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NCAA Sweet 16 Press Conference Transcript: North Carolina (March 26, 2009)

Thursday, March 26, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:04 PM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Mar 26, 2009) -The Sweet 16 Teams are getting ready for their games over the next two days. Part of that preparation is sitting down with the media. Here is the transcript of the University of North Carolina press conference, as provided by the NCAA.

THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get started with North Carolina
news conference. As you see, we've been joined by UNC student athletes
Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough. If you do have a question for
the student athletes, please raise your hand.

Q. Tyler, I was going to ask you a little bit I know a lot has been
said about the game two years ago with you and the match up. Can you
talk a little bit about that night and what you remember, especially
Josh's play.

TYLER HANSBROUGH: They came out. They just played better than us
that night. And, of course, Josh had a good game. He was hitting some
shots. Got in the groove of things. I didn't really have my best game.

They just beat us.

Q. I asked their players this question. I'm going to ask you. Aside
from experience, how different are you as a team now than you were
that night? And what do you notice something about them that's
different from that night? Again, other than experience.

WAYNE ELLINGTON: I feel like we're a lot different. A little bit
changed personnel, but I think our mindset going into this game is a
lot different.

We had a lot of underclassmen back then, and right now we have a lot
of motivation going into this game. They got us pretty good last time
we played them. We're definitely looking forward to the challenge.

TYLER HANSBROUGH: Last time we played them, I think, you know, we
were pretty young. I know you said besides experience, but I think Ty
Lawson is playing a lot better right now than he did back whenever it
was we played them.

I think Wayne stepped up and played well. And also we have Ed Davis,
who's given us a lot defensively, and he's coming along offensively
for us too.

You know, we're pretty much a different team. Everybody talks about,
oh, we have the same players, but we've all changed.

Q. Can you guys talk about the biggest difference in Ty Lawson from
last year to this year?

WAYNE ELLINGTON: I feel like he's become more of a leader for us.
You know, he's always been our quarterback out on the court, but I
feel like he's doing a great job by leading by example and just
showing a lot of toughness.

I think that kind of gets us going. You know, when Ty gets going out
there and he's making plays defensively and beating guys offensively,
I feel like it gets the rest of us going.

TYLER HANSBROUGH: Yeah, I think Ty, I think he's one thing that's
different about him now than in the past, I think he's playing a lot
more aggressive.

There's been some times when Ty, you know, he played, but he didn't
always play as hard as he is right now. I think he's playing a lot
harder than he ever has. He's really stepping up. He feels like, when
he has the ball, he can lead the team and do pretty much whatever he
wants to do at times.

Q. Wayne, has your mentality changed a little bit of late? You've
been on such a hot streak on your shooting. But it seems like you've
sort of changed your outlook on things a little bit too.

WAYNE ELLINGTON: Yeah. I feel like it's that time of year where I
think everybody should be elevating their game. I just I've just been
stepping up to the challenge.

I've been picking up defensively. You know, being a lot more
aggressive offensively. And I feel like that kind of got me going. I'm
in the groove of things now.

Q. With how well Daye and Heytvelt shoot the ball for big guys, how
much emphasis have you put on perimeter defense for your guys' post
players this past week?

TYLER HANSBROUGH: A lot. We looked at them. We understand they can
shoot. So we're going to have to be able to guard outside. It's
something we talked about.

But also I think they're good inside players. We're going to have to
be able to do a little bit of both.

WAYNE ELLINGTON: I mean, I feel like, you know, our big guys have
been doing a pretty good job all year long guarding guys that can
shoot the ball and can step out to the perimeter.

They're just going to have to continue to do that job on those guys
and step up to the challenge basically.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you guys. We'll have Coach Williams with us

THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get started with North Carolina
head coach Roy Williams. Coach, if you'd like to start us off with
just a few thoughts on coming to Memphis.

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: We're excited to be here, excited to be part of
the Sweet 16.

I've always loved Memphis, love the Rendezvous restaurant. It's a
good thing for me. But really happy for our kids who have played well
and basically played pretty well all year long and handled quite a bit
of adversity. We're happy to be here.


Q. Coach, in what way is Ty better right now than Raymond was at the

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Right now he's not because he's not 100%. Ty's
done a great job with the assist ratio. He's shot a great percentage.
He's been really good at times defensively, probably not as consistent
as I've wanted him to be or maybe be as consistent as he's wanted
himself to be.

I think it's hard to compare the players because we've asked each
one of them to do different things.

Everybody from the outside would look and say, well, they both had a
big guy. They both had a bench. They've both had this. I think it has
been a little different. I wouldn't say I'd compare it to Raymond,
who's better, who's not as good.

He's had a sensational year for us. He's gotten much better. Let me
back up. He's gotten better in every phase of the game.

When you add all those together, he's gotten a lot better.

