Mike Krzyzewski

Video: Coach K talks Team USA with Dan Patrick

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Team USA has blown through its competition in its first two exhibition games ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro with wins over Argentina and China by a combined a combined 96 points.

Tonight, they’ll have a rematch against China, which they defeated 106-57 on Sunday, but it will also serve as the unofficial debut of Kevin Durant in front of his new hometown fans with the game taking place at the home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

“Excited for Kevin tonight to make his debut in front of the Golden State fans,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “He got a great reception (Monday) at a function. He was, as he should be, warmly welcomed.”

The team has been together since July 18 in the run-up to its first Olympic contest on Aug. 6 against China. For Krzyzewski, a couple of players have made an impression already.

“You see these guys on TV,” the Duke coach said, “but I don’t get a chance to see them in person. (Clipper) DeAndre Jordan is such a good player. A great athlete, a great guy. To see him run, defend, holy mackerel. He’ s really good.

“I haven’t seen Paul George in two years when he had that horrific (leg) injury in Las Vegas at one of our camps, and he’s so darn good. On defense, tremendous.”

It’s on the defensive side of the floor that Coach K believes his team can really make its mark even with the incredible collection of offensive talent the roster has.

“We’re very athletic so defensively we could be a very good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve shown a willingness to want to do that in the first two games.”

As usual, Team USA is the prohibitive favorite to bring back gold for the third consecutive Olympics, which will be Coach K’s last at the helm after taking over after the 2004 bronze medal debacle.

“I’m excited about the team,” he said. “It’s a short time. to see our guys working so hard and they get along so well, I’m excited about the team we might be in Rio. We’ll use tonight to get a little bit better.

“I kind of have the blinders on. You only have a short time. It’s a little over a month, and we want to win the gold medal in Rio.”

Coach K calls North Carolina’s HB2 “embarrassing”

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2016, file photo, Duke head men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, second from right,  reacts to a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils have lost three straight games entering Saturday’s game at North Carolina State followed by Monday’s game at No. 15 Miami. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)
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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had short but strong words about the North Carolina bill HB2 that cost Duke a home opponent, has thrown the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte into jeopardy and has sparked outcry from around the country.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Krzyzewski told USA TODAY of the bill that requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender listed on their birth certificate. The state is currently locked in a legal battle over the bill after the Department of Justice deemed in in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

“That’s all I’m going to say about it,” Krzyzewski said while at USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas.

The Blue Devils’ scheduled November matchup with Albany in Durham was cancelled due to New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order that bars non-essential state travel to North Carolina in response to HB2. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has threatened to move the league’s 2017 All-Star weekend if the bill remains.

Another coach from within the state shared Krzyzewski’s sentiment.

“I’m against any law that allows discrimination, whether that’s based on race, gender, sexual orientation,” NC State coach Mark Gottfried told USA TODAY. “I don’t understand how someone can support this. I think the people at N.C. State, we believe in inclusion. Being a resident of the state, for me and my family, it’s been frustrating.”

Retirement not on Krzyzewski’s radar at Duke

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski flashes a thumbs up against North Carolina-Wilmington in the first half during the first round of the NCAA college men's basketball tournament in Providence, R.I., Thursday, March 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski says he isn’t even thinking about the end of his Hall of Fame coaching career.

Krzyzewski spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since a pair of offseason surgeries and said, “I don’t have plans for the future” and that “I don’t have a retirement thing.”

The 69-year-old coach has dealt with some health issues during the past few months. He had knee replacement surgery on his left knee in April and had inguinal hernia surgery last month.

He also missed Duke’s game at Georgia Tech last January because of a sudden illness that briefly had him hospitalized in the cardiac ward of the university’s hospital.

Krzyzewski says he’s “doing great” and actually feels younger after “getting these things done.”

No. 1 Oregon beats Duke, advances to first Elite Eight since 2007

Duke guard Brandon Ingram shoots between Oregon forward Jordan Bell, right, and forward Dillon Brooks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The first weekend of the NCAA tournament wasn’t particularly kind to the Pac-12, as six of their seven entrants were eliminated. The lone team standing was Oregon, the top seed in the West and the best team the Pac-12 had to offer. Dana Altman’s team has the athleticism and versatility needed to make its way to Houston, and Thursday night those attributes along with the team’s willingness to pass the ball was on display in their 82-68 win over No. 4 Duke.

Dillon Brooks led five Ducks in double figures with 22 points while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out six assists, and as a team Oregon assisted on 22 of its 38 made field goals. Oregon can attack teams in a variety of ways offensively thanks to the versatility of players such as Brooks, Elgin Cook and Tyler Dorsey, and if not for a number of missed dunks the margin Thursday night would have been worse.

Duke’s had issues defensively due in large part to their lack of depth, which makes it difficult to shift strategies when one approach isn’t working. Duke went zone for part of the second half, and Oregon managed to find quality looks though sound ball movement and player movement off the basketball.

Oregon finished the game shooting 49.2 percent from the field, but they were much better on that end of the floor in the game’s final 20 minutes.

