressure, but I don’t think there’s pressure at all. Obviously having the opportunity to do what we love to do.

JOEY BAKER: Yeah, following up on what Wendell said, we grew up in North Carolina, watched Duke and the games that they played in and the tradition of the program. Just an incredible opportunity, and we’re taking it day by day, trying to get better every day and living in the moment, not looking too far ahead. Just really thankful for this opportunity.

Q. You guys are a part of an historic season as captains of this team. How do you maintain the normalcy for this team but also make sure that Coach K has a great season to cap it off?

WENDELL MOORE JR: I think for us and all the guys in the locker room, we really know we have a mission to accomplish. I mean, first we set the goal early, really in our first meeting we set the goal we wanted to accomplish, and we said the goal is not done until we accomplish what we want to accomplish.

JOEY BAKER: Yeah, same thing as Wendell. I think taking it day by day, not looking too far ahead, and just knowing that if we want to accomplish our goals, we have to come to work every single day, and doing that will take care of the rest of what we want to accomplish. Staying in the moment, working as hard as possible every day, and everything will take care of itself.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I’d like to just add something to that. They can’t play for me. They’ve got to play for us. We’re not going to be good unless we own it. Like you can’t do it for somebody. You’ve got to do it for you, for your group. That’s the mentality that we’ve had, and we’ll continue to have.

Q. I wanted to ask a little bit about A.J. and how his spirits are after the news and if there’s any insight into what his recovery process is looking like.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: You want some inside stuff? Why don’t we meet in the hallway after this (laughter). No, A.J. sprained his knee. No surgical stuff. Nothing was torn or broken. It’s just a matter of rehab, and hopefully it will be weeks, not — but I can’t give you a timeline. He’s off crutches and doing well but still has a lot of therapy to go.

Q. You over the years have advocated for the ACC in a lot of ways as much as you have for Duke. I’m curious, as you transition out of the head coaching role, who in this coaching fraternity now do you think will advocate or could advocate for the league the way that you have?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think all the coaches can. Obviously Mike, Jim, guys who have been in it for a while and have been in the ACC for a while. I think the main advocate for the conference is — I think you saw has already been up here, Jim Phillips. I think we hit a grand slam in getting him as our new commissioner in how he’s looking at the league, and especially this is a tumultuous time for college athletics, and how we are positioned in a power perspective and in a decision-making perspective, the ACC has to be a prominent force in that regard. I think having Jim there is great. Then the other Jim, Boeheim, for however long Jim is coaching, he’s just really not only an outstanding coach, but he’s really smart about college sports. I would hope — and so is Mike. Mike was our past president of the NABC. I’m not mentioning a lot of guys, but those two specifically should — and they already have. It’s not like they haven’t done it.

Q. Along those lines with the tumultuous times as you’ve referenced, there’s a lot going on at the NCAA level, as well, and I think people are wondering about coaches having a voice in the room and having a say at the table. With your retirement I think there’s some concern as to who might do it. First of all, how unfair is it or necessary is it that you have a voice, and secondly, who takes on that baton?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, well, I think you — I think it’s a time to develop autonomy for men’s and women’s basketball and to look at it in a different way than the other sports. The autonomy should start, first of all, in the legislative process so that we can have a more speedy response to the ever-changing landscape that men’s and women’s college basketball has. As far as the structure, who knows where that’s going to be. I do think we’re fortunate that in Craig Robinson, our executive director at the NABC, we have a great man and someone who’s really smart, and I think the NABC needs to show a leadership in that respect in restructuring. I think it should be by division. I think it should be more Power Five or six centric, and that should lead into the rapidity that the legislative process should have where you have the resource in order to provide information to decision makers. Whenever a decision is made, someone from Craig probably, the guy in the room, where you’re not just reading a proposal, you’re hearing about it, and if that’s not allowed, there’s a new thing called Zoom that can actually get you into the room. It’s crazy that that stuff hasn’t been done. So it’s not crazy to think of the position that we’re in right now. But it’s a time for change, and I think the coaches’ associations for both men’s and women’s basketball should work together and provide an example and hopefully some solutions in that regard.

Q. You’ve given feedback to the media before about different types of questions, so I was curious, how would you like us and what would you like us to know about covering your final season.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Just be the effervescent people that you’ve been for over four decades (laughter) where it’s been so exciting to be with you and hearing your questions and reading what you actually think I said. No, just go for it and let’s see what the hell happens.

%d bloggers like this: