A couple weeks ago, The Chronicle had the chance for a one-on-one interview with men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, prior to his departure to Las Vegas, where he and Team USA are currently practicing in preparation for next month's 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The feature on Krzyzewski and how his relationship with Team USA affects Duke basketball and other aspects of his career can be read on The Chronicle's main page.
Below are some tidbits from the interview with Krzyzewski that did not make the story:
On getting to see so many former players this summer at the K Academy and other basketball camps at Duke:
"When you have 37 of your former players come back, it shows that they want to come back--it's not like you pay them.... Because I’ve been here so long, I’ve been able to interact with guys from the 80s, 90s and last decade.... They end up becoming friends with guys from other eras and then we touch base again. And there is often some networking that goes on to allow them to transition to something good into their lives."
On how much attention he pays to what the media says about some of the stars on the players of Team USA:
"I listen to the things that are said about them because I’m going to coach them. So, I have to get a feel for the world that they’re in."
On if he'll try to wear glasses at press conferences to fit in with the latest fashion trends as demonstrated by some of his players such as LeBron James:
“Those guys look good in anything they wear. And I learned a long time ago as a coach here that I should never try to do that. What looks good on them looks good on them because anything would look good on them.”
On how his relationships with NBA coaches and general managers affects what he can do with members of the Duke program:
"We can give our current players and our former players advice on what to do based on these relationships and what you learn from them."
On how the last two seasons were derailed by injuries and health as a key to success:
"It’s not like [Ryan Kelly is] a great player. He’s a really good player, and it changes the dynamic of your offense. The year before, if we have Kyrie Irving the whole year, we’ve got a chance to win the whole thing. The year before that, we were healthy. That doesn’t mean if you’re going to be healthy that you’re going to win the whole thing. We had the best player in the country and he plays 11 games. If it were another school, that would be a different story. Believe me. Same thing with Ryan."
On moving past last year's loss in the first game of the NCAA Tournament to Lehigh:
"When you’re in this as long as I have been—if I were a younger coach, I would’ve used the end of last season differently than how I’ve used it, like maybe there would be a chip and give the score of the Lehigh game. I’m not going to do that. They needed to feel what they felt, whether it was coming back on campus or walking off the court. And now we need to use that in a positive way, in a productive way. That’s why we’ve had the spring we’ve had. We’ve bonded as a group very well."
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