March 24, 5:15PM
Colonial Life Arena - Columbia, SC
Up next for the Blue Devils in the round of 32 is a game against the University of Central Florida and former Duke great and current head coach Johnny Dawkins.
B.J. Taylor leads UCF in scoring with 16 points a game. He also averages 3.3 assists per game. Aubrey Dawkins is right behind Taylor with 15.1 points per game, Dawkins shoots the 3 at nearly 40%. The Knights have 9 players that average over 11 minutes per game. Tacko Fall, at 7'6 is a presence on both ends of the floor. Fall averages 11 points but surprisingly only 7 rebounds, where Fall is weak is in free throw shooting where he only averages 36%. Fall also averages 2.6 blocks per game. As a team the Knights are not a great offensive rebounding team, Duke could perhaps gain and advantage there.
Offensively the Blue Devils will need to get out in transition, and in the half court they will need to move the ball around to create some opportunities to drive and dish and perhaps catch Fall in a help situation and maybe get an open interior passing lane. I could also see Duke at some point going small. Putting Zion at the 5 to gain a mismatch to draw Fall out to the perimeter. It should be an interesting chess match for the two coaches.
Johnny Dawkins , B.J. Taylor , Tacko Fall , Aubrey Dawkins
THE MODERATOR: Our student-athletes from the University of Central Florida, Aubrey Dawkins, Tacko Fall, and B.J. Taylor. We'll open the questions from the floor at this time.
Q. B.J., I wonder if there was any talk this morning about the game last night at all.
B.J. TAYLOR: Yeah, we went over some of the things we did good against VCU, some of the things we did bad, and we moved on to our next opponent. That's our main focus right now is getting ready for the game tomorrow.
Q. This is for B.J. or Tacko. If you didn't know that Aubrey was Coach Dawkins' son, like how would you describe kind of the relationship of father and son? Do you guys see it strictly as coach and player, or can you tell at points that it's father-son? TACKO FALL: I mean, he's -- I see them not really as a father and son, but as a player and coach. Obviously, he coaches him really hard, like he do for the rest of us, and he treat him the same way that he treat all of us. I would say basically pretty much all of us are his sons, the way I see it.
B.J. TAYLOR: Yeah, what Tacko said pretty much. I mean, to add, Aubrey is such a good person and such a good teammate, that he makes it easy to just like be one of the guys and just fit in with us because of his personality and just how he is and how he approaches every day.
Q. Off that, Aubrey, what's your favorite thing about playing for your father, and how has that dynamic kind of evolved over time?
AUBREY DAWKINS: The best part is building our relationship. And now being a young man in this game and having the ability -- or having the chance to be around him at this stage in my life and my career in basketball has just been priceless. That's what I love
most, just going every day next to him and learning from him and us getting closer as a father and son and also as a player and coach.
Q. Tacko, it seemed like last night you were maybe having some fun with the idea that Zion might try to dunk on you in the game tomorrow. In here earlier, he said, he kind of had fun with it too, and he said what are you supposed to say? Do you feel like he is going to try to go at you just to prove a point because you're the tallest player he's ever played against?
TACKO FALL: I mean, I don't know. I don't know what his mindset is, so I cannot speak for him, but I can speak for myself. I'm just going to go out there and try to win the ball game and do everything I can to help my team win the ball game. Basketball plays are going to happen. I'm going to be out there and be aggressive and be the protector that I am. Zion is obviously a very talented kid, great kid. I've seen nothing but positive things about him, and great high ceiling too. And he also has great teammates, great bunch of kids, but he's going to do his job, and I'm going to do my job, and whatever happens happens.
Q. Aubrey, you played at Michigan before you came here. Then you joined a team with a unique player like Tacko. Did you have to relearn or adjust to what he does to both the opposing team and how he changes your team as well?
AUBREY DAWKINS: He just makes the game easier, which is -- that's all I can really say. You have a guy back there that you can trust to block shots if you get beat on the drive or a guy that's going to score 75 percent field goal percentage at the basket. It's nice to have that, nice comfort back there.
Q. Aubrey, as much affection as you know your dad has for Duke and Coach K, do you think he'll do anything? How do you think this matchup is affecting him, if at all?
