UNC-NCCU: Roy Williams Postgame

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Inside Carolina's postgame coverage includes video and quotes from head coach Roy Williams's postgame press conference following UNC's season-opening win over NC Central.

Opening comments:
“It’s a ‘W.’ It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but give credit to LeVelle’s bunch. I think they’re a good basketball team and they did some nice things. Early we got off to a 9-0 [start] or whatever it was, and at that point, they started running clock for 15 or 20 seconds before they started actually running and trying to be aggressive and play, and it did take us out of the tempo that we wanted. We went through a lot of different lineups tonight, played a lot of people. Didn’t shoot the ball exceptionally well, didn’t handle the ball exceptionally well.

“We had 14 turnovers. They had 14 turnovers and they’re playing zone most of the game and we’re playing pressure man-to-man and fullcourt man-to-man, so we didn’t exactly get them to turn the ball over. I look at the freshmen and that’s pretty good. Justin Jackson was 3-1, Theo [Pinson] was 4-2 and Joel [Berry] was 2-0, so the freshmen’s assist-error ratio was a lot better than everybody else. I think we tried to hit too many home runs on the offensive end of the floor.

“The thing that I was curious about was getting our guys to understand Marcus [Paige] is a pretty doggone good player. [When] the other team is playing a box-and-1 sometimes, it’d probably be good to have some guys go set screens for him and help him out a little bit. That wouldn’t be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen anybody do. So we’ve got to work on that a little bit more. We did share the ball around quite a bit. We just didn’t make two- or three-footers or 3-pointers, either one. We’ve got to shoot the basketball better. We’ve got to get more out of our defense. In the first half I was really disappointed with rebounding. They had seven points off offensive rebounds to our three and we ended up 16-13, so it was 13-6 in the second half. That’s what we have to have.”

What was the reason for J.P. Tokoto not starting tonight?
“J.P. made a mistake in practice, did something I didn’t like, and so I didn’t start him. It’s over with now. He came in, I think he may have been the first substitution and we started him in the second half, so it’s no big deal. But he’s had a great preseason; he really has. He’s done some nice things for us. He’s been one of our better players and has had as good of a preseason, if not the best preseason practice period, of anybody on our team.”

How do you think Pinson responded to getting his first start?
“He was okay. It’s a different game than the exhibition games. It’s more involved. There are more people in the stands, to say the least, than there was the other night. But I think he did fine. Theo and Justin and Joel Berry are going to be very good players for us.”

What do you think of the execution against the zone?
“It’d be that old joke about, ‘what do you think about the execution of our team’ and the coach says, ‘I’m in favor of it.’ I didn’t think it was very good. This time of year we’ve got so many things that we’ve got to improve on. We practice every day trying to get better at everything but we weren’t very sharp.”

How do you think your team performed with its fullcourt pressure and halfcourt traps?
“We got some baskets out of it, but we also gave up some layups. We increased the tempo a little bit with that and so I like that part of it. A couple of years ago we started out against Oakland and we shot 75 percent in the first half and looked like world beaters and didn’t shoot the ball the rest of the season worth a darn. I like the fact that you play a pretty doggone good team and you have some struggles because everybody has to look at themselves and the things where we made mistakes, they’ve got to learn from it and try to change it.

“I think the pressure was okay, but not great. “We’ve been trying to work on our foundation. North Carolina, as long as I’ve been here, even as an assistant or a head coach, our foundation is our running game, our halfcourt pressure defense and our freelance. And that’s what we’ve spent the majority of the time on. We haven’t spent nearly as much time on the press and I think we had one time in practice where we played J.P. as a four man. I went with that tonight just to see something because Brice got in foul trouble and Isaiah was struggling. Trying to do a lot of different things and play a lot of different lineups.”

Was the fullcourt press because of something you saw in NCCU’s film or was it more about your own team?
“No, I’d like to do it more with our club. The only tape we had was their scrimmages, so no, it was things that we needed to do with our team to try and see if we can be a little better in the full court.”

Are the forced shots against the zone something the freshmen will just have to learn as they go along?
“I think Justin and Theo both one time in the first half, they took consecutive outside shots and both times they could have penetrated the zone. People play zone, why? Because they want you to shoot from the outside. I don’t want to do what the other team wants. I hear coaches say we took what they gave us. I don’t like that. I want to take what the dickens I want. And so I think we settled too much for the outside shot in the first half against it and moved a little bit better in the second half.”

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