Shane Battier believes his teammate, LeBron James, could have played within the system at Duke for Mike Krzyzewski had he not gone directly to the NBA.

“You know what? LeBron could have played at Duke, and I don’t say that about a lot of guys,” Battier said. “There are a lot of All-Stars who couldn’t have played at Duke. LeBron is one of the few All-Stars who could have played there and survived.

“You have to be mentally tough. You have to know the game — you can’t be some idiot out there, some dummy running around. You have to play for the team and be selfless. Those are all of LeBron James’ qualities.”

James has played dozens of games for Krzyzewski as part of the United States National Team.

“We have a great relationship,” James said. “We’ve been together since ’05, and our relationship has grown every year. I’ve grown from a young man into a man into a leader of that team. He’s helped me develop that. I give a lot of credit to him.”