Kevin Seifert/Inside Carolina

UNC's Roy Williams Live: Choosing Sides

'Roy Williams Live' airs on Mondays at 7pm on local THSN affiliates throughout the season.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina head coach Roy Williams spoke out against fan criticism during his weekly Roy Williams Live radio show Monday night.  

“You’re either with us, or you’re not,” said Williams at Top of the Hill Restaurant in regards to a fan that heckled junior forward Kennedy Meeks during a recent game. “Period, the end.”   

Meeks has been the subject of criticism recently from fans and analysts alike, but Williams reminded the audience that these are kids playing under a gigantic microscope.   

“Kennedy, Brice (Johnson), any of them can screw it up in a heartbeat, they’re 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-year-old kids,” said Williams. “We’ve got a lot of old folks in here, are you always feeling really secure in what your children or grandchildren are gonna do? No.”   

Williams used Meeks as an example of how fickle fans can be with his players, and how it’s important to put recent struggles in perspective with how fans react when good things happen on the court.   

“Kennedy’s struggled the last two games,” Williams said. “At Duke? Everybody loved Kennedy. He made three baskets in a row in the lane in the middle of the Syracuse game, everybody loved Kennedy.”   

Williams referred to Meeks as his “child,” joking that only he could yell at him, and that he did enough for everybody.   

“I don’t care what the hell your opinion is, it makes no difference to me,” the Hall of Fame coach said. “If Kennedy helps us win, I like Kennedy. And if Kennedy doesn’t, I still like him.”   

And for the observers that boo their own team? Williams had a simple message: 

“Nobody boos, North Carolina people. If you wanna do that, go support somebody else.”   


Your team and Providence really jawed at each other in Saturday’s game. Is that something you’re okay with?
“If you back up what the crap you say, it’s okay. The best players I’ve ever seen in my life, the two greatest players I enjoy watching play were Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, and they talked better than anybody. Michael, the one thing he did better than play was talk. And then Larry would tell everybody, ‘I’m going to beat you, who’s finishing second?’ You know, the famous line, but they backed it up. If one of our guys is talking and not playing very well, I tell them to shut the blankity-blank up. For me, the official said something, and I said something to two of our guys, and then that was it. I don’t get caught up in that. If I think it’s effecting their play, I’ll say more to them, but it’s the game of basketball, it’s the culture, and as long as you’re not trying to show somebody else up—You asked me a question a week or so about Brice, said, ‘Does it bother you, old school, the way you are, about Brice, all of his celebrations?’ I said, ‘No, deep down inside, when he dunks one and he growls and he screams and all of that stuff, I wish he’d also do that same thing on defense when his guy goes driving by him and dunks it on him.’ If you’re gonna draw attention to yourself, then draw attention to yourself when you screw it up.”   

Providence was another big game for your post players, Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks combined for 34 points and 17 rebounds, they shot 12-of-14 from the field, 10-of-10 from the free throw line, just a tremendous game for those two guys.
“And both of them had four fouls at the end. They’re pretty high up in that category, too. Isaiah is second in the league in fouls per 40 minutes played. I think it’s 7 fouls every 40 minutes, so we’ve got to keep him out of there a little bit. If he’d gotten another one, I had Brice on the bench with 4 fouls, I was gonna put him in, but those guys had a great, great game. Isaiah, I challenged him at halftime, because at halftime, he had the same number of rebounds Wanda had. She didn’t have any at halftime, that’s what Isaiah had, and the second half, Isaiah had 7. Brice really had two big days. What he did blocking shots in the Florida Gulf Coast game was about as good as I’ve ever had. One that could have possibly been called goaltending, and it was a fantastic block, but the other seven were really protecting the rim. So he had two big-time games, and we need him to keep doing that.”   

UNC is one of a record six ACC teams in the Sweet 16, your thoughts?
“That’s a pretty doggone good league. Boeheim said, ‘You know we lose some games because the other teams in our league are pretty good as well.’ But, it’s a fantastic run so far for the league, and hopefully it’ll keep going. Especially one team, especially one team.”   

Is there anything that can be done or that anybody can do to get these tournament games a little earlier?
“No. I don’t like the time, but we played pretty well, so I’m satisfied with the schedule. As a matter of fact, our team didn’t start playing their best basketball until the second half, so that’s about 11 p.m. as far as I’m concerned. You’re spitting in the wind when you’re complaining about it, so why complain about it?”   

Do you have to address focus and small details more considering the one-and-done nature of the NCAA Tournament?
“No, I think we do that all the time. I’m always talking about the little things that are what’s gonna get you beat, if you do the little things, you’re gonna beat the other team, so we talk about that all the time. What’s that saying? ‘The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little extra.’ We talk about that a heck of a lot. You’re caught in a trap, because if you just pressure, pressure, pressure, beat them to death, you’ve got to understand this, you’ve got to understand that, that’s not what got you there. We try to keep everything basically the same in our preparation. Give them the same amount of information, we gave them a one page scouting report front and back when we played Temple the first game of the year, and before we played Providence the other night, we gave them a one page scouting report, front and back. I think if you change, you get them out of it, or you make them start worrying. I tell them all the time, ‘This is the biggest game because…’ And they say, ‘Because it’s today’s game.’ And they give that back to me all the time.”   

What does Yogi Ferrell do well, and how can you try and slow him down?
“He’s a load. He’s a big-time shooter, but his speed and quickness that he has-- I’m not a masochist, by any means. I don’t enjoy sorrow and sadness and all that kind of stuff, but last night, I watched that game that we played against Indiana three years ago when Marcus (Paige) was a freshman, and it was 31-31, and in that game, Marcus started as a freshman and Yogi started the game as a freshman at Indiana. It was 31-31 with about four minutes to go (in the first half), they scored the last nine points of the first half and we were down nine at half, then we started the second half 2-for-21, so at one time it got to be (a 31-point deficit), so at the time it was ugly, but maybe I could see something in that game that might help us. Yogi was really good. Cody Zeller was off the charts, and Victor Oladipo was off the charts, too. We’ll know a heck of a lot more about him. Coach Robinson’s got Indiana, and he’s already seen them play a lot, so we’ll see him a lot more between now and Friday.”


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