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Opening Statement:

“Excited for our team, it’s our first chance we get to scrimmage today. So we haven’t done a lot of five-on-five. We’ve had a bunch of guys out this summer. So I’m really looking forward to seeing our team, getting a feel for what we look like, but then also, just give them an opportunity to play in Cameron. We’ve been in the K Center a lot and practicing up there. But I want us to get familiar and comfortable with being here at home. Proud of our three captains. Naming Jeremy [Roach], Tyrese [Proctor] and Ryan [Young] captains. We voted on it, I let each of our players vote. And also it was a consensus with our staff as well. So when you get the support of your teammates, in addition to something your coaches want, it’s more meaningful. I think captains is thrown around these days, who’s a captain, who’s not, but it’s something that has been meaningful in our program for a long time. I remember myself, when I was named captain, it was a big deal to me. You think about Jeremy’s experience, being a senior. Going to the Final Four. Going through some of the trials and tribulations since he’s been here, I think that experience will be really important. Ryan is probably our most vocal person on the team. His voice, you can ask any of our players, his voice carries a lot of weight. When you think on the court, off the court. And then Tyrese has been the guy, on the floor, really been more vocal. He’s probably the most demonstrative in terms of challenging other players on the team. He’s not afraid to say anything to anybody. That’s needed. That’s very much needed.”

On what he’s learned about himself as a head coach heading into year two and his team looking forward to the season:

“Well one, it starts from the fact that all 12 of our players, but specifically the guys that chose to come back off of last year’s team – they’re here for a reason. So, it’s always good when you get a group, and if they all wanted to be all about them or if winning didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be here. So, I’m lucky as their coach that we have a group that feels that way. Two, just for me, you feel – you know again, 11-13 guys last year learning what it’s like to be a Duke basketball player, everybody on my staff is learning me as head coach, so just the familiarity helps a lot. We’re off and running at a higher level, we are. Now, whether that translates right away – we still have a long way to go, but for me, I feel lucky to be able to coach these guys cause it’s a great group. I could go through each one of them individually, they were all being recruited by other places – NBA, transfer, could go on and on – and they all came back for a reason, and I think that bonds you, that unifies you. So, I try to remind them of that from time to time – you’re here for a reason, so follow it up with action. Don’t be about words, be about action.”

On Kyle [Filipowski] working on talking more:

“Yeah, well Ryan (Young) feels he’s working on that – I feel like I’m working on that with Flip. That’s a big thing for him, just to assert himself more. Even though we have four guys that played a lot of minutes on last year’s team and we have eight players returning, each one of those guys are in a different role this year, so there’s a jump you have to make. Kyle is a good example of that – we relied on him heavily but now people really look to him. He’s going to be, if not option one, he’s option 1A on the scouting report where people are coming after you, so there’s more you have to do and using his voice is going to be something he needs to take a jump with.”


On his takeaways from the NCAA Second Round game versus Tennessee:

“Well, you know, there’s a lot of takeaways. I don’t want to go through every single one of them right now, but I would say the biggest thing overall was just the toughness you have to have to win different kinds of games. You’re going to play teams where it’s low possessions, you’re going to play teams where it’s up-and-down, and asserting the way we want to play is going to be very important no matter what. The second thing is just knowing how to play together. They had a high level defense and it’s not going to come easily, so you need to break a defense down. You need to win all the details with working to get open, knowing where the next pass is and the one that’s after that. So, for me it was those two things that really stood out.”

On the picture of State Farm Stadium in Phoenix – site of the 2024 Final Four — being a motivation for the team:

“Well, it’s a balance, right? It’s important that you have a clear view of where you want to go together, but know there’s many, many steps to be taken in order for that to become a reality. And so for us, we’re not running from it. We don’t shy away from it. We talk about it as a team often. But the thing we talk the most is what we have to do today to get better. So as long as we’re focusing on those things, the rest really takes care of itself. But we don’t shy away from it. That’s what you guys came back for, that’s why you guys are here. That’s why I’m here. Let’s go for it.”

