Athens, GA (Mar 28, 2009) -The Elite Eight comes to a close tomorrow. Here is the transcript of the University of North Carolina press conference, as provided by the NCAA.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We appreciate everybody being with us.
We're going to start with University of North Carolina. As you see,
we're joined by head Coach Roy Williams. Student athletes Ty Lawson,
Danny Green, Deon Thompson, Tyler Hansbrough, and Wayne Ellington.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: We'll try to make this quick because we do have
to go to practice here in a little bit.
I think as much money as we're making off this tournament, we ought
to be able to afford more than one freakin' cookie back in the room
there. I think NCAA can afford more than that. Other than that, we're
happy to be here.
Hey, if we don't have any cookies later on, it's Norm's fault.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and take questions.
Q. Tyler, obviously a lot's been made about Blake Griffin and the
season he's had at Oklahoma. Just your thoughts on him as a player,
and are you looking forward to the matchup against him?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Yeah, I mean, clearly he's a good player. I really
don't watch a lot of college basketball, so I haven't caught many of
I understand the hype surrounding him, and I've seen some highlights
of him. He's a pretty impressive player.
I'm not going to try to go out there and try to have a one on one
match with him. I'm going to try to do whatever my team needs me to do
to win. That's just going to be my focus.
Q. Ty Lawson, in terms of a year ago being able to take a look at
the NBA, going to draft camp and come back. Talk about your decision
to leave the NBA and your decision to come back now.
TY LAWSON: I wanted to at least get back to the Final Four and win
the national championship. I think my decision's real good. We're
playing real well. We have a chance to get back there. I worked on
things that a lot of people said I couldn't do, and I'm showing that I
can do them now. I feel like it was a good decision.
Q. Wayne, when you look at Oklahoma, do they remind you of anybody
you played in the ACC?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I don't think so. You know, I think their inside
presence is a lot tougher than any ACC opponent that we played. And at
the same time, they have a great perimeter play.
I can't really think of one team specifically that we played that
reminds me of them. But like I said, it's going to be a big time
challenge for us.
Q. Danny, I understand you and coach had a meeting after the
tournament, after the ACC tournament just to talk about your play. Can
you talk about that meeting and sort of the progression of your play
during the NCAA tournament.
DANNY GREEN: Basically, the meeting was to see where my head was at,
if anything was bothering me. If I had any distractions off the court.
I just told him there was no real distractions, just had a bad
weekend. From then on out, he basically just told me to not worry
about anything else. If there's any distractions, he'd help me with
it. But there was nothing else for us to talk about.
He told me to just play basketball and not think about it. From
then, I've just been playing and not really stressing or pressing or
anything. And losing myself in the game, and things have gone my way.
Q. A question for Deon. Your thoughts on Blake Griffin and if you
have seen enough to have any on Taylor and what role that he plays in
the big picture for them.
DEON THOMPSON: Like everyone up here said, Blake is definitely a
good player. I think Taylor is one of the most underrated players in
the country just for the fact that he doesn't get as much notoriety as
he should playing beside his brother. He definitely is a solid player
Me, myself, Tyler, the other Tyler are going to have to do a good
job down low containing them and having our teammates come down to
help with everybody else rotating.
It's going to be a good challenge for us.
Q. This is for Ty. First of all, what's the toe update? Any kind of
swelling? How did it bounce back? Second of all, given the inside
strength that Oklahoma has, how important is it on you perimeter guys
to shoot well, to attack the basket, and to try to make you be the
focus rather than the inside guys?
TY LAWSON: My toe is feeling good. It didn't really swell up last
night. It's not much pain in it. It's getting better.
Just we're going to come out strong. We're still going to go inside
first because that's our game plan. We're not going to change it
because they're big down low.
We're going to go inside, and when the opportunity comes back out,
the ball comes back out, we're going to try to knock down the shots or
get back in the lane and things like that, like we normally do.
We're not going to try to change or be more aggressive, perimeter
oriented just because they're good down low.
Q. Danny or Ty, if you could just talk about how critical Wayne's
played the last couple of weeks. How much has that meant to you
getting as far as you have?
DANNY GREEN: It meant a lot. It's definitely helped us. It doesn't
hurt us any, of course. It's opened up a lot of things for our bigs as
well when you have an outside a good shooter outside like Wayne.
He's been hitting some shots. Myself, I'm trying to find my touch a
little bit. But he's been doing a lot of things other than just
shooting the ball, getting rebounds, running the floor, getting easy
baskets for us, getting steals.
He's playing better defense. So his play, as well as everybody
else's play, has picked up, and it's going to help us.
