"First of all I just want to thank the University (of North Carolina) for giving me the opportunity to come and play basketball here and get an education at such a fine university. I will cherish all my moments here. I love it here. The people here are great. I want to thank Coach (Roy Williams) for everything that he's done for me - teaching me, instilling a work ethic in me. I really didn't know the talent I had, and when he came here he brought that out. We sat down and talked about it and I got a lot better. With that statement, today is a day of mixed emotions for me. Today is the end of something great and the beginning of something new, and I've had a wonderful career here. I will always remember every moment. This year has been unbelievable. The guys I came here with - Raymond, Rashad, Byron, Debo (Damion Grant), David Noel - we became brothers overnight. I thank Coach (Dean) Smith and Coach (Phil) Ford for being the only two people that I knew when I came here, and they never turned their back on me. They treated me like I was their son. Coach Ford was there every step of the way for me. With that, I'm going to announce that I'm going to make my decision to put my name in the NBA Draft. I'm not giving up my education, I'm just giving up my college eligibility. With that, today is a special day for me and my family. It's a situation that I've been looking forward to."
"I want to start off by thanking the University (of North Carolina) for giving me a scholarship to play basketball here and to also get an education. It's been wonderful. There have been a lot of tough times and there has been a lot of great times - especially winning a national championship this year. It's been wonderful. It's been a dream come true, and it was a dream to come to this university. And it's tough with the decision I'm making today, but at the same time it's been wonderful. I just want to start off by thanking God for everything. I thank my coaches and teammates. Without them I wouldn't have been able to do this. I want to thank Coach Williams just for making me better as a basketball player and for giving me a better IQ. I definitely want to thank my teammates. We've been through a lot together, especially the junior class and the seniors. We accomplished a lot also winning a national championship this year. I want to announce that I'm going into the (NBA) Draft this year, but like Sean I'm not giving up my college degree, I'm just giving up my year of eligibility. I will come back and get my diploma."
"First I would like to thank God for the opportunity to just be here right now. It's been such a blessing to play at this university. I want to thank Coach Williams for being such a big blessing in my life, and such a great coach. He's also a great person, and we've had a lot of good times together. I want to thank this university for also giving me a chance to attend school here. I will be back to get my education, but I think it's best for me and my family if I enter my name into the NBA Draft also."
"I think sitting up here as the head coach, you have different emotions - there's no question. It's a hard day to be the basketball coach at the University of North Carolina and for our program. But it's a great day to be the head coach of these three youngsters. It's a fantastic day for them, and that means it's a fantastic day for me. It's sad because I'm not going to have the chance to coach them. It's a hard day for this basketball program. It's losing three great young men and great ambassadors for this university who are great players. But again it's a very happy day, because each youngster has different dreams. These three youngsters have dreams of being NBA players, and they also had dreams of winning a national championship. And that dream of winning a national championship, they were able to attain that, and now they are moving on. As Sean said, one stage was great, and now we're hoping that the other stage is great. As a coach, you are sad, but only because you're not going to get a chance to coach them any longer at this university. It's not a sad day in any other way. It's a happy day because you're always concerned about what's best for the individuals. What's best for each individual player is what I've always been concerned about and what I will be concerned about until the day I stop coaching. It's a thrill for me. We stayed in the office a couple extra minutes, and I told them that it's a fantastic day, a dream come true. They're going to be able to do things for their families that they can't do while they're college basketball players. And they just won the national championship, so that stage of their life they will always remember. They'll have a banner up in this building, and that is big. They'll have great memories. Before the national championship game, in the locker room, I said, "Last year you saw that at least four of the five starters from the ‘57 team came back. Those guys always look for an excuse to have a party, and that's what you guys have a chance to do as well. Because five years from now, ten years from now, twenty five years from now, the 2005 University of North Carolina basketball team will still be recognized as national champions. These three guys right here - the MVP, the motor that started everything, and the little puppy dog rookie that got the big tip that put us up 72-70. I've coached a lot of great youngsters, and these three right here are at the top of the list."
On when they made the decision:
"It did cross my mind this fall that I would have the chance to look into it if I had a good game in the tournament. I think there are positives to coming back next year. I sat down with Coach (Williams) a couple days after we got back and discussed with him my thoughts and where everything was, and he told me his thoughts about everything. I told you guys all along, if there's a very good chance that if I could be a top 15 pick, it's something that I just can't turn down. I've enjoyed playing with Raymond so much. With him being gone, it was key to me. We've done so many great things in these relationships that we've grown together. Rashad and I, we're like brothers. Everything felt right. I came to the North Carolina basketball program to get back to the top five, and I did that. We talked about winning a national championship, and we did that. For me, these relationships right now knowing that I was going to try to get some of these guys to come back and try to come back myself. At the end of the day we are doing what's best for ourselves and our families. Just sitting down with Coach Williams, my father and my mother discussing my future, (we decided) the best thing for me to do was to go to the NBA."