AUBREY DAWKINS: Not -- he's a game-by-game kind of guy. Same mentality whoever we play. The name on the jersey doesn't really matter to him. Just play our game and focus on the win. That's really it. Yeah.
Q. Aubrey, going off that, do you have any memories of -- I know you used to spend time with him when he was a coach at Duke and being around the team. Do you have any memories from any specific teams or any specific players that you grew up with?
AUBREY DAWKINS: Yeah, I spent a lot of time around the guys, especially growing up. Chris Duhon, Dahntay Jones, all kinds of players I can list off. And just seeing them as I worked out and worked out in the gym after practice was done or working out in the college gym. So, yeah, a lot of good memories. It was good for my foundation to see that.
Q. This is for all the players. You already made history. This was UCF's first NCAA win. Does that kind of -- do you get to play a little looser now, a little freer? What's the mentality going into this matchup?
B.J. TAYLOR: It's the same mentality we've had for every game this season, to just try to go 1-0. That's my focus for this game and the same focus we have for every game.
TACKO FALL: Same thing he was saying, we just try to go 1-0. Obviously, we made it that far sticking to our principle, so why change it? We're just going to keep the same mentality and move on.
AUBREY DAWKINS: Yeah, what they said, just try and get a win as best we can. Whatever we can do to get that win is the goal. Focus on our principles and what we stick to and let the rest take care of itself.
Q. For B.J., you're one game into your NCAA Tournament run now, and you're playing one of the most storied programs in basketball history, five National Championships, all the attention that Duke has gotten. How do you approach that? And is it a little staggering to think what you face tomorrow?
B.J. TAYLOR: I mean, for us, like I said, we're going to approach it the same way we've approached every game this season. Coach does a great job of making us treat every game like it's a championship game, making us treat every game, no matter who we're playing, like it's the biggest game of the season. So we're prepared for this, and now it's just about going out there and executing.
Q. Tacko, you guys, this is your first time in the NCAA Tournament as a group. So is there a difference in the attention paid? Does it change anything about going through and preparing for the game and going through the game?
TACKO FALL: We've been preparing for this moment all season. So nothing has changed. We've been taking the championship approach to everything that we've been doing so that, when times like this come, we will be ready. So nothing has changed from how we approach things. We've been following the same process, just following the coach's plan, and just taking care of business.
Q. Tacko, what are the keys to using your height advantage to make sure that you don't end up on any Zion Williamson highlight reel?
TACKO FALL: I mean, obviously, I'm a great defensive player, but I just don't want that game to be about me and Zion. Obviously, it's very exciting. You got a guy who's 7'6". You got a guy who's a freak athlete, very talented. But at the end of the day, it's a ball game. It's basketball. We can't make it bigger than what it really is. I don't want it to be like a freak show between Zion and I. It's bigger than that. It's UCF versus Duke. They have great players, talented guys. We have also great players, very experienced, talented guys, and we're going to go out there and do whatever we can to win the ball game.
Q. B.J., so what would it mean to this program, to the team, to you if you guys do win tomorrow?
B.J. TAYLOR: It would mean a lot. That's our focus. That's what we're here to do. Everybody is here to win. So like I said, before we get to that, we're just getting ready for practice today and just trying to prepare to make that happen.
THE MODERATOR: Head coach Johnny Dawkins with the University of Central Florida. Questions for coach.
Q. During the season, how often do you and Mike Krzyzewski on average talk? And when was your last conversation prior to the tournament? JOHNNY DAWKINS: Well, we're always going to be in touch. That's just going to happen. I can't say the frequency, but we're always in touch. Probably the last time, formal conversation, I want to say probably two weeks ago maybe or less. So we had a good conversation somewhere around then, just talking about one of our wins. He called and just kind of caught up with him, he caught up with what we were doing. Of course, we follow each other's progress and see how each other's team is playing and stuff. So I would say quite frequently.