TY LAWSON: Wayne's play has been real good for us. Even like
sometimes when we're struggling in the game, Wayne is knocking down
the big shot or the big three in a tough moment.
I mean, with him playing like this, it's tough for us to stop
because it opens up a lot for everybody else. It's hard to double down
when you have shooters out knocking down threes and things like that.
Like Danny said.
Q. Danny, last night you said that as well as you guys played, it
was still only about an 8 1/2 or a 9. What do you guys need to do to
take it from that level to 10?
DANNY GREEN: Just focus on doing the little things better. Boxing
out, having the rotations right, splitting back on defense, closing
out, having better closeouts and stopping penetration and running the
floor better offensively.
And just moving the ball around. We had some little simple mistakes,
unforced turnovers by trying to force passes inside when it wasn't
open. I mean, they all came from a good cause. We tried to get the
If we just make the easy play and defensively box out and do the
Q. Ty, do you feel like obviously you being healthier and back in
the lineup helps, but do you feel like your team started way up here
and kind of went this way and now is ramping back up in terms of how
you're playing as a team at the right time?
TY LAWSON: I think so. Just like you said, I think we're playing
good at the right time. Everything is starting to click. Everybody's
playing to their strengths, and everybody's playing real well.
And also on the defensive end we're picking it up. We're rotating,
getting a hand up on shots. I think just the defensive end is where
we're picking up more. That's why we're playing so well right now.
Q. Tyler, another question about Blake for you. You were national
player of the year last year. He may be this year. Do you get into any
of the personal pride matchup with him tomorrow?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: No. Like I said before, I'm going to do whatever
our team needs to do to win. I mean, it's not me going out there and
trying to play one on one, like I said before. It's just North
Carolina playing Oklahoma.
I'm not going to try to make it bigger than what it is by trying to
be selfish and go out there and try to play for myself. So whatever
our team needs to do, that's what I'll do.
Q. For both Wayne and Tyler, some people say this game, the Elite
Eight game is the toughest game because you're so close to the Final
Four but yet you're not there yet. You've been here before. Oklahoma
hasn't. Do you think that experience helps you at all going into
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I mean, we hope so, but I don't think so. It's just
another basketball game. Two pretty good basketball teams are going to
go out and play tomorrow.
I think, you know, the team that plays the best and does the best
defensively and works to the best of their advantage is going to win.
I don't think any experience of being here before really is going to
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Like Wayne said, I wish it did, but we're still
playing basketball, and, you know, we're going to have to play our
game. And maybe we'll see what happens if we play well.
Q. Tyler, how much sweeter would a win be tomorrow because OU's
coach played for Duke?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: I mean, it's always good when we knock out a
former Duke player, whatever. We're not really looking at it like
that, but I guess, if you want to throw in some extra fuel to the
fire, that's a way to look at it.
Q. Ty, who got the cookie?
TY LAWSON: Who got the cookie? Nobody got the cookie. I was about to
take it, but everybody was looking at it, and I didn't want to be
selfish. So I just left it there.
Q. This is for Tyler. I noticed last night when you came off the
court, when you had the cut on your hand, that there wasn't even an
intensity about you when you went to get the cut worked on so you can
get back in the game. You appeared more demonstrative since the
postseason started, even dating back to Atlanta. The book has always
been you are as focused and intense as any player in the country. Have
you felt that you've even actually picked it up a notch these last
couple of weeks?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Like I said before, I'm just trying to, you know,
win ball games, whatever. I guess you could say I'm a little more
focused because it is my last go around.
But I'm just trying to play my game. Yeah, when I went out last
night, I tried to get in there really quick. I went over to the
trainer and was trying to put some stuff on my hand to stop the
bleeding and get back in there.
If you want to look at it like that, yeah, I'm taking this pretty
Q. Ty, you guys came into the season, your team is the number one
team. People say you may not lose a game. You're a step away from the
Final Four. Is there any more pressure now than, say, there was during
the whole season just because of the expectations?
TY LAWSON: I don't think so. The whole season we had expectations.
We really don't listen to like we're going to be number one the whole
year or we're going to go undefeated. We just try to go out and win.
Look at the game at hand, the game we're going to play and focus on
that. Whatever happens after that happens. I don't think there's any
extra pressure on us from the media and things like that.
Q. Wayne or Ty, can you talk about the difference Danny makes when
he's on versus the nights that he's off a little bit?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I think Danny always finds a way to have an impact
on the game, even when he's not making the shot. He finds a way to
block shots and get rebounds and play some good defense.