On how he wants to integrate the freshman into the playing time:

“I think the biggest misconception, or the thing I’ve learned the most in my time at Duke, look every coach, you’re putting together a roster, you’re trying to envision what can our lineup look like and what can roles be. End of the day, these guys, their roles are going to be created by what they do every single day. I’m trying to go into this whole thing, eyes wide open, I can tell you today, I’ll have pages of notes, observations just from our scrimmage. There’ll be something new that I didn’t know talking to you all. And we have 30 practices in 42 days for a reason. I want to really learn more about what team works together the best. And, of course, you have some guys on last year’s team that have established themselves. They’ve done some really good things and been a part of some great wins. So, is it the same role, is it different, is it more, all those things are going to continue to evolve. For me, it’s not about how to get guys playing time, it’s about seeing what they do and how to put it all together based on that.”

On his assessment of the team’s defense after a week of practice:

“Long way to go. I mean, it’s been nice, we do have a base for some things we did last year. But I’ve mentioned this, it’s a different way of playing defense without a Derck Lively. And so for us, really protecting the paint. We were great last year, when it was all said and done, at protecting our rim and still protecting our three-point line. And to do those two things, it’s not easy to do. But that’s our expectation to do both at a high level. We have to do it differently, so it’s a little bit of reprogramming from some things we did last year. But the energy is there, the detail, we’re working on all of it. I don’t think I’ll ever tell you in the fourth practice, ‘I feel great with where our defense is at’. That’s just me though.”


On being named a team captain:

“It’s awesome. It’s something I’m really excited about and take a lot of pride in. I’ve spoken a lot about it since I got here and honestly, it was one of the first initial conversations I had with Coach Scheyer was about being an older guy in the locker room that could help mold my young teammates into successful student-athletes here, both obviously on the court and in games, but off the court as well. So, it’s something I’m really excited about. Some of that has had a big impact on me in my career, especially when I was younger. I was fortunate enough to be around older guys in the locker room that were really impressive captains and helped me mold me into who the person and player I am today. So, it’s a sense of kind of paying it forward in my mind, but also just having the opportunity to have a positive impact on my teammates’ games and lives is something I’m super excited about and take a lot of pride in.”

On what the freshmen add to the team:

“I think the biggest thing they continue to add, which we need, it’s going to be a staple of ours, is versatility. What Jared [McCain] and Caleb [Foster] do, they’re very, very high level with the ball in their hands. Both can really shoot it, and then Sean [Stewart] and TJ [Power], specifically, can play multiple different positions on the court, guard different guys, and do different things offensively. So those are things that I see tangibly right in front of me. But outside of that, the motivation that they have is greater than any freshman class I’ve been around in terms of being hungry and being hardworking. It’s very rare that you have a whole group of individuals that come in and are in the gym every day at 6 AM. They want to come in and work. They want to learn. They want to do whatever it takes, which is a big deal. And especially with so many returners coming back, it’s easy to fall into, I think it is personally, easy to fall into a narrative or to fall into a role when you’re an incoming freshman. And there’s the most returners we’ve had here in a long time, the majority of scoring coming back, the majority of returners, the majority of minutes are coming back, it’s easy as an incoming freshman to say, ‘I’m just going to take this year to learn and get better, I’m going to take a reserved role’. And none of those guys have done that, which is awesome. It’s what we need. It’s only going to make our team that much better and obviously, they’re super talented. So they’re, in their own right, fighting for minutes and roles, which is what we need.”



On becoming a senior leader and his journey going into his fourth year:

“It’s been a crazy journey. The COVID year was an unexpected wild year. Then you go from the next year to a crazy year, it’s Coach K’s last year and everybody’s kind of excited about that. Then you go from a coaching change, and you have all new players, you get a new coaching staff, it’s just been a crazy ride. So, I’m excited for my senior year. I feel like this is one of the best teams that we’ve had, guard-wise, and experience-wise. We got four guys coming back so I’m definitely ready to lead these young guys and I’m not doing it alone. We have Tyrese [Proctor] and Ryan [Young] as the captains now and a lot of new returning guys, so I’m excited about this season.”

