World's Greatest Alumni Game: Stackhouse Post-game

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--<i>Inside Carolina</i> caught up with event host Jerry Stackhouse and M.C. Kenny Smith following the UNC Alumni 121-109 victory over the ACC area players, all to benefit the American Diabetes Association.

Jerry Stackhouse

On the success of the event:

"I think it was great. And you look at the people behind the scenes that really made it happen—Angela Lee, Diane Bryant, John Williams, all these people you don't see out on the court, and you don't recognize it because their names aren't in the rafters. But these people really mean a lot to having the successful turnout that we had. Without them it wouldn't have been possible."

On his offseason:

"It's been going pretty good, man. Just trying to find out where our team is. We brought in a lot of young guys, so we're trying to make that mesh. We've got a great coach. Ernie Grunfeld is going to try to add some more players. I'm 28, and I'm the elder statesman on the team, but it's a real talented group. We're just excited about it."

On fellow Tar Heel teammate Brendan Haywood:

"Brendan, he's going to be a key for us. I love the big guy. He continues to work. The light is switching on for him, and he's going to be good for a long, long time. You can't teach that type of size, and he's been getting better and better."

On Roy Williams's return to the Carolina program:

"I mean, we're all excited. I think everyone is excited. The fans are excited, the players are excited. I mean, we've been going through it for a little while. It's not just the team. People are die-hard Carolina fans, and us being a part of the program, we bleed blue, so it's been a tough couple of years. But you know, sometimes you have transitions like that, and I think that we got the right guy now. And we definitely have the talent."

On his impressions of the current players:

"I was playing with some of those guys yesterday [Friday], and I got to guard Sean May. He's for real. [Laughing.] He's ready. He's trimmed up, and I think he's going to have an unbelievable year. I think with him in the fold last year it would have been a different story, so I'm really excited for these guys. I think they work hard, they enjoy playing with each other, and [Coach Williams] is going to bring the best out in them….

"They're going to be under the tutelage of a great man, like we were with Coach Smith. And he's going to teach them, not just things about basketball but lessons about life, too. Naturally at North Carolina we try to recruit good people as well as talented players. It's not different with this group."

On challenges connecting with Matt Doherty's staff:

"When you have Coach Smith who's been the centerpiece and the focal point of everything for so long, and then you have--and even Coach Guthridge, when everything was still the same--and then you have a lot of different, new people who nobody really knew, of course it takes some time to get adjusted. The fact is, we never did get adjusted. We didn't really know the other guys. So it was kind of a difficult transition.

"But now everyone knows Roy, and knows all these guys. You can watch a Kansas game and I see I can run the same offense and schemes. I mean, I know exactly what those guys are doing, and we've got a rapport with these guys. So it's been an easy transition to get everybody back."

On whether the Carolina family needs restoration:

"I don't think it was ever torn down. I heard some stories, you know, of people trying to pry into what's going on in our family, and we ain't going to let you in. [Laughs.] It's great, man. I can just tell you a short story. I go to New York, I go to Los Angeles, and I can call King [Rice], or I call Rick [Fox], I can call [Brian] Reese. They can be in the middle of whatever they're doing, and I was like, ‘I'm in town,' and they're on their way. That's just how it goes. Somebody calls, Kenny [Smith] calls, and says ‘I need you to come down to my camp,' and I try to rearrange my schedule and get to the camp….

"That's how it's always been. It's not anything new. It's not anything anybody is trying to make an impression or do anything. That's just how it's been done, and it's how it's going to continue."

Kenny Smith

On the former rivals who joined in the event:

"Players play. We have a great deal of respect for those universities, and those guys, and the whole ACC. That's what it's all about. I think if Maryland had an alumni game against the ACC, you'd see a lot of our guys show up. It's just that way. [Laughs]. We hate ‘em. We hate ‘em. But we have a great deal of respect for them."

On Roy Williams's return:

"It just keeps the family going. I was ecstatic that it was someone in the Carolina family. Roy is the crème de la crème. I expect big things. Like I said out there, when I was on the microphone, we need some banners up there. And that's what we expect."

On his reason for not taking the court:

"I was going to play. I came to play. And then they were like, ‘you can play, or we have a microphone.' And I thought, I'll have more fun making fun of everybody than getting made fun of."

On the best dressed Tar Heel:

"[Laughing.] The best looking is Rick Fox, right over there. I'll tell you, boy, he's a good looking guy."

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