UNC-Stanford: Locker Room Report


IC: Are you surprised to win this tournament?

Johnson: It's not a surprise -- once we stepped on the court, I knew we had the potential to win this tournament. I'm just happy and pleased with how the guys bounced back after a big win. I didn't know what our mental mindset would be as a young team, how we would deal with success, how we would deal with being in New York in Madison Square Garden. We passed that test with flying colors.

IC: Did you feel like you were playing in a front of a home crowd in these games?

Johnson: Yeah, it felt great. Our fans were awesome -- I think they're so happy to see a winner out there, and I'm so happy we can give them something fun to watch.

IC: It seems like when you get out there you're getting some good looks -- you're a good shooter, but is it hard to knock it down when it's just one or two shots a game?

Johnson: You know, it's difficult at times, but I've got to go out there and knock them down, do the best I can. That's my role right now, I feel confident in my shot -- I'm 1-for-3 on the year, but I always think my next one is going in.

IC: With some fans, there's a tendency that they want to talk negatively about the guys from the team last year -- what do you think of that, is that fair?

Johnson: That's not fair. It's not any one guy's fault, what happened last year. This is a fresh start -- I remember last year, but this is a new set of guys. I prefer to talk about this year and the positive things that are going on with us right now.

IC: Where does this rank in your Carolina career?

Johnson: It's pretty big, man. I've been to a Final Four, that was obviously the biggest; being No. 1 and beating Duke my sophomore year was big. But this ranks right up there, beating Kansas, beating Stanford, winning the Preseason NIT with a young team like this. Final Fours and national championships are what your ultimate goals are, but this is exciting.

IC: What's the game plan for attacking a zone?

Johnson: You've got be aggressive with a zone, you've got to attack it with penetration and getting the ball inside. That's the key to a zone, getting the ball inside first, that opens up the outside for us. We did a good job with that for the most part -- sometimes we quit moving and sometimes we took some quick shots, but for the most part I thought our guys got the ball inside, used our quickness to penetrate the zone, and also our big guys can pass really well. Jawad and Sean, they get the ball and if they feel the pressure, they kick it out. I think it's easier to shoot that 3 when the ball's been inside.

IC: Do you think it's easier for the coaching staff to be patient with mistakes when you're up 15 as opposed to down 15?

Johnson: Oh, no doubt. It's a lot easier to learn from a win than from a loss, and that's what we're doing right now.


IC: Can you talk about your game plan for attacking the zone?

Williams: Get the ball to the short corner and places like that, where the zone is the most vulnerable, and attack the basket.

IC: The short corner being the spot like 10 or 12 feet from the basket along the baseline …

Williams: Yeah -- along the baseline, in the middle of the zone. If you get the ball in the middle of the zone, everybody has to sink in, and then you can kick it out for open jump shots.

IC: You made a couple of incredible passes out there, is that something that's going to be a regular part of your arsenal?

Williams: I mean, if somebody's open, yeah! I'm more than happy to pass the ball, I don't care.

IC: What accounts for the fact that in both these games you came out with spurts at the beginning of the game?

Williams: Just trying to get my teammates involved -- I do what I have to do at certain points. In the beginning I feel like I need to score to give everybody that energy, and play defense -- I'll play defense the whole game.

IC: Does what's happened already this year help make up for last year?

Williams: No -- it's not over with. It's five games into the season, we've still got to get better every day -- we've got to keep on.

IC: How along are you going to enjoy this win --

Williams: Until the next day of practice, probably. They'll show us everything we did wrong -- we've got to tighten up those screws and get better.

IC: Have you noticed any difference in the way the coaches have handled mistakes on the team this year -- is it different from last year?

Williams: Yeah -- there's a lot more communication among players and coaches. I think our team, we listen very well, so we don't have those mistakes that coach is going to jump us about. As long as we continue to do our job, we'll be fine.

IC: Have there been times in these games where he's come down on you all and it's made a difference?

Williams: Yeah -- I mean, he has to, that's his job. Even when we're winning he's still coming down hard on us, but that's part of the game. He's just trying to get us to play to the best of our ability.


IC: What's your game plan for attacking a zone?

Felton: Just try to penetrate the open spots, work hard, swing the ball and get open perimeter shots, get the ball in the post into Sean, that was it mainly. Things were open for me and my teammates, we knocked down the shots and played great defense. Hey, we played a great game -- I mean, we played a good game, but we can play better.

IC: What comes to mind when you think about what you can do better --

Felton: Oh -- everything! We're never satisfied with our game, we always feel we can get better each and every game, so I'll just say everything, I'm not going to single anything out, just everything.

IC: That spin move you made where you dished off to Sean May right at the end, is that going to be your signature play...

Felton: Not necessarily...

IC: But that kind of play in the future...

Felton: Oh, I mean, we've got a certain play we call when the shot clock is going down -- we spread the court out a little bit, I penetrate. I have a variety of moves I can throw, so that was just one of them.

[Unidentified teammate chimes in: "Hey Raymond, you almost killed ‘em!"]

IC: Did these feel like home games to you --

Felton: Yeah, but all games, feel just like a normal game. You can't think that just because we go on the road, we're not going to win or play with the same intensity, it doesn't matter. We have pretty good fans, our fans follow us and they have great support for us.

Inside Carolina Top Stories