Q. How do you process the many ties that your team has to the Duke program? You played there. Vince played there. Your son grew up around the program. What kind of impact will it have on this game, and what kind of impact will it have on how you prepare for this game?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: For us, having been a part of the Duke family, of course, it was special. We all realized that. We all felt fortunate to be a part of it. We all felt fortunate to play for Coach and work for Coach in my case. For my son, growing up in Durham, that was special. He was always around the team, always in the gym working out afterwards, so I'm sure it's a unique feeling for him as well. It's one of those things where, for all of us, it's -- like I said, it's awkward, too, because you don't feel -- it's someone that you've worked for, you're very close with. Like I said before, no one looks forward to that type of situation. It's something that happens because we're in the tournament and it means we've done well because we're all moving forward, but it's not something you look forward to.
Q. There may be elements of what Jeff asked you to this question too. Obviously, there's been a ton of water under the bridge, and you're colleagues and friends now, but is there still a part of you that is like Johnny Dawkins the freshman who showed up to Duke and he was your coach?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: That's always there. He'd probably put me on the line now, and I'll probably start running suicides. That's just part -- once someone's coached you, they're your coach for the rest of your life. That's how it is. I have, of course, the utmost respect for Coach and his program. Like I said, I was a part of it and loved it, and I love Coach. So that's easy.
Q. You went through this at Stanford a few years ago when you guys played Duke up in Brooklyn. Does that take away some of the awkwardness that you've been through this before? Do you draw on that experience as far as being able to set all that stuff aside and approach the game?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: No, I think it does help some that we've done this once before where we were in this environment. It's still the same. You still don't relish it, but it's still something you've already experienced. You understand everything that's kind of -- that will be around this. That's a good thing for me, and I'm sure the same thing for Coach. He's done it with several former players before. I had never done it with Coach until that time. So it was good to kind of understand what that was all about.
Q. Johnny, you said the other day you hadn't had a lot of chance to watch the Duke guys play. I assume that you've watched a bunch more film now in preparation. What do you think of Zion and R.J. and Cam and the rest?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: Very impressive. They don't play like freshmen. Really, really talented young men. And I've seen a lot of freshmen over the course of my career, of course, that have been talented. They have a certain will about them. They have a certain togetherness about them that oftentimes only happens with maturity and playing a lot of games together. I watch them. They seem to have fun playing together, making each other better on the floor. A lot of times with young players, finding that chemistry is difficult. They seem to have found that. I think that's why they're having so much success.
Q. Specifically on Zion, how do you prepare to guard a guy like him? When you watch the tape, I assume you've seen four or five of his games. He's playing extremely well those games you watched. How do you prepare for a guy like him with his size? You obviously know what you have at the rim with Tacko, but outside of the painted area, how do you prep for that?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: We have to understand that he's a great player on any level. His skill set with his size and his explosiveness makes him unique. You're not going to stop Zion. We don't go in, we're going to stop Zion. No, we want to try to contain a player like that, and that's a success for you if you can try to just contain him because he's going to find ways to score the basket. He's going to find ways to make spectacular plays. He's done it all his life. We have to understand that we can't let that be a distraction to what we do.
Q. Johnny, what are the challenges and the rewards of getting a chance to coach your son? I'm not talking about in Pee Wee ball or AAU, but high Division I basketball.
JOHNNY DAWKINS: It's been really special. I didn't know what to expect. I've said this often. I really had no desire to coach him early on because I'd worked with him every single day. We'd be in the gym after I finished work at Duke. I'd bring him to the gym, and we trained, and when I was at Stanford, the same thing. So we've done that pretty much all his life. So like I said, the last thing I wanted to do, if we're doing this every single day, and now I'm going to grab you and coach you. So I kind of avoided it. Just the timing worked out where we could get together. The time was right, and I think he was ready as far as where his maturity level was. I was ready where my career was. And it's been terrific. Other coaches had told me, Steve Alford being one of the main ones, Ray McCallum, another coach. They all said, you get a chance to coach your son, you should do that. That always kind of stuck with me as I was coaching in my college career when he was of age. When the opportunity presented itself, we did it, and they were absolutely right. I've enjoyed every moment of it. It's really been special.
