UNC-IU Postgame Locker Room Report

<i>Inside Carolina</i>'s J.B. Cissell spoke to Jason Capel, Melvin Scott, Jawad Williams, and Kris Lang in the UNC locker room following the 79-66 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers at the Dean Smith Center on Wednesday night.

Jason Capel

What's the feeling in the locker room? There were some positive things tonight, yet you're 0-3 where you guys never thought you'd be.

"I think a lot of guys grew up out there tonight. I thought they gave a great effort. We just came up on the short end of the stick. I think we definitely have some positives to build on. We just have to get better.

"We really can't think about the 0-3 start. We can't worry about what's happening. We got better tonight, and we're going to get better. As the team progresses, we'll be a better team. We have to build on tonight."

You scrambled after loose balls, forced turnovers, got rebounds, yet you had a hard time hitting shots, especially from the outside. What do you do if teams zone you?

"We've got to keep practicing. It's funny—we're hitting them in practice. They're just not going our way in the game. We're playing pretty well defensively, and they hit some tough shots tonight. When we start making shots, we're going to be a pretty tough team. We're not going to miss them forever. Shots are going to go in, and when they do, we'll be clicking on all cylinders.

Do you think you played better as a team tonight?

"Definitely. I think we played better. I think the young guys did a good job. I think we had more fun out there and played with more of a passion. That's something that we have to get back to and we have to build upon. We can't worry about our record right now. The only thing we can worry about is getting better every day, and I think everybody in here is willing to do that and is going to do that."

It looks like Melvin continues to get better.

"Melvin's getting better. He's getting a lot better. I think we've found our point guard now. I think Melvin is the guy. He's shown a lot of poise, a lot of confidence. We just have to be confident in him as a team. Melvin has done a good job the past two games."


Melvin Scott

You, Jackie, and Jawad are in a unique situation in that a lot of freshmen basketball players who play at Carolina have been able to contribute while letting the upperclassmen pull the weight of the team, but you guys are feeling that weight this year and almost have to perform. What are your thoughts on that? It's sort of a baptism of fire out there, isn't it?

"I think it's tough with us being freshmen coming in and having the weight on our shoulders, but we knew coming in what the team lost last year—some key players—so we knew what we were getting ourselves into. It's a little pressure, but we have to grow up."

You made some mistakes tonight, but the sun will come up tomorrow. How do you build and improve?

"Coach emphasized that despite the loss, we grew up. We're going to watch tape and learn from the mistakes. We knew we turned the ball over too much, but we'll learn from this. We learn from every game."

I noticed that several times Coach Doherty called the play "44-P." It looks like you've got that down, with either taking the shot or finding the big guy. Is that a play that you like?

"I think that's a great play, because I can normally beat my man and find the big fella coming over or the opposite wing coming up, and I think that's a good play."

I know you played more two-guard in high school, but didn't you play more point as a senior?

"No, but it was like déjà vu. My freshman year in high school, I was asked to play the point because we had scorers and things like that. For the other years I played two. This is just another chapter in my book, my story. I have to adapt. It's nothing new. It's just something that I have to get used to and grow into."

So not are you having to adjust to college basketball, but you're having to learn a new position?

"It's a whole new position. It's a tougher level. There are great point guards in college basketball. It's tough, but I'm not saying it's too tough for me. I'm going to give it a try."


Jawad Williams

What's it been like making the adjustment from high school to college basketball?

"For me, I think it's pretty easy, but sometimes you just have to wait until your opportunity comes. Until then, you just have to wait."

Has it been frustrating for you?

"Yes, very frustrating. I'm not used to anything like this. I never have, and I've just got to wait."

What part, specifically, is frustrating for you?

"Just sitting out there and watching your team lose is frustrating. I hate losing, and I don't want to have to go through that again."

I think that's something that the UNC coaching staff saw in you three freshmen—that you hate to lose. How will that pay off in the long run?

"Just having pride always takes your play up another level. You don't want to get beat on defense. You don't want to miss a shot. It makes you play a little bit harder."

What would you say is the hardest part of adjustment for you?

"Adjusting to the intensity of the basketball game. In high school, there were times when you slacked off. In college, it's a constant fast pace at all times. You have to be on your toes at all times."

Kris Lang

How different is the feeling after this game as opposed to the other two games?

"Believe it or not, this team gained a lot of confidence tonight. Even though we came up with the 'L' and we're 0-3, we came up with a lot of confidence. Teams might look at our record and say '0-3, they're nothing.' They're going to take us lightly. We're going to play hard every night. We might not come up with the win, but we're going to play hard."

So are you underdogs now?

"If that's what you want to consider us, go ahead. I like that. I love it."

What's going on with all the turnovers?

"That's just learning to be calm, be patient, and not try to have the knock-out blow in one possession. We've just got to be patient. They're learning. Just calm down. The fans get into it, but you just have to stay calm. Right now, we're still learning, and we're going to get it. I'm not worried."

You've admitted to being a jokester, but tonight you had a serious look on your face the entire game. Where did that come from?

"You have to show that as part of the leadership. Coach has been getting on me a little bit about not talking and showing any kind of emotion. My emotion tonight was just showing toughness, just showing that I'm going out to play hard."


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