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Freshman guard DJ Steward on Louisville, Pitt and what Duke needs to do better


On what he thinks the team needs to do to become more consistent throughout an entire game:

“We’ve got to be tougher as a team. We’ve been working on toughness a lot these last couple days – pretty much the whole week. We’ve just got to go out there and execute the game plan. The coaches lay down what they want us to do, but we’ve just got to go out there, execute the game plan and just follow what he says. We’ve got to trust his game plan and we’ve got to trust each other as well. If we go out there and trust each other, rebound and play tough, we’ll win these games.”


On he and freshman guard Jeremy Roach complement each other on the court:

“We’ve been pretty good, but we’ve got to pick things up. We had a conversation, we said we had to be better, we’ve got to be together as one on the perimeter, we’ve got to lead the perimeter. We have talks all the time. We talked today and yesterday about us getting better and then leading the team. We’ve got to get people open, see each other, hit each other in the right spots at the right time and just feed off each other’s energy.”


On if there is anything the team needs in addition to toughness to win more games:

“Unity at all times. We’ve got to be unified at all times. We’ve got to be together as one, like I said. If we’re together as one and we all have the same common goal, which is winning, we’ll win these games. I feel like Saturday, we’re going to come out there, we’re going to play together as one and we’re going to be very special.”


On how he has worked his way out of a shooting slump in the past:

“There’s going to be slumps. I know there’s going to be slumps, so I’ve just got to work out of them and then look at my shots, watch a lot of film, stop rushing my shots. I’ve just got to take my time and then feed off of my teammates – make the right plays and then play my hardest at all times. I’m not worried about making shots.”


On freshman forward Jalen Johnson’s performance at Pittsburgh and how important he will be moving forward:

“He’s very special. It’s great having him back. We saw in the game that he can do pretty much everything on the court. He had the most assists and we’ve got to feed off of that. We’ve got to share the ball together like he does and we’ve got to rebound like he does and have a toughness. We’ve got to feed off of his energy and then play off of him. He’s playing really well.”


On how much senior guard Jordan Goldwire has helped his and Jeremy Roach’s development this season:

“He’s helped us a lot. He’s a really great defender. He just taught us the techniques on defense and he pushes us every day in practice. When he’s defending me, he pushes me and sometimes gets me to turn the ball over, but it makes me better and it makes Jeremy better. He’s our leader, we’re going to feed off of him on the perimeter and whatever he does, we’re just following after him.”


On what he thinks Jordan Goldwire’s best attributes are on the court:

“Just his instincts. He sees things way before they happen. He’s really quick on the ball. He’s just got a knack for the ball, he knows where the ball is going to be on defense once you put it on the ground. He plays the passing lanes really well and he’s really fast. He’s probably the fastest player on the team.”


On what the plan is to neutralize Louisville guard Carlik Jones:

“Keeping him out of the lane. He’s really good getting to the basket and creating for his teammates, and he’s going to pump fake once he gets to the lane so we’ve got to stay down. We can’t have another game like Pitt where we’re jumping in the air and fouling. We’ve just got to be very solid.”


On falling out of the top 25 and if they are taking all the noise about Duke personally:

“We try not to pay attention to it but you know we’re gonna see it so, you know, of course we’re gonna take that personally. But we’re just gonna lock in as a team and then just come together as one its just us versus the world right so we gotta be together as one. Like Coach K says, 5 players into a fist then we’re gonna be very strong we gotta punch people, we can’t punch people with our hands.”


On the foul disparity and how to fix that going forward:

“First off it goes from our perimeter we can’t let them get into the lane. We can’t let them get into the lane and make plays. Also we gotta stay on the ground, we can’t be jumping in the air, they’re gonna pump fake – Louisville, of course they’re gonna pump fake when they get in the lane with their great guards. So we gotta stay down and wall-up, really that’s our thing instead of fouling.”

On the importance of winning at Louisville:

“It’s very important. Louisville, they’ve lost their last 2, we’ve lost our last 2 so the hungrier team is going to win. We gotta be out there, gotta be hungry. Coach K says it all the time and we’ve not been taking that seriously but this game, we gotta be serious about this. Strictly business, no goofing off, nothing. Strictly business.”

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