Shane Battier was a senior captain on Duke’s 2001 national championship team.
“I think Coach K’s greatest attribute as a coach is his ability to inspire and motivate. And when you go there, for my teams, we never felt we could fail. There was no fear, we played with no fear. We played just with amazing confidence. It sounds easy, but it’s probably the most difficult thing to do while you’re coaching. And that was the trademark of all the teams that I played on.
“He was always on me to shoot more. I’ve always been a team player, a guy who wants to move the ball. I had never been offensive-minded. He would just continue to harp on me. When I became a junior, after Trajan (Langdon) had graduated and Elton Brand left, William Avery left, he used to call me over the summer and say, ‘Are you ready to average 20 points a game?’ And if I hesitated for a second, he would hang up on me.
“So he called me back the next day and asked, ‘Are you ready to lead this team and be an All-American?’ And I said, ‘Well, Coach ... ’ Click. And this went on for four or five days before I said, ‘Yes, Coach, I’m going to be aggressive next year, I’m going to shoot the basketball, and I’m going to average 20 points a game next year.’ So he has different ways of reaching his players.”
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