On the incoming freshman class:

“These four freshmen, they’ve been in the gym all the time. Like it’s crazy, they are in the gym in the mornings, afternoons and at night. They are always trying to get better and always trying to be a sponge and try and learn the game. So, I respect them for that and they are going to have an incredible season.”

On his growth as a player:

“Just my experiences, in the Final Four and being in an ACC championship twice. Obviously, the COVID year, I’ve had a year of losing too, so definitely my experience is there. I can show these young guys what to do, from right to wrong and lead them in the right direction.”

On the factors going into returning for a fourth season:

“Just everybody coming back. Tyrese [Proctor], [Kyle Filipowski] and Mark [Mitchell], that was a big factor in me coming back. Then obviously, we had another great recruiting freshman class. We have a chance to win the national championship. That’s always been my goal here coming to Duke. So, I’m trying to finish it off in the right way.”



On the comparison between this year and last year’s teams:

“I think the biggest difference is the sense of pace that we have to play with. We have to play a lot faster than last year. We’re going to be out in space a lot more, having all five guys on the court that can shoot and be a threat offensively. I think that’s going to be big as well. And then defensively, it’s sticking to what we did last year, and just being a defensive team and playing team defense.”

On buying into the “team” rather than the “self”:

“I think it starts with our chemistry. We’re all close guys off the court. And everyone is “we” over “me” and knows that it’s about Duke basketball, not themselves. I’m sure everyone has individual goals, but none of them are going to be achieved unless we do well as a team.”

On the small-ball strategy:

“We can run three guards, we can run four—close to four guards on the court at once. Just being really versatile offensively and being able to space the floor and have shooters all around… We’re still going to be playing our team defense. I guess having small guys, we’re going to be quicker on defense and it can translate to offensive transition.”

On his summer:

“I think the biggest thing for me was getting a mental break, so I went home for a little bit and saw my family and hung out in Australia for a while. I came back for K Academy, went to LA, Proactive, my agency, and got some good work with the guys over there, and went home one more time. So it’s been good just getting my body right, my mental right, and coming back ready for the season.”



On his movement after his injury:

“My hips are doing great, first off. I’m starting to realize that the rest of my body is trying to catch up now, just with different parts—my knees, groins, hamstrings, etc. With my hips being more open now, I have a lot more flexibility, mobility. I’ve got to keep working on that, just to get the rest of my body used to it. But, I’m noticing a lot of differences in just how I’m moving and the strength and the stamina I’ve been able to build up over time … During that time, I was able to focus on very few things and just put all my attention on that. I was able to reflect mentally too and have some focus on my mental health a little bit because it was definitely a challenging time just knowing I was limited and was on the couch for two months doing nothing. I was able to just focus on my upper body a little bit. I was able to focus on just starting fresh with my legs as well. I wasn’t going from zero to 100. I was taking my time, I was progressing, and I was moving pretty quickly actually.”

On the blend of the team:

“I think we have a really good squad with knowing what our roles are. Obviously, we’re still learning how to fully come together and play together as a team. But compared to last year, we’re already ahead of the game. I think because of having the guys returning and knowing the freshmen are learning every day—they’re doing a great job adapting—each one of our strengths are very different from the other, and that’s a really good thing for this team because that just makes us very versatile. And we can rely on something different each time if we need to.”

On his approach to this season:

“I’m going to be doing a lot of what I did last year. I think the newest thing is going to be playing a little more small ball where I’m going to be the biggest guy on the court at time and we’ll be able to go five out, five spread on offense. I think that’s kind of just the biggest thing, but I don’t have an issue with that. You know, I’m looking forward to that. I put on some pounds too over these last six months, good pounds. So I’ll be able to handle some bigger guys in the post as well.”



On fitting into the team:

“Talking with Coach Scheyer, I’m just here to do whatever I can to win, whether that’s cheering for my team on the bench, whether that’s being a part of the game, making shots. I’m just excited to be a part of this team and develop over the years. I get to play against people like Jeremy [Roach] and Tyrese [Proctor], who I know are pros. They’ve been in and experienced this game, and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from them.”