Q. Coach, I know it was 37, 38 years ago, but can you recall why you chose Duke when Duke was struggling at the time when you could have gone anywhere?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: Well, absolutely. A few reasons. One, of course, Coach K. He hadn't accomplished what he's accomplished now. He's arguably the greatest college coach to coach our game, but back then I still had a belief in who I thought he could become. He painted a really good vision for us as a team, what he thought we could do. He painted a great vision for me, what he thought my career could be like. So that trust in him, that person was important. And they did a great job recruiting. They spent a large amount of time recruiting me, you know, years of developing relationships. It wasn't something just happened that first year on a whim; they started recruiting me, and all of a sudden, I'm going to go to Duke. It was years of recruiting. That was a great commitment. So with his commitment, with Duke University being the institution that it was, they made me feel real comfortable. They made me feel it was the right decision.
Q. Coach, do you get a sense of how your team, not only facing in a tournament game, but facing the tournament's Number 1 overall seed, the Number 1 team in the country. Do you get a sense of how your team is sort of attracted to that kind of challenge?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: I think my team will come out with a sense of maturity. I think they'll come out with a focus. And that's where they've been all year. They've come out, and they've competed against everyone we've played against, and that's, I think, largely because of the leadership. Our senior leaders, guys that have been around. They've demanded that from all of our players. I think they'll continue to lead the same way they have all season.
Q. Yesterday Collin Smith played eight minutes. I wonder what you said to him after the game and what you really need from him in this game tomorrow.
JOHNNY DAWKINS: Well, Collin -- every game is different. We found something that worked well for us during the game versus VCU, and when something's working well for you like that -- and we've done this during other games during the season. I'm sure you know that, where minutes may be divvied out differently, but based on our opponent and what's working well for us. So it was a night where things were working better for us, so we stuck with those. Collin is always a player that we believe in, and we know he can make huge contributions for us. So just based on personnel basically, and that decision was made.
Q. Coach, it seems like the last few games Frank Bertz has really contributed coming off the bench late. Last night had a couple of threes and a couple of big offensive rebounds. Talk about what he brings to tomorrow night's matchup and coming off the bench for you guys late like that.
JOHNNY DAWKINS: As much as he contributes making threes, I just love his energy and his effort. He makes a lot of winning basketball plays, a lot of plays that can kind of go unnoticed. He'll make threes, and everyone sees him knocking down and getting points. I just love his overall game. He plays with great energy. He plays the right way. He plays to win.
Q. Johnny, having grown up in Mike's system, is there any advantage to you tomorrow knowing the way they like to run their sets or the way they do things?
JOHNNY DAWKINS: It's different from when I was there coaching and when I was there playing for him. As you know, Coach is -- he's the master of adapting to change and times. I was there over a decade ago. This game has changed so much since then. Coach has adapted to that. How they play now and the schemes they use aren't the same schemes they used when I was coaching there and definitely not the same schemes when I played for him. He's changed a lot. I've been watching a lot of tape, of course, all last night and this morning. It's a different team. They're different players he's coaching, and there's a different style he's utilizing to bring the most out of those guys.
Duke Blue Devils
Mike Krzyzewski , R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson
THE MODERATOR: Our student-athletes from Duke University, Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. First question on the right, front row.
Q. I'm actually going to hand you my cell phone. You guys create a lot of highlights. I don't know if you'd seen that photo from last night and just get your reaction to that photo if you take a look at it.
ZION WILLIAMSON: I think we both saw this photo a lot. It's something we both do. We like to celebrate for each other, so whenever one of us gets it done, you'll probably see the other one in the background jumping just as high as him.
Q. To that point, for both of you, what does that mean -- like what does that photo mean to both of you? Because the other one everyone remembers is Dwyane Wade and LeBron, when he threw the alley-oop up for LeBron, and Dwyane Wade is already celebrating, and he can't even see LeBron throw it down. Take us through just the connection you two have. It's almost like you're one player on the court. You guys experience the same emotions. You have the same energy, and you celebrate and enjoy each other's dunks, moves, points the same way.
R.J. BARRETT: It's cool. It's great. Definitely -- when we're winning and making winning plays, just to see my brother out there doing his thing, doing great, making a highlight, I've got to get excited. It's like that for all our teammates. When someone makes a play, you've got to be excited for him.
