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What made Krzyzewski switch to zone defense?

Q. How difficult of a decision was it to make the switch to zone? And was it something that you kind of gave pause to it at all?
DUKE COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: No, we gave a lot of thought to it. We give a lot of thought to everything. Doesn’t mean that our thoughts are always right. But no, we were playing zone all year. And when we decided to go to it — we still do some man-to-man; we haven’t done it in a game recently, but you have to — there’s got to be one primary defense that you spend most of your time doing. And we made that decision that it would be zone and it fits our team better. It just fits our team better.

Q. Grayson, I imagine when you came to Duke you didn’t think you’d be playing zone your senior year. Can you talk about that sort of transformation? And you’ve been slapping hands on the floor while playing zone, and how unusual you think it’s been that this program has become a zone program for at least some?
GRAYSON ALLEN: Well, Coach adjusts. That’s one of the things that makes him so great. And we found out that zone was the best defense for this team. And we found it out about halfway through the year. So we went with that. And Coach really fully committed to it and taught us zone and it became our number one and only defense that we really play.

But it’s still the intensity and everything of Duke defense is still there. And it’s obviously not the man defense that you’ve seen for 20-plus years. But the intensity is still there, and when we play really well, like we have been over the past couple of weeks, the talk and the activity and the floor slapping, like you said, it all can be there.

Q. How begrudgingly do you think Coach K went to the zone?
GRAYSON ALLEN: It didn’t seem like it was very grudgingly. I think he’s obviously a man coach. So we worked on man a lot and tried to figure it out before we went zone. But once we tried out — we tried out zone really early on in the year, and it was working just because of our length and athleticism. And once he kind of realized that this team is way better at playing zone, you just kind of — he went with that.


  1. I really couldn’t care less about Duke basketball or Krzyzewski and especially Grayson Allen.

  2. We should have played a lot more zone this year. We would have had 5 fewer losses and would be going to the final 4.

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