DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says he has apologized to Oregon coach Dana Altman for his post game conversation with Dillon Brooks.
In a statement issued Saturday, Krzyzewski said “it is not my place to talk to another team’s player” and he hoped he “did not create a distraction” for the top-seeded Ducks.
Oregon lost to Oklahoma 80-68 on Saturday night in the West Regional final of the NCAA Tournament.
Brooks hit a long 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring in the final seconds of the Ducks’ 82-68 victory over Duke on Thursday night. In the handshake line, Krzyzewski had a prolonged discussion with the Oregon guard — and video of it immediately went viral.
In the statement, Krzyzewski said that chat “took the focus away from the terrific game that Dillon played.” The Hall of Fame coach also apologized for responding “incorrectly to a reporter’s question about my comment to Dillon.”
Brooks managed just seven points with three turnovers before fouling out against the Sooners, but the Canadian forward said the spotlight on his post game conversation with Krzyzewski wasn’t the reason.
“I’m still the same player,” Brooks said. “I’m just going to learn from this and rally for next season.”
Altman dismissed Krzyzewski’s concerns after the Ducks’ loss to Oklahoma.
“He called and apologized, and I told him he didn’t need to,” Altman said. “Someone that has accomplished what he has accomplished and makes a comment to one of my players is perfectly fine with me, and it didn’t bother me at all. It bothered a lot of people. It didn’t bother me. It didn’t bother Dillon, and Dillon’s response proved that.”
In the locker room after Thursday’s game, Brooks said that Krzyzewski told him “I’m too good of a player to be showing (off) at the end.”
In his ensuing news conference, Krzyzewski disputed Brooks’ version of events and appeared angry when it was brought up.
“I didn’t say that,” Krzyzewski said. “You can say whatever you want. Dillon Brooks is a hell of a player. I said, ‘You’re a terrific player.’ And you can take whatever he said and go with it, all right?”
A day later, Altman defended his leading scorer, saying Krzyzewski should have approached him — not Brooks — and that he gave the order to shoot because the shot clock was winding down.
“I told Dillon to shoot it. So if anybody’s got a problem with it, it should be directed at me,” Altman said. “He was acting on my orders. I told him to shoot it. I didn’t think he’d make it. It was a 30-footer, but there was a five, six-second difference there.”
On Saturday, Krzyzewski expressed regret about the situation.
“Clearly, the story that night was about Oregon advancing to the Elite Eight, and the outstanding game they played,” he said. “I sincerely hope I did not create a distraction for coach Altman and his team at this critical time of year. Certainly, I have the utmost respect for the Oregon program and their tremendous accomplishments.”