Inside Carolina/Jim Hawkins

UNC-UTC: Roy Williams Postgame

UNC head coach Roy Williams spoke to reporters following his team's 97-57 victory over Chattanooga on Sunday.

Opening comments:
"Okay I think maybe the biggest thing when they beat Tennessee at Tennessee Friday is that they made our guys know how good they could be. Then they believed what we said about 29 wins last year and most of those guys are back and I think they're a really good basketball team. I think our guys were much more ready to play because they believed what we were saying. I think Joel (Berry) and Nate (Britt) did a good job of building out our pressure and they turned it over 26 times, so that always helps us. I'd just like to make sure we don't turn it over 15 times like we did. I asked them after the game to think of the real good moments of the game and it was all sparked by hustle, diving on the floor, loose balls, guarding people. It was our best stretch. We still didn't shoot the ball great – 48 percent, 7-15 from the three-point line. We had Kennedy (Meeks) go 4-for-13 the other night and Justin (Jackson) made everything, now Justin's 4-for-13. I love having six guys in double figures. We did a nice job on the backboards and take away the silly turnovers, and we shoot free throws like we do in practice and I'd be really, really pleased about what we did."

How pleased are you with the way the team is sharing the ball?
"Yeah I told them, somebody came up with some stat that last year was the first time that somebody played for the national championship and only had one guy make all-conference. It was a team, it really was, and I think we've emphasized from day one that this group needs to be a team as well. 26 assists, 34 baskets is pretty good, and I think we can do better because we missed some easy shots. Seventh (Woods) missed a layup the other night and missed a dunk tonight so he's staying after with me here to work on his dunks. I think getting Seventh more time, getting Tony (Bradley) more time, getting Brandon (Robinson) more time is something that's going to help us. Luke Maye sprained his ankle, we took him and he's getting evaluated now. It's a quick, quick turnaround. We talked the other day about seven games in 13 days. You need your guys to be healthy, no question, because without Theo (Pinson) it will be a lot more difficult for us to go small as well."

What has helped Tony Bradley get off to such a good start in his freshman season?
"He's a very good player, that's the easiest part right there. He doesn't try to do things that he can't do. He made that one turnover trying to throw it to Isaiah, but Tony is going to be a very good player for us and I think he's showing us that right now. He'll get more and more time as his career goes on and he's going to be a really big time basketball player."

Kenny Williams came in with the reputation of shooter, but tonight it was really his defense and energy and hustle, especially late in the first half.
"His was probably the key. We yelled at him because he didn't go to the board, and then the next time he gets an offensive rebound, next time he dove on the floor, next time deflection. I did think he was a really good shooter, but the first time I ever saw him play he made five threes, but he also took three charges. He's an intelligent player, he jumped up in the air tonight and caused a charge when we had Isaiah open for a layup and Justin in the corner, but he's a smart player and I think he'll stop doing that as well. Last year he made us feel like he might be our best perimeter defender, so he really does some things. 4-7, six rebounds, 11 points, five assists, one turnover, and three steals – that's a Danny Green kind of stat sheet."

Does Luke's situation kind of emphasis the tenuous situation you have up front? You don't have a lot of big bodies to begin with.
"No. And when you have Luke and Theo both, because last year we could go small sometimes and we had five big guys. We had Joel and Brice and they left and we only added Tony. We went small in the first half and we played the last five or six minutes small, but if you have Justin and Theo then you can go small and still not hurt yourselves on the backboards. That's what I told Kenny at one point. If I'm going small and he's the three-man, then he needs to get to the backboard for us, and I think he did a good job of that."

Did Tony arrive more fundamentally sound than some of the other big guys you've had here over the years?
"I know Tyler Zeller was about as fundamentally sound as you can be. Brice, Joel just hadn't played enough basketball. I'm not going overboard on Tony, I don't think he's nearly as fundamentally sound as he needs to be. You love the package. He wants to get better and he wants to learn. He wants to know what's going and he's absorbing so many things because we're throwing about a thousand things at him. He's doing a nice job with that."

Is it easier to run with him in the game?
"He's a better runner than Kennedy is. The first time I ever saw Tony play I was watching Brandon Ingram play up in Chicago. I didn't even know who he was but I kept seeing this big guy run the floor and I told Coach Robinson I like that guy. He said he had just called on him the week before and that's what got him recruited was how well he ran. During his career he'll get better and better at that and it'll be fun to watch."

What does it mean for you to have Kennedy Meeks play the way he did as you're looking for guys to step up in the frontcourt?
"He was 4-for-13 48 hours ago so we weren't too pleased we that. On the positive side today he was 6-for-12, so I still like my big guys to shoot close to 60 percent, but Kennedy had 15 rebounds the other night. I was more impressed with the 12 rebounds tonight because of the people involved. Also, the other night seven were on the offensive end but four of them were after his own misses. I'd rather him shoot a higher percentage. I thought Kennedy did some good things, he was much more active today."

You started Kenny Williams on Friday and Nate Britt today. Are you still experimenting at that position?
“In the exhibition game, we started Nate and then started Kenny at the half. And then Friday we started Kenny both halves and tonight we started Nate both halves. I want to see who’s going to play the best on game night. If Theo hadn’t gotten hurt, probably Theo would have been the starter in that position as well. I’m just giving guys some chances. When you get in there, you need to play well and do some good things. And I think, again, it won’t show up on the scoreboard, but Nate defensively was really good for us.”


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