BB: Wednesday PC Interviews

Inside Carolina's Wedneday press conference coverage includes quotes, audio and video from head coach Roy Williams, Tyler Zeller and John Henson, who spoke to the media as the Tar Heels prepare for the NCAA Tournament.

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Have you had a chance to look at game tape on Long Island yet?
"Yes they're really good. I want you to think about something. Their RPI is 75. There are four teams in the ACC with a worse RPI than they are. There's a 13-seed in the tournament with a worse RPI. Every 14-seed in the tournament has a worse RPI. I mean they've really had a great run. They play very fast. The athleticism of their big guys is going to be a challenge for us. Shot more free throws than anyone in the country, and they've shot -- Woody and I looked at the other night -- almost 200 more than we have. And I think we get to the line quite a bit. I mean, so that's the overall view. I mean, the guys are good players too, but he's [Long Island head coach Jim Ferry] done a really nice job. It's a fun team to watch."

What do you think Harrison learned in Greensboro about tournament play in that environment, and also what do you want to see from him in the NCAA tournament?
"Yeah the second part's easy. I want him to continue doing what he's doing, because he's improved every week that we've played. It took several weeks, several games, whatever you want to call it, that was disappointing to him more than anybody, and me second for it to show up in the games. But he's gotten better and better, and I made the statement to our staff, to my wife, to another guy I said, ‘When we get to ACC play I think you'll see his positive play step up another level.' And that's usually hard. Most guys' goes down when you get into that more difficult level of play, so I want him to continue elevating and doing the things in practice that makes him a better player in the games. What he got from Greensboro, you know I don't know. I really don't."

On Dexter Strickland's knee:
"I want everybody to know this, and I haven't really talked with the doctors or anything. Everybody said 'You got to get Dexter playing.' You know guys Dexter for the Friday game was the defensive player of the game, and doing the job that he did on Demontez [Stitt] and chasing him around, and then any of those 5-9 guys, chasing them around. But several weeks ago we discovered Dexter had a bad problem with his knee, too, and they could operate on it and he's out the season. Or he can play with the pain, and they do the operation after the season. It's something very similar to what he went through in high school, and at that point he waited and had the surgery after high school.

"I mean, fter his playing season was over with, and I haven't talked to the doctors or anything, but I mean that kid he's fighting a lot of things right now. And everybody's saying 'God Dexter's not doing anything.' Well, I mean, Dexter's doing a lot more than most people would, because most people wouldn't even be playing, and he decided, ‘No, Coach, I want to play, and I'll fight through it,' and this kind of thing. But I mean he was the defensive player of the game. He's done so many good things. Now is he playing All-ACC caliber play the last six weeks? No. I'm not saying that, but I mean that young man's going through some tough things right now, and it's hard on him, because now all of a sudden in the middle of the season we've told him now you got to go back and play some point guard too. 'I mean I know your knee's hurting, but we don't care about that. You got to do this too' ... and I know this is going on, but I'm proud of Dexter.

"Is he playing the way he wants to play? Heck no. Is he playing the way I want him to play? Heck no, but I'm proud of Dexter Strickland too."

Is this cartilage or anything like that, or is it more serious than that?
"No, well, if it was more serious than that we wouldn't let him play, but it's something they've said you can play with. And he's already, again he's already done it. He did it his ... I'm sitting here trying to think if it's the same knee or if it's the different knee. I can't even remember, but you guys haven't heard one word from Dexter about that. Dexter hadn't said one word about any of that whatsoever. He's just played, and people haven't been very nice to him."


Tyler, you're one of two guys on this team that's played in the NCAA Tournament. What do you tell if anything the rest of these guys?
"He told me that was going to be one question, but I mean it's one of those things. I haven't even played a lot in the NCAA Tournament. I played in the first round game, and Justin [Watts] played a lot in that game, but we are a limited experience, but we're also basketball players. I mean we know that the games are going to be more intense. We got to be more focused. Now it's lose, and you go home, so it's one of those things that I think we all have a good understanding. I mean we've talked about it, but we know these games are going to be more intense, and we got to be ready from the tip."

You haven't lost back-to-back games since November, so the loss to Georgia Tech, the loss to Duke, you guys have always shown great response. How encouraging is that coming off what happened Sunday?
"It's always encouraging, but you still got to play the next game. You still got the same amount of chance of winning no matter what. So I think we just got to get prepared the next couple of days, and do as much as possible in practice, and hopefully Friday we'll be ready and have a great showing."


Only two of the players on this team have NCAA Tournament experience. How big of a problem could that be for you guys?
"Well you know since we don't have any experience we don't know, but it's just you know we've got to come ready to play every game. And if we come prepared I think you know we'll gain experience with each game, and you know we can only get better as a team from just playing."

What do you know about Long Island?
"I know they score a lot of points. They rebound the ball pretty well too, so you know I feel like they try to play kind of our style of play, which is always fun type of game. And they're a pretty good team being that they're in the tournament, so we can't take anybody for granted. And you know you respect everyone, but fear no one, so that's how we're going into it."

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