UNC-UAB: Player Quotes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Following UNC's 89-58 victory over UAB, the Tar Heel players spoke to the media.

Justin Jackson

Justin, Coach told us that he had to scream at you to get you to shoot more. Message received?

Yeah, I think that was a play where I tried to rotate the ball and J.P. passed it right back; I just passed it across the floor so—knowing that he has confidence in me definitely helps.

Was that right before you hit the two three’s in the first half, or was that later in the game?

That was actually, I think, a play or two before I hit my first three, so yeah.

How has your confidence in your shot been? You’ve had a little bit of a rougher go earlier.

Yeah, I mean started off I was in a rut, but I keep on trying to get in the gym, keep getting shots up, and today was definitely a good sign.

What is the best way to develop more confidence—just getting in the gym?

My confidence level never really gets down. If I miss a shot, I miss a shot, but with repetition it will eventually come so that’s why I’m always trying to get in the gym and keep on getting shots up.

You had a stretch (earlier in the year) where you missed 11. How hard is it as a freshman to keep coming and keep shooting to shoot your way out of that?

Ummmm, I mean it’s difficult at times. Obviously, you love to see the ball go in the hoop so when you don’t see it go through every once in awhile it can kind of get to you. But if I’m not hitting we have so many guys on the team who can score and do other things that I just try to contribute as much as I can.

By virtue of being a freshman how much do you feel like you need to defer to upperclassmen?

I wouldn’t say “defer.” If he’s open he’s open—pass the ball. So I wouldn’t say defer, but when I get my opportunities I need to take advantage of them.

Kennedy Meeks

On Justin Jackson seeming to defer to others—not to step on any toes.

Coach always says he’s not a freshman, he and Theo (Pinson) and Joel (Berry). They are just like the rest of us. I feel like they should be able to give the effort like the rest of us and play as if they are upperclassmen, which would be important to us.

Your post moves seem more polished, is that something you’ve been working on?

Yeah, just trying to get quicker to the basket. Get quicker to the basket and draw fouls.

After a game like this, how good can this team be?

We can be good. Like I’ve said before, it’s all about effort every game. If the effort is there, we will be there at the end.

How did this game differ from last year’s game down in Birmingham?

I just feel like we were into it emotionally. Coach Davis said at halftime that you can’t play basketball without having any emotion. We didn’t have any back in Birmingham. We had it today.

Everyone talks about how Paige goes is how this team goes, but the team has been pretty efficient when you are on the court…..

I am just all about being a team player. I know that sounds like a cliché and all, but as long as the team is doing good, I’m good. It doesn’t matter if I have two points or 20 points, as long as the team’s doing good, I don’t have any problem with it.

Are you more comfortable now?

Oh yes sir. Absolutely. Just being quicker with the ball, being able to jump a lot more. Me being more aggressive on the rebounds is really important.

Were you satisfied with how the team played defense today?

Yeah I was. I think coach was also. We have to give a little more effort on the defensive end and cause more turnovers. And keep them off the free throw line…defend without fouling.

When Justin is able to hit outside shots, what does that do?

It helps the post a lot. People tend to forget about us. When he and Marcus hit shots, that’s more baskets easy baskets for us.

Talk about that….when you turn and face and you have shooters on the wing, when they are hitting (outside shots), you can give it to them. When they are not, you might try to make a tough play. It makes it easier (when they are hitting shots).

Yeah. Absolutely. Last year, it was alleged sometimes that it was Marcus all the time (Laughs). Now it is Justin sometimes, Marcus sometimes. It is all about the team. We have to keep giving effort, keep getting those shots up in practice and they will start to fall.

What’s this “mean Roy versus regular Roy”?

A lot more running for turnovers, for being selfish for any little thing. He always says before practice that his button is close to the surface and every little thing will get closer and closer to hitting it. So we just try to stay away from that as much as possible.

So you don’t want to be that guy?

Noooo, no, no.

Isaiah Hicks

What is your role on this team?

I think my best role is probably the energy guy off the bench—come in the game, be aggressive, do anything the team needs. I would say that is my role.

What has changed from last year to this year?

I guess just being more comfortable and knowing what is going to happen out there instead of just trying to guess. That’s the biggest difference.

What is the biggest difference from last year’s game against UAB?

Man, I would just say mindset first. I guess we came in last year like, “OK, it’s UAB, we are going to win.” They are actually a pretty good team with a good coach so I guess this year we approached it like we have to get focused, you have to go out there and play hard. They killed us on rebounds (last year) bad… We have to go out there and play hard and want to win. That’s the big difference from last year.

Why do you think this team can lose to an Iowa at home and defeat higher ranked teams like a Florida or Ohio State away from home?

It’s something else that is just mindset. I guess sometimes we lose focus and that hurts us.

Whose job is it to create that focus—is it the player or the coach?

Ultimately, every player has to do it themselves. You can say all you want to help the player, but ultimately it comes down to (the fact) that everybody is his own person, so I would say we all as a group have to get ready together and then transition to the court.

Coach Williams says that he really shouldn’t have to coach “want-to” or motivation. Where does that originate if he’s not coaching it?

It’s simple. What are we doing here? We came here on basketball scholarship. Since we’ve been little we’ve loved to play basketball. If you don’t play hard that means you don’t love to play. That’s the simplest thing. The easiest way coach put it—he might not say it this way, but it’s basically like what are you here for? You got a scholarship. You said you wanted to play for Carolina and you don’t go out there and play your best. Just show the love. We love to play here so why don’t we show it?


Marcus Paige

When the three’s are falling it looks like you guys are a very complete team. Is that the way you saw it today?

Yeah, that is usually our biggest weakness offensively as a team—knocking down shots from the outside. And then Justin hit two in a row; I hit one right after that. That kind of stretched the game out. When we are making three’s—we know we are going to get production from Brice (Johnson) and Kennedy (Meeks) inside. When (I), myself, Justin, and Nate (Britt) can knock down a couple of three’s it makes the offense even that much more dangerous.

How much more dangerous is the offense when you are putting the ball on the floor, getting into the lane, getting those floaters, etc?

Yeah, it makes a huge difference. I told myself when I went home for break that I need to do a better job of varying my shots. I was shooting too many—too big of a percentage of my shots were coming from three. In the second half I was able to get in the paint a lot more, and that just makes it harder for us to be guarded as a team. It opens up everyone else and also allows me to make some shots that aren’t 30 feet away from the basket.

You also get to the line more.

Yeah, I get to the line also, so that is a big thing. I’ll probably try to attack more.

I know you said it felt good against Greensboro. Do you feel you were hunting the three too much?

Well, I mean there were a lot of times I would just be open. Even in the Ohio State game a lot of my shots came from three because they were in a zone and I was just wide open. The same thing happened at Greensboro, but I can’t allow that to dictate how I play. I’ve still got to be aggressive and put pressure on the defense.

So was that a “Christmas resolution” to go inside more? (Laughs) Yeah, I guess. The break allowed me to assess how the first part of the year went as a team and individually, just talk with some of my family and friends whose opinion about basketball I value. It’s just pretty clear to see that 75 percent of my shots came from three every game—that’s part of the reason I’m shooting 30-some percent from the floor. So just being more aggressive and more complete offensive player helped me out.

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