"Next weekend I have to go to the Final Four. … the Final Four is great if your team is with you, but if your team's not with you I'm not big on going down and having a great time because I'm still thinking about wanting the team to be there. The following weekend is Easter weekend and then the next three weekends after that I'm recruiting and then ACC meetings. So, it's the Final Four, four recruiting weekends and then the ACC meetings."
When do you get started with the Olympic stuff?
"We really don't start training camp until July 25. I'll miss the last week of the second ten-day recruiting period. We'll assemble on July 25 for about eight days of training camp, we'll play one exhibition game and then we go to Germany, Serbia, Istanbul … then Athens …"
When the season's over, do you second-guess yourself often?
"Every coach second-guesses themselves. I second-guessed myself the other night because I was worried about Raymond's four fouls with six minutes to go and tried to give him a breather. I believe every foul is usually committed with a little bit of fatigue involved, and had to take a timeout to get him back in the game and I would have liked to have another timeout at the end. I've been accused of hording timeouts and probably used more with this team than any I've ever coached. I second-guess myself every year, I question myself every year. I take time after the season to get away and go through a thought process of what I would change and what I wouldn't change. And I even talk to other coaches. The response has taught me that I do enough thinking beforehand that rarely would I change anything – except the results."
How much of the tournament will you now watch?
"It's hard for me, it really is. I haven't watched any games yet. I watched a couple minutes of the Kansas game and the last couple of plays in the Wake Forest-Manhattan game. I still check out SportsCenter to watch the highlights, but as far as sitting down and watching the games, I have a difficult time doing that. I wanted to go out recruiting on Monday, but couldn't because the practice I was going to go see they closed and Monday's the last day until April 7 that I can go out recruiting. It is hard for me to sit down and watch games as a fan. … As much as I love the game, I still sit there and say ‘If we had just done this we'd still be playing …'"
What in particular could you have done to still be playing …
"As I said, the timeout. May have taken Sean out after his third foul … but I went through every possession so it'd be too boring to go through everything.
"I haven't finished the process yet, but as I said, the experience of 16 years has taught me that I plan it so extensively and so completely, that I wouldn't have changed very much at all. … It's college basketball. Mike Montgomery, Tubby Smith – two No. 1 seeds lost in the second round. People will say ‘What did you do wrong?' They didn't do anything wrong. They got beat. The other team had more fortunate bounces. For Mike Montgomery to go through a magical season … and to lose like that is gut wrenching. I've talked to him and I've talked to Tubby. It's just college basketball and we as coaches do put a lot of thought process into it and when people say ‘If coach had done this' that's so overrated it's ridiculous. If you're that much smarter than the other guy you'd never be in that predicament anyway."
You said on your radio show Monday night that you felt you had to coach effort a lot this season …
"I thought I was required to and it's something I'm not comfortable with. The kids understood it more and more as the season went on. I'm not saying we have bad kids. You go through two years where things aren't going very well and you're going to start looking for ways to get a pat on the back and it's been a tough two years for them. You ask Jawad and Jackie and those guys and it hasn't been what they thought it would be. And so all of a sudden in comes this guy who is demanding about team play and human nature is you start to think about yourself. That's not to say they are bad kids. Until you learn and experience winning on a big scale, you really don't know what it is. It's a process.
"Somebody asked Jackie about when the team bought into it and he said he thought it was the night before Air Force and that's unfortunate because that's not what he intended. . What he was talking about was that they shaved their heads and the team was the most important thing. It was a situation of buying into it and enjoying themselves as a team.
"You always have to [coach effort] some, but it won't be a problem next year."
Personnel wise, are you comfortable with the direction the team is going?
"Am I comfortable with it? No, I'd like to have bigger people and more of them. I'm hoping that next year we will have that. When Marvin gets here that gives us another player with size who is very gifted. Sean and Jawad and the guys that were here this year they will be better and understand the whole philosophy more. So, am I comfortable? No, but I'm going to be a heck of a lot more comfortable than I was this year. And Sean's health was such a huge question mark … I'll be more comfortable … At Texas, Rick Barnes was really comfortable with his four guys at 6-9, 235 or better plus P.J. Tucker coming in so he had five legitimate post players. We're going to get to that point, even though it is harder nowadays with size because everyone who has to stoop to walk in the door thinks they're going to be an NBA player."
