East-West: William Graves Q&A

GREENSBORO, N.C. --- William Graves' 24-point, 9-rebound performance earned him MVP honors at the East-West All-Star Game on Monday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. Read his full postgame interview with the media ...

It seems like you kind of got into a rhythm eventually out there--
It was just fun. As usual, I'm a big kid and like to go out there and have fun. That's what I did -- I was at the playground.

Since they split the team up evenly between everyone, how hard was it to come out here and do what you did?
It wasn't hard - it was an all-star game. Every person in the game was able to make it. And they proved that they can be here. And it was nice that everyone got an even amount to play. I was just fine, I took the minutes coach gave me and I did what I could do with it.

Talk a little bit about winning (MVP) honors, the same thing your teammate Kevin Swinton did last year. Do you feel like you're following in his footsteps a little bit?
Swinton's a very good player. I try to be my own player myself. He's a great player in his game and I'm an all right player in my game.

What does the honor mean to you?
I don't know. It's just the game of basketball and I love playing the game of basketball. It means a lot, I really appreciate it and I take whatever comes to me.

How about that alley-oop pass you threw from half court and went in by mistake?
I guess I just have a touch for the basket, I don't know [laughs]. I really wasn't trying to make it. I was just trying to throw where I would like it, I know I like it around the rim. I guess it just went in the rim.

Moments later you got to do that reverse 360 …
I just wanted to hear a couple of "ooh's." I didn't get a dunk yet, so I thought it was my time to do something.

Senior year -- state title, state player of the year and now MVP of this game. Did it go as you dreamed?
And then you've got to add to add Tar Heel at the end, because that was my biggest dream of all.

You've already had a chance to play with some Tar Heels. What do you have to report from the pickup games at the Dean Dome?
Everyone is great. I love it.

Tell us about the players you're playing with now--
I'm playing with everyone. The returning players and the players come back and play. It's a great experience, you get better and everyone is out there doing their best and it's fun.

Name one player who has really stood out in your mind. Who has stood out the most?
It's too hard to decide when the games go back and forth. You don't win every game, you don't lose every game. It's just hard to decide.

Have you lost weight since you began conditioning at UNC?
I don't know. I haven't tried to weigh in yet. When I look in a mirror and see a real slim person, then I'll weigh in. [laughs]

Are you in summer school?
Yes sir. I started summer school June 18.

Has anybody surprised you so far in pickup?
Not really

Who has been the toughest one to guard?
I don't know. Everybody just brings something different to the table. You don't know what they are going to do and how they are going to do it, so you've just got to go out there and give it your best every time.

How are classes going? What are you taking?
Classes are great. I love school. Intro to African-American studies and an education class.

What are your expectations going into your freshman year at North Carolina?
To do everything that coach wants me to do and I expect everyone to play at 110 percent.

What kind of workouts does Jonas have you doing there?
Body weight workouts. Just trying to get ourselves in shape, learning the basics, so when the real season comes we'll know the basics to perform well – the fundamentals.

Did the coaches set any goals for you in terms of working out this summer?
Not really. If you just play hard, everything else will take care of itself if you do what coach says.

Freshmen against the returnees, has that happened yet in pickup? If so what was the result?
It happened one time, we lost by one. Then it happened again and we won. So we're tired up right now and we haven't done it again yet

How much had you spoken with the other players before you got to Chapel Hill?
Not a lot really, but we all had an understanding that we were good friends.

Anybody on the team stepping up as a leader this summer?
Wayne Ellington. He's very vocal, he works hard. Everyone works hard, but Wayne's more vocal.

Who are some of the alumni that have come back and played with you guys?
Jawad Williams, Shammond Williams, Antawn Jamison, David Noel, Jackie Manuel, Melvin Scott, Raymond Felton, Sean May.

In previous seasons the returning and former players made a big impact on the new guys giving them a lot of advice. What have they told you?
They come back and tell us what to expect, how to handle situations and just go out there and give it our best and everything else will take care of itself.

What would you say to North Carolina fans that are anxious about this coming season?
It's going to be a great season. I look forward to it.

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