Friday Presser Transcript; Coach K, Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier & R.J. Barrett

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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Statement

“We’re very excited about going to Canada. We haven’t had a foreign tour in a while, because of me coaching the U.S. team. It wasn’t set up just because of R.J. (Barrett). It was set up because we didn’t want to travel that far, but also because Canadian basketball is so good that we’d have an opportunity to get better and not do a whole bunch of travel. It gives us an opportunity to work with our guys and get to know our guys better. I couldn’t be more pleased with the chemistry that has developed. These guys have really been fun to coach. We’re in summer school and we’re also keeping a couple guys out who will not play in Canada, two of our freshmen. Tre Jones is doing well, he’s coming back from a hip injury and is involved in some basketball-related activities now. Cam Reddish is nursing a strained groin, and he’s doing some basketball-related activities. They both will be with us, but will not play. We’ll be leaving on Monday arriving in Toronto. I’m very excited and I want to thank all the people involved up there for helping make this so easy for us and making this such a big event for our program and our basketball team.

On this team being “positionless”

“We’ve really kind of been playing positionless basketball to some extent since the late 80s and early 90s when we’ve had Danny Ferry, Grant Hill and those guys and Bobby Hurley was the point guard. Throughout the years, we’ve just tried to recruit basketball players and put the five best players on the court. With this group of freshmen, four of them are really good ball handlers. Joey Baker is more of a wing and a shooter, and the other four kids can really play all over. Obviously Tre Jones would be more of just a guard but he doesn’t need to be out on top. We’re going to play like we always do, an up-tempo style of play, but we’ll be playing predominantly man-to-man defense. When we get our full complement of guys together, we’ll look to press some and play more people because more people are able to play. The kids have really come together, there’s great chemistry and enthusiasm. I love my group and I wish that they were all healthy right now, but it’s better to be safe and make sure that these two injuries are not things that linger and we think that in a short period of time, they’re going to be okay.”

On how the one-and-done affects team building

“There’s no question that it’s changed. I don’t like to use the word ‘change’ as much as ‘adapt’ because they mean the same thing to some people. For me, adapt means you’re tweaking what you do in your program. We have a great culture. Our teams in the past have done extremely well. To build on that, in what we have done in defense and offense, but then to adapt more quickly to newness because the new players that we bring in are really good. Sometimes they can be our best players. Usually the best players in the past were your older players and now you get a mix, or your two or three top players might be freshmen. How do we work on the dynamics in team building in that regard, and each situation is going to be different. We spend a lot time in team building and developing a team atmosphere even before you start doing anything offensively and defensively. We’ve just got to do that every year now. It’s pretty interesting, I’m not saying it’s better or worse than the past. All I can say is that I’m still doing what I love to do, I just have to do it a little bit different.”

On how R.J. Barrett’s attitude is rubbing off on other players:

“Our freshmen especially all have that type of attitude. I’ve seen it with a couple of our upperclassmen, and it kind of permeates throughout our whole team right now. It’s more of a team attitude and they have fun. They have fun together but they want to win. I think it will translate really well during the year on the defensive end of the court in how hard and how well we will play on defense.”

On R.J. Barrett playing for Senior National Team, and how that helped him

“It helps immensely. Any time you can spend playing with Jay Triano as your coach, you’re going to be better as a person and as a player. R.J. has always played up, even when he was younger. He’s still young, he’s not an old player, but he’s played older than he is all the time. It’s kind of like if you had an older brother. Like I grew up in Chicago, and my older brother was a really good player. When I went to the schoolyard every day, he would let me play with the guys who are four or five years older, and with that you get better. I think it’s helped with Tre Jones, with Tyus being older. This experience that he’s had with the Canadian national team and with the younger teams has been invaluable. He played for a great coach at Montverde in Kevin Boyle. Kevin is one of the most outstanding coaches in the United States at any level. He would be an outstanding coach in college or professional, he’s that good and he runs his program professionally. R.J. has always been involved with older and really talented groups and without outstanding leadership. Obviously, his mom and dad started him off the right way. He has just flourished and he’s very unique and way ahead of the game at this time in his career.”

On Zion Williamson’s skillset outside of just dunking

“He’s an outstanding basketball player. He’s graceful. His lateral movement and speed and anticipation are off the charts. He can drive and he can post. He understands the game really well. I know everyone has watched him on YouTube with all of his dunking and obviously that’s impressive, but he’s a heck of a basketball player. Defensively, he can get in a stance and play help-side defense and anticipate quickly. He has great quickness and he’s such an easy guy to play with. I want to keep learning more and more about him so that when we start our regular season, I can put him in positions where he can use all of his talents.”