With the recruits coming in, too, have you thought about how much more versatile you'll be and closer to the depth you want?
"We'll be much closer in terms of depth and talented depth. I think it always helps when you truly only have to coach three or four guys on every possession in every practice … this year we felt like we had to coach every player on every possession. That familiarity right there is going to make them that much more comfortable."
Will you work them harder next year?
"You do get more comfortable with the kids and they get more comfortable with you. I'll be more demanding, there's no question about that. It's easier to be more demanding after you get to know someone and after you've been through a season. I think the biggest reason I can say it more confidently is because we'll have more talented bodies and more people who can play the philosophy I like to play. This year it was hard … if Sean doesn't run back as hard as I want him to run back, my options are more limited than they'll be next year. If Raymond doesn't run back as fast as I want, we have no other true point guards in the whole program, so what are my choices? Next year Wes [Miller] will be eligible and we'll have Quinton [Thomas] coming in. Sometimes kids not playing as many minutes can be more effective. It's not necessary to use the bench to get through to a kid … but sometimes kids playing fewer minutes can perform at a higher level."
Was this a good passing team?
"It was not a very good passing team and it wasn't a bad passing team. We averaged 15.4 turnovers per game and I'd like for us to play at a faster pace and still have no more turnovers than that. In order to do that you need more practice. It was not a very good passing team and I think you can improve that. I think you can improve the fundamentals of passing and catching. The fundamentals of judgement is something that has to be worked on every single day. And I hope we do play next year at a faster pace. I think we backed off the last 8-10 games more than I wanted us to and looking back I wish we hadn't."
Have you gotten a chance to talk to JamesOn Curry and his family and what are the set of circumstances where he wouldn't be able to attend North Carolina?
"I have talked to them, but I still don't think we're at a point where a decision or announcement needs to be made."
What's Damion Grant injury status and could he qualify for a medical hardship?
"I don't know if I would go that far, but I know it's an extreme concern. The young man has been here two years and he hasn't been healthy enough to play yet. There were five practices this year that he went through the entire practice. We had 88 practices, eight or 10 of which were run and shooting practices."
What if any schools have you talked to on behalf of Matt Doherty?
"I think he has tremendous qualities to get back into it. I have not spoken to any particular schools. I have spoken to two people about Matt, and that's for me and them. There's no question I'm going to recommend him but I'm not going to say. If someone calls me and asks me to do a recommendation for him, I do it if I decide if it is what I want to do. I do it, but I don't tell everybody what it is. I'm not trying to be secretive. I think he should be back in coaching and I think he'll do very well."
Do you expect to or have you already counseled Rashad [McCants] and Raymond [Felton] on their NBA draft status?
"I'm meeting individually with the players Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. If those discussions need to take place, then they will be done. As I said the other night, I fully believe that we will have everybody back. I've said many, many times that if I believe someone is going to be in the top six or eight picks, I have zero problems with that. But to hear someone say he should go if he would be drafted in the first round; that's not very bright. But that's just my opinion. If the guy's drafted with the last pick, that's two-and-half million dollars. Taxes are going to take half of that, so now you've got one-and-a-quarter million dollars. Then if you're going to buy three cars, two mink coats and six houses, then two years later you're in debt two million dollars. Just to say anyone who can be drafted in the first round, in my opinion, that's not a good thing. Drew Gooden has got 10 million dollars; he was the fourth pick in the draft. With 10 million dollars, if guys do what they're supposed to do, that's enough to take them all the way out."
On reports – newspapers, Sports Illustrated – that Marvin Williams is the top kid coming out of high school:
"Nobody is mentioning him as the top kid. I know who the top kid is."