So even when he's not making the shots, you know, he's always having
a positive impact on the game. You know, when he does make his shots,
it's huge for us. He puts his shooting in with all the other things I
Either way, he's definitely an important piece for us.
TY LAWSON: Danny is a stat sheet stuffer for our column. He does
everything, blocked shots, rebounds, scores.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Turnovers.
TY LAWSON: Yeah, turnovers. When he's on, it's just tough for
anybody to stop us because we have three legit scorers, four legit
scorers out there. And he knocks down the three, the deep three. He
can go to the basket.
He has tip in dunks. When he's on, we're just that much better. It's
easier to get the game going and get our offense going when he's out
there. It's just another weapon out there for me to look for to kick
out to or just him to score on his own.
When he's on, it's real good for us.
Q. This is for Deon and Danny. How fun is it to play at this time of
year? We always take it for granted. I know fans are excited, media.
We're fired up to be here. Is this doubly fun to be playing at this
time of the year versus, say, regular season or in anticipation of the
DEON THOMPSON: This is definitely what you work for in the beginning
of the season. Preseason you're out there running laps and doing
sprints and getting yourself prepared for something always bigger than
just the regular season. This is that time of year.
It's definitely fun running out there, and we got something big to
play for trying to get back to another final four. This is definitely
one of the most exciting times of the year for us.
DANNY GREEN: I think every game I have fun. We try to use every game
as an opportunity to get better, but also have fun.
A lot of people don't have the opportunity or are fortunate enough
to be where we're at, so every game I have fun. But definitely this
part of the year everybody's watching. These are the biggest stages of
your career in college. How could you not have fun?
You're on TV. Your family's here supporting you. Your fans are here.
You're playing with your brothers, my teammates. I'm having all the
fun in the world right now.
Q. Deon, the fact that you're wearing last year's Final Four T
shirt, is that on purpose, or is it just the only one you had clean?
DEON THOMPSON: It wasn't the only one I had clean. Just what I
picked up today. Just ironic, I guess.
Q. It wasn't on purpose?
DEON THOMPSON: It wasn't on purpose.
Q. Tyler, I was going to ask you, how much has your game benefited
from coming back your senior year?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: I think one thing is I've become more of a leader,
I think, in one aspect.
Also, I think my jump shot, just my personal game. My jump shot's
gotten a little better, and I'm a little more confident in that. I
think I'm trying to play a little better defense than the previous
year. That's something I've been working on.
Q. Ty, your thoughts on the Oklahoma guards.
TY LAWSON: Oklahoma guards, I mean, they're real good. I've been
watching Willie Warren play a lot this year. He stepped up in the big
games when Blake Griffin was hurt or had a concussion.
You've just got to slow him down and don't let them get off on us or
score a lot of points. Limit their shots and limit them to a lane, and
we'll do good.
Q. You mentioned one of the reasons you came back was to get back to
this point and possibly to a Final Four. Can you talk about the
disappointment last year in the Final Four and how that's driven this
team to get back to this position?
TY LAWSON: Last year it was just tough. I mean, because how we lost.
But we fought back, so I think that was good for us, the way we fought
back and showed real heart.
That's what's driven us the whole summer. That's why I put up shots
and late nights and things like that, to get back to this spot because
I want things like that to happen again.
All of us have worked so hard all season to get back to the position
we're in right now.
Q. Tyler, I know you said you haven't been able to watch a whole lot
of college basketball while playing this season, but from what you
have seen of Blake, what specifically is it that sets him apart from
the other big men you faced?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Well, he's 6'10", and he's really explosive. You
know, that's pretty clearly obvious. You watch some of his games and
his highlights, he's pretty explosive, and he's a good offensive
Q. Tyler, Blake's been the victim of some cheap shots this year like
you've endured for four years. Can you explain how difficult that is
and how difficult it is to keep your composure like he does and you
seem to do?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Yeah, well, I think every player kind of
understands you can't retaliate. Sometimes you take cheap shots, and
they are called.
You know, if you retaliate, my philosophy is the second one always
gets caught. You don't want to make the situation any worse than what
Q. To the guards, you guys protect the ball well. How important is
each possession in this game, and what are your thoughts with respect
to protecting the ball each possession in this game?
DANNY GREEN: It's very important to protect the ball in every game,
every possession. Not just protecting the ball but doing everything,
every possession. Every possession counts in these games.
It's a tournament. If you don't leave it all out on the floor, every
possession, there's a big chance you'll be going home. So every
possession is very important to us, and protecting the ball is a big
key for us. And taking care of the ball.