ZION WILLIAMSON: Just like he said, it just brings energy to the table. We're always happy to see each other do well and succeed. So when somebody makes a big play, we don't even have to be on the court. We're going to celebrate.
Q. Zion, if you've seen the picture, you may have seen this, too, from Tacko Fall, the comment not allowing you to dunk on him, where he said I won't allow it. I won't allow him to put me on one of his highlight tapes. Your reaction to that?
ZION WILLIAMSON: What is he supposed to say? Is he supposed to say like I'm going to dunk on him? He said the right thing, but I'm not really focused on that. I'm just focused on trying to help my team win the game.
Q. On that note, regardless of what he said, he is a different kind of player than you've seen all year. What is your impressions, kind of, what it's going to be like playing against someone that tall and the kind of balance between your strength and power and jumping and his just sort of raw height?
ZION WILLIAMSON: He is a very unique player, and I got a lot of respect for him because for him to be that size and be able to move the way he does and have as much skill as he does, he's a great player. I think we're just going to have to come together as a team and figure out what we're going to do to try to stop him.
Q. I'm curious, Zion, who the biggest player is that you've gone up against in terms of height in your career. I don't know if you've faced anybody that tall in high school? I know you've faced a few probably close to 7-footers in college. Is there anybody you've faced close to that height-wise, like 7'6"?
ZION WILLIAMSON: Yeah, just Florida State's big man, Koumadje.
R.J. BARRETT: What is, is he like 7'4" or something?
Q. You said he's got to say what he's got to say, but do you find when you're matching up with guys, that they appreciate the challenge against you? They want to show themselves off, and they use you as the stage to do that? Or do you find guys are a little bit intimidated? Or is there a balance between the two?
ZION WILLIAMSON: Nobody's going to be intimidated on the court. I mean, it's not like he came out and just said it himself, like that's the media asking him those questions. Like I said, he's not going to sit here and say, yeah, he's going to dunk on me, like he's a competitor, so obviously, he's going to say he's going to block my shot. Like that's just basketball.
Q. Zion, you were asked the other day about sort of dealing with the tension over the course of the season and how your parents have kind of prepared you for that. So I was wondering, as the season has progressed, how have you continued to lean on that support system, and how have you gotten better as the season's gone on?
ZION WILLIAMSON: I've definitely gotten a lot better with it as the season's gone on. Just having my parents and, obviously, Duke staff. They help a lot with, I mean, handling the attention because it is Duke University. They've been doing this longer than I've been born with this attention. I feel like coming here was the best choice with handling the attention.
Q. So last night Tre said that, yes, it was an exciting win, it was the first win. He's taking all of his energy and focusing it on tomorrow. Are you guys giving yourselves the opportunity to kind of enjoy at least the first win or is it all just refocusing for tomorrow?
R.J. BARRETT: I felt like last night was the time to enjoy that win. Now today we just have practice preparing for tomorrow's game. We've got to take it one game at a time, and we've got to look at what's ahead and not the past.
Q. R.J. and Zion, it seems like the last couple weeks in the ACC Tournament and last night, you guys have really struggled out of the gates. What's been a common trend for you guys in getting out slowly in those games, and what do you guys have to do to get out strong?
R.J. BARRETT: I think teams really take it to us at the beginning, and we really can't let that happen. We actually have to throw the first punch and keep throwing punches throughout the game. We've just got to come out more focused.
ZION WILLIAMSON: Like he said, we've just got to come out more focused and more prepared for what the team's going to throw at us because it's not like we're only game planning against them. They're game planning against us, as well. So I think it's just a matter of like on-time adjustments, like making the read while it's happening.
Q. Zion, I imagine that you heard about the sort of Zion Cam that was being used for the game. I was wondering just what your thoughts were on having something like that being used to kind of follow your action throughout the night?
ZION WILLIAMSON: Yeah, I think one of the managers might have showed me that, but I wasn't focused on that at all. I was just focused on trying to go out there and help my team win.
