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NCAA Tournament quotes from Friday's Duke press conference

Posted Friday, March 17, 2006

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Greensboro, NC - Duke took part in a press conference Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum in preparation for a second-round match-up with George Washington Saturday at 1:10 p.m. ET.

Mike Krzyzewski

On Greg Paulus’ progress this year
"He’s been terrific. He’s been really good. At the ACC Tournament, he was almost flawless with the ball. I think he’s had a great, steady progression. His body has changed tremendously from when he first came in; and he’s really a good athlete and now he’s in great condition. He’s in better condition than he ever thought he’d be in his whole life. But he’s still young, and he can get a little bit jittery. I thought he was a little bit nervous last night, and we didn’t play as well together offensively, which I think hurts him, but he’ll be fine. I’m good with him. I think he’s been excellent, but he is a freshman.

"Chris (Collins) works with our guards, but Wojo (Steve Wojciechowski) has talked to him a lot about leadership and defending the ball. Johnny (Dawkins) has spent a lot of time with him, with tape, working at developing, making him lower when he passes. As a quarterback, you stand tall to pass. As a point guard, you have a pivot foot. In football, you don’t have a pivot foot; you’re using it to follow through. Just the nuances of changing his physical traits to fit just basketball, I think Johnny would be the one primarily responsible for that."

On George Washington
"The very first thing is they know how to win. They have been the best record in Division I basketball. They believe they’re going to win when they go out on the court. Any team that you play against that’s good, and believes it’s going to win, is going to be a tough opponent. They have depth and experience, and their unique style of play fits them so well because they have length and width. They play well side-to-side because of their athletic ability and their length. They have kids with long arms and quick feet, and that lends itself to a good press. They’re a very good basketball team."

On the carry over from a team’s performance from one game to the next
"The potential for it to carry over is there all the time. It’s what coaches do with it. For us, we’d rather start out 0-0 with every game we play in the tournament, because that’s what it is. The last game doesn’t mean a thing. It just doesn’t mean a thing. You’re zero and zero, and then you’ve got to play that game. That’s the beauty of the tournament. You have one pitch; you hit it or you miss it. If you hit it, you get to get another pitch. If you concentrate on the pitch you just hit or missed, you’re in a lot of trouble. Concentrate on the pitch that’s going to go on Saturday. That’s the way I’ve tried to coach teams in this tournament. The finality of it, the abruptness of the result of the game, lends itself to exciting basketball, and you should crave that opportunity.

"That’s what I’m constantly trying to create for my team. Of all the teams that I’ve had, I always try to create that, where it’s exciting to be in that moment. Forget the last moment."

Shelden Williams

On the GW frontcourt
"They have a lot of guys with a lot of height. They have several guys that are 6-9 or better. The good thing is that I have been going against teams like that for a lot of this season, where they change up a lot of guys on me. So, I feel good about going against that tomorrow."

On the importance of production from other players
"We both know that two guys (Redick and Williams) can’t do this whole thing by ourselves. We know how important our teammates are in this run. We have to keep developing those guys and keep them involved in the system. Once we see ourselves doing that, we can see ourselves going further in this tournament."

J.J. Redick

On the late night last night and the 36-hour turnaround
"We didn’t really get back that late last night. I think we got back around 1:30-ish, maybe 2 (a.m.). We got a bite to eat. We got to bed and could sleep in this morning, had brunch around 11:30. As far as rest in concerned, we’re fine. I’ve already re-hydrated. We’ve been in this situation before. We learned from our return trip from Boston with a late Wednesday game and having to come back to play Florida State on Saturday. I think we will be prepared and the turnaround won’t be an issue."

On the importance of production from other players
"Obviously, Shelden and I have to produce at a high level every game for us to be successful. For us, moving forward and playing a team like GW, we’re going to need more guys to step up and play at a high level in addition to us playing at that high level. GW has been a team ranked in the Top 10 for most of the year, so this is a huge game."

On the development of McRoberts and Paulus
"We know with younger guys that they are going to go through their ups and downs. They’ve both been really good players for us all year. The only thing that we can tell them at this point is to move on to the next play. I think that is the most important thing. Last night, neither of them had their best game. But that is in the past and we need to concentrate on Saturday."

On scouting GW
"I’ve watched them a few times over the course of the year. I saw them play NC State and Xavier and I caught the end of their game with Charlotte at the end of the regular season. We’ve all watched film on them. To say that they remind me of anyone, they are really a very unique team. They are very big and athletic from positions 2 through 5. The guys they bring off the bench are really big, too. They have a lot of interchangeable parts, which is something a lot of teams that we’ve faced have not had. Taking care of the ball and our execution are going to be a big part of it.

"They change their defense a lot. They run a couple different types of presses, run a little man, a little zone. So being alert as to what they are in is going to be big and taking care of the ball. We know they are going to try to put pressure on us and get us to turn the ball over, so they can get out into transition where they excel. Our assist-to-turnover ratio tomorrow can be a big thing."

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NCAA Tournament quotes from Friday's Duke press conference
J.J. Redick
photo by Gene Galin

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