On expectations of Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier

“I think the main expectation is for them to play to the level of their talent and experience. It’s pretty good for us to have juniors in our program who are that talented and know us, to actually play like mature juniors—really good players and know who they are. Javin has had a sensational seven practices and he has been outstanding, not good but outstanding. He knows who he is right now. Marques has been really good and is learning a new offense. We’re running a little bit different offense and he’s learning how he fits in that offense. We just had a scrimmage the other day with officials, and for almost all of it, he did what we thought he could do in about 30 minutes and had about 18 points and 11 or 12 rebounds and finished 8-for-12 from the field. He’s an efficient scorer, rebounder and defender. We’re pleased with both of them.”

Duke Junior Center Marques Bolden

On being able to begin practice earlier this year

“It’s fun. It’s the things we play for, to be able to play in front of big crowds like we’re going to in Canada. It should be a good test for us.”

On this season being different for him compared to his first two seasons

“I feel like it’ll be a lot different just because of my growth that I’ve had since I’ve been here. Coming in, a 17-year-old or 18-year-old me is a totally different person from me now, so I feel like it’s going to be an exciting year.”

On this team’s identity

“It’s kind of too soon to give this group an identity, but we’re really versatile. We have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions so that’s always good to not have stagnant players on the court.”

On the impact of the new freshmen

“I’ve been impressed with how hard they work. Talent is going to always be there, and I’ve been around a lot of guys with a lot of skill, but it’s rare to see guys at such young ages actually want to do the little things as far as coming in early and doing overtime work and stuff like that. That’s really the thing that stands out the most.”

On using this trip as an opportunity for the team to bond

“It will give us time to just be together. We really don’t know each other’s games right now and we just all got here since it’s the summertime. So it’s really good to just come out and play against some competition other than just ourselves in practice every day. This trip should be fun and we should grow a lot over these next couple of weeks.”

Duke Junior Forward Javin DeLaurier

On how he spent the offseason

“For the majority of the offseason before we got back to campus, I was actually in San Antonio, Texas, working with Justin Robinson and his father just trying to better my game and learn more about basketball especially from the mental side of things. I was also doing some things differently off the court in terms of conditioning, such as like kickboxing and yoga. I really had a great experience working out down there.”

On his role for this year’s team

“My role is to really be an upperclassman and lead these young guy as we battle through this challenging season. In terms of playing, it’s a bigger step up for me personally, and in terms of fulfilling the team’s needs. I’m excited about it and I feel prepared for it.”

On leading the young guys

“Marques (Bolden) and I have a lot of moments like that where we kind of realize that we’re the old heads around here now, which is funny because we feel like we just stepped on campus ourselves. Fortunately, these young guys have been tremendous so far. They’ve been an incredibly mature group, who’s really ready to work and is tremendously talented. So they’ve made our job easy.”

On the difference in this freshman class compared to previous classes

“Every freshman class that has been here since I’ve been here has been tremendously talented. These guys are especially close I would say as a group. They work really hard and they’re really willing to listen. I think that’s been their biggest attribute so far. They’re just soaking everything in, from coaches to players, they’re just wanting to get better.”

On what he hopes to get out of this trip

“It’s going to be an exciting time for us because it’s one of the rare occasions where it’s the first time we’ve gone abroad. It’s going to be great for us, after six weeks of hard work, to play against somebody else and play in a real game. It’ll be really fun and we’re really excited.

Duke Freshman Forward R.J. Barrett

On being able to go to his home country and play

“It’s really exciting. It’s going to be a lot of fun, I get to go home and play in front of all my family and friends with my brothers. So I would say it’s going to be a great experience.”

On adjusting to being on campus so far

“We did have summer school, so I guess that counts. The biggest adjust for me was trying to get used to the campus and get used to what the coaches want and expect me to do on the court. In terms of being away from home and living in the dorms, I’m used to that.”

On playing with the other freshmen

“It’s very good to play with them. We all just make the right play and make the right pass. That’s just how we play, so it’s very easy to play with them.”

On being an ambassador for Canadian basketball

“I’ve played for Canada, and we’ve been able to achieve some great things. I just remember growing up and watching Andrew Wiggins, and I said that I wanted to do what he’s doing. Now, I am doing those things and the younger generation is kind of looking at me.

On what he’s learned in the short time he’s been here

“I’m just learning to adjust to a different level. You have players like Marques (Bolden) and you have players like Javin (DeLaurier). Javin is one of the hardest working guys that I’ve ever met in my life. You just learn new areas of the game. In high school everyone just wants to score and be the main guy, but I’ve realize that you don’t have to score to be effective in the game.

On his first impressions as a kid of Duke basketball and American college basketball

“Like any other kid, I always watched the top schools, so Duke was one of them and Kentucky was one of them. I just grew up watching these schools and for sure Duke was one of the schools I wanted to go to growing up, and now that I’m here it’s amazing.”

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