Duke's Krzyzewski fine with lack of preseason attention

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJune 22, 2012 

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Duke's Mike Krzyzewski acknowledges fans as the team leaves the court as Duke readied for their NCAA tourney opener at the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday March 15, 2012.

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com

— Much of the preseason talk in the ACC basketball race has centered around N.C. State and North Carolina.

That’s fine with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team went 13-3 in the league last season – a game behind UNC for the regular-season title – and has added two McDonald’s All-Americans.

“I’d rather have you talk about what we’ve done, than what we’re going to do,” Krzyzewski said Thursday at his annual summer press conference.

The Blue Devils, 27-7 a year ago, will have to replace guard Austin Rivers, who’s expected to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft. But Duke returns three starters and adds two versatile, athletic freshmen in guard Rasheed Sulaimon and forward Amile Jefferson. The Blue Devils will also have forwards Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee, who redshirted last season.

The increased size – Murphy, Jefferson and Plumlee are all 6-8 or bigger – will make Duke more versatile, Krzyzewski said Thursday, particularly on the defensive end.

“I thought we were just a very fair defensive team last year, and I think we can be much better defensively next season, much more versatile,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re going to be bigger and more athletic.”

Duke’s season ended in disappointment in March, with a loss to 15th-seeded Lehigh in its opening NCAA tournament game.

Krzyzewski said a lack of “internal leadership” was one of the reasons the season ended early. Krzyzewski also pointed to the foot injury of forward Ryan Kelly, who missed both the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

“I don’t think we had the internal leadership to be an outstanding team,” Krzyzewski said. “I mean 27-7 is good but we wanted to win championships.”

Kelly, a senior from Raleigh, is fully healed, Krzyzewski said Thursday, and he expects a big season from his senior leaders – Kelly, forward Mason Plumlee and guard Seth Curry.

Guard Andre Dawkins will redshirt, Krzyzewski made official on Thursday, which likely leaves a spot in the starting lineup for Sulaimon, a 6-2 combo guard who has been compared to former Duke guard Nolan Smith.

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