Williams Talks Terps-Pack

Maryland coach Gary Williams spoke to the media yesterday, addressing his team's matchup with the Wolfpack, the season-ending injury to D.J. Strawberry and the emergence of Nik Caner-Medley, among other topics.

Maryland coach Gary Williams addressed the media yesterday, talking about his team's home matchup with NC State today at 6 p.m. The Terps are 11-4 overall and 2-2 in the ACC, but recently lost defensive standout D.J. Strawberry, one of the squad's key players off the bench. The Pack (11-6, 1-3) is reeling after losing five of six games and could be without second-leading scorer Cameron Bennerman, senior captain Levi Watkins and redshirt junior point guard Tony Bethel. Despite three losses on the final possession, Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek knows that his team has "got to hang together right now."

Read on for Williams' comments.

On preparing for NC State:
They have had to play some tough teams and have been on the road, and they also beat Georgia Tech at home. They've had guys out, [Tony] Bethel and [Levi] Watkins, so it's not like they've been 100 percent.

It's tough to get ready to play from that standpoint, not knowing who is going to play a lot of minutes in some cases, because they've played some young guys that have played well. Now, if everybody is healthy, do you bring back those guys or play the young guys that have been playing well?

On the team's reaction to D.J. Strawberry's season-ending injury:
We had a good practice [after the news]. Sometimes that does force people to evaluate their own situation, and they realize, all of a sudden, how important they are to the team. If you are a good team you make up for the injury.

In other words, you miss Strawberry's ability, what he gave you [in] 22 minutes per game with his defense and his effort and things like that. But at the same time, if you have a couple of guys on the team, you can make that up with two or three guys. We can have it come from different lineups, with Mike Jones playing more minutes, and with Sterling Ledbetter getting in there also.

There are ways to do it. So far we have done a good job accepting the responsibility of stepping up.

On the play of Nik Caner-Medley:
I have always felt that Nik is a much better player when he goes to the offensive glass, because he is a good offensive rebounder. For the last three games, he's been pretty consistent going to the rim, and that changes how teams can defend you. It makes it easier to get your outside shot off if you are attacking the basket. Offensive rebounding is not a natural thing in basketball -- if it was, more guys would be good at it.

On Caner-Medley's attitude:
I think it's been an all-year thing for Nik, but he's been more aggressive and tougher out there on the court. That's what we need as a team. I think any team that competes in a good league has to be that way.

On the play of Will Bowers:
I think Will is starting to believe that he could be a good basketball player. That's part of being a good player -- to believe in yourself. I think, in practice about a month or so ago, he started to get the idea that he is as good as anybody else, and he wanted some playing time, so he has worked hard. He has no fear when he gets into the game. He's still working on some things, but he has moved into a pretty good position for being halfway through his sophomore year.

On the courageous effort by Chris McCray vs. Virginia:
We made the [defensive] switch [on UVa's Devin Smith] at halftime, and Chris did a great job. I think he was loose by then, and feeling a little better than he did at the start of the game. At least he knew he could play -- he was going to try to play and see how that would go -- but by then he knew he could. He kind of forgot about his injury and just played, which was important.

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