Q&A with Deon Thompson

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- After putting up 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks in Wednesday's win over Clemson, Deon Thompson talked about the ups and downs of his junior season and his - and the team's - focus moving forward ...

Coach Williams referred to you having "more spring" in your step tonight. What do you think he meant by that?

Just a different attitude, having fun, trying to bring fun back to it again. Just smiling, laughing.

Has it been hard to keep that fun attitude with the ups and downs you've experienced this season?

Maybe at times. It's just hard when you're not playing well to keep that positive attitude. That's the one thing I do need to work on - staying positive when the shots aren't falling and try to figure out a way to do other things.

As you came out of the tunnel, you could be heard saying "I got my swag' on." The whole team seemed to have that tonight - something that didn't seem apparent in the game at Wake Forest. What changed?

We're just trying to have fun and play with a swag', because we are a good team and maybe we forget that at times -- how talented we are. We need to start playing like that and back it up.

And how does that approach make a difference for you personally?

That makes a lot of difference because my mental game is what I'm working on the most. And having swag' is all about how you mentally [approach] things. Just having swag' and being mentally tough when you're on the court really helps.

Early in the season, when you were having big games and things seemed to be coming easily for you, you said it would be after your first rough patch that you could really assess yourself.

I was struggling with it. When I'm at practice I'm still working hard, when I come here to the Dean Dome and I'm lifting weights. But when I go home is when I really struggle and think about things and how I really need to pick it back up. I'm just trying not to be so tough on myself about it and just leave it in God's hands and let him take care of everything and keep working hard. There's nothing you can replace with working hard.

After tonight's win, where do you feel the team is at right now -- do you think you're on your way to getting back to playing at the top of your game?

Yeah, definitely. We always want to improve and get better on the defensive end, so that's something we're going to have to do. That's what will separate us from being really great is being able to stop people and we did that in the second half. We got Wayne going back, got me going back and everybody is getting going, so that's a good sign.

What's the story behind starting to wear the undershirt?

No story -- just comfortable playing with it on. That's all.

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