UNC-PSU: Locker Room Report

<i>Inside Carolina</i> talks with Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton and Sean May after the 85-55 win over Penn State Monday night at the Smith Center.

Rashad McCants

On his record-setting performance:

I didn't expect it. My role was to come in and help lead the team to a win. I do a little bit of everything, but it's really not about me--it's about the team. So everyone did their part, and I just contributed. But oh man! (sighing) It hurts my face to smile. You know, I'm flattered. But it's something I have to take, put it in the back of my mind, go tot the next game, and play it like it was my first.

On Matt Doherty's decision to start three freshmen:

Put the best players on the court, and let them produce. You know, everybody is good, everybody put in their adjustments to the game and added what it took--went out and played hard.

On Sean May:

Sean May is the best big man I've played with. Great hands, great touch, great shot, and he plays great defense. I guess he got it from his father. He's just a great player. I'm glad to be playing with him.

On wanting to avenge losses to the Nike Elite, as well as past Carolina defeats to Penn State and others:

You know, [the Nike game] it defintely hurt me--sitting on the bench watching, things that I could have done in the game that weren't being done. But it was sort of something that we needed early. We want to be able to know what it is, what it feels like to lose early so we won't have to lose again. And last season, people always come up to you and say, "What about those Tar Heels?" You know, there's nothing you can really do about it. All I can say is, "Wait until next year." And now we're here, and we refuse--we refuse to have an 8-20 season. You know, any loss to Carolina basketball is a loss to us, and we felt that we owed (Penn State) payback. You know, we owed EA Sports, we owe Davidson, we owe all those guys. And we're looking for revenge.

On restoring the Carolina tradition:

I guess we just had one of those seasons where everyone thought that Carolina basketball was going to evaporate and not ever be the same. And all the former players said, bring it back to greatness--bring it back to where it was. We played with Jason Capel, and Shammond (Williams), and Joseph Forte and Brendan Haywood all the time this summer. You know, those guys used to tell us stories and everything like that. And everybody said, we're going to be waiting on you guys to bring it back. Waiting for you guys to get to the tournament, and waiting for you guys to win. I feel part of a legacy.

On trying to keep a lid on his emotions:

It's hard. It's hard, because I'm the type of guy, I get real hype, and I let it loose. But you know, Coach D told me, have class. Have respect for the other team. Be a player.

What went through his mind walking off the court.

A win. Finally a win. Respect. Ready for the next game. And I want for us to be at least two times better than we were tonight.

Raymond Felton

On stepping onto the floor for the first time with his parents watching:

It almost brought me to tears. I mean, this is a great feeling. It's a dream come true, coming to play at North Carolina. It's my first game, and I look in the stands and see my parents there, it's just an emotional thing.

On expectations that an inexperienced team might struggle not to show weakness:

We are freshmen, but that doesn't mean anything. Just because we're freshmen doesn't mean that we're going to come out and not going to play good. So you just come out and play hard, play your game. Everyone you play against, they got two arms and two feet just like you. Just because you're a freshman and they're a senior--that doesn't mean anything.

On what he told his teammates when Carolina struggled in the second half, giving up a 16-3 run:

I told them we have to come out and play hard, and just keep our composure and keep pounding on them. We tried to slow the game down, I mean we can do that, but that's really not our game. Our game is just up tempo, running the ball up the court, so we had to get back into that, and pressure on the defense. That's what we did, and we went through a 14-0 stretch.

On Carolina's strong overall performance:

I'm not surprised by anything really, because I felt that we worked so hard, and we did those things in the game that we worked so hard in practice on. So I mean, I'm not surprised. I'm more happy than anything. I know we had this in us the whole time. I mean, we all work hard every day. We just bring it every day--we bring 100% every day--just work on our game, so I'm not surprised.

On playing with fellow freshmen Sean May and Rashad McCants:

It's great--it's great to have guys that can score. All you have to do is penetrate, and make their man commit to you, and you just dish it out, and it's almost automatic. So it's great.

Sean May

On the Tar Heels' mission this season:

The first day of practice, I come into the locker room, and Jason Capel writes on the board, "Bring the tradition back." That struck home, you know. I felt that as soon as I saw that that a lot of people were pulling for us. That meant a lot that he came back and wrote that on the board.

On playing defense and using his size to his advantage:

I think a lot of people look at me and think I'm real slow. But for a 6-9 guy weighing 260, I think I move pretty well. I just try to do the things that Coach D asks me--stay out of foul trouble, get out and deny some. You know, it's really hard for me in traps, because my first step is kind of slow (laughing), but I just try to do the things he asks.

On whether his 17 point, 10 rebound, 4 steal performance was a "typical Sean May" game:

It's a great game. I think I played pretty good. I don't know if it's a typical game. We'll see after a few games if I get rolling. But I just love the energy I had today. I'm not worried about my numbers. It gives me a lot of confidence, but I don't want to get too high. You know, tomorrow when we go over film, I made a lot of mistakes, and there's always something to improve on. I think everyone on this team feels that way. But I felt we played pretty well, and I'm going sleep well tonight.

On whether Rashad McCants will perform this way all season:

You can expect that. Rashad is a great player. As long as he works hard, and continues to work hard in practice--and that's the kind of guy he is--he's going to be great. Rashad got us going, and we just fed off that energy. Defense keys your offense, so we just got that going, and I think that's what made us shoot really well.

On playing with Raymond Felton:

You don't have to worry about anything. As long as you get down court, post up a little bit, he's going to get you the ball. And I love it. I love it. And I get the ball from Raymond a lot--I couldn't be happier.

On the character of the team this year:

What stands out is how well everybody gets along--we don't have anybody who's selfish. No players on this team are selfish. Everyone gets along real well. We work together. We work hard. The main thing is, we just love each other. I love that about this team.


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