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Mike Krzyzewski Olympics interview

 


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| Aug. 20, 2008

On the morning of August 20, in the Olympic basketball quarterfinals, Team USA beat Australia, 116-85. Here's what USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game:

Question: Talk about the game.

Mike Krzyzewski: It was an honor to play Brianís (Goorjian) team. I thought theyíve been the most difficult team for us to defend. Their offense is so well-conceived for their personnel. The future is extremely bright (for Australia). In college, we are able to develop a program and I think whatís Brian has done is develop a great program with the Australian team. Theyíre a force to be reckoned with. We had to play really well in order to win. They caused us a lot of problems and Iím glad my Duke team doesnít play St. Maryís next year. (Patrick Mills) is a great guard. Heíll be an NBA guard and Iím very, very impressed and weíre ecstatic because we know we beat an outstanding team, who I think was playing their best basketball right now. So, it was a heck of a game for us.

Question: Can you talk about how LeBron has stepped up to be the leader of this team?

Mike Krzyzewski: I donít think heís the only leader. I think behind the scenes, Jason has been an outstanding leader and so has Kobe. But, LeBronís personality comes up and that started, I thought, after we lost to Greece in 2006 and we played Argentina. He actually played point guard for us that game. That started the process and Iím sure a lot with Cleveland and also with our own national team last summer, he just emerged. I think he has great leadership potential, and I think that will make him a better player. Because if youíre a leader, you have to be doing all the things youíre telling people to do. Iím proud of him. Iím really pleased with where heís at.

Question: Talk about Kobeís performance tonight.

Mike Krzyzewski: He had a great performance and he came up when we needed it the most. right at the start of the second half Ö it was such a possession by possession game Ö we were lucky that Deron hit that shot right at the end of the first half. The first half was possession by possession and then all of sudden, we had five or six possessions where we had threeís and they were unable to score and you get a 20-something point lead in a game that was not a 20-point game Ö Such a close game Ö and it gave us separation. It caused us also to change our defense; we just tried to take away 3ís and with Bosh in there, we were able to do a little bit of that. But, Kobe helped give us that separation.

Question: Talk about Australiaís Patrick Mills.

Mike Krzyzewski: He played really well against the last game Ö really tape doesnít do him justice. He looks good on tape Ö we should fast forward it Ö he really has great quickness. I love him defensively; Iím sure Brian does too. Iíve been a defensive coach my whole life and there arenít very many people who stay with a guard Ė like right on him Ė when he has the ball Ė and if heís beaten, he doesnít retreat; he continues to play the play. Heís got to be an extremely tough-minded kid. As good as he is offensively, I think heís got a chance to be a great defender. I think the kid has got a big time future, to be quite frank with you.

Question: Did you sense your guards are impressed with Mills?

Mike Krzyzewski: No question. Heís an impressive player. Heís got great quickness and great strength. What else can I say Ö he can shoot, heís tough-minded Ö heís so competitive. I mean the kidís going to be an NBA player Ö there is no question about it. What a great thing to build your future on. What Brianís saying, (Australia) has so many good young players. (Brad) Newley is good Ö heís got such bounce to his game. And obviously (Andrew) Bogut is one of the better players in the NBA. They have a good young group to go with some crafty veterans. This is a very good Australian team. I feel like we beat a really good basketball team tonight. We had to play really well in order to do it.



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