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Opening Statement:

“Been a while, been a minute since we’ve been here. Thanks for coming, great to just touch base. Really proud of our team…It’s great to have the team here, it’s been a few weeks. We’re still getting everyone back on the court healthy, getting our freshman acclimated…You know we have twelve scholarship players, we have a couple who are walk-ons who will be here at some point later in the summer. I think our group is very excited…It’s been very different for me when you go from last year having two players returning to now we have eight, it’s exciting. There’s some familiarity but also some different challenges that provides, so very excited to get into it. Happy to answer any questions and tell you where we’re at right now.”

On who’s working on the court:

“Everybody’s doing stuff on the court. Flip [Kyle Filipowski] with his progression since the end of the season has been incredible. He’s stronger than he’s ever been, more flexible, and he’s doing shooting, non-contact stuff on the court. He’s frankly way ahead of schedule, you hope by August he’d be doing the things he’s doing now. He’s a couple weeks ahead. Our medical team has done an amazing job with him. Jeremy’s back on the court. He’s very close to playing, but look, we’re being very cautious; it’s July, we don’t have a game tomorrow or next week. Mark is right there; he’s doing basically everything on the court. We’re just trying to make sure before we go full contact for those two guys. Christian Reeves is getting close. He can do everything; except he hasn’t played. Besides that, the rest of the group is healthy, and we have everybody out there.”

Some of the different challenges that come with eight players returning, compared to two in the previous year:

“Well, I think the biggest thing is you can’t assume, right? You can’t assume something is going to happen just because you have a certain number of players returning or because of whether you have us higher or not in preseason rankings. That doesn’t mean anything, and I’ll continue to remind our group when you think about last year, there’s games along the way and you have to fight in every game to win. It’s not like we were this juggernaut last year; we had a great end to the season, we had a really good year, ACC Champs, all that’s great. But that’s behind us. So everything that you do, naturally as a player returning, there’s credibility you get from things you’ve done; that doesn’t earn you a certain role. That doesn’t earn you minutes, that doesn’t earn you wins. I feel like the chip on our shoulder has been even higher this year from our returning guys, from our incoming freshman. It’s been as competitive as I’ve seen the last few years. I think that’s a credit to each of them making the decision to come back or to come to Duke out of high school.”

His overall impression on the freshman class:

“You know, our freshmen are very serious. It’s a very serious group. They are very consistent with how they work, they’re on a mission. The two guards, Jared [McCain] and Caleb [Foster], they’re already here all the time. They have what I like to call translatable games. There’s a lot of times the way you play in high school doesn’t necessarily translate to the college game. The way their fundamentals, the way they’ve been coached, their approach to the game, TJ [Power] the same thing, Sean [Stewart] coming from Montverde…they’re very serious, they’re in here all the time working…Of course they’ve got to get caught up, there’s an adjustment no matter what. I think it’ll be helpful once you get a Mark Mitchell, or you get a Jeremy Roach back there, Tyrese has been great with these guys every single day…just to see what it looks like, and also to have somebody to push you, not just

where you’re out there by yourself. But I’ve been so impressed by their approach, their demeanor, and their seriousness to get better every single day.”

On the addition of Will Avery as an assistant coach:

“Will is an amazing addition. A guy who knows everything with this program and what it’s about, and of course he was a lottery pick and was a part of one of the great teams to ever play here, that ’99 team, and he’s been somebody that’s a part of our program already. He’s been here the last few years finishing his degree. And so our guys are very comfortable with him, and he’ll be a great addition. The fact he can be on the court in a new coaching role is a great thing … And I don’t think I’ve talked publicly at all about Amile Jefferson (who recently left for an assistant coaching position with the Boston Celtics). Amile is…that’s my guy right there. He’s like a little brother to me, I remember having a conversation with Amile. He was at a crossroads when he was figuring out do I continue to play, do I make the pivot to maybe coaching…He was 28 at the time. I just told him from my personal experience that there’ll be such upside for him because of his capability as a person, as a coach, and as a communicator. And I didn’t think two years later the Boston Celtics would come calling that way, but that’s part of making that decision at that time. I’m very happy for him, it’s an amazing opportunity. Hate to see him go, but I’m really happy for him. Fully supportive of what he did, he’s going to be on an amazing trajectory there. Not sure if Jayson Tatum recruited him though, that’s my only problem. I don’t know if there’s tampering going from Jayson, so that’s my only issue!”

On the style of play this year, compared to last season, especially maintaining a high assist rate:

“That’s how we want to play, and I think the difference this year is that we feel like we can be more of an explosive team in transition. We have really good guard play and very mobile bigs, but sharing the ball is going to be a key thing. We can’t be about individual stats, we’re going to be a team with different leading scorers. But sharing the ball, playing fast, playing with space…We weren’t able to do that as much last year. We had to muck it out a little bit, we had to really beat you up on the boards and protect our rim…Again, protecting our rim this year is important, we have to do it a different way though. But next years’ team, I think the spacing, the scoring, driving…and of course, making the right reads, because you have shooting around you. So hopefully that opens up space for Flip, for Mark, for our guards to get in there and draw some attention.”