Q. Kind of to piggy-back off that a little bit, R.J., you came in as the Number 1 recruit in the country and obviously have a very bright future ahead of you. Has it been weird for you to kind of see the attention that's been on Zion throughout the year? And do you think in some ways maybe it's been good for you? Would you have been as comfortable with an R.J. Cam following you around all day? Or do you think the roles that you kind of have been put into have suited your personalities fairly well?
R.J. BARRETT: I mean, it's been great. I wouldn't ask for this year to be any different. I love -- I'm very happy that he gets all that attention and people pay attention to him. That's not going to stop me from playing my game or whatever. No, I mean, I'm just very happy to be in the position that I'm in.
THE MODERATOR: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Q. Mike, you generally do not play your former players or coaches in regular season games. I wonder if you could elaborate on why that is and what does that make tomorrow's game against Johnny Dawkins?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Why would you want to? They're family. If you don't have to play against him, I'm not going to do it. But this presents an opportunity for both of us in a great setting. So both teams are winners. Johnny's done a fabulous job of establishing his program at Central Florida. They're having an historical year. Once the game starts, I don't look at the other sideline. So it's all about my team, just like when he played for me.
Q. Zion, for how aggressive he is, how big he is, really doesn't get into that much foul trouble. I'm curious, what's your take on that? Why is that that he's so able to, one, control his body, but, two, also not do what conventionally would be a foul the way he plays?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: God is good, and God gave him extraordinary ability but also extraordinary intelligence on how to use the ability and a work ethic to blend the two. He's a magnificent athlete, and people just look at it as jumping. His lateral movement and his ability to move with speed and change directions is phenomenal. So he avoids. fHe probably gets fouled a hell of a lot more than they're called. In fact, I know he does, because he's able to finish. He's one-of-a-kind. He's just one-of-a-kind, and he's going to keep getting better. I think the arena that he'll play in, like the stage that he plays in, elevates that. So that's been elevated this year playing in our conference, all the big games, playing the NCAA Tournament. And then when he goes pro, it will be elevated. It will keep getting elevated, and he'll keep learning.
Q. When you have a player like Zion who's garnered the spotlight, he has the Zion Cam and everything else, how do you as a coach kind of help him manage that over the course of the season and stay focused on the task at hand? MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: He's very level-headed. None of that fazes him. He's all about his team, really, and about winning. It's amazing, when people who are really good don't seek attention, they get more. It's the people who don't necessarily have the ability, they seek attention, and then they get pressured and all that. He doesn't seek attention. He seeks winning and playing really well.
He sees pure. He's pure, bottom line. He's been amazing to coach and amazing to be his friend. He's got it all and brought up the right way. He's got great parents and value system, everything. It's remarkable, really.
Q. Mike, when you have a player like Zion who does the things he does, do you ever catch yourself --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: You guys always say like Zion. Why don't you just say you have a player named Zion. I don't have another player like Zion. If I did, both of them would start, and we'd be really, really good.
Q. That being said, do you ever catch yourself going into fan mode on the bench sometimes --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No, no, no.
Q. -- and thinking, wow, what a player?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No. My thing is to coach him. He came to Duke to be coached and learn. And as he progresses, how we can not put a ceiling on him. Even yesterday, we added something during the game that went real well because you keep learning about a player, and that's how I like to coach is to keep adjusting.
Q. Two coaches on the staff at Central Florida, you got to coach. You inherited Vince Taylor, you recruited Johnny Dawkins.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I would have recruited Vince Taylor, though.
Q. I know you would. How important are they to you, and what did they do for you in your early career at Duke?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: In Vince's case, we were going through an amazing transition there. He was captain of my team, and we were 10-17, but I can remember in the last game we're playing Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament. There are about four people left in the Greensboro Coliseum, and he had 30-something points and played his heart out. We've become great friends. I'm glad that he and Johnny are together. And in Johnny's case, obviously, he was the start of us developing our program at Duke. Our first great player, although in his class, there was another great player, Mark Alarie. Don't let Bilas tell you that he was the other great player, but he was a real good one. And then adding Amaker with Henderson, it was just a great combination. His senior year, I'm not sure we'll ever have a team of guys like we did in '86 where you have two head coaches, Amaker and Dawkins. Alarie was a pro and is very successful. Bilas is the best at what he does. Henderson is a scout for Cleveland. Billy King and Danny Ferry have been -- Danny was an 18, 17- year pro, both of them GMs. Quin Snyder is the head coach of Utah. What a collection of great guys who really understood the game. It's been all uphill from then, but a really -- up mountain, let's put it that way.
