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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Statement

“We’re excited to be here. We’re allowed one tour every four years, and we haven’t taken one for a while because I’ve been the coach of our National Team so the summers have been busy. But we’re excited about this team coming here. We have a lot of new guys. Two of our freshmen are not going to play on the tour – Tre Jones and Cam Reddish. They’re coming off injuries, and doing some basketball-related activities, but not ready to play. We’ll have 10 scholarships guys ready to play. We’re happy R.J. (Barrett) gets a chance to come home. I think the arena is in walking distance of where he lives. For me, I’ve had an amazing relationship with basketball in Canada – from the time I recruited Danny Mahar out of St. Catherine’s to my relationship with Jay Triano, who helped us get our program started with USA Basketball. I think he’s the only international coach to be an assistant on one of our national team staff. In 2010, when we won the World Championships in Istanbul, he was right there with us. Obviously we worked to help coordinate the tour with R.J.’s dad, Rowan, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

What about R.J. as a player or person surprised you so far

“Not surprised, but he’s fulfilled the high level of expectation I have for him. He comes from an amazing family. He’s been exposed always to older, and always around class in how things are done. He’s always played up. So he’s ‘older.’ He’s such an up-beat kid, and smart. Besides his ability, he has a passion to compete. There’s a passion to play, and a passion to compete. I think his passion to compete is higher. This young man has it. I love him, and I’m glad I’m going to have the opportunity to spend some time with him, and hopefully help him develop those talents that have been developed to a high point already. I hope we can do even more for him. “

What are your memories of your first time in Toronto; and of Canadian basketball

“The first time I came here was to speak at a Duke University event at one of the beautiful museums here, so I didn’t realize what a great city Toronto was. So multicultural. A world city. Not just a great Canadian city, but a world city. It really opens its arms to all different types of cultures. I didn’t watch any basketball during that time. My association with basketball here was coaching Danny Mahar, and getting know Eli Pasquale and all those guys, the Rautins, and some of the really great players, and Steve Nash, who is probably the best player to come out of Canada – having him involved the way he is will help tremendously. “

On what continues to motivate you

“I’m doing what I wanted to do since I was 16, and that’s to coach. I love basketball. I love the relationship you can have with a team, and especially with some of the key individuals. When you get a chance to coach the level of young men that I get coach, that Duke attracts, along with talent. I’m 71 years old, I’m in great shape, I got all my body parts replaced – what it does is it gives me the mobility and the energy. Being with good people, and these guys keeps me young. The car I drive through life doesn’t have a rear-view mirror. It’s not about what you did, it’s about what you’re doing, and what you’re going to do. As long as I feel this way, and have the passion to prepare, and I still have that. My whole staff are guys that played for me. We have a good unit and we have a great culture. It makes us all pretty happy.”


Duke junior forward Javin DeLaurier

On helping the incoming freshmen:

“We’re kind of used to having high-profile freshmen come in just based on the university we go to along with the fact that we play for Coach K. What has been really special about this group is just how mature and together they are, especially for a freshmen group. They’ve come in and done everything that’s asked of them. They’ve worked super hard and they also want to listen and get better. It’s not only impressed myself, but the rest of the upperclassmen as well.”

On playing for Coach K:

“I don’t know if it ever really gets normal, because that’s Coach K. You definitely get more comfortable, but it’s really just amazing when you sit and listen to him with his knowledge of the game. It’s so incredible. Sometimes it’s hard to not be impressed by how knowledgeable he is when he’s trying to tell you things you can do better and whatnot. It’s definitely a really cool evolution to go from seeing him being Coach K, the greatest coach ever, and then getting the opportunity to play for him.”

Duke freshman forward R.J. Barrett

On adjusting to the Duke program so far:

“It’s been a lot of fun and lot of learning. The upperclassmen have been helping us along with the coaching staff. They’ve been helping us trying to get used to Duke, so it’s been a lot of fun. “

On playing postion-less basketball:

“The way our team is constructed; I feel that we can play position-less basketball. We have a lot of different lineups that we could mix together so it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Duke Junior Forward Jack White

On being a part of The Brotherhood:

“Coming from a foreign country into this environment, I definitely wanted to feel at home. The Brotherhood component of the program was a big part of making me feel a part of something bigger than myself. From the time I first visited until being on campus, I always had support from the guys around me and the guys that were here before me. From the coaching staff to past players, everyone that’s a part of the program is always trying to give back. It’s just something that’s really special to be a part of.”

On the pressures of being a top-ranked team:

“I think it’s a great challenge. It’s great that teams look at us like that and want to compete with us to that level. It only makes us better if we have those kind of quality games throughout the season. If we take care of business as we should, stay together as a team, listen to coach and execute the way we know we can, it’ll definitely prepare us for tournament play whether it’s the ACC tournament or the NCAA tournament. It’s just a great challenge especially with the teams that we have in our league along with the teams that we have lined up for nonconference.”

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