On his personal comfort level as head coach, compared to this time last year:

“I don’t know if comfortable is the right word, but there’s…the vision to me is clearer. I feel very clear on where we need to go. That doesn’t mean along the way we don’t have to make adjustments or certain players might emerge, you’re open to anything happening. But of course with our group coming back, I know after year one, after rewatching our games from last year, having perspective…The perspective of going through the season, you know we have to be better in certain areas, no matter what. No matter who emerges and how we fit our personnel, and so for me I’ve been very clear with our guys right away with what those things are. I’m glad they feel that way, I feel a different sense of urgency and purpose from them, and we’re going to need that the whole year.”

On his team’s defensive mindset least season:

”I think it really goes to, especially, your first time doing it…You want to be really good at everything, right? You want to be really good at offense, you want to be really good at defense, special situations, and that’s not always the case. You need to mold your team to have the best chance to win. We learned pretty early on that we could be a heck of a defensive team, but it also gave us the best chance to win. A lot of four-man shell, a lot of talking about it, when we didn’t like what we saw calling it out, and then going from there. Our guys really embraced it, and then of course when you have a guy like Dereck Lively protecting your basket, it’s a game changer…Tyrese Proctor guarding the ball, Mark Mitchell, Jeremy Roach…the personnel helps a lot. They made us look good, and we have to do it again. Our defense will be different this year, but it’s always going to be the backbone of what we do. So hopefully you’re saying the same thing a year from now.”


On his health and how he’s progressed this offseason:

“Yeah, obviously I had a little knee issue during that game. I’m good now, I’m back healthy, it’s resolved. I’m just trying to get back on the court, get my condition back, and just get back to full strength and everything. But I’m back on the court now, so I’m good.”

On the familiar faces in the locker room this season:

“It’s definitely a huge difference, just how we go about everything. Last year we had 11, of 13, 14 guys who were new in the offseason program and we had to do things a little different. But now things, along with the coaches, the weight room…we all know what to expect each and every day so we come in not really having to learn much, just working. It’s not really about teaching as much, just doing and knowing the expectations every day.”

On his role and fit as a sophomore:

“Obviously it’ll be a little different. Obviously not having D-Live [Dereck Lively II] right there. I don’t know how it’s going to work exactly so far, but obviously I’ll still be very versatile in every way, defensively and offensively. I’ll probably take on a little bit of a bigger role, just being here a year and being more confident on the court, making better decisions, things like that. Coach trusts me to do those things, and I think obviously with new guards that we have coming in and with TJ (Power), Sean (Stewart), just a lot of guys can do a lot of different things and we’re going to be a little different. Obviously won’t be as large and big as we were last year, but the skill might be phenomenal.”

On ways he’ll look to improve his game:

“Obviously I think just getting better in all aspects of my game. Being more confident, being more assertive, being quicker with my decisions. In the last year I started doing that and it showed, so I think just bringing that into this year and doing if for a whole season would be big for me.”


On his health following off-season surgery:

“Yeah, I’m a little over three months out of my surgery now, about three and a half months….I’m now just starting to get on the court these past few weeks to start the process of running again, but I mean it’s been great for me. I feel so much better than I did last year, and the strength is unbelievable for myself to comprehend – with what I was lifting last year versus this year just with the surgery. I got out of it able to open up a whole new world to me and my body, so it’s been going really good. My schedule’s looking good, I’m going to be back by the time the season comes around, so we’re making really good progress, we’re right on track.”

On if Coach Scheyer is any different compared to last yea:

“Yeah, I would definitely second what Ryan was saying in terms of Coach Scheyer’s look and his confidence. He’s really confident in himself and the team he has, his coaching staff, and what our goals are for this year. We’re already planning on playing a lot faster this year and a little bit differently, and he’s doing a great job of already taking action on that route. It’s not like he didn’t look like a head coach last year, but like Ryan said he was definitely feeling things out, like anyone would. But you know he’s going full steam ahead right now and that’s great to have in a head coach.”

On how he’s going to play different defensively without Dereck Lively II:

I’m definitely looking at being more of an asset on the defensive end in terms of being a rim protector. Just with my surgery I’m getting so much leg strength back and much more quickness, and that’s going to help me a lot in all aspects of my game just

physically, and I’m really looking forward to just seeing what I can do in terms of being more of a rim protector and things like that.”

On what he’s seen from the freshmen so far:

“I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but I think they’ve attacked these last few weeks being here really good. They look super confident and comfortable out there with us on the court. Obviously they still have a lot to learn, but I think that there can be great productivity coming in through them right of the bat going into the season. So just looking for that, got to keep their heads on straight, still teach them new things every day, keep their confidence growing, things like that. But they definitely do look like they could potentially be more prepared than we were last year.“

On the fun the team has been having this off-season, especially online:

“I think, just to add on to what Ryan said, it’s a little fun for us too to express our personal sides. I think you can definitely tell with Ryan starting his podcast where he was this time last year with Countdown to Craziness … and now we’re starting to see him open up…I mean, he just made a TikTok, so he’s a getting lot more comfortable with these people.”


