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On Lawson winning ACC Player of the Year:
"I'm ecstatic for him. I'm ecstatic for our team. He's had a big-time year. If you throw out those first two games, his stats are just really off the charts and impressive. He's gotten better in every phase of the game and has made some big-time shots, and some of those were in real close games."
Do you think Tyler Hansbrough not getting as much attention this year is due to his level of success last season?
"I think that's a great part of it, that the expectations… It's sort like a guy that makes a 98 on a test. You can only go to 100. You can only improve by two. The guy that makes a 75 on the test can improve by 25. I think Tyler set such a high standard last year. His high level of play and his consistency that he had was just breathtaking.
"The other part of it is that he's got a little more help this year. Tywon's been able to score a little more. Danny's been able to score a little more. Wayne's numbers may be the same or have gone down a little bit, but I think that's been part of it, too. And then my own opinion is that defenses have really been aimed at him, and in my own opinion, I think he should have gone to the free throw line more this year. That's something that I've tried to be very careful about, but I just think that the defenses have been aimed at him more this year than it was last year."
How do you go about resting Lawson while also getting him ready to play?
"I'll give you the answer you guys don't like, but it's the truth – I don't know. Today he's going to shoot free throws and that's all he's going to do. I know for a fact and I haven't necessarily appreciated the way everybody – well, not everybody, but I got on our guy again today, too – some people have acted like, ‘Oh, we knew he was going to play.' I didn't know he was going to play Sunday, for sure, until 30 minutes before it started. And you can believe it or not believe it, that's your choice. But I know the truth.
"I didn't know if he was going to play until 30 minutes before it started. Right now, I know for a fact that if we played today, he would not play. I know for a fact that if we played tomorrow, he would not play. Other than that, guys, I don't know. We're just going to have to wait and see. I just looked at his toe in there – it's swollen more now than it was on Saturday."
Lawson seemed unconcerned with his toe after the game against Duke, saying that the difference in last year versus this year was that his ankle was hurting last spring whereas now he's healthy. Is that just him putting a positive spin on it?
"It's two things. It's probably putting a positive spin on it, but I guarantee you that he wouldn't have said that yesterday. He would not have said that yesterday at all. The other thing is that on game day, you've got that adrenaline, you've got those things that enable you to do things that probably don't feel the best in the world and you can put it out of your mind."
Is it frustrating that a toe is slowing you down?
"Yes… And it was in practice – I hate getting hurt in practice, because it could have been prevented or things like that. But that's the main thing that I'm mad about is that it happened in practice. It's my big toe. I'd rather it be like my whole foot or something like that, just not my big toe."
Is it just a bruise? What have the doctors told you?
"They told me a bunch of things. I've looked at the X-rays. There's a bone chipped off of it, so they said I broke it earlier and the bone is in my ligaments, or something like that, and it's jammed. There's a lot of stuff. I really don't know exactly the one thing that's wrong with it. You've got to ask the doctors for that."
How are the doctors treating your toe?
"Just ice and keeping it elevated. They gave me some cream to rub on it to make the swelling go down. But unfortunately right now, my toe is still real big, so I don't know what we're going to do in the future to help it out a little bit."
What changed this year to allow you to earn the ACC Player of the Year award?
"This year I've probably been playing to my full potential, being more confident out there, being more aggressive. Those are things I should have done in the past years. And Coach has been harping on me to shoot more and be more involved in the offense and in the game this year, so that's why it probably translated so well [into ACC Player of the Year honors]."
Are you going to walk into the locker room with a little extra swagger today?
"No, not at all. I'm just going to keep doing the things I have been doing, playing the way I've been playing. I'm not going to do anything extra like that."
On learning that Lawson was named ACC POY:
"Congratulations to Tywon. I've got to go speak to him. But that's great. I'm sure Tyler is happy for him, because Tyler's not a selfish guy or anything like that. I'm happy for him. I think it's great that we have somebody different on our team to be able to achieve something like that.
On Lawson's play this season:
"He's done a great job. He's been very consistent. He's been a steady point guard for us. His assist-to-turnover ratio is probably out of the roof this year compared to his previous years. He's been a leader for us. He's what makes us go. We go as far as he goes, and the games that he's struggled, we've struggled. For the most part, he's done a great job and that's why I think our team is doing so well."