On if they're happy with their decision:
"I'm always happy. It's happy day and it's a sad day. If you had a chance to hang around Coach Williams on a daily basis, it's such a blessing to know him. It's sad because I'm not playing for him (anymore). He's such a great coach. I love being around him. I love it so much playing at this university. I love my teammates and my classmate Quentin Thomas. That's my guy, so to leave him next year will be tough. Just the team and this university, it's nice to be here so it is a sad day. I mean it's happy, a happy time for all of us (as well)."
"It is a sad moment. It was a dream come true to come here. To leave this place it's tough, but at the same time this is what's best for me."
"For me, this place opened its arms to me after leaving Indiana. I was really nervous about the situation I was in, but the community around here supported me and supported my decision and gave me a place to call home. And I can always see myself coming back and living here for a long, long time. I love Chapel Hill. I love the University of North Carolina. I'm grateful for the memories that they have given me, and I will forever cherish that. For me it is a day of mixed emotions because of that. At the same time, I've decided to do something to help better my life and my family's life and to live out a dream that I've had since age six."
On how long Marvin Williams thought he would he stay when he first came to North Carolina
"When I came here I didn't have a timetable on what I wanted to do. I just wanted to come here, work hard, learn as much as I could about basketball, meet people, and go to school. I was blessed to have a great season. We won a national championship. I was blessed to play with great players. I feel like my time is up in college, and it's time for me to do other things. So I didn't have a timetable."
On if the price paid for success (losing so many players) is worth it:
"It's worth it. You used two words to define worth -- finances and effort. I've never had to be concerned about either one of those. The athletic director and the business managers - they're job is to worry about the finances. The effort is pretty is easy for me because I love what I'm doing and I want to coach the best kids, ideally, for us to be the best team that we can possibly. Is it worth it? There's no question in my mind. And I will say this. It's easier to be sitting up here after we won the national championship. (But) it would have been worth it if we hadn't won. I loved coaching all three of these youngsters. If you had told me that we were going to be really successful, and that's all you said - but that I was going to be able to coach these guys one more year - I would take that."
On losing seven players:
"It's college basketball, it is what it is. I can't change the rules, and I'm not so sure I would change the rules because this is America. Kids ought to be able to do things that they really dream about doing. We are losing our top seven players. At the same time, David Noel, Reyshawn Terry and Quentin Thomas played major minutes for us this year. They better step their game up to challenge those (other) returning players. I still say we're going to show up every day, play as hard as we can and see if we can get any production. It's hard, but the day that I try to put what's best for our program in front of what's best for the individual is the day that I'm not doing my job as coach."
On what the NBA likes about each player:
"The first thing (the NBA) likes is that they're all very good all-around basketball players. Marvin - lively body, the ability to do things out on the court and the power to do things inside; great feet - slides his feet well and can play defense on the perimeter guy. Raymond - the ability to push the ball and to establish the pace of the game on the offensive end; power to penetrate with and not just get bumped off his stride and not be able to finish a play; his ability to guard the basketball out on the court; the ability to make everyone around him better. Sean - he has some of the greatest hands if not the greatest hands of anybody I've ever seen; his ability to rebound the basketball against some weird guys in the NBA will (help him) last him a long time. The (players with) funky hair and all kinds of stuff -- the only thing they can do is rebound. And Sean can do a lot more than just rebound the basketball. Rebounding the basketball with his hands; his ability to score on people inside is something that (NBA scouts) do really love (about him). Everybody that you talk to in the NBA -- when it's big games, big time players play - and that's the kind of guys that they want. And these three guys all stepped it up in the NCAA Tournament."
On what it will be like playing against each other next year:
"That will definitely be funny. It's going to be fun next year. We're going to enjoy it. No matter what we're going to love one another and we're going to embrace on another, and we will always be in touch no matter what. We all know that once we step on the court it's all about business. But when we leave the court it's all love."
"We'll still be talking, hanging out. I think that that chemistry have with each other is something that my dad had with his teammates in ‘76. It's amazing, the camaraderie that that you have when you play on a team."
"We're all going to stay in touch. We're still going to get to see each other and follow others career. I have no problem playing against these guys as long as I don't guard them -- Raymond, Sean, or Rashad."
On how they want to be remembered (beyond winning a championship):
"I want them to remember me as a person who showed everyone love. I never turned a kid down for an autograph. I'm a genuine person. I'll talk to anyone. Even when you see students that are scared to say something to me, I take the initiative to say something to them. I just want them to remember me as a genuine person."
"I want the fans to remember all of us as young men who came into a program and represented this program to the best of their ability, and did it in the right fashion. When we leave this program, (I hope) they see as men going into the real world and getting jobs for ourselves. I'd just like them to remember us as great people that represented this university in the right way."
"And they should be remembered as guys who turned something around from what it was four years ago when everybody was complaining and everybody was crying. What these guys did with the help of Jawad, Jackie, Melvin, Rashad, these guys here as a group gave us a huge turnaround - one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball."