Quotes: Stepheson Press Conference

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. --- Alex Stepheson announced Tuesday afternoon his decision to become a Tar Heel. Inside Carolina provides the full transcript of what Stepheson said at the press conference in Harvard-Westlake's auditorium ...

Opening Remarks

"I want to thank everybody for coming out and supporting me and all. Thank you Coach Barnum for that introduction. It's been a very exciting and challenging journey for me, but I know that I have made the right decision. Before going further I would like to thank a few people for supporting me during my career. First I want to thank Coach Hilliard, Coach Fecske, Coach Engelberg and Coach Klein. You guys supported me on and off the court. Coach Fecske, you took me to "In N' Out" after practice. I want to thank Coach D[urand] wherever he is, my strength and conditioning coach. He's done a great job helping me get stronger and more athletic and everything.

"I want to thank my teammates, pushing me every day in practice, helping my game to get stronger and better. And finally I would like to thank my teachers who have helped me out academically when basketball would try to get in the way of my academics. And to the students, the Fanatics, you guys are great to play in front of. I would like to thank my family, my parents, for always believing in me and my dreams and all that. Especially my dad, who has spent a little time with me in the backyard teaching me how to play the game. All my accomplishments are due to you. I would like to thank my sisters, going and acting crazy at the games, always ready to fight someone who said anything bad about me.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to play at a great college program. I'm excited to play at college and be under the guidance of a great coach, who will motivate me to work hard and hopefully get to the next level some day. But right now my main goal is to win CIF and win state this year and put another banner up there [wall of gym].

"So I think that I am ready for the best opportunity, and I have decided to attend the University of North Carolina."

How he made the choice:

"Basically I went to bed last night with four schools in my head: North Carolina, UConn, UCLA and Georgia Tech. It came down to where my heart is. Basically I went to sleep with the four schools in my head, prayed before I went to bed, and I woke up with North Carolina, and that is where I went."

What is it about North Carolina that made you want to go there?

"Great academics, Coach Williams is a great coach, great teammates, I know all the players and everybody, and we have great chemistry and all that."

When did you let the coaches know about your decision?

"About 45 minutes ago. I called all the coaches and let them know."

About Roy Williams and UNC:

"Roy Williams is a great coach and I think he will develop me to my maximum capabilities. It's not just basketball; I also liked the school at North Carolina, if I wasn't playing basketball. I like the program there, Roy is a great guy, I spoke with him and he was very straight forward, very truthful, I talked to him about what he expects from me next year and I'm excited to give him what he wants."

About next year:

"I'm going to try and give [Coach Williams] what he wants. A new pressure to improve my game and step up to the challenge of playing at North Carolina is definitely there. I need to get stronger and just work on my overall skills and all that. Coach told me that I was going to have to earn my minutes in practice and come in and work hard. He told me to come with the expectation of working and competing every day. He didn't promise me any definite starting role (laughs) -- that would have been nice though (laughs)."

About his senior season:

"I'm going to enjoy my senior year here, and I want to go out with a state championship. I know that's hard with being at California, but it's definitely going to be tough, but I'm going to have a lot of fun. I'm excited about this year. We're working hard to win it this year."

On what he is going to improve on:

"I'm definitely going to need to get stronger. When I took these trips and played with those guys I could play with them but I still need to improve my strength."

About the decision:

"It hasn't really been on my mind that long, I just made the decision last night. I had four schools and it was tough, because some schools had some things that others didn't, but I think I made the best decision I could make by going to North Carolina. UCLA, Georgia Tech and UConn all had good programs and academics and all that, but my heart was just at North Carolina."

On the Carolina tradition:

"You start thinking about all those great players that played there over the years and it becomes an honor knowing you'll be a part of that history soon. … "I feel [this recruiting class] can be a great team and continue the Carolina winning tradition."

More on why he chose UNC:

"I'm excited about the opportunity to play under a great coach and for a great program. I feel we can be a great team and continue the Carolina winning tradition. … In my heart, I felt North Carolina was the best fit for me. I liked the academic support, the chance to grow into a better player and I always dreamed of wearing that Carolina Blue uniform and playing in the Dean Smith Center."


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