Media Day: Players Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina's returning players talked to reporters on Thursday during Media Day at the Smith Center. Read and listen to what they had to say...

(Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen to the audio, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.)


PART I (11:23)
PART II (11:10)

After the incredible season last year, how do you match or top that?

"I was thinking about that. I think this year is a new season for me. I'm just going to keep last year behind me and start over with nothing. The one goal we have assumed is just try to win everything possible."

How long did it take to get the George Mason game behind you?

"I think that everybody on our team still has that in the back of their minds. If you don't play your best one game, you're done for the rest of the season and the tournament. That motivated us over the summer to work very hard."

On summer workouts -

"Over the summer I stayed here over all of summer, took some classes and worked with our strength coach Jonas [Sahratian] a lot. On the court I really tried to work on my jump shot and try to add some more to my post moves.

On the hype of this season -

"It just comes with playing at Carolina. Seeing all these guys in here, the only way to really handle it is just by experience."

On your training -

"I don't think I tried to add an enormous amount of weight. I put on five pounds. The main goal over this summer was to try and get more explosive and quicker. Work on my quickness guarding defenders and getting off the floor."

What type of drills?

"We did a lot of ladder drills, a lot of slides and a lot of explosive lifts like power cleans."

On this year's chemistry with the freshmen –

"The chemistry is going real well. That's the kind of question that everybody is asking me. When they got here over the summer just like any freshmen, they're nervous about knowing what to expect. We all really gelled and we're pulling together. We've been playing pickup ever since the summer. I think practice will be smooth. I don't thing there's going to be any arguing or anything like that."

On Deon Thompson, Brandan Wright and Alex Stepheson -

"Brandon is very long, with long arms and he's really tall. He can do a lot of things. He's got good post moves. He can shoot the 10-footer – the close jump shot. He can run the floor well. Deon is a scorer with a lot of moves inside. He can do a lot of things. Alex is a really good shot blocker and good defensively."

On their competitiveness -

"They all pretty much challenged and were competitive."

With the new depth, is it possible you might play the four position some?

"That's a possibility. Anytime I can play the four, I'm still planning to be the five most of the time."

On working to develop the jump shot –

"I worked on it a lot. That was one of my main goals over the summer, not just the baseline but all around the perimeter."

On Tywon Lawson's quickness –

"He's really quick. A lot of people compare him to Raymond Felton. His quickness is similar. He really pushes the ball well. He'll fit in right away with the fast-paced game that we play."

Do you miss underdog role?

"Definitely. That's the role that I love to have. This year is totally different. Last year everyone counted us out and we had to make a statement to everybody. It's totally different. I don't think last year anybody would have us top five in the preseason. But we're still going to approach it the same way. We're still going to work really hard."

On why he came back for his sophomore season -

"There are a lot of things I wanted to accomplish as a team. Individually I had a good year. I talked to coach, and we thought there were a lot of things I could get better at individually. I'd like to go a little farther in the tournament. And plus, I really like school. I really enjoy North Carolina and going to school every day."


On the changed expectations this year -

"I think it's different [being a favorite], and change is good - we like that, being on top, the bullseye. It's different, but hopefully we can stay on top and show everyone we belong."

On working with Tywon [Lawson] -

"We're having fun together. When we're on the same team we click, we're both pushing the ball real fast - whoever gets it, we're going. Everyone's worried about chemistry, but I don't see anything like that being a problem at all. Everyone's here to win national championships and I don't think anything like that will get in our way."


On the team's depth -

"Carolina basketball has always been know for its elite players and I think when you're at this level, you've got basketball savvy players who will mesh together well."

On handling expectations -

"With the whole expectations things, when we get together before the season starts, we just all have to understand what we expect of each other and ourselves and find the best way to achieve our goals as a team. Not be worried about what anyone else is expecting us to do, but just tell these young guys that we have something we're trying to do as a team and this is what we have to do to get to that point."


On this season's goals -

"Our goal always, every year is to win a national championship. Coach Williams hates to lose and so does everyone else on this team."

On the team's depth -

"Everybody's going to have to fight for their playing time, but I know everybody is going to play and everyone has talent. Coach Williams wants to have us score more points this year, so we're going to be running a lot and subbing in and out a lot."


On Tyler Hansbrough's improved jumpshot -

"His 15-foot jump shot all around the perimeter has improved dramatically. He's shooting the ball great - in pickup he's just catching facing up, anywhere out to 15 feet he looks great. He's added another dimension to his game and that'll make him that much harder to stop. ... It was impossible to guard him one-on-one last year and it'll be even tougher this year. They'll need to bring double teams and this team has a lot of other guys that can hurt you as well."

On the excitement at seeing the talented freshmen coming in -

"It's exciting because you look around during pickup games and you just see how talented this team is and how deep it is. You can't help but think about the things that could be and we have really high goals because of all the things that could be."


On the new uniforms -

"It's a new fit for us and I think it's interesting to see. I like it, a lot of guys are complaining about it, but it's a new look and a new year. ... The seniors know what we're going to get before anyone else, so I knew we'd get these - I like it, though I don't know about anybody else."

On stepping into David Noel's shoes as a leader on this team -

"I'm my own guy so I feel like my leadership is going to be different from his and what I bring to the team is different than what Dave brought last year. It's going to be challenging for me but I know my teammates will help me as well as I'll help them."


Talent-wise is this team comparable to the 2005 team?

"I think so, and I say that because of the depth of talent we have on this team and we have more big men. We have a lot of talent all over."

On enjoying the style of play -

"It's definitely fun. There's nothing wrong with halfcourt offense, but at the same time it's so much fun to run, especially with guys who are so athletic. When you have Reyshawn Terry on one side, and look to your left and have someone like Brandan Wright or Tyler Hansbrough, it just makes it so much more fun."

Inside Carolina Top Stories