On coming back for his senior year and what he’s trying to show this season:

“I actually didn’t even go to any pro workouts; I made my decision before. Any of the combine stuff was kind of wanting to get myself back to 100% and be healthy and obviously finish out my four years at Duke, the best school in the country. Wouldn’t want anything better than this and obviously to get a national championship is the biggest goal for me too.”

On the potential of the incoming freshmen:

“It’s going to be special. When you have 8 returning guys, 7 to 8 returning guys from an ACC championship team to an NCAA tournament team, I mean, it’s going be big and we have four freshmen coming in in McCain, Foster, TJ Power and Sean, and they’re doing their thing too. So, we’re pretty deep, very versatile. We’re going to be playing fast this year. I think we’re going to be very special … There are some workhorses. They want to learn. But they’re also in the gym every day. There’s not a time when somebody’s not in the gym. Whether it’s either Jared, Caleb, TJ … or Sean doing something. They’re some hard workers, they want to learn, they want to be sponges every day, they are trying to learn as much as they can quickly. I think they’re doing a great job.”

On whether there was a point last season where he noticed the team turned up their level of play:

“I think it was actually the UVA game, or it was actually after the Miami game we had. I mean, we had that meeting, that was the big thing that we talked about last year. I mean, we really just had that moment of truth, server of truth, as they call it. I really think that sending it to everybody made everybody lock in and focus on the main goals that we had to do. I mean, there was a lot of outside noise at that time, it was always Duke this and Duke that, but we just had to come in and be efficient, be a unit, and focus on what we had to do at hand and really just take control of this opportunity because it was either we can make it go left or we can go right. Obviously, everybody wanted to go right, and right was the best direction for us to go and we ended up winning 11, probably like 11 in a row or something like that, or twelve in a row. It was crazy at the end of the season and just to see the young guys’ progress and kind of fight through the mental toughness of the season and the grueling season it was big time.”

On new assistant coach, Will Avery and Roach envisions him bringing to the table:

“Just that experience. I mean, Will Avery was one of the best guards that that played at Duke. So, any game that he can sprinkle on you, any game that he can tell you, you definitely want to be a sponge, you want to be open ears at all times. Because he’s been through it. He’s been on probably one of the best Duke teams here that didn’t win a national championship. I’ve had a chance to get some work with them. Been very, very good, very straightforward, but I’m very excited to begin working with him this year.”


On Coach Scheyer’s comfort level as a second-year coach:

“I think, you know we’ve only been here for a few weeks in the summer, but I think he’s a little bit more confident and he just looks more the look of a head coach, I guess. Not that he didn’t last year but you could tell that he was kind of feeling it out, asking a lot of questions relying on his staff. And this year he’s a little bit more demonstrative with it. Just looks like he’s feeling a little more comfortable second time around. And it’s been exciting just to see him grow and, like I said, be a little bit more confident with everything he’s doing.”

On how much easier for the team to get going with some many returners:

“Yeah, that’s one of the things I’m most excited about this upcoming year. Not taking the summer and honestly, like the first 10 games of the year last year, I felt like were kind of still us trying to figure it out. Understand everybody’s roles, learn how Coach Scheyer wanted things run. So, it’s awesome to have this summer where we can kind of hit the ground running instead of teaching everything. Myself last year, you know, I was a veteran player. I had played a lot of college basketball. But still, learning things day in and day out about how this program is run, how Coach Scheyer wants things run. And that will be really imperative this summer, we’ll have so many returners, we’ll be able to practice with so many guys that can help act as player-coaches or buffers between the staff and the new guys. Last year was whatever, 10 new guys, Jeremy [Roach] the only returner with substantial minutes. So, it was a lot of teaching from the staff directly to the players and this year we can have that median of guys that are returning that understand how Coach Scheyer wants things run, that can act as a buffer in between the new guys and the coaches. So, all that should help smooth over practice and everything that goes on in the program. Hopefully we’ll just, like I said, be able to hit the ground running this year as opposed to kind of slowly getting everybody on board last year.”

On how he’s helped the incoming players get acclimated:

“Yeah, I think the biggest thing is making sure they’re comfortable. [Filipowski] is much closer to it, but I can still think back and remember my first few weeks on campus. It’s a hard transition for any student-athlete, especially college basketball players at this level. So just making sure you’re looking out for them. Their heads are gonna be spinning for the first few weeks, with stuff on the court and off the court. They started classes Monday – first ever college class. So, the biggest thing is just making sure you’re taking time to ask them questions, how they’re doing, how their mental health is, if they’re feeling comfortable. They’re all going to be missing home, things like that. But then also just helping them on the court, in practice. But just trying to set the right example through practice. Making it fun, making sure they’re enjoying themselves learning. They’re going through the process and understanding how tough this can be. But just trying to provide leadership as guys that have been through it. Obviously, [Filipowski] has been through it more recent, but it’s a difficult transition for everybody, even non athletes, from high school to college. So just try to provide as much insight and being as relatable as possible, because we’ve been through it.”

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