Just working inside out and playing our game.
TY LAWSON: Protecting the ball is always good. I mean, you don't
want unforced turnovers or give them easy layups on a turnover, allow
them to get a steal or anything like that.
When we don't turn the ball over, that means we get more shots, and
that means more points.
Q. Wayne, can you talk about the expectations of playing at North
Carolina? Seems like anything short of a Final Four is a disappointing
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Yeah. As a North Carolina player, you come in with
a lot of expectations. You know, you got that all season long. I think
all the expectations of your season not being successful unless you
make it to the Final Four, that comes from the outside.
From the inside, we kind of focus within ourselves and try to
accomplish the goals that we have.
At the same time, we understand that we work to the best of our
ability and work as hard as we can so, even if you don't make it to
the Final Four, I think we still feel like we did some pretty good
things. I don't think it's a disappointment at all.
I think that just comes from the outside expectations and the
pressure from the outside people.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. At this time, we'll go ahead and
open the floor for questions for Coach Williams.
Q. Before the NCAA tournament began, Jeff Capel admitted that he was
an East Coast snob when it came to basketball and is now trying to
direct the more attention to midwest basketball and the big 12. Having
experienced both sides of it now, can you see where Jeff Capel was
coming from before and now what he's trying to establish at Oklahoma?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I'm not sure I'll get this exactly right, but
I'll tell you I thought something similar. When I left the ACC to go
to Kansas, I didn't know anything about Kansas, Oklahoma, what they
had accomplished. And I felt like I was a little bit of a basketball
historian but always thought it was just the ACC and then it was the
rest of the world.
I went to the Big Eight which became the Big 12, and I realized
there was some great basketball there, some great fans, great home
court advantages because of the fans. I think that opened my eyes a
little bit, and perhaps that's what Jeff is talking about as well
because it just made me realize and perhaps made him realize there's
some other really, really good basketball outside the ACC.
I think regardless of where you are, whether it's Westwood when
Coach Wooden was doing it, or Coach Smith, Coach Krzyzewski, there's
some great places around the country that you're just not aware of
because of your experience. There's a lot of places that are big time
Q. So now do you feel like it would be a good time this week to call
on a former North Carolina player and ask him about Oklahoma as in
Jason Capel, or do you stay away from that?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I think Jason is a wonderful young man, played
with my son. My son was on the team when he was playing. But blood is
thicker than that diploma, and I understand that and have zero
problems with that.
Jeff has really done a nice job. I've watched their games a little
bit just because my interest in Jeff. I've known his father and Jason
playing at North Carolina and Jeff playing at Duke. So I've known the
family or part of the family for a long, long time.
He's really done a great, great job, and it's been fun to watch his
Q. What, if anything, do you remember about the last matchup between
these two teams? 1990, Rick Fox's amazing shot.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I remember I was in a hotel in, I think it was,
Atlanta, Georgia, and saw the play because I was already at Kansas at
that point, and I'd recruited Rick Fox. It was a good feeling for me
at that point.
Q. A player like Blake Griffin, how many different looks do you want
to give him defensively and bodies do you want to throw at him?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, Mike, I'll say this for everybody. I
was really impressed with my players because you guys asked so many
questions about Oklahoma. They have no idea.
You've got to understand we got out of here last night at 12:30.
They have not been given a scouting report. At 2:30 they'll be given
the first scouting report they've had. So I was pretty pleased with
the way they answered those questions.
And Tyler doesn't watch a lot of college basketball because he
doesn't have time. He's always in the dadgum gym working out. I don't
know exactly what we're going to do yet. We're going to work on some
things today at practice.
This morning I was up until 3:00 and then got up early and did my
little workout. And I came back and watched Oklahoma OSU from the
tournament. I have three tapes I'll watch before 11:00 tonight.
This time of year you've got to be able to make little adjustments,
but you can't make big adjustments. I can't. Other coaches may be able
to, but I can't make big adjustments and expect my team to carry those
We'll try to play the way we've always played and hopefully think of
a couple of little things that we can do that will help us with Blake.
Q. Given your limited knowledge of Oklahoma, though, everybody seems
to center this around Tyler and Griffin. Is there something in
Oklahoma's team that concerns you more than just the big men?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: There's nothing that concerns me more than
Blake. He's a guy that can get 40 in 20. There's not many of those
guys around very often. So that does concern me more than anything
But they really have good balance around. When they're making their
jump shots, you're in trouble. Syracuse saw that last night.
