Friday PC Interviews

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Inside Carolina's Friday press conference coverage includes quotes and audio from head coach Roy Williams and Tyler Zeller as the Tar Heels prepare to travel to Virginia on Saturday.

Listen to Audio (12:21)

On Tyler Zeller winning Academic All-American of the Year:
"Well, it's the satisfaction you having knowing how hard a kid worked. At our Business School, they don't give away those grades and don't give away those degrees. For him to do it at such a high profile program with the amount of time and energy he gives to basketball and the amount of time and energy he gives to take care of his body and still do that, it was more a sense of satisfaction than anything and a little bit of that sense of accomplishment too.

"You just feel wonderful for the kid and the values that his mom and dad gave him and how they've stuck with him when he moved a few miles away from home and still continued to carry out what they established with him. I think is just a neat thing and mom and dad have got to feel awfully good about it too."

On Kendall Marshall's performance against NC State after watching the game film:
"He did so many good things. Defensively he has played better, there's no question. If you have a point guard that is a pass first, run the offense, get guys the ball, get them in the right spot where they can do something with it, then that's his thought process. And, oh yeah, he shot 8 times and made 7 and if you add to it, he shot 5 three's and made 4. That is just an unbelievable advantage, an unbelievable plus, because even 13-3 (assists- turnovers) is not bad, because the youngster handles the ball 75% of the time. So 13-3 is not bad and you add 7-8 from the floor, that's pretty impressive. "

If a game is coming down to the last possession, would you prefer to be down with a chance to win or defend the lead on that play?
"I'd rather have the lead. I think you can have as big a hand winning the game defensively as you can offensively. Sean May at Maryland a hundred years ago blocked the last shot. You have that happen sometimes too. They can't take points off the board. Probably shouldn't say they "can't", but I haven't seen that happen recently.

"There is one part of it too. It depends on how good your team is. My first year a hundred years ago we were playing at Oklahoma State and they were undefeated at home and we were down two. I drew up a play up and said we were going to shoot a three, we were going to knock it in, and we were going to get the crap out of town, so it depends on the moment too. Generally speaking, I'd probably rather have the lead because I think I can be aggressive defensively also."

What frustrates you about Virginia? The way they play defense or the way they run the clock on offense?
"Well both of them frustrate you, because they're good at both of them. It wouldn't bother me at all if they weren't good at it, but they do defend you very well. Teams shoot 38.6% or something like that against them. They do use quite a bit of clock, which means you have to play defense a long time yourself.

"I am a guy who likes to go up and down so much, so I like it faster and at the same time I like it when the other team doesn't guard us, but there's a reason why they're 21-6 and those are two big factors right there."

When you're looking at game film and grading, how do you look at offensive efficiency?
"Several things. The way I grade assists, Kendall had 25.5. There were several times that he throws the ball to a guy and a guy misses a layup or a guy gets fouled. Well Kendall's done his job and in our way of saying, he was 25.5-5.5 (assists-turnovers) I think, because we also give him a turnover if he throws a sloppy pass and they deflect it out of bounds and it's not a turnover, so in that grading it's 25.5-5.5.

"Offensive efficiency, I look at field goal percentage… number of turnovers, number of times we get to the free throw line. I like the offensive rebounds, because that's the only way you get more opportunities. I'd say the rebounding numbers would probably be number one and the offensive field goal percentage would probably be number two since we are speaking just about the offensive end. But I like high scoring games too."

A lot of people are familiar with Tyler Zeller's accomplishments, but can you talk about what Justin Watts has brought to the team?
"One of the best leaders I've ever been around. One of the guys that understands what we're trying to do on and off the court. As good as anybody who's been willing to sacrifice a great deal to play out of position to give us some help there and knowing that it is difficult for him to succeed when he's trying to box out a 6'9" guy and is just going to be overpowered.

"It's been so many little things and the leadership, with his talking on the defensive end of the court in practice and the enthusiasm he brings to the defensive end of the court in practice is something that's really been special for us too."

Listen to Audio (6:52)

On winning Academic All-American of the Year Award:
"It's a great award to be able to win and something I strived for since I got here. Coach let me know when I was being recruited that I had a chance for it and told me I had to keep above a 3.3 (GPA) and I told him I didn't know if I could do that but I've succeeded at that so far."

How hectic has is it been trying to balance rigors of the business school with basketball?
"Freshman year was probably the toughest. I look back at my GPA's and they weren't quite as high as they are now, so I've definitely done a great job of bringing them up, but in the beginning it was tough. I was truly blessed when I was born. I was given great brains, so it is something that made it much easier on me."

Has it started to hit you that Wednesday is going to be your final home game at UNC?
"I've thought about it a little the other day, but that's life. You got to take it and make the best of it, but when it comes you've got to move on. It's been a great experience, but at the same time I am ready to move on and go to something else also."

Following up on Wednesday being your last game at home, has it started to sink in your career is coming to a close here?
"We got three games left in the regular season. I'm not really thinking about it being the end of my career. I'm thinking about how we need to win out to have a chance to win the ACC. It's something we have strived for all year, so hopefully we can pull it off.

"We got a little help last night. It's the only night I've ever cheered for Duke, but Duke beat Florida State and gave us a little help and we now have chance."

Was cheering for Duke last night an unanimous thing amongst the team?
"I would hope so, because if not, they don't realize we needed Florida State to lose one. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out."

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