And of all the offensive options at Altman’s disposal the one who doesn’t receive enough credit is sophomore point guard Casey Benson, whose improvement throughout the season has been a key for Oregon. Almost deferential to a fault when it came to taking open shots at the start of the year, Benson’s been better as the season’s progressed at picking his spots while continuing to distribute the ball in an efficient manner.

Against Duke, Benson finished with 11 points, eight assists and just one turnover. That one turnover raised Benson’s total for the season to 23, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is a very good 4.65:1. The injured Dylan Ennis was expected to be the man at the point when the season began, but the play of Benson has ensured that Oregon did not miss a beat this season.

Oregon has an eight-man rotation that appears to be even deeper thanks to their versatility, and against Duke the Ducks took advantage of that throughout the night. The offense was good but so was the defense, with Jordan Bell (13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks) and Chris Boucher serving as deterrents at the rim and the changes between man and a matchup zone keeping the Blue Devils off balance.

They’ll need a similar effort against Oklahoma Saturday, but there should be no more questions as to whether or not Oregon’s capable.

VIDEO: Kobe Bryant shows up to support Coach K, Duke

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) leaves the court during the second half for the final time of the NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns won 119-107 in Bryant's last game in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York
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West No. 4 Duke is taking on top seed Oregon Thursday night in Anaheim, and the proximity to Los Angeles opened up the possibility of an esteemed guest showing up to support the Blue Devils.

That guest: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who’s played for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski on the United States Olympic Team (winning gold at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics) and has been a family friend for years. Shortly before tipoff Bryant made his way to his seat in the Duke cheering section, exchanging pleasantries with Krzyzewski’s wife and grandsons in the process.

And during the first half Oklahoma senior guard Buddy Hield got to meet the “Black Mamba.”

Bryant’s playing career will come to an end this season, as he announced in mid-January that he won’t be representing the country in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Allen leads No. 15 Duke past Florida State, 80-65

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski gestures during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Durham, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
AP Photo/Ben McKeown
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Duke has been dealing with some injured players and even more ranked opponents. The 15th-ranked Blue Devils were emotionally drained – yet they still found enough energy to beat fading Florida State.

Grayson Allen scored 18 points, Brandon Ingram added 16 and Duke defeated the Seminoles 80-65 on Thursday night.

Marshall Plumlee had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (21-7, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who faced an unranked team for the first time since Feb. 6. They played four straight against the Top 25, winning the first three by a combined seven points.

“The emotion that we’ve had to have for these last five games – really, they’re tired,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And you could tell, and it’s not because of being physically out of shape. They’re giving me everything.”

The Blue Devils placed five players in double figures for the first time in league play and forced 14 turnovers while matching a season low with five themselves.

“A good shooting team like this, you can’t give them extra possessions,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We just got beat by a team that played much better than us tonight.”

Luke Kennard finished with 12 points and Matt Jones added 11 in his first game back from injury for Duke, which has won six of seven.

Freshman guard Dwayne Bacon had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 13 and Devon Bookert finished with 10 points for the Seminoles (16-12, 6-10). They have lost a season-worst five straight.

Florida State never got closer than 11 in the second half, the last time coming on Bookert’s jumper at the 10-minute mark. Ingram hit two free throws, Jones hit a 3 and Plumlee followed with a dunk on Jarquez Smith and then a free throw that made it 67-50 with 8:52 remaining.

Duke was coming off a loss at Louisville in which the Blue Devils’ depth issues hurt them.

Jones missed that game with a sprained ankle sustained against North Carolina, effectively leaving Duke with just five players. And then freshman point guard Derryck Thornton missed about 5 minutes of the second half against the Cardinals after injuring his right (shooting) shoulder in a collision with a Louisville player.

“I just feel like we keep getting better and keep getting tougher,” Jones said.

Both played in this one, and Jones started the 24-10 run that gave Duke plenty of breathing room with a 3-pointer with 11 minutes left in the half. Allen capped the burst with a layup on which freshman Malik Beasley was called for goaltending, making it 36-24 with 3:41 before the break.

HIGHLIGHT

Chase Jeter came up with the best 4-minute run of his Duke career, by far. In that span the lightly tested freshman drew a charge, grabbed four rebounds, threw down a dunk and had the Cameron Crazies chanting his last name. “That’s everybody’s dream, to be in Cameron and hear the fans chanting your name,” Jeter said.

TIP-INS

Florida State: Beasley and Bacon entered as the highest-scoring pair of freshmen in ACC history, combining to average 31.9 points. That was barely better than the combination of Mark Price and John Salley, who scored an average of 31.8 points for Georgia Tech in 1983. … This was the Seminoles’ final regular-season road game.

Duke: The Blue Devils missed their first nine shots, then shot 51 percent the rest of the way. … Allen is on pace to become the ninth player in school history to lead the team in scoring and assists, and the first since Nolan Smith during his ACC player of the year season in 2011. Smith was added to the coaching staff earlier this week and made his coaching debut in this game.

UP NEXT

Florida State hosts No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday.

Duke visits Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org