Tuesday PC Interviews

Inside Carolina's Tuesday press conference coverage includes quotes and audio from head coach Roy Williams, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland, Tyler Zeller and John Henson, who spoke to the media as the Tar Heels prepare for the ACC Tournament this weekend.

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What does it say about this team that it has the ACC ROY, FOY, COY and then three or four guys make the All-ACC teams, what does that say about your team?
"It means they've had a pretty doggone good year. Those five guys on the first team, they deserved it. I have zero problems with that. I was proud that we have three on the second team, and one on the third team. I think John [Henson] did deserve to be defensive player of the year. I think Harrison [deserved] to be rookie of the year."

Thoughts on this year's team:
"I've been very fortunate that we've had teams that have won two national championships, and been to five other Final Fours, and I've never had a team that I've been more proud of than this team right here. They've handled some adversity. They've grown immensely, and so many ways from the first day of practice until right now. And today out there on the practice court they were still accepting coaching like it was the first day and trying to get better."

On this week's schedule:
"We do prepare a schedule of what we think is best for our team regardless of who we're going to play, and for us we took Sunday off. We practiced Monday and Tuesday, and today we went pretty doggone hard. And man they were sweating like crazy at the end, and then tomorrow we'll give them the day off, and then we're going to practice on Thursday like would normally practice the day before a game. The only part of it is, is that we usually do the scouting report and the personnel clip and the walk-through before practice. And since we play at 12:00 game on Friday we're going to practice at 12:00 tomorrow. Excuse me on Thursday. We'll do the walk-through and the clips and that kind of thing, because we'll know who won by then."

On preparing young players for the tournament:
"Coach Smith said, I think it's so appropriate, you build your momentum once you get in the tournament, and I think you get comfortable after you get there. I don't think anybody's comfortable you know. You pick the team, the oldest team in the league with the most seniors, yet still there's an excitement about the tournament. And you don't know how you're going to react until you get there, and our guys it's all new to them. We're going to try to prepare them, but until they get out there, and see what's going on it's going to be up to them."


Do you like the position you're in right now?
"I think it's good for us. We definitely have a lot of momentum going for us right now. It's good to be in a different position as far as being the underdog. We've had to learn how to play on top, we've had to learn how to play better you know having a lead. I think that's helped us down the stretch here."

Do you get the sense Roy wants to win this [ACC] Tournament?
"Yeah, he told us he's packing three suits. You know he packed for all three days, so we all as a team have to take on that approach. We want to win another ring."


Just watching everything that went wrong last season could you imagine yourself sitting here right now as ACC regular season champs?
"It's hard to, but at the same time I'm not surprised. Coach [Williams] told us from the beginning of this season when we lost those two games back to back that our potential was great. You know we could do a lot of great things if everybody buys in, you know we start getting stops on defense it'll all come together. And everybody believed in that, and we just worked harder."

On when everything clicked for this team:
"When all of it clicked, I'd say that stretch after we lost to Georgia Tech. You know we played Clemson at home, and then I think we went up to Boston College, at Florida State, and at that time we knew we could be really good if we kept playing at a high level."


Last week you told me that you all were going to beat Duke. What do you have to say going into the ACC Tournament?
"Just as I predicted, you know I was confident in myself, confident in my team, and we just played like it. It shows you know the result was us winning the ACC Championship. I was just happy my prediction was right, and I just felt good about it. Like I said we can't slack off. We've got a few more games to play, and hopefully get a championship."

On this team's hunger to win:
"The ACC, ACC Championship is a good feeling, but I think a national championship would be better. So I think everybody is going to push themselves to get another ring."


Now according to the seedings you're the team to beat, so does this change anything for you guys? I mean you've gone from one extreme to the other --
"Yeah, I mean does it change anything? It shouldn't. I think it's one of those things we're in a place now that we have a little bit of an easier route just because it's the way the brackets are set up, but we still got to prepare for every team. And any team can beat any other team on any given night, so you always have to be prepared to play."

Is last year, and the struggles and the problems you went through is that the perfect insurance for not being comfortable in this tournament though, knowing you can take a step back?
"We hope so. I mean it's one of those things that we even look more at Georgia Tech and that game, and that's what last year was that game. I mean we did that every game, so kind of look at that game, and we're like that's where we don't want to be. We just got to make sure we continue to play, and continue to improve."


What does it mean to you to be the defensive player of the year in the ACC?
"It means a lot. You know it's a lot of hard work. Just every day working hard, and you know a little it's also a little God-given ability, so you know it's a little perfect combination. So I'm just happy and fortunate voted me for that."

On playing Virginia or Miami:
"Either way we've got to play a good team, and we're going to have to be ready to play. I'm just ready to know who we're going to play."

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