UNC-Nike Elite: Locker Room Report

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --The North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Nike Elite All Stars 81-70 in the Smith Center before 10,000 faithful Heel fans Saturday afternoon. Here are some comments following the win.

Matt Doherty

"It's good to win a game. We hopefully grew up a little bit today. Some of our younger kids made some big plays. It's so hard to pass up some open three-point shots. You don't want guys to be hesitant when we say "You can't take the first open three." It's hard, when you have open threes, to pass them up. But, we have to discipline ourselves. If you don't hit two threes down the court, then the ball has to go inside. I say that and then Brian Morrison comes down on the first possession of the second half and hits a three, and I am like everyone else, saying that's a good shot.

"But, we had more discipline in the second half. We wanted to drive it more and get fouled more. I think that was a big help. We ended up shooting 17 foul shots in the second half and we only took five threes in the second half after 19 in the first half. We did a good job of getting the ball inside and did a good job of getting fouled and I think that was the key to the game."

"We gave up too many offensive rebounds, but boy they were quick. They were a quick team. They took some jump shots and with jump shots, there are some long rebounds and I thought they were really quick to the ball. That's a concern of mine."

"Kris Lang had another big game and it's obviously helping his confidence. He's a big time player and he showed it again tonight with 27 (points) and 12 (rebounds).

"Will Johnson with 15 rebounds, that kid just fights you tooth and nail."

"I am concerned about the turnovers--14 turnovers against a team that didn't really pressure a whole lot. We have to do a better job than that."

"Overall, I am glad we won and we took a step in growing up today."

"I wanted to win the game. I could have made some substitutions that could have given some other guys some minutes down the stretch, but I wanted to win the basketball game. I think our kids need to have some confidence that we can win, especially the younger guys. I think that's a big part of it."

"Damien (Price), Joe Everett, that's Jim's brother, and Phillip McLamb have made the team."

Will Johnson

"I think it was good step for us. (We had a) tough week of practice. He (Doherty) got after us. We had a lot to work on. We watched the game film of Sunday's game (the 31 point loss to EA Sports) and it was pretty embarrassing. We had a lot to work on and I think we made a lot of progress this week. Offense, defense, conditioning, all of it."

Comment on the other team's ability to drive inside too easy.

"I think part of the problem is our close outs. When they penetrate and kick to the three point shooters, we are not doing a doing a good job of closing out on the shooter and they are just going by us. That's one of the things we need to work on. We are a young team. We won today but we have a lot to work on. I think we do have the quickness to do that, I just think it's a matter of experience and how to guard people."

Talk about your play and how it can translate into the season.

"I played hard today. I feel like I can do it again. It was good for all of us."

Brian Morrison

Talk about the play of Will Johnson

"He played his butt off. 15 rebounds, that's a lot of rebounds. He went in there, he hustled and he really battled in there. It was fun to watch."

What does that say about Will, he's not even on a scholarship?

"He could be. He's good enough to be. Just because he's Morehead (Scholar) doesn't mean he's not good. I can tell you that much."

You look a little more comfortable out there…

"I think a lot of it was, my freshman year, I was nervous. It was college. I think I am a lot more poised. That year really help me and it's paid off I think."

Are you comfortable being the primary outside shooter for this team?

"Yea, I feel comfortable doing that."

Talk about what the guys up top have to do to help out on the driving and dishing the other teams are doing against you guys.

"We can't let them penetrate as much. We are letting them penetrate a little much and when we do close out, our close outs aren't that good. We need to work on that."

Is that something the younger guys need to or….

"That's something everyone is doing, especially me. I had few bad close outs today."

Adam Boone

"The most encouraging thing is that we came back from last week in a similar position at halftime, a one point game, and this time, we were tough enough to stay in there, be tough and get a win out of it."

It looked like the primary objective was to get it inside first.

"Oh yea. That was definitely the primary objective. We want to get the ball inside. I think that is probably going to be the primary objective. As long as we have a guy like Kris Lang and the people inside that we are confident in, that will be our primary objective. We got away from it a little bit early but we got back to it and settled down."

When you get Jason back, will anything change as far as who's shooting the threes?

"I don't think it will be too much of a change because we believe in Will Johnson shooting the three as well. I think he has a very good three point shot and he gets the look that Jason will get, I think he will shoot the same shot. That's not going to change our style too much."

Kris Lang

What did you find the most encouraging out there aside from the win?

"The fight that the fellas had. They didn't give up despite losing by 31 points to EA Sports. They showed a lot of class and passion. I think that will give us a lot of confidence going in against Hampton."

Talk about Will's performance.

"Will was a beast, a monster. He outrebounded me! It's very good to see from Will Johnson. It shows that we are very versatile and any given night, you might see something great."

"He's just a hard worker. In practice, he does it every day so that's nothing new for us. That just new to you guys and the fans to see. I think he's becoming the fan favorite now."

Tonight, it looked like there was an effort to get more guys involved going inside most of the time. Was that the case?

"Most definitely, but the coaches always emphasize that we should go through the inside and the back out. I don't care who scores so I don't mind. But yea, we tried to get everyone involved."

You were telling the freshman to keep shooting…

"Yes! I want them to keep shooting the ball. That's something we are going to rely on a lot this season. I think we are going to really need them down the stretch this year."


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