Q. Can you give us an update on how Ty and the toe is doing today.
Any improvement over the last couple?

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: No. No is the answer to your last part of the
question. It's not any better. It's not, no, that I won't answer the

I asked him this morning. I'm just being honest. I'm pretty
straightforward. My high school coach told me once, if you always be
truthful, you don't have to remember what you said.

I went up to him this morning, and said on a scale of 1 to 10, how
was it yesterday? He said about a 6. How is it today? About a 6. I
said how was it Saturday before the LSU game? He said about an 8.
That's not encouraging to me. It's just something that's taking a
long, long time to heal.

When it happened, they told me about this, it was going to be this
way. But I was just, I guess, being more positive or hoping or
whatever you want. I was hoping it would be better by this time.

Each time that he's played, the first time in the Duke game, he
played, and it got very swollen. This time it hasn't swollen, but it's
been painful.

Q. Going back to the game two years ago, how rare is it to have so
many key players involved in the game again as we look at it two years
from now? How different are you guys?

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: It is strange because so many of those kids are
very gifted on both teams and are still in school. That's part of it.
Brandin Wright was our best player in the game, and he's the only one
gone for us that didn't graduate. Rayshawn Terry, Wes Miller I might
be leaving somebody out there. Their team, Ravio and Mallin. I might
be leaving somebody out there too.

I think it is unusual to have that carry over for two years in
college basketball. I think our guys have gotten better. I think their
guys have gotten better.

They really totally outplayed us in that game after the first three
minutes of the game. We were ahead 14 2 three minutes into the game.
And at one point in the second half, we're down 16. That's a 28 point
swing in their favor.

I mean, it was ugly for a long time for us.

Q. Can you talk about just the difference of having Ty on the floor
and not having him on the floor. What he means for your team.

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Having Ty on the floor, you generally get easier
opportunities. Because he breaks down the defense. Either in half
court with his penetration, in the half court with the fact that they
have to come out and play his outside shot.

You know, I'm going to guess here, with two games to go in the
regular season, he's shooting 50% from the three point line. Even in a
half court situation, they've got to come get him. That makes the
entry passes inside a little bit better and a little easier.

We average for the year 90, 91, 92 points a game. In the two games
in the ACC tournament without him, we average 74.

The first game against Radford without him, we had numbers up there.
We're more gifted than Radford, and I'm not trying to pick on Radford.

I think it's just we have easier baskets offensively. Defensively,
it takes away because he can pressure the basketball, but it also
takes away from that guy that comes in for him when it's Bobby Frasor
because Bobby is so good defensively and gives us a lift defensively
with his intensity, with his talking, with everything.

So it really affects our team in a lot of ways.

Q. Coach, in Greensboro, you said that you were against the pain
injection shots going into the LSU game. Assuming that Ty did not have
one of those and still pulled off a 23 point performance, at this
point is he just running on adrenaline, or what's getting him through?

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: He did not have another shot. He had the shot
before the Duke game and has not had anything else since then.

But it was feeling better. It took us a long time to get the
swelling down, but it was feeling better at that point. Part of it is
adrenaline. There's no question about that; the competition, the

You know, if you'd have told me that he could do the same thing
again this weekend without practicing at all, I don't know what I
would have done because I think kids still have to practice.

But, you know, it was amazing what he did. There's no question about
that. And he really did have to lose himself in the game against LSU.
Needless to say, I thought he did a pretty good job of that.

Q. I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about your
friendship with Mark Few, how it developed, and what you guys have
done, say, non basketball activities together.

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, I think Mark is a guy that I really do
admire and respect a great deal.

I was sitting at Kansas one time and Gonzaga called us and wanted to
play. We didn't have that happen very often. That's when Dan was the
coach there, and Mark was his assistant. They were really good and
came in and played a great game against us.

So that really got me to more or less be more aware of Gonzaga. And
then when Dan left and then Mark takes over, I like that idea of a guy
who's been a longtime loyal assistant being able to get his
opportunity. Mark was an assistant at Oregon with Jerry Green, and
both those guys had been my assistants, and they knew Mark very well
and thought a lot of him. So I heard them say some things about him.

A couple of coaches trips, we spent some time together. Played some
poker at night with the coaches. His wife Marcy, in fact, was in the
golf tournament, and was on my team, and I tried to help her. She said
I was awfully nice, which I was just trying to win. That's what I was
trying to do. She's just a lot of fun to be with.

So over the years in the summer travels, seeing him, it was always
somebody I enjoyed seeing. In the summertime in Vegas, I've got my
posse. It's the oldest posse that anybody's ever had, my high school
coach, a former baseball teammate of mine, another former classmate of
mine, and my next door neighbor. They go and watch games for 10 or 12
hours a day, and then we go shoot craps for two hours at night. And
then I go to bed and do it again the next day.

Mark has always been so nice and so gracious to my high school
coach. That's really special to me because that man was and is
extremely special to me.

So from the coaches trips, recruiting, sitting watching games,
shooting craps, just how he's treated my friends is something that's
important to me.

