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Mike Krzyzewski Will Use Last Year’s Loss to Lehigh to Motivate Duke
March 20, 2013 – 6:00 am by Eric Schmoldt
Mike Krzyzewski still doesn’t think his Duke Blue Devils were overlooking Lehigh when they lost in a second-round game a year ago. That said, he’s making sure this year’s team takes Albany very seriously. The Blue Devils open their tournament as a No. 2 seed against Albany on Friday.

Mike Krzyzewski joined 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis with Dan Dakich to discuss how his experience plays a role entering this NCAA tournament with Duke, using last year’s upset loss to Lehigh as motivation this time around, what Ryan Kelly means to this team, why Kelly’s teammates are so confident in him and what former Duke players Kelly compares to.
How much does a coach’s experience play into winning tournament games?:
“I think it has some significance, there’s no question about it. If you’re visiting Paris, it’s nice to have a guide who knows what the heck is going on in Paris. So you can be a guide to your team. What you have to do, though, if you have been in it a number of times, is make sure that you get into the moment of your players and not your moment as the veteran. … I think one of the main things where it helps is the people around you, your staff.”
How much are you using last year’s Lehigh game as motivation this year?:
“You use it some, just to remind them the feeling that you had when you did lose, the abruptness. I don’t think we overlooked Lehigh. I think Lehigh was really good. They had the best player on the court that night in C.J. McCollum. I don’t know if our guys, if we did a good job as a staff to make them aware of just how good they were. You have to use it, because you want to say, ‘Let’s make sure when we play Albany on Friday … we’re not saying, they don’t play in the ACC, so we’re better than they are.’ I don’t know if my team did that, but I want to make sure … it’s not going to be the case this year.”
What makes Ryan Kelly so great and what were you missing when he was out?:
“I think he’s one of the best players in the country when he’s completely healthy. He was just coming into that star status just before he got hurt. … He would’ve been a great player for Coach Knight at Indiana in the 70s. … They’re great players, and what he does is he knows the game and even though he doesn’t look like he should be a good defender, he’s an outstanding defender. … The game goes slower for him. He doesn’t get sped up. … When you have a guy who’s talking offensively and defensively and helps coordinate the efforts of a team, you have a greater chance of playing as one. There’s no stat for that except the wins and losses that you have with him.”
It looks like his teammates are all confident in him:
“They all feel better. If you’re with your buddies and there’s one guy … is there, you guys always feel more confident and it’s just working better. Ryan’s that guy. He’s not threatening to anyone. He’s very unique. The other thing, he can shoot the heck out of the ball. At 6-10, because he can shoot, the floor is wide, offensively.”
What other Duke players does he compare to in your tenure?:
“We’ve had a number of them. Battier is the most-celebrated one of those guys. Even as a freshman, Luol Deng did that for us. Dunleavy was in that position. To be quite frank with you, even though he’s a Player of the Year, Danny Ferry did that early on. Grant Hill, although he’s a great player, he was that mix. When you had Laettner and Hurley, he really transcended. He didn’t have a position. … The unique 4, in our program over the years, has been a key position.”
Listen to Mike Krzyzewski on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis here
Tags: Albany, College Basketball, Duke Blue Devils, Lehigh, Mike Krzyzewski, NCAA Tournament, NCAA tournament upsets, Ryan Kelly

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