UNC-UVa: Locker Room Report I

Raymond Felton, Jackie Manuel and Damion Grant answer questions following UNC's 96-77 win over Virginia.


Was it good for you to have this game come so soon?

"Yes, it was an uplift for us, it got that game off our minds. We came out and worked hard in the second half. In the first half, we started out good, and then we had a lapse again, they broke down our lead and tied it up, so we decided to pour it on."

Do you have any revenge motivation going into the N.C. State game?

"It's not revenge, it's a typical ACC game — you've got to win. You've got to come out and play hard, and try to get a win."

Do you think defense turned this game around?

"Definitely, our defense definitely picked up, we played good team defense all together. We got a couple of traps, a couple of steals, we pressured the ball up top, guys were denying the passes."

As a point guard, what do you do when you're matched up against someone like Billet who is not as quick but is experienced?

"Basically just pressure him, make him do things he's not comfortable doing, pressure him on the other side of the court, make him dribble the ball and make something happen on the dribble. If you just let him go off screens, he's going to eventually get you, so you just try to pressure him while he's got the ball in his hands."

Were you guys worn out today?

"Not necessarily worn out, we started off fairly well in the first part of the game, but we still didn't have that defensive intensity that we brought out in the second half?"

Talk about defending N.C. State and a Princeton-type offense

"We've just got to defend them, and when we get the ball just push them. They're going to try to slow the game down against us, but that's not what we want. We have to defend them however long we have to defend them, and once we get the rebound or they score, get the ball out real fast and push it down the court. We've just got to be poised and stick with it, don't worry about the screens, get around the screens, fight through, and keep with it."

Are you worried that the team's getting a reputation for blowing leads, so that if Carolina's up 15 on someone, the other team still has confidence they can come back?

"I don't think that's our reputation, that happened to us a couple of games, but whatever-if that's our reputation, so what, we're just going to come out and play hard and try to win."


Was today your best game this year?

"Probably that game and Miami."

What happened to change the enthusiasm and intensity?

"We got a couple of traps, they turned the ball over a couple of times and that sparked it."

Did you guys find yourselves as a team defensively today?

"It's there — I mean it's not only today, we've seen in the past that we can play defense. It's just up to everybody to do it."

Was it good to have this game so quickly after FSU?

"Yeah — I was upset after the Florida State game, I was just glad to get this win today."

What are the challenges of playing a deliberate team like N.C. State?

"Their offense is pretty tough, especially with our pressure, they do a lot of backdoor plays. You just have to be ready for that and help each other out."

You and David struggled the other night — how important was it to have a strong game today

"It was very important for everybody to have a strong game today. I mean, nobody played well in the Florida State game, not only David and I but everybody, so it felt great."

You guys met yesterday, just the players — what conclusions came out of that?

"Well, I came to the conclusion that we should] forget pointing fingers and talking behind each other's back, that we need to come together as a team and play defense, we need to live off our defense. Everybody had their say so, but I just stood up and said this what was we needed to do."

Was everybody on the same page after the meeting?

"I felt like most of the guys were on the same page, some guys it probably had to sink in, but I think after today's game everybody's on the same page."


How did it feel to be out there again?

"It feels good, but the win feels better. That's the most important thing."

How do you think you did?

"I had a nervous energy I had to get out. It felt like my first year, it felt like last year as a freshman."

Does it feel like a relief to be out there?

"Something like that. I'm still trying to find my place and do what I can to help the team win. Right now, we need defense, blocking out and that's what I try to give."

Did you notice the crowd giving you a big cheer when you came in?

"Yeah — I'm glad they're happy to see me back out there — I really appreciate their support?"

Did you have an idea you would play today? Could you have played the last two games as well?

"No, I had no idea….I could have played the first game I dressed out, which was the Uconn game, I could have played that game and I could have played the Florida State game. That's why I dressed out, I felt like I was ready to play."

Have you been practicing full speed?

"I've been practicing full practices for about the past month or so, and have been feeling great."

Do you feel like your timing is back?

"Not really, I don't think my timing is back just yet. I think that will come with me playing in more game-time situations."

What was the mood of the team since last Thursday, how did you handle the last 36 hours?

"I just want to put that behind me, I don't even want to think about that right now."

Was it a blessing to have this game come so soon?

"Yes and no, because we only had one day of practice before today. We really didn't do that much in practice yesterday, but we tried to be as prepared as possible."

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