I think that you can focus on Blake, and Syracuse chose to play zone
to try to surround him. OSU, as I said, I just watched that tape this
morning, they tried to play a lot of zone.
If they're shooting the ball like they did last night, you're going
to lose. He is the number one concern, but Johnson and Crocker and
Warren and those guys making the outside shots. They're a really good
basketball team or they wouldn't be here.
Jimmy Boeheim said it best. You take away Blake's head injury, the
concussion, they would have been a number one seed and had the chance
to be the number one seed. I felt like we Saturday of I thought we got
in the second round game, we got a conference champion. There were
some other teams that got to play fifth or sixth seeds. We played LSU
that won the regular season.
Last night we played Gonzaga that lost four or five games, they lost
UConn, Memphis, at Utah, UConn, Memphis. Most people would lose that.
Now we're playing the team the day of the pairing show I thought was
the best number two seed and very easily could have been a number one
Q. Roy, could you speak to the progression from the ridiculous
preseason expectations, unanimous number one in both polls, to the
string of injuries, to 0 2 in the ACC to where your team is right now.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, Steve, I'm probably as proud of this
team as any team I've ever coached in 21 years as a head coach.
Last year in late May, early June, whenever it was that the kids
decided to come back and we were anointed, I said at that time no team
in college basketball is going to go undefeated anymore. It's just not
going to happen. It's not what the game is today. There's too much
Wayne said something, terminology that I used, expectations come
from other people, and usually those people don't have anything
invested. So I talk in terms of dreams and goals with my team. And we
talked about that. We do have a chance to be really good, but we're
only going to reach those dreams and goals if we work exceptionally
hard and forget about what other people are saying.
Ty mentioned one of the reasons he came back was to try to do
better. If you hold a gun to every one of those kids' heads, they came
back because their draft status was not what they hoped it would be.
Whether it's the media or the fans, whoever it was, that anointed
them saying, "Hey, here's the guys, these three guys are going to be
number one, two, three in the draft." So they decided to come back.
Danny and Wayne, they felt like they would not be a number one pick.
Ty, everybody said he'll be a number one pick, but nobody would tell
me they would take him. So getting through that part and making sure
they understood, if you're coming back, it's got to be, yes, to help
yourself, but you've got to be concerned about the team.
I couldn't be any happier. Could not be one degree happier with the
way our kids have tried to do things for our team and not be concerned
about themselves. I just can't imagine anybody being luckier than I am
with that attitude the kids have had.
Started out the great attitude, worked hard, had some nice wins. All
of a sudden, stumble and lose the first two conference games. One of
them at home. And everybody was abandoning ship, everybody was picking
on Ty Lawson. Said you guys aren't nearly as good as you were supposed
You know, and the kids persevered, and we won ten in a row and ended
up winning the league by two games. I think I'll miss this a little,
but I talked to Mark Few and looked at their stats. Their top eight
players, all of them played in 35 games, or 33 games, I think it was.
Our top players have missed 85 games. I've never had anything like
that in my years as a head coach. So I'm extremely pleased with the
way they've handled that adversity. Steve, put a rose on it. I'm
ecstatic to be here talking to you, and hopefully we've got something
Q. Coach, I asked Tyler about the intensity thing and being
demonstrative. Have you noticed him being a little more demonstrative
on the floor? Like that basket he had last night and that little
strut. It's something we didn't used to see. If so, what do you think
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I liked what he said, it's more serious because
it's his last go around. I don't think he's been more demonstrative. I
remember the dance after he made the shot against Virginia Tech last
year. I remember the running up and down the court after Wayne
Ellington made the shot against Clemson at Clemson.
I have seen that. It's just, when we played in Atlanta in the ACC
tournament, we beat Virginia Tech. Heck, he started running out the
wrong tunnel. That's the way he is.
But what he said, I think, explained it the best. He's a little more
serious because he doesn't get any other chances after this year. But
I don't think that Tyler Hansbrough can take it to a different level
because I don't think that different level exists.
Q. Coach, I'm going to have to test your memory here a little bit.
Can you remember and recall for me a little bit what your feelings
were like at KU when you got to this point the first time within one
win of a Final Four?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Yeah, you are testing me a little bit there.
It was a little different. I'd never made the Final Four. You have
that excitement. We were playing in Charlotte. My family was there. My
high school coach was there. This is a big, big time chance for us to
do something. You know, we'd already beaten a couple of good teams. We
get to Charlotte, and for us to make the national championship game,
we end up having to beat the teams ranked number two, three, four in
the country, Arkansas, Indiana. It was Indiana first and then Arkansas
and then North Carolina to play in the national championship game.