Q. Roy, is there a while ago you were talking about the difference
of what you were asking Lawson to do and what you ask Felton. Are
there just a couple of things that the laymen may understand that you
are differentiating there?

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, with Raymond, his first year, Raymond
wasn't nearly as good, first year with me, okay, in '04. Wasn't nearly
as good defensively as stopping the basketball. And I asked Raymond
really that you've got to do that for us.

And Raymond accepted that challenge, and our defensive the front
line of our defense was so good because of what Raymond did. Raymond
also, his first year with me, had his elbow out flying. You guys can
go back and look.

His freshman year he shoots 30%. For us, he shoots 32 or whatever.
Raymond really worked so hard to revamp his shot. And I think his
junior year, second year with me, he shot like 44%, 45% from three.

Those are the two things that we did with Raymond.

With Ty, it's always been you got to push it. You got to push it.
You got to push it. Don't forget and ignore your outside shot because
I think Ty has always been a really good outside shooter. This is the
first year that I've got him to do that.

But Raymond was so tough mentally that he embarrassed people by not
working hard. Because I'd say, "Raymond, how's your groin?" It's okay,
coach. "How's your wrist?" He played almost half a year with a broken
wrist. It's okay, coach.

Why don't we give you a little time off at practice today? Coach, I
need to work. It was that kind of attitude, and Raymond led that team
with that.

Ty leads the team with his play, his toughness under pressure to
make big plays. And so to me, there is a difference in those two.

The other thing is that we were a little more of a set offense with
Raymond. Rashad McCants could get his shot at about any time. Sean May
was maybe as good a passing big man as I've ever had. Tyler Hansbrough
not only invites the double team, tries to beat the double team, tries
to beat the triple team. So their supporting cast was different.

I guess just the responsibilities we gave him were a little
different. I don't know if I answered your question very well at all,
but it's the truth. So we'll go with that.

Q. Who do you, after looking at tape, see as the leader of this
Gonzaga team? And then what worries you about them?

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: The funny thing is, when I answer this, I'll
tell you what worries me. I think they've got a whole team full of

The point guard is a leader because of his position, and Jeremy is
very experienced and very successful.

I happen to think that Matt Bouldin maybe has much natural innate
savvy as any player I've seen in a long, long time. Any time you're
watching a tape and you say, wow, because of the great pass, it's
usually his.

And say, wow, he doesn't jump over the moon. He doesn't 360 dunk on
your head. But he makes the layups. Nobody blocks it.

Heytvelt was great against us a couple years ago. Josh gives them a
shot blocker, a scorer down inside. Micah Downs gives them another
three point shooter.

You go through that whole team, and it's guys that really, really do
good things for them. To me, that in itself tells you what you worry
about is you worry about their whole team.

Austin Daye may be as gifted as anybody on the court tomorrow. I
think that their leadership, I think it does come from Bouldin's
savvy, from Pargo's leadership as a senior and a point guard. Those
other guys with their ability and ability to make plays.

The thing that impresses me is that offensively they share the
basketball, and it's an instinctive, boom, playing.

If a guy slips the screen, they throw him the ball. If a guy breaks
open, they throw him the ball. It's not any of these, well, maybe I
can take another dribble. You never see Gonzaga I hope I'm not trying
to give you too much information. You never see Gonzaga fake a pass to
the open man. It's one of the plays in basketball that drives me crazy
because you fake a pass to the open man hoping your guy will leave you
so you can shoot. You never see that.

The open man, it's just instinctively they make that play.

And then on the defensive end, every time the ball moves, you see
five of their guys move. Mark Few, I think, is one of the great
coaches in our game.

Q. How is the duck walk, and how did you get into that?

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, it was neat. I've probably been coming
here since I recruited Elliott Perry when I was an assistant at North
Carolina, and somebody told me to stay at the Peabody.

That was at least 27, 28 years ago. I really enjoyed the hotel. I've
always heard about the duck walk, and I've been here probably ten
times recruiting. Tony Harris, Thaddeus Young, Leslie McDonald this
year. So I always try to stay there, if I can.

I've never seen the duck walk. I've had some awfully nice things
happen to me over the last three or four years, but I thought when
Jared Haase said they wanted me to be the honorary duck master this
morning, I said, yeah, I'll do that. That's pretty neat.

I'm corny as all get out, but I thought that was neat. They gave me
one of the canes that you sort of pop to the ground a little bit to
huddle them over there in the right spot. It was a neat deal.

I told him I was surprised they let me keep the cane because I've
got a deal with my team, every time Ed Davis makes a mistake, I'm
going to hit Mike Copeland with the cane. Ed Davis told Michael he's
never played a perfect game.

Q. So the ducks were pretty coachable?

COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Ducks were really coachable. They went where I
told them to go. They didn't balk at it. They didn't fake a pass to
the open duck. They got to where they were supposed to go. This press
conference has really deteriorated. Thank you.

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