Q. I know Aubrey Dawkins spent some time, while Johnny was there, he'd be in the gym with you guys. Do you have any memories of him being around when he was a young kid?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Not really. Again, their family is really close to ours. In fact, I think some of the family still lives in the Raleigh-Durham area. I don't remember.
Q. Were you able to follow his journey and talk to Johnny about him as he went through high school?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Not really. You know, not really.
I followed him once he went to Michigan. I was amazed that he was not able to play for his dad at Stanford. That's why we never recruited him. I thought -- come on. He should be able to go there, but apparently, that didn't work out.
Q. Real quick on Coach Dawkins again, 35 or 37 years ago, when you recruited him, you were struggling a little bit early in your career.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: A lot, yeah.
Q. Was he sort of the pied piper, hey, it's okay for elite players to go to Duke?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: It's not as defined as it is today with recruiting and all that. Basically, we have to put together a great class. We actually turned -- we did not accept two kids who wanted to commit to us at guard, and I just held off for Johnny, and it worked out. And I can remember the first time I saw him, it was in the Jelov (phonetic) League. They used to have an outdoor league in D.C. I was there watching him, and I said, holy mackerel, this guy can play. And a guy named Reginald Kitchen, he's an AAU coach in Northern Virginia. He came up to me and said, are you the Duke coach? I said, yes, I am. He said, there's a kid better than him in the next game. I said, you've got to be kidding me. So I watched the next game, and it's Amaker. It was amazing that on that day, I saw my -- one of the great backcourts in the history of the game, and I can remember Alma Amaker in the stands. It's probably a recruiting violation, but I just waved to her. (Laughter). Is there a limit? 30-something years? Maybe not for me. And I told Mrs. Amaker, your son's going to look great in Duke Blue. The basketball gods were good for me that day. It was a sunny day, and I saw my backcourt.
Q. Since you're talking recruiting and you're here in the state of South Carolina --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I wasn't talking recruiting. I was talking about two of my great players.
Q. Right. The popular thinking back when Zion was going through the process here in the state was Clemson looked very strong with him and even leading up to his announcement day. So I'm wondering with you, can you recall maybe a turning point in the recruiting?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No, there's not -- no. I don't want to talk about recruiting. We recruited him hard, and I think Zion always had a love for Duke. There's so much that's said about recruiting on a day-to-day basis that doesn't have much substance. All the things with Zion and his family were substantive. So we never looked at it as being in a race or anything like that. It was just keep developing a relationship with him.
Q. Mike, should the NCAA put some protections in place for the kids who jump at the G League $125,000 this summer?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Let's just wait until all that is -- all that isn't ironed out yet. All the parties, they haven't met, and they haven't done it. Let's give them an opportunity to do that.
Q. And will you give your reflections on the one- and-done, which will officially end but not be --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: The one-and-done is not going to end because, even if kids come out of high school, there will still be kids who go to college for a year who will leave after a year. So the early entry into the pros is not going away. It just will be added that the early entry will include high school players. But like one-and-done hasn't hurt college basketball. It's helped college basketball. How many questions are there of Zion today? Come on. The more talent, the more good players, and really the more -- you're not going to see everybody just jump at that because going to college and being in all these unbelievable programs around the country, at the schools, there's a maturation process that takes -- that goes on both on and off the court that an 18-year-old needs. In some respects, a 17-year-old needs. And they're much better prepared with any amount of time they spend in college. That's not just to say financially. Part of going to the pros is not just getting into the pros, it's staying in the pros, and you're not going to stay in the pros unless you've got balance and you've got maturity. So you'd better be careful that you don't just jump. You take advantage of what our institutions have to offer and the great programs around the country have to offer.
Q. Coach, you know better than maybe anybody how important --
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Don't say that, please.
