UNC-EA Sports: Locker Room Report

Jawad Williams

Do you think your stats tonight indicate that you've improved since last season?

I don't think it reflects my improvement. You never know, the next game those stats could drop, but we still win, and I would care. My shot selection is better. That's one thing. I'm not taking those crazy shots I took last year. I'm being more patient.

How important was it for Sean to be in the line-up with his bulk?

Very important. He causes match-up problems. They couldn't help in the post. One-on-one, down low I think Sean can score on just about anybody. He can also step out and hit the three.

Have you been surprised at Sean's passing ability?

Nah. I saw him play in high school. I knew he was a skilled big man. He can pass the ball, shoot, rebound, whatever it takes.

It looks like this entire team can pass. Is that how you see it?

I think the big thing is that we are unselfish. We ge the ball to each other. Whoever has the hot hand can get on the ball. We hit the open man.

You seemed a little more willing to mix it up down low and to body-up your man, even when you shot fade-aways. Has the extra weight helped?

Yeah, but shooting the fade-away just comes to me. It's part of my game. I'm taller than most players, and I probably out-jump most players, so I used my athletic abilty to get my shot off.

Will Johnson

What is the biggest difference in Matt from when he first got to UNC?

He's still intense and extremely competitive, but he's getting more at ease with the players. I think he knows the players more because he recruited them. People say they are "His guys." I think he's getting more at home here. He's picking his spots more. He's maturing is the best way to say it, and it's great.

Looking back the loss in this game last year may have been a sign of things to come. What does it say that you guys beat a team that has won against some good college teams?

It says we can compete, but you have to strike a balance. You feel good about getting off on the right foot, you appreciate every win, especially against a good team. At the same time, we know we have work to do. We are young. We aren't ready to play ACC games yet. We have a ways to go, but it's a good first step.

What do you, as the veteran, say to the freshmen who didn't go through the 8-20 last year when you see something good and say "But..."?

Yeah. Even at halftime today, we were all like, "Don't let up!" We had a decent first half and we were up. We wanted to close it out. I'll never forget last year. As a competitive person, you don't ever forget that kind of thing. And you don't want to because you don't want it to happen again. I think guys understand that you can't let up and you can't have lulls. Hopefully, we can sustain that.

You haven't had any games yet, so if you are having a bad practice and things get tense, who is the jokester who lightens the mood?

If practice isn't going well, the jokester doesn't emerge. (Grinning) It's more of a collective effort to get back on track. But if you want a jokester, it's Melvin. Everybody knows that. He's a character. He's great You have to have guys like that on your team.

Jon Holmes

What's the difference in the feeling in the locker room this year compared to last year after the EA Sports game?

That's pretty obvious. It may only be an exhibition game, but it's a great start for us. Only five of us went through last year, so the other guys don't know what it was like last year. It's a much better feeling. I think we feel like we did some good things and got some things accomplished. We played hard all the way through, and it's exciting.

We still have things to work on, and we'll do that. We still have another week before Penn State and another exhibition game, so it's a great start.

Matt really seems genuinely excited. Is that fair to say?

I think we all are--especially after last year. When we are playing well and practice is going well, we are competitive and having fun, there definitely is an excitement. It's great to be able to come into the locker room, be able to joke and laugh and carry on and celebrate a win.

Is what we saw from Sean tonight indicative of what you see in practice?

Oh, yeah. Sean's a great player. Having grown up with Sean from elementary school, I've seen his development, and he seems to get better and better every day. I hadn't seen him much since high school until he came here. There are things that he does that are phenomenal--the way he passes the ball and sees the floor, a center who can step out and knock down three's. He's difficult to guard.

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