So more inexperienced, younger. I don't think any hungrier than I am
right now. I don't think that has ever changed. But the excitement
level was big time.
But, you know, if we get lucky and do this again, I'll be probably a
little silly out there again too because I am excited about it.
As I said to Steve, I can't imagine anybody having any better group
of youngsters to work with than I do. I can't imagine anybody could be
any luckier than I am.
Q. Were you nervous?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Was I nervous? I don't think I've ever been
nervous. You're too dadgum busy. I'm not trying to act like I'm a big
dog. I'm just too busy thinking of the next play or what to do. The
nervous part of it is when I'm watching one of my buddies that I
really care about, watching them coach a game.
But as you're going through the process of a game, I've never run
out the wrong tunnel. I've been able to find my way off the court.
Let's put it that way.
Q. Coach, how pleased are you with your team defense this year? And
how imperative is it tomorrow? And do you think it will be your
defense or offense that can get you the win?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Well, I haven't been pleased with our defense,
but probably the eight coaches that are left in the tournament would
probably say the same thing.
I have really pushed hard defensively. We've had to get better.
Sometimes we haven't paid attention to detail. We've been too casual
sometimes, including last night early in not the first four minutes,
maybe the second four minutes of the second half.
But at times we've been pretty doggone good defensively. We've had
some big time stops when we've needed them. I'm one of those guys, I
like to hold our opponents to 35% field goal percentage and get them
to turn it over 25 times a game, and that usually doesn't happen.
As to which phase will be the most important, I don't think you ever
know until you get in the game. I was stunned last night we were
making threes, they were making threes. And I thought it could have
been one of those hand to hand combat games.
Q. Roy, tapping into your college basketball knowledge, is Blake's
combination of size and athleticism and explosiveness, is that unique
in what you've seen? If not, who would you, through the years, most
compare him to?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, it is unique. There's no question
about that. He led the nation in rebounding and could get 35.
The mix of the explosiveness, the quickness in doing it, the power.
You know, you don't find that very often. Boy, there's been some great
players in the college game from Patrick Ewing, Olajuwon, all the way
down, David Robinson, and all of them did it a little bit differently.
Sean May, we had in '05 on the scale against Blake Griffin would be
last, last, last and last in the two man race in every category. But
Sean could really play. 26 points, 24 rebounds against Duke. And MVP
of the region, MVP of the Final Four.
So it comes in different packages, but it's hard to imagine
anybody's got a better package that Blake has.
Q. Coach, if you could take yourself away from out of the situation
being the head coach of North Carolina, can you understand, and how
much fun would it be just to watch? I know they're not one on one
against each other, but Blake and Tyler because everything with last
year's player, this year's player, they both played extremely hard, if
you watched that, how much fun would that be, and can you understand
why people are so excited about it?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I guess I can understand the hype. I wouldn't
enjoy it at all because I think one on one is stupid. I don't enjoy
watching dunk contests because I never could do those kinds of things.
But during the confines of the team play, I'd love to watch that. I
think that both of those guys you know, it's a little different, but
Blake is perhaps more gifted, more explosive. You can pick whatever
you want out there. And Tyler is just so focused in what he's tried to
do to make himself the best player he can be. I know the guy that was
down on that end. If you say, Tyler, you're going to have eight points
and seven rebounds but North Carolina is going to win, he's going to
be the happiest guy in town.
That's where I do feel very lucky. But just to watch them play one
on one, I couldn't enjoy it. I could care less. I'd go get the peanut
butter cookie. During the course of the game, when they were matched
up, I would love to watch that, but only in a team situation. Who
would read the defense better? Who would throw it back out better? Who
would post up better? Who would get to the offensive boards better? I
think that part would really be a lot of fun.
Q. Two questions on Bobby Frasor. One, how important has he been to
this run? And, two, one day can you see him sitting where you are
taking a team to the Elite Eight?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I definitely think he could be a coach. I hope I
live long enough to see him sitting in this spot. I would like that.
Bobby's been extremely important to us all year. His leadership, his
play on the defensive end of the floor. The crazy thing yesterday is I
got really disappointed, Wayne turned it over underneath, Danny took a
bad shot, Tyler threw it away, Wayne turned it over up top, somebody
else took a bad shot, and I called a time out.
We set up a set play. We ran the set play, and Bobby came out and
ended up making the three.
Now, honesty always pays. I wanted Ty to throw it to the other side,
and that would have meant Wayne would be coming off the screen as
opposed to Bobby. But when Bobby got the ball, I wanted him to shoot
it because now we'd gotten back into team play instead of the five or
six possessions we hadn't, and it went in.