On his summer and start in Durham:

“The reputation California kids get is that we’re soft. Looking at the ACC and being able to adjust to the physicality and making those floaters and just being able to knock down the open three. It’s going to be huge in college. I’ve been working on the same stuff I’ve been working on. Trying to perfect my craft, whether it’s shooting the three or getting the paint and drawing defenders.”

On his impression of the Brotherhood:

“It’s always been looking in from the outside. Every college says they’re a family and that they’re going to stay together after. But being here for the first few weeks, I instantly could tell. It’s different over here. We went to Chicago and met a bunch of CEOs and entrepreneurs that are Duke alums. They’re willing to help you, especially being a Duke athlete. They want Duke athletes, where they come from the team camaraderie we have, being able to work hard. That Brotherhood is really real. It sounds corny. It sounds cliche, but it’s real here at Duke.”



On the Duke Brotherhood:

“Yeah, I mean it’s everything I expected it to be. It’s just a family. It’s a family atmosphere everyday around here. It’s everybody trying to help one another, being the best they can be. I feel like that’s what it’s all about, they’ve been through here and they’re doing it at the highest level. So, being able to talk to them and them coming back, being able to pick their brains and giving you advice to be successful is a big thing.”

On if he gets goosebumps ahead of his first game at Duke:

“I mean, at this point, I feel like I’m getting used to it. At the end of the day, it’s still basketball. So, I’m just going to come in here and just give it all I got. I might have a little goosebumps, but I’ll be ready.”



On the closeness of the four freshmen so far:

“I mean, just coming in here, we already kind of knew each other, but once we stepped on campus, we just formed a great bond. We’re always together. We work out together all the time in the mornings before practice. We just get along really well, and it translates on the court a lot. In the summer, we liked us four to go against the older guys. So, we have a lot of camaraderie to start. It translates really well.”

On the freshmen players taking it upon themselves to have morning practices:

“It was something we took upon ourselves in the morning. We just get up before class and breakfast and just get some workouts in, either together or on our own, just so we can keep getting better every day because we know the older guys have been here. We just want to keep raising the level of our play every day. The older guys come here a lot too. But in the summer, we took it upon ourselves to come here early and get work in. The coaches know this.”

On breaking the Zion Williamson standing vertical record:

“So, in the summer, I think I tied the record. My goal coming into the next combine was to break it. I knew I had to get up at least 1.5 inches or a whole inch. So when I went up there, they told me I got 36 and I knew that I broke it. And I was really excited. That kind of blew up. … I didn’t really know if I got it when I first jumped. But when they told me, I was like, okay. And then it blew up. Everybody’s been texting me about it. It was crazy.”



On the versatility of the team and his excitement to play with so many different playmakers:

“It’s just going to complement the style of play that Coach Scheyer’s preached all of the off-season. Playing fast, moving the ball really fast, being able to have a lot of shooting surrounding players like Kyle [Filipowski], even Tyrese [Proctor] in the pick-and- roll, and being able to hit our shooters who are versatile. So, for me personally, I think versatility is something that I can describe myself as a pretty versatile player. It definitely favors my play style. I think it’s going to be hard for teams to guard us and match- up with us. We have guys that can play two, three, four positions. So, it’s going to be really good for us to see.”

On his game and who he models himself after:

“I mean one thing that stands out for me is the shooting. I think I’ve kind of used shooting as my ticket to get to where I am. But I think one thing fans will notice pretty quickly is my IQ and ability to use shooting as a weapon to get downhill and make plays for my teammates. I really like to pass. So, I think shooting, passing, rebounding, stuff like that, and being able to defend is something that I’ve worked really hard on this summer. And as far as guys that I’ve modeled my game, the bigger wings in the NBA. I’ve watched some Kevin Huerter. He’s about 6’6”, I think, a guy who can really shoot and pass and cut off the ball. Players like that, and Duncan Robinson, another guy who I really like his footwork off the ball and being able to space the floor.”