Coach is here!
How does the success of Duke players in the WNBA - Beard, Harding, Currie - help you in recruiting?
Oh gosh, those women are phenomenal. They are tremendous role models. They are the future image of our current players. They see the success they had academically and they see them flourishing in the WNBA and they get the feeling that they too can have it all.
Joanne, Do you have any pre-game rituals?
No, not really. I'm relatively boring. I do definitely exercise every game day. I try to clear my head and use exercise to do that. And a lot of stretching too. In the lockerroom pre-game, I'm kind of funny, because I'm in there by myself stretching.
how was it to participate in Jimmy V week?
Oh, wow. Incredible. Wonderful experience. An experience that gives everybody a great deal of perspective. For all of us that Jimmy V has been able to influence in life and in death. In that empowerment piece, one of the biggest things that he left to us all is how you can empower people in life or death. I think Jimmy V would have liked the game, how it was played, that both teams were undefeated. I've never met him, but from what I've heard about him and his way with people, I think he would have enjoyed the game.
Nice win last night, Coach P! Your recruiting classes have been very impressive of late. Besides the obvious allure of a Duke education, what are the basketball-specific elements that you believe make your program a particularly strong candidate for top players? Thanks!
That's a great question and an easy answer. The culture of basketball at Duke is unbelievable. The facilities are some of the best in the country. The film facility. The training facility. There are so many ways for a student-athlete to succeed. The women and men's teams share the same facilities. There is a respect there. It's really incredible because it's in the best of both worlds. We're climbing toward something to get to the next level, but we're also surrounded by excellence. It's the history of Tobacco Road. I think recruits get excited about that.
Michigan State has had a great start to the season, including beating two ranked teams. Does their success still make you proud of the program you built?
Absolutely. That's an easy one. I know it won't be that way in the long term because the players I know there are seniors. I will always be proud of Michigan State and think very highly of them. I'm uniquely proud because their seniors this year I sat in their home with them. I will always be very grateful for the opportunity they provided me.
Can we expect to see the UConn-Duke series continued in the future?
Yes. Actually, we do have a long term contract with them. I believe it's four years our. Renewable. Obviously, it's very exciting and a great opportunity for us.
Jimmy V Week now also honors Coach Yow and her fight against cancer. Can you talk a little about her legacy in the ACC?
Her legacy has been a long, wide, special and incredible throughout her career. As you know, I'm new to the ACC, relatively, so I only knew Coach for a little bit of time. I'm always amazed at the people she effected, as a person, as a coach. She's been an inspiration to me simply by the way she welcomed me to the conference. We had some wonderful conversations about me coming to the conference and how it might be different than Michigan State. It's a natural thing to incorporate her into Jimmy V Week, not just because she was at NC State, but in the way she fought to the end.
We miss you up here in the great white north, Joannie!!!!What kind of goals are you setting for your team this year?Good luck with your season.
Goals are more of a pursuit. We pursue championships. We pursue them every year. We pursue the regular season title, the tournament title and the national championship title. Those goals and pursuits never change. Your team does, but you still try to be the best academically and athletically. Last year was a very special year for us because we were able to be the tournament champs and go to the Elite Eight. But it's a process. What we aspire to never changes.
Hi Joanne! How good are Krystal and Jasmine Thomas? It seems like it would be fun to coach these two. Im excited for this team and think big things are ahead.
Well, you're right. You're exactly right! It is a lot of fun to coach both of those two and work with them throughout their career at Duke. Very good role models. Very bright. They both have an edge to them. They're both very competitive. And they're both ready to go after everything as seniors. They're fun to coach. Lots of personalities. They like to put their coaching hats on, but I try to keep them with their player hats on.
Was hte game the first time you've had a chance to deal with the V Foundation?
I've been very fortunate to work with the V Foundation and work with Nick Valvano before. I had the opportunity to speak, subbing in for Coach K who could not be two places at once, about Jimmy V and what he meant to me. Also, in my own cancer fight, as it showed up on my door in my second year at Duke. I spoke at the cancer summit at Duke. I've been able to talk to with Nick and everything he does. The New York event was awe inspiring and raising money. I thought Mike Tirico was amazing M.C.'ing that event. I'm willing and able to be available for them. I, like many people, continue to be moved by his speech and the message that he sent out.
A big shout out to all the Duke fans. We all appreciate you. The crowd was a big part of last night's victory. The 6,000+ that were there was huge. I hope you can come see us live, in living color this year at Cameron!