The very next possession down, when he pulled up and shot it, I
didn't like the shot. I yelled, Bobby, good shot, just like everybody
else does. But he's just a wonderful, wonderful kid and I'm lucky to
have him too.
Q. Back to the Hansbrough versus Griffin thing. Tyler said he's not
looking at a one on one matchup, but is that too much to expect from a
young man? When so much is made about that matchup? Or does he have
that kind of tunnel vision?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: He has that focus. He has that determination. He
has that tunnel vision, and he doesn't I mean, I'm serious. He doesn't
sit around and watch college games.
Guys, I'm telling you, we win last Saturday in Greensboro, and we
had the guys go to report to the trainer at 1:00 if they needed
treatment. Most of the other players in the country are watching the
games on TV.
I go to the trainer's room just to see Ty and Eddie and Larry's bad
back. Tyler wasn't even in the training room. He was in the weight
room working out. He didn't have to do that. He called our strength
and conditioning coach and asked if he could come work out.
If you work out and do those kinds of things, he doesn't have enough
time to watch TV. He's got time to jump off balconies in swimming
pools like a little kid sometimes because he's done that in the past
too. But these guys sitting up here, I guarantee he's watched less
basketball than anybody because he tries to do the things that he can
do and control those kind of things.
You know, there's going to be the camera's going to be on both of
them. They'll have the split screen, and they'll compare at halftime
who's got what. That kid on the end of the table here is going to be
concerned about North Carolina winner.
Q. Coach, can you talk about what prompted you to meet with Danny
Green and what you'll see out of his production since you guys had
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: It's easy what prompted it, 3 for 25, and two of
those were tip ins. And I did want to see if there's anything wrong. I
think as a coach, I didn't know if I could fix it, but I knew that it
was part of my job to try to find out if there was something wrong, or
if it was like Danny said, just a bad weekend.
I think one of the things I talked to him about is he started
rushing his shot and talked to him about that. Even last night he
missed one early in the Gonzaga game right in front of their bench
because he rushed it. I think, when you're rushing it, things aren't
going to happen in a good way.
And so the meeting was just to do my job, just see if there was
anything bothering him. If there was, what was it? Can I help you with
it? See if we can erase that. If not, try to give him confidence.
Even in the Florida game, son, you screw up every time you touch it.
But I keep putting you in there to show I've got confidence in you.
Didn't work that game. But since then he's started making more shots
and getting back into it.
As the kids said, Danny blocks some shots, gets some rebounds, gets
some offensive rebounds for us, and that allegation helps us.
Q. Capel is 34 years old. You were once a pretty young coach
yourself in this kind of stage.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Long time ago.
Q. Can you talk about what the pitfalls are for a young coach and
maybe what Jeff was going through that more experienced coaches may
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, Barry, I think it's probably a little
bit different for Jeff because he's grown up in a coaching family. So
he started out ahead of the curve a little bit.
I'm not trying to blow it up or anything, but I really do believe
that he sat around the table and heard his dad talk about the high
school coaching and about college coaching. So he did start at a
better spot than I did.
I was 38 when I took over the head coaching job at Kansas. So I was
40, I guess, or 41 in '91 when we were in the Final Four the first
time. But I think some of the pitfalls, I think, is the word you used,
is just to right now there's not a lot of things that I haven't seen
or gone through, and maybe there are a few more things that Jeff
hasn't seen or hasn't gone through.
But I think he's very bright. He's very organized. He's very hungry.
And he's charismatic. He can get guys to play the way he wants them to
play. So he has every ingredient to be a fantastic coach, and I think
he's already shown that.
This summer we were on a coaches trip together and sat together one
night at the table and talked a little bit. Maybe even two nights. And
I really enjoy him and think he really does a big time job.
I don't think the game tomorrow is going to be won or lost on the
bench. And I think that the players playing the game are going to
determine the game. And I know that North Carolina has zero advantage
by Roy Williams being on our bench.
Q. Roy, I guess two part question. One, the experience of being here
before, does it help tomorrow? And, two, can you put into words the
devastation of losing an Elite Eight game and the joy of winning an
Elite Eight game?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
You know that sports not SportCenter. Wide world of Sports. That's it.
When you lose at this stage, what somebody does is they reach in and
they jerk your heart out and they shake it right in front of your
face. It can't get any worse.
When your team is cutting down that net and going to the Final Four,
it can't get any better. And I think that the experience of being
there I think Wayne said he hoped it would be, but he really didn't
believe it would be a factor. I think I'll say the same thing. I would
hope, but I really don't believe it is.