OK, as one of them …
"I'm not trying to get on you guys, but if everybody would stop and leave it alone… But everybody keeps writing about it and that just fuels it to be asked again and again. I truly believe that Marvin Williams will be at the University of North Carolina next year. If that changes, then I'll say I was wrong. But I believe here is a kid that wants to be a kid and go to college. I'll give you this scenario: The NBA people told me Kirk Heinrich and Nick Collison would be drafted between 20th and 29th in the first round, and at that time, you don't know which European or foreign players are going to come. So I told both those guys, if you enjoy college you ought to stay and play your senior year, because you can advance yourself a great deal. Kirk Heinrich moved up to seventh and Nick Collison moved up to 12th. That was a bright thing for them to do. Tim Duncan had one of the greatest lines: ‘Why should I do now what I will be better prepared to do a year from now?' But I can say all of those things and it can be legitimate, but that's not what everybody wants to hear. Everybody wants to know, ‘Is he going to the NBA?' I have no idea. I've told you what I think, and to be honest, I'm getting tired of telling you. It's something that keeps coming up, and if he does go to the NBA, then you can say that Ol' Roy didn't know what he was talking about. Then I'll look back and tell you that was what I thought; and I do have the right to think."
Didn't [former Kansas recruit] Deshawn Stevenson surprise you [when he went pro right out of high school]?
"I told him to go. I took him by surprise, because I went into his home and told him I thought he should go. Again, it's an individual situation. Everyone who is in an NBA situation, should do what is the best situation for that young man. There were some extenuating circumstances with Deshawn. If you look the literature up, you'll see that Roy Williams surprised him when I told him I thought he should go to the NBA. But it's something I'm not going to tell all you guys about, because it's an individual situation."
When did you start noticing that being something people couldn't stop talking about?
"I would say it's gotten more dominant in that last two or three years. When Moses [Malone] did it, everybody started saying this was the second coming of Moses and it would never be done again. But since Kobe [Bryant] and Kevin Garnett and all those guys, it has gotten to be the more dominant part of the conversation. There are also some Lenny Cookes out there…Korleone Young, Ousmanne Cisse – he played against us in an exhibition game and he was even drafted. Those were some pretty doggone good players, but nobody talks about them. They don't think about that when you're at that age when you think you're invincible and you're going to be Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. But again, I have no problem…if I think a kid is going to be in the top six or eight picks…I mean, he can become financially secure. I told Paul Pierce and Drew Gooden they were ready to go to the NBA and they had my blessings and I was ecstatic when they went. I do not believe we have anybody right yet that will be drafted in that top six or eight. I do not think that every high school kid should think he's ready to go to the NBA just because he scored once. I scored two points in an ACC freshman game; I was ready. I had one guy tell me, ‘Coach, I'm thinking about going to the League.' And I asked him, ‘What league, the professional bowlers league?' I stopped recruiting that guy, too. I think it's harmful to our league, because the NBA is not easy."
On this summer's plans after the Olympics and will you be tired?
"I don't think I will have a problem with that. There have been years when I've been absolutely worn out and said I need a break. Right now, I'm absolutely worn out, but I also want to start over again. I would like to start next year's team with the feeling that this year's team has right now; with the knowledge and experience that this year's team has. I don't want any of that to be lost over the summer. The Olympic thing is going to be pretty concentrated for about six weeks, and when I get back, about eight days later, the fall recruiting period starts."
What was it like coaching with Larry [Brown]?
"It was fantastic being with Coach [Larry] Brown, Gregg Popovich, Oliver Purnell…I loved that part of it. It was the most fun working with that caliber of an athlete and having them be that hungry to learn and willing to adapt to what you were doing. In '92, when I went to the opening ceremonies of the World University Games and they showed the American flag, when we walked through there it was the thrill of my life. I'm really looking forward to it. I hate looking on SportsCenter and seeing that Jason Kidd's knee is bothering him, Jermaine O'Neal's knee got injured or that Tim Duncan sat out some games, because I want our team to be good."