A couple of article recently on practice and playing time for collegiate basketball players spoke to the different philosophy between minutes at practice and minutes at games. In an article by Chris Carson, it mentioned that some people had criticized Syracuse's Jim Boeheim for the big minutes some of his starters have been playing. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski came to his defense:
Faced with three players dealing with ankle injuries and a fourth recovering from shoulder and rib issues, Krzyzewski was asked if he worried about the minutes piling up on his players.
"Not minutes, it's injuries," Krzyzewski said. "Kids don't get tired from playing minutes. They get tired from over-practice. There's no kid in the world who gets tired from playing. You've got to be kidding me. You get tired if you play long minutes and then you practice long. None of those kids want to come out. That doesn't tire them out. It's how you practice."
Like Syracuse, Duke has just eight healthy scholarship players. But despite having more quality depth than the Orange, Krzyzewski paid little heed to the concept of a "freshman wall."
Krzyzewski played freshman Justise Winslow for 40 minutes against the Orange on Saturday and freshman point guard Tyus Jones for 38. Duke guard Quinn Cook is among the top five in minutes played in the ACC this year.
"Our practice is amazingly short and no contact," Krzyzewski said. "They've been interesting, let's put it that way. We don't tire them out. You worry about being in shape and how you run without contact or change surfaces and stuff like that. They all want to play 40 minutes."
In another article, by Mike Waters, he details Notre Dame's Mike Brey as to how he controls practice time while also allowing big minutes for key starters:
"The older guys know how to play 40 minutes,'' Brey said of his veterans. "They can fight through the fatigue mentally way better than a younger player. If it's younger guys, you can have an issue in game and length of season. Connaughton and Grant? They're men.''
Brey said he prefers to play with a shorter bench, giving more minutes to his top-line guys.
"I think it can help you,'' Brey said of a short rotation. "I think it helps your offensive efficiency. Guys know they're going to play. They'll move the ball. They're patient. When you play a lot of different guys, you get a lot of different guys playing together and they're more apt to turn the ball over. Also, nobody's looking over at the bench expecting to get the hook.''
Brey said he prepares his players to play more minutes from the time practice starts in the fall.
"In our practices, we get to 5-on-5 quick,'' Brey said. "We're 5-on-5 in that October to November stretch. They're getting their playing legs because we're playing in practice early in the season.
"You also have to start shortening your practices earlier than you'd think,'' the Notre Dame coach added. "You have to understand the value of rest days in November and December.''
By this time of year, Notre Dame's practices are practically walk-throughs compared to other schools.
"I haven't been on the floor more than an hour and 15 minutes since January 1,'' Brey said.
On Thursday, the day after Notre Dame's win over Duke, Brey said his team would not have a regular practice.
"These are what we call recovery days,'' Brey said. "We'll watch a little film of us, a little film of Pittsburgh, we'll let them stretch, they'll get a lift in, but no practice.''
Notre Dame's players also get massages regularly and have a chiropractor available as well.