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March 2, 2009
On Monday afternoon, Florida State's Leonard Hamilton and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski spoke with the media via teleconference about their upcoming matchup on Tuesday evening, ACC Player of the Year candidate Toney Douglas, the status of Duke's Nolan Smith for the game, and more. Here is a transcript of that conversation:
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
"We have two really tough games this week. Florida State is playing great. Douglas is playing as good as anyone in the country ? well, Blake Griffin has probably played better, but he has played as well as anyone in our conference. He has had a sensational season. Of course, we finish up with North Carolina. Our team outside of Nolan (Smith), is healthy. Nolan will not play on Tuesday. He is coming along, but he still has not done any physical stuff yet. He is getting better."
Q: With senior night being tomorrow, can you comment on Greg Paulus' rollercoaster season?
Krzyzewski: I think any player, if he is a team player, will measure his performance with how his team is doing. That is what Greg is doing. We are 24-5 and having a terrific season. As far as specific contributions, Greg has given on the court and off the court have been instrumental in us winning those games. He has had a really good career here, and he has been healthier now than he has throughout the season. We are hoping he has even more good things ahead of him.
Q: Can you talk about your interaction with the Duke students over the years and how you have tried to continue to motivate them to support you strongly?
Krzyzewski: We have been honest with them, and they have been such an integral part of our program for the whole time I have been here. We have tried to treat them in a honest, straight forward fashion. I think they appreciate that. Kids graduate, and as they graduate you have to get new kids and rebuild that relationship. We have had a good one over the years. If something isn't going that well, we just address them with that. They have changed, but overall they have been terrific.
Q: You have been all over the place, do you think you have the best fans in college basketball?
Krzyzewski: I love my fans and that is up to 8 million people to vote on whether something is good or not. I love our fans and you have to love all the other fans too, but we are not in a contest about fans. We are in a contest about winning games.
Q: You talked about Toney in your opening, he is getting some consideration for Player of the Year. Is what makes Douglas so unique his defense, in addition to what he does on offense?
Krzyzewski: Not just that, he has been a leader for his team. He has a lot of guys. I think Leonard has done as good of a job in the country at coaching his team. Toney plays every possession on offense and defense. Defensively, he is the best guy on the ball that I have seen, that we have played against, and I've seen in the country. I haven't seen everybody, but I have seen a lot of people. We have played against a lot of great guards. Toney is just a fantastic defender. I really think he is not just an all-ACC player, but probably the defensive player of the year in our conference, maybe in the country, well (Hasheem) Thabeet, it would be tough to argue against him, but Toney is terrific. He is going to play basketball for a long time.
Q: What makes Florida State's defense so tough?
Krzyzewski: They have shot blocking to go with their ball pressure, and they move well without the ball. They play defense as one, and then you add the shot blocking ability and the extreme ball pressure that Toney can give you ? at the end of the possession, when the shot is taken and at the beginning of the possession when there is ball pressure, they have two of the best in the country. They have always been pretty good in the other position. It's a very good basketball team. They are very well coached, a very good basketball team.