Q. How important leadership it.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Someone's going to say Coach K said he knew better than anybody.
Q. Well, you know how important leadership is, especially this time of year. How have you seen somebody like Javin take to that role?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Javin's been excellent because he's improved -- I think it's helped him improve as a player. A big part of when you have a lot of talent in a freshman class is for the upperclassmen not to feel inferior, not to feel less, and where they feel secure about what they do. Our freshmen have been great about that. They're secure. And our upperclassmen have developed that. We have a really great unit. But it doesn't just happen. It happens because those kids work together and make each other feel that good. Just watching us at team meals and stuff like that, everybody's sitting with everybody. Just little things. Last night, they were having something to eat, and they were coming down at a little bit different times, and one table had one seat available, and Antonio was sitting at another table, not all the guys were there. Marques came down, and all of a sudden he's getting ready to sit down. He saw Antonio, and, boom, he went to that table. So you may think that's a little thing. It's not a little thing. Our guys just have done that naturally, and it's been beautiful. We've loved being with this group. They've been sensational every day.
Q. Coach, you coached against Johnny about four years ago in a Coaches vs. Cancer game. I wonder if you have any memories of that game.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I don't even remember it, to be quite frank. What day is today?
Q. I was going to ask if the emotions of that day will be similar to what's going to happen tomorrow.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: My wife didn't give me my name tag. I'm sorry. Once the game starts, it doesn't matter who I'm coaching against, really. And then once it's over, I don't have a rearview mirror. I'm on to the next thing. I don't even remember it. I think we won. Did we win? Yeah. Thank you. Again, I've coached a lot of games, man. If I start trying to remember all of them -- there's only so much space, mind space, especially as we get older.
Q. Mike, what's Jack White's availability for tomorrow?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We don't think he's going to play. He had a decent workout today with band work and that. He'll try it out probably and warm up, but I don't think so. But Marques came out really well from yesterday's game. I thought he did a good job, especially guarding. They have a lot of shooters.
Q. Is game planning for Tacko Fall any different than maybe game planning for the Florida State guys when you see them?
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, because Florida State's -- they're both big teams, but they play different styles, and how Leonard uses his big men, both of them, and Kabengele is a lot different. But I think it's helped playing against Koumadje, but Fall is stronger, bigger, and they go to him more, and he really just takes up the paint. He does a great job. Johnny's team plays excellent defense whether he's in or not. They're a veteran defensive team.
JUNIOR CENTER MARQUES BOLDEN
On matching up against someone who has size like Tacko Fall:
“I couldn’t tell you, it’s something I haven’t been through before. I am looking forward to it.”
On mentoring and teaching the freshman on what to expect in the NCAA Tournament:
“We just tried to teach them things they wouldn’t have known coming into college as freshman and obviously they have handled things on and off the court really well so I am just glad to see the success.”
On the significance and history of UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins at Duke:
“We learned a lot about him before and what he means to this Duke program so we are glad we are able to compete against a well- coached team tomorrow.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD CAM REDDISH
On settling in in the second half of last night’s first round game:
“Once we settled down and realized it was one and done we started playing our game, getting up and down with a lot more energy and we came out with a win.”
On how being with Duke has helped mentally down the stretch:
“We have been through a lot together. Injuries, tough losses and things like that so, I feel like we run well as a team and we have learned a lot and are looking forward to what’s to come.”
On entering the second game of the tournament:
“I think we will feel a lot more comfortable. We are going up against a really good team so we are going to go out there and play our hardest.”
DUKE 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
UCF 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
DUKE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
UCF SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
DUKE FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
UCF FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
Duke Probable Starters
- G Tre Jones 6'2, 183lbs
- F R.J. Barrett 6'7, 202lbs
- F Cam Reddish 6'8, 218lbs
- F Zion Williamson 6'7, 285lbs
- F Javin DeLaurier 6'10, 234lbs
University of Central Florida Probable Starters
- G Aubrey Dawkins 6'6, 205lbs
- G B.J. Taylor 6'2, 195lbs
- G Terrell Allen 6'3, 185lbs
- F Collin Smith 6'11, 240lbs
- C Tacko Fall 7'6, 310lbs