Roy Williams Q&A

LAHAINA, Hawaii --- The coaches from all eight schools at the Maui Invitational gathered for a Sunday morning media session. After a brief press conference, a photo shoot and a free-throw shooting contest, North Carolina's Roy Williams talked with reporters.

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Q&A with Roy Williams (6:31)
Maui Invit. Coaches PC (14:23)

How long have you been practicing your free throws for this event?

"[Laughs]. In 2004-05 I didn't shoot it. I wasn't going to do it this morning, but the press conference got over so quickly I could stay because I have a 9am staff meeting. Little pressure, missed the first two, hit three in a row so I feel better now."

What got you hooked on this tournament so many years ago?

"Look around. It's that easy. But also it's just such tremendous competition. I guess the first time I came was the fall of '96 and we played great and I thought it was a great experience for our team - get them on the road, spend some time together - and was wonderful for that so-called chemistry. But the thing about it is playing three straight days against the type of competition you have here and the different types of basketball you play against, I think it's a great experience for your team."

How has Tyler Hansbrough's mood improved since he's been able to play?

"It's night and day. I wanted him to go about 20-22 minutes [against UCSB] and I even asked with about seven minutes to go in the second half how many minutes he had and he already had 23 so I decided I'd take him out and I didn't care what was happening at the end. But he feels really, really good. He kept telling me 'Coach, I'm ready - I'm ready.' I told him, 'I understand that but I might not be ready for you.' It'll be interesting to see how he feels today when we get out on the court because we did nothing yesterday."

He looked so upset to be sitting out of games - have you ever had a player so visibly upset at having to sit?

"Probably not. And a lot of his is because he's felt so good for so long. If we had played for a national championship, I think everyone would have agreed that he could have played eight or nine days earlier, but it's just that we want to be really conservative with him and we thought that was for the best."

You've talked about how because of the injuries the team's not running as smoothly as possible. With three games back to back, will that help in that regard?

"You could say that, but also you're still going to make mistakes and you have no time to work on those. So what you want to do is make sure that mistakes don't become habits during the course of playing three games in three straight days. I really don't know what I'm going to do about Tyler. I'm more concerned with playing him three straight days than I was about playing him last Friday night."

Have you really had guys who jump off the cliff here?

"I would say over half of my team every year I've come. ... No [it doesn't make me nervous]. We can step out off the bus today and step on something and roll an ankle or whatever. People don't jump off the cliff unless they think they can. My son did it - I didn't do it, but my son did it."

With some guys down to injuries, and three games in three days, does the depth factor into this?

"In the summer, I said 'Gosh, it's going to be great in Maui since we have so much more depth than anyone else' and now we don't have it. We're still going to try and play people because this early in the year I don't think I can put that kind of load on people by playing somebody 35 minutes a game."

Have you learned more about Deon Thompson and Ed Davis with their more prominent roles during Tyler Hansbrough's injury?

"Deon knew he was going to get his [minutes], so his haven't changed. But Ed has really performed well. You hate it for Tyler Zeller because he's been sensational in the preseason - he was one of the three most impressive players we had during preseason practices, so you hate that happened to him. But Ed has really done a nice job and he's going to have to do it again because he's going to get a lot of time."

What's the process for deciding whether you'll redshirt Tyler Zeller this year? When will you decide that?

"It's pretty easy. If he can't play, he can't play. You guys are unbelievable. The doctor's say 12-16 weeks, you put the math to it - where does that put you? We don't know. ... It's 12-16 weeks."

[Note: A UNC official clarified afterwards that a decision on Zeller will not be made until later in the season. Zeller is eligible for a medical redshirt, but if he returns -- even in the postseason -- that redshirt option will no longer be available.]

Do you expect Hansbrough to play in the first game?

"I have no idea. I'm being honest with you. I talked to my staff twice about it last night and nobody has come up with a good plan."

This is a situation where you'll need him more at the end than the beginning of the tournament ...

"One of the coaches brought that up, but also if you don't play him for the first game and save him for the next two you don't know what'll happen in the first game and then he'll be playing two games in a row. You can make an argument any way you want to make it, but the bottom line is we don't know and we won't know until we get together after practice today, talk to him, see how he feels tomorrow. We don't know. I know you guys don't like that, but that's the truth."


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