Coach K took time after Tuesday's win to remind Duke fans that his young but talented players "aren't perfect," nor should they be expected to be.
After Duke’s 90-69 win over Indiana at Cameron Indoor on Tuesday, head coach Mike Krzyzewski discussed last week's loss to now-No. 1 Gonzaga. Duke was undefeated before falling to the Bulldogs, which spurred significant criticism from fans and commentators of Coack K's young crew and star wing R.J. Barrett in particular.
It was the words from fans, however, that got to Krzyzewski.
"Duke fans, just cut it out, man," Krzyzewski said Tuesday in his postgame press conference. "These kids aren’t perfect. My kid wasn’t playing hero ball. He was playing winner’s ball."
When asked about Barrett seeming to "beat himself up" as he struggled at the end of the Gonzaga game and how that translated into his performance on Tuesday against the Hoosiers, Coach K said his top-ranked recruit had to put the loss "behind him."
Barrett added 22 points in Duke's win over Indiana and hit 9-of-18 field goals but turned the ball over five times.
Krzyzewski also commented on the ever-increasing expecations for his team and reminded reporters and spectators alike that most of his starters are just a few games into their college careers.
“Let’s get real about this whole thing. Let’s not get spoiled," he said. "We’ve got four 19 year old kids there trying to bust their ass trying to learn how to play and have a lot of pressure on them. Let them grow.”
The Blue Devils have four top 12 recruits on their roster, including three of the top five players in the class in Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish. Coach K added that point guard Tre Jones, who rounded out Duke's group of five-star phenoms, is "way ahead," as a freshman.