Roy Williams Q&A (w/audio)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams spoke to reporters on Tuesday from the Smith Center in advance of the Tar Heels' Big Ten Challenge match-up with No. 1/3 Ohio State. Read and listen to what he had to say.

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Part I (12:20)
Part II (12:08)

On the match-up with Ohio State -

If you can't get excited about playing Ohio State with the success that they've had for many, many years – and with the success that Thad [Matta] has had, then you can't get excited about anything. We struggled a little in New York going 1-1 up there, but it wasn't a very pleasant night on either one of them from a coaching standpoint. But these are the games that I do get excited about. That's what the kids work every day for, and that's what the coaches think about sitting there trying to decide which guys can play for us and which guys can't because you're trying to determine who can do a good job for you in a big game.

What's troubled you the most in these first five games?

It's a little bit on the defensive end of the floor. We're still not doing a good job covering the dribble penetration and that's allowing so many open threes. I think we're going to be a very good defensive team, but I think also the toughness and the competitiveness with young kids haven't jumped in there just yet like last year's group. We've got off to a pretty good start with having that toughness – the work ethic to do it for 35 seconds and to not give in. I think that's something we've got to acquire, and I think we will.

On why last year's team with so many freshmen were able to buy into the defensive philosophy so well -

Give me the sons of coaches, because they understand those things so much easier and quicker. They've sat around the dining room table and talked about discipline and sacrifice and how important those things are.

Do you think the anticipation of Greg Oden vs. Tyler Hansbrough is why this game was scheduled?

I told our staff last January that when the ACC-Big Ten Challenge came around this year we would play Ohio State, because I think because of recruiting classes the expectations people are going to have for both teams. I wish Greg were playing. People are going to say, ‘Yeah right,' but I really wish he were. Again, he's such a marvelous young man. He genuinely enjoys his teammates and playing. I recruited him a little bit in high school. I wasn't as smart as Thad. Thad pushed harder and did a better job, thinking that something might happen and they would go to college for a year.

What are the qualities of a good leader on the court?

The toughness, the focus on the game, the ability to avoid the distractions of how you're doing on the court or to avoid the distractions that referee may give you. It's a single-mindedness of the purpose of the game. So far – I'm not going to say I'm disappointed – but we haven't had anybody step forward and do those kind of things. We had David Noel last year. I've had some great leaders. Raymond Felton's toughness will stand with me forever. Sean May's confidence will stand with me forever. Jacque Vaughn's intelligence and toughness and focus…Jared Hasse – those will stand with me forever. David Noel did a good as job as anybody. Even when he struggled for four or five games, he never lost focus of trying to be the leader of that team. That was a pleasure to be around. We need those guys to step up. With David it was easy, because he was the only senior that was going to play, so it was his job from Day One. We need a leader that will develop that way, instead of just the coach saying, ‘You're the leader.'

Can an underclassman be that type of leader?

Uh-huh. I don't think there's any question. Even Raymond and Sean were underclassmen. Jacque and Jared were great leaders for many years. Nick Collison was a somewhat of a leader his freshman year. No, I think underclassmen can do it, but it's just a little more difficult for them. And then the upperclassmen have to realize it's not infringing on their turf.

On Reyshawn Terry's potential as a leader -

I wouldn't say I'm disappointed. I'm waiting to see it develop better, there's no question about it. He's struggled himself. Reyshawn has had one sensational half, and the rest of the time it's been OK or below average for him. So I fully expect he'll start playing better as each game goes along. I'm expecting it; I'm dreaming of it; whatever terminology you want to put in there.

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