I don't know how many, we've been to six Final Fours. We lost to
Syracuse in '97 out in Denver. We lost to Georgetown in 2008 in the
Meadowlands. And then I guess we've won the rest of the them. I think
those are the only two losses we've had. I may be wrong there too.
The tough thing about coaching is that the lows are so much lower
than the highs are high. I can remember every play of those of that
Georgetown game, and this is when these kids were sophomores and Wayne
and Ty were freshmen.
I don't think it changes the way the game is played. You've just
been through it more. Just older and got more gray hair.
Q. Roy, I was going to ask you in this day and age of college
basketball, how rare is it to have such a lineup of juniors and
seniors that you do? And then how much did Ty Lawson benefit from
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Well, it is unusual for high caliber players to
play three years, and definitely in Tyler Hansbrough's situation, four
years. Tyler is one that would have been a number one draft choice the
last two years. He's just enjoyed college life, and I think that's the
purity of the game that I really love, and I think it's something that
I'm really pleased with.
I think Ty Lawson has matured, you know, in past times, local guys
have heard me refer to him as Dennis the Menace, and he hardly knows
who it is. He's probably the only guy on our team who knows who he is
because he likes the comics.
He's matured a great deal. He's better defensively. He's made better
decisions. I spent his whole sophomore year trying to especially
courage him to look for the outside shot and not ignore that because
he can really shoot the ball. I think now he realizes what he can do
even more so than he did last year. And I think all that helps him.
Q. Coach, as big as basketball is in your part of the country, North
Carolina, and Oklahoma's being coached by a former Duke player, some
would say in Oklahoma it's akin to OU playing a team that's coached by
Colt McCoy. Do you think the North Carolina fans are into that kind of
thing? Wanting to beat a former Duke coach?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I think that has nothing to do with it. If North
Carolina is playing Duke, it has everything to do with it. If OU is
playing Texas, it has everything to do with it. Mack Brown is the
football coach at Texas. I'm a coach. When Texas wins, I'm happy for
Mack. But I happen to love Bobby Stoops. I haven't talked to Bobby
Stoops more than three times five minutes at a time, and I love him to
death. He came this year to our Duke game at Duke. It's something I
guess you can talk about. And you guys got to fill up a lot of
columns, so you can write about something. But I don't see that being
Q. Coach, I'm curious. You've been kind of on the flip side that
Jeff is on here. When you're at Kansas, you played Duke in the NCAA
tournament in what I remember a very intense game. I'm curious how
unique that was for you as a coach in terms of were you able to rely
on the North Carolina staff? Did you feel like your players understood
what that meant to you playing in that type of game? Your players at
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I don't think that our players realized what it
meant for a North Carolina, former North Carolina coach to be coaching
against Duke. I do remember the game. I remember we get it to one of
our players, and he throws it in the backcourt. Two seconds into the
game, he has a turnover. I remember Bobby Hurley making one of the
worst passes I've seen in my life, and Grant Hill going up and
catching it and dunking it.
Every great dunk is preceded by a great pass. Because of his great
pass, it was pretty easy. It was a huge, huge run for us at that time
when we were totally not expected to be there.
We were a three seed, I think. Maybe a four.
But I think it was a three seed. It was still not that I remember,
but I believe it was 72 65.
Q. Coach, going back to that when I tested your memory a little bit,
when you made that first Elite Eight, was your mindset I understand
how difficult it is to get here, or was it one I'm going to be back
here many times?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: How difficult it is to get there. I'd been on
the coach's staff, and we'd gone to the Final Four in '81 and lost in
the finals. We went in '82 and won it. There was nine years where
neither one of us went. So I knew how hard it was to get there.
Q. Coach, you guys were close in '07, closer still to winning it all
last year. What have the guys learned and how have they managed to
basically manage the expectations this year?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: First of all, I think what you gain from those
experiences, the motivation to work during the summer. I don't think
it really is that big a factor now during the games itself, but I do
think it's a great motivation for you to work in the summer.
We are older, more experienced. So you'd think that that would help.
And we realize the suddenness. You know, when I was talking a minute
ago about the highs and lows and somebody shaking your heart right in
front of your face. What it is you go.
and your season's over with.
I love playing golf. There's no freakin' Mulligans out there
tomorrow. The end of the game, clock runs out, one guy's got more
points than the other, and one guy's happy and the other guy's done.
Suddenness is the harsh reality of it. It's a great position to be in
because we've still got a chance. We're still shooting. Thanks, guys.
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