Tuesday PC Interviews

Inside Carolina's Tuesday press conference coverage includes quotes and audio from head coach Roy Williams, Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall and Dexter Strickland, who spoke to the media as the Tar Heels prepare for their Sweet 16 matchup against Marquette on Friday.

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When you get to this round of the tournament, to the regional semis what, how much does the intensity, the competition, the coaching go up in this level?
"Well I don't know that the coaching goes up, but all the rest of the stuff goes up. I do think the intensity level and the attention, maybe concentration, both those. I think you get more attention from the kids. The concentration gets so much higher from the kids. You know they are able to maintain that for longer periods of time. The consistency with which they maintain their intensity level I think is better. I think that's the reason it makes for such competitive games, and so hard to get easy baskets, because everybody's you know that concentration level is higher than at any other time."

Did you ever get a chance to see Darius Johnson-Odom play in high school since he was a Raleigh kid, and what impresses you about him now?
"Well I saw him in high school. I think it was a summer league. I remember him period. That's it, because I thought pretty cool name, and then but that tells you right there I don't remember much about him as a player, but again as I said I know Buzz [Williams], and I've watched his teams. And over the last two years I've seen quite a bit, and he's one of those guys that everyone would really love to get. You'd love to get one of those late bloomers that has a little chip on his shoulder, because there was so many other people who were better supposedly than he was, and when I watch him now I see a kid who's worked extremely hard, and gotten better and better. His body has changed quite a bit, and he's played with a chip on his shoulder. Now that chip is a big old block of confidence that makes him even better and better."

Coach, what impresses you most about this Marquette team, and what Buzz has done with his time there:
"They share the basketball. They play extremely hard. You can't just guard one guy. They can change things up. They can attack you defensively. They can sag defensively. They can play different ways. Well let me back up. Their talent first thing scares you, and you and then Buzz an ability to get the kids to play really, really hard.

"You look down their schedule, and you know somebody kicked us by 20. I looked down their schedule really quick I didn't see anybody kick them by 20. I mean most of their games, their losses are there's three points, five points, five points, one point, eight points, one point, five points, eight points, five points, nine points. I mean you know they've been there in every game, and so that means they haven't folded their tents up, so there's a lot of things, but guys if you're in the Sweet 16 there's a lot of things to like about everybody."

What did you like most about what Dexter did in Charlotte?
"A little bit of everything. I think you know even in Greensboro I said, ‘He was the defensive player of the game in the second game I guess. Again even this the last game you know we had Isaiah Thomas that we were really concerned about, and so we put Dexter on him and Kendall two man. You know we've done that quite a few times.

"And it's hard, because one game we're asking him to chase a guy around screens like crazy, and the next game we're telling these guys stay in front of the basketball when the guy's quick as lightning kind of thing, so I think defensively would be the first part. I think making decisions with the ball. I forget what he scored against Long Island, but getting him in double figures in the Washington game was big for us. I've got a great deal confidence, have a great deal of confidence in him when he goes to the free-throw line."


How have you developed your jump hook? I guess it's become a really potent weapon for you. I mean did you just shoot thousands of practice shots like that?
"My high school coach started it. He always told me I could be very good at it, and then when I came here Coach Williams again we do drills every day. We work on post moves, and that's one I'm always working on, so I shot a lot over the course of my career. I really don't know how some of them go in, because I'll shoot it so fast that it's one those things that goes one in, so I just keep shooting it."

Staying healthy and playing more games has there been anything you've had to combat in terms of just staying fresh or anything?
"Yeah I had to learn to take days off. It was something very difficult for me, because I had always been taught you need to continue to work, continue to work. But when we have an off day like yesterday I did a lot of rehab stuff, but I didn't really pick up a basketball at all. Just because I mean you got to find a way to stay fresh, and if you're always working out you're just continually beating up your body, so you got to find a way to recover, and try to be as explosive and ready to play when game-time comes."


What did you learn this past weekend?
"This is the first situation I've been in playing with Carolina of when you lose you're done, and tomorrow's not a promise, so if anything I'm looking at my friends that play for other schools, and their season's over now, like they're done. They just have to wait for next year, so when you're going into games against Long Island and Washington, both two very good teams, somebody's season's going to end today. And that just goes through your mind going up to the game, so if anything I've learned you just have to leave it out, all out on the court for 40 minutes."

Do you know any of these Marquette players? Have you played against any in camps, AAU?
"I got to play against the kid D.J. O I think from CP3 Camp, and he's very athletic. He really wowed me with that, and as well they have a point guard from Canada. I think as their backup point guard, a junior who's very, stocky, attacks the basket well, great defender. So I haven't really gotten to see too many of their players on the circuit, but I've watched them this year. They're very talented. They play very hard, and they like to get after it."


On going back to play near his home.
"I can't wait for it. Just to see my family and friends actually be there. They haven't seen me play in a while in person, so you know just going there is a great feeling, and I can't wait. You know we've got to get the win, and that's what we're focused on, but going home is a great feeling for me."

How do you handle the burden of being backup point guard and top defensive guy on the perimeter, and sort of doing all these things you got to do?
"It's pretty good. I'm going to do whatever I have to do to contribute to winning. Whatever position I have to play, I'm going to do that to help my team win."

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