Media Day: Player Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The 2009-10 edition of the North Carolina Tar Heels met with reporters for the first time this year at Thursday's Media Day at the Smith Center.

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On his role as a leader:
"I'm excited. I'm embracing the role now. Every since the young guys got here they've been looking to me for leadership -- me and Marcus -- and I've been doing a good job with that."

On the inside/outside game:
"We're definitely tough inside. I think we have the best frontcourt in America with myself and Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, throw the twins and John Henson in there. I think we're definitely going to get the bulk of our scoring inside. Outside of that, I really don't even know. It's up in the air. That's the fun part about this – we just don't know what we're going to get."


What has Coach said about your role this season?
"Just to do everything a little bit better. TO come back and be the Marcus that I've always been and more. So I 'm just excited to get out there on the court and get back to contributing on this team and just doing anything I can for this team to win."

How anxious were you for this season to get started?
"Very anxious. There's no question that this is as excited as I've ever been. It just feels like it's been forever since I've been out there on the court. It just feels good to be back on my feet, be back feeling great again and ready to go."


Has Coach talked to you about what he wants from you offensively this season?
"Not really. Just whenever I get the ball, I'm going to try to score. Coach always says that if you get the ball on the block, he wants you to score. I think Coach is more a post-player type coach -- he likes his big men better than he likes his guards. That's what I think."

What aspects of your game did you work on this summer?
"I tried to work on my jump shot -- that's the main thing I focused on. My jump shot and just getting stronger."


On transitioning from the bench to a starting role:
"Last year, it was pretty tough for me. I hadn't ever come into a situation where I have to learn. All of my life, I was always on the court playing, learning on the court. But last year, I had to learn off the court, so I really took that into consideration. I really learned a lot last season from Coach Williams and Ty [Lawson] and Bobby [Frasor] and everybody that helped me out, so I just really think that I'm ready this year to step up."

How did the offseason work with your shot go?
"I feel like I've really improved on my jump-shooting. I'm just eager to get out on the court and show my teammates and everybody all of the hard work that I put in this offseason."


On going by Tyler again now that Tyler Hansbrough is gone:
"It is. Actually, it just happened today. Somebody yelled 'Tyler' and I didn't look for a second, then I was like, 'Dang, that's me.' So it's something that I've got to train myself to get used to again."

Coach Williams is talking about the Wear twins playing on the wing. With your shooting ability, have you tried to work an angle to get out there some?
"It's one of those things that they would play more on the wing than I would. But he has definitely given me the green light to shoot, so hopefully we can get out there and see what happens."


How do you gain the trust back from your teammates?
"Just being around every day. I don't think it ever left, because they know me [and] we've been around together for a long time. It's just a matter of me doing what I'm supposed to do."

How difficult was last season for you?
"As a teammate, I couldn't have been happier for the team. And as a fan -- I'm still a fan more than a basketball player here. It was fun to be on the journey, but then again, it was hard not being able to play. I made a mistake and I've got to move on from here."

Did you spend most of last season kicking yourself for getting suspended?
"Yeah, for the most part, because you don't want to make mistakes that you have to pay the consequences for. But everything happens for a reason. I'm a better person from it and it's time to move on."


What are your thoughts heading into the season?
"I'm pretty excited. We've got a lot of guys coming back from last year. We lost a lot of guys, but I think everybody coming back is really excited to get with the young guys and get them on the same page and try to do it again."

How can you help this team?
"There are different ways -- practice and being there for guys. There are going to be times where me and Marcus and Deon, and even some of the sophomores that were here last year, are going to be called upon to let the young guys know how things go. We've all got three -- and in Marcus' case four -- years of experience with Coach. And there's going to be times when he's going to want to kill them and they're going to want to kill him, and we just have to calm them down and let them know that Coach is doing it because he loves them and that he wants the best for them."

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