UNC-MVSU: Postgame Quotes & Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Inside Carolina's postgame coverage includes interviews with head coach Roy Williams and players, who spoke to the media following UNC's victory over Mississippi Valley State on Sunday.

Listen to Audio (4:34)

Opening Remarks:

Well, obviously you are pleased with the ‘W.' Obviously, you are pleased with some of the things we did. But I will use the same word again for the third time. Obviously, you'd like to shoot the ball better, you'd like to make some of the open shots you have from three more than we did, and we'd like to make some free throws.

It's crazy, because Wednesday's or Thursday's practice I said everybody get 100 recorded free throws. That means a manager has to rebound and chart them before the pregame meal today, and the worst percentage we had of all 16 guys was 78 out of 100—maybe we shouldn't shoot free throws right before a game.

I liked how we were active later. I didn't think we were active early. We made a couple substitutions and I thought we were much more active all of a sudden. The second half I thought we were more active.

They shot a lot of threes at the end; they were trying to come back. We've got to do a better job of getting to the shooters. So many times we let them take the open threes. I don't mind teams that shoot a lot of threes, but I don't like it when they make them because they are open so we have to do a better job of that.

But you like six guys in double figures. You like John (Henson) and (Tyler) Z(eller) both having double-doubles and only playing 23 minutes apiece. We do realize we have four games in seven days so for Kendall to play 25 minutes and be the most minutes on the team, we like that part of it. Hopefully, we will be fresh and have a great practice tomorrow.

The range of John's game, pulling away from the basket, a couple of turnaround jumpers. Could you speak to the improvement he's made, just from last season?

Well, he has. One of the keys for his offseason work is to do a better job of shooting the basketball. I feel like our big guys should shoot between 55-60 percent. They need to do that because they are going to get some dunks. You look down and see 8-15, John 7-14, as I said we need to shoot the basketball better but John has made some jump shots. His best game Sunday against UNC-Asheville was his jump hook to his left shoulder. He's always turning right shoulder, but he really made a big-time move turning to his left shoulder and made the jump hook. He made two or three facing jump shots today. That's part of what he does. I have zero problems if its one of the keys for him to work on in the offseason, I think it's good.

Listen to Audio (2:41)

How many hours per week did you put in during the offseason to extending your game, working on not just facing up but the turn-around jumper as well?

I told someone earlier this week that it's been two years in process. You know, I think what really helped me is playing against the pros and (them) making you have to do a different move. It's just something I've been working on. It's the third game and hopefully I can keep it up all the way through March.

Do you remember how uncomfortable you were at times, facing the basket?

I was never uncomfortable, you know. The ball just wasn't really going in. It's something that's going in now. Hopefully, I can just keep it going and keep working on it and progressing as the year goes on.

Was there anybody in particular you went against who maybe gave you some pointers?

Rasheed (Wallace). He texts me after every game and we talk a little bit. He gives me some pointers, things of that nature, so I think we have a good relationship. He has helped me a lot as well just from watching him, seeing what he does against us. I can say I stole some of his stuff, and he's taught me a few tricks as well.

You said before the season that the jump hook is more a matter of feeling the defender. You weren't doing that as much before. When you catch and shoot and catch and turn and shoot, what is the process there?

It's just about seeing where the defender is at, especially if the defender is playing up close to you for the shot, it makes it a lot easier to go past him. When the defender doesn't have his hands up, it's a simple shot. You just have to make them.

Listen to Audio (3:45)

You have a few games under your belt now. How has the way things have played out compared to your expectations?

It's been beyond my expectations. It's been really a dream playing here. It's really nerve-wracking and exciting to be out there. I'm starting to get my feet wet and I'm having a great time out there.

Any nerves at all?

Definitely. I missed a couple of free throws out there that I shouldn't have missed. The more experience I get the [more] the nervousness goes away—the more confidence, I guess.

What kind of feedback are you getting from your teammates?

They are just telling me to play aggressive and push it. I have some great teammates and guys that make my job a lot easier if I am aggressive and just share the ball with them.

Coach said that he has mad a concerted effort to get some of the younger guys, the freshmen, more playing time as game situations allow. Did you know you were going to be playing more today, and what were your thoughts heading into the game?

I honestly didn't really know, but you always have to have the mindset that you are going to be in there and you have to prepare like that. So when you are called you are more prepared for it.

Listen to Audio (3:46)

You have a few games under your belt now. How has your experience compared to what you expected so far?

I think it has measured up to it a lot. Coming in, I didn't really have that many previous thoughts or ideas what it was going to be like. Coach just told me it was going to be hard, and I was going to have to work—what I put in is what I get out so three games in I feel like it's been all that and more. I feel l've been able to adjust to it.

Something we've talked about before is that in high school you really had more of a face-up game and how they will rely on you more in the post in college, bulking up, developing some post moves. How is that transition going?

I think it is a long steady transition. I think every game I'm getting better at it. Just knowing I'm not a center but sometimes I might be the biggest guy out there for us. That doesn't necessarily mean I have to play just with my back to the basket. I just try to use what I'm good at and that is my face-up game. Then again, in practice and in these games slowly just trying to develop that post game.

Is it a different mentality to bang down there, more physical when guys are really trying to root out and establish position?

Yeah, I think it's just something I have to get used to that even though I may be playing center I don't have to be a banger. If I have to get a rebound, if I have to bang with you, if I have to out-quick you, I just have to do what I have to do. I think it's just a mindset where just because coach has me at the five, that doesn't mean I just have to go in the weight room and go practice dunks and stuff like that.

Listen to Audio (8:41)

…he swung it to me, I missed it. I need to hit the next on if I'm wide open. So Jackson (Simmons) comes down, he gets the ball, swings it, so I'm like, ‘OK.' I shoot it, I closed my eyes after I shot it and was like, ‘OK, that's good.' I just heard everybody cheering, got back down the court, and got back on defense.

Coach Williams said you guys are a pretty good shooting team, maybe more in practice, talked about free throws, yet you got out here today and the whole team just kind of—the shots weren't falling. What is that like in a game when what you are doing in practice isn't carrying over?

As far as just knocking down shots, it isn't as if they were bad shots. Shots just weren't falling, shots we usually make weren't falling. We had to find another way to win and that's what we did—offensive rebounds, coming off screens, and feeding it down low to big men Z and John. They contributed a lot down low.

Does that affect your confidence from a shooting stand point as a team when the shots aren't going down the way you want?

I don't think it affects our confidence. Coach always tells us to keep shooting: ‘If it's a good shot, shoot it.' If it's not a good shot, give it to the post or kick it back out for a good shot. We just go along with that.

Coach Williams has really complimented your defense. Are you a better defensive player than people give you credit for?

Yes, I'm a lot better. I can't lie, in high school I hated defense. I hated defense; all I wanted to do is shoot. But when it came down to it I would play defense. I knew coming here that I would have to play a lot of defense so my senior year at Hargrave I started playing defense and started getting used to it. I finally became the defensive stopper at Hargrave. Coming here, knowing I have defensive help and the way we play our defense there is always someone there helping if we get beat. So you never have to worry about anything bad happening if you get beat. You know you have somebody there to help you.

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