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March 17, 2012

Williams talks Creighton, NCAAs

GREENSBORO--- UNC head coach Roy Williams provided an update on John Henson Saturday afternoon as the Tar Heels (30-5) prepare to play Creighton (29-5) Sunday evening at 5:15 pm at the Greensboro Coliseum. Williams also spoke about the NCAA Tournament as a whole as his Tar Heels get ready to take on the Blue Jays.


Is there an update on John Henson? Because last night you were saying maybe better than 50/50 he'll play, so have the odds increased he might be playing?


COACH WILLIAMS: I wish I could tell you because I'm tired of answering the dadgum thing, but we haven't done one thing since we're going to practice after this is over with and see what he can do. And so really I don't have any other information at all to add to what I said yesterday (Friday). He did continue getting rehab last night, but when you're sitting there eating, there's not a lot of things that you do when you're eating your meal that resembles what you're asked to do in basketball.


Not to suggest that you would overlook anybody or anything like that and respect all, but could you just talk about maybe what goes through your team as you ‑‑ as the tournament starts to play out over the first couple days? You see the upsets, the 15s beating 2s, that kind of thing. How does the team‑‑ is there a heightened awareness?


COACH WILLIAMS: I think so. I think that I've always been that way. I keep telling you, using the statement that it's probably not very good because it's a Roy original that if you look down the road, that's where you're going ‑ down the road back home. We tried to emphasize Vermont 100 percent as a staff, never talked about anybody else. And now we're trying to emphasize Creighton 100 percent as a staff; we don't talk about anybody else.

To be honest with you, I barely even watched the other games. I've got my hands full doing what I need to be doing for North Carolina. Yes, I do read the papers or know that something's going on. And I did watch SportsCenter last night and that kind of thing. But for 24 years, it's the way we have operated and we have lost some games that certain people thought we should have won, but we have won some games too. But it's never been because we were looking past somebody.


Some of the guys up here kind of compared Creighton's offense to Duke's. Is that a fair comparison? And what ‑‑ defending that, what did you learn on how you guarded Duke?


COACH WILLIAMS: Well, we guarded them better one game than we did the other game, especially the last two minutes. So they're similar. I gave them that analogy because they're averaging over eight threes a game and I think that's similar to Duke. They have a big guy who can go out and shoot which is similar to what Ryan Kelly does.

They don't mind running. That's what Duke does. So I gave them that analogy and I guess they ‑‑ I don't know who they would have come up with if you would have asked them without me saying anything, but the reason I gave that analogy is because just what I gave you and they are a really dominant 3‑point shooting team. They shoot 42.5 from 3‑point line as a team.

We don't have anybody on our roster this year or last year that has shot over 40 percent from three. And so we have had to have to be able to get out and defend the 3‑point shot. They're a multiple offensive system though because Doug's shooting 62 percent overall. So if he's shooting 49.5 from three and 62 overall, he's making a lot more of those twos. But with Gregory and Doug, they give size up front.

They have another big guy. I'm drawing a blank right now that can shoot the heck out of it from three. You know how we are, I haven't ‑‑ I was answering another question, I didn't look at one second of Creighton's play until last night. And in fact, it was last night at 10:30. And so what we tried to focus on yesterday was everything about Vermont. And late, late, late last night, I started looking. One of my assistants had been scouting Creighton. And then this morning was the first thing we gave the team and hopefully we'll give them a lot more today.


What is it late bloomers just aren't ‑‑ the recruiting system just doesn't find these guys. And isn't just ‑‑ I'm thinking of Doug McDermott, C.J. McCollum as well, a guy who's obviously played well.


COACH WILLIAMS: You don't find nearly as many "late bloomers" or sleepers as you used to because there's so many outlets for kids to be seen.

I've told the story until ‑‑ I even grabbed Greg and I said I hope you're not getting tired of me telling it, about Doug. Greg and I were standing outside the locker room when Ames won the state championship their senior year. And I said you're crazy. I said if he's my son, he's going to play for me. He's good enough to play for you. And that's when Greg was at Iowa State. And he had already signed that fall with Northern Iowa.

And Greg said, well, you know, I wish he were a little taller and a little stronger, and I don't really want to put that kind of pressure on him, which I can appreciate that. But I said I still think you're crazy because he would have been able to be a very successful player at Iowa State or North Carolina or anywhere.

And then when he left and took the Creighton job and he got the release and goes and plays for his dad, it was a great mix. But I don't think Doug was overlooked, I really don't. I think he was a guy that just keeps getting better and better and he has grown taller and stronger and he's gotten better in every phase of the game. But I don't know about the other youngster, because I didn't know who he was until this season started and I keep‑‑ I do try to read a little bit and follow really good teams and some of these surprise stories and read everything about what happened to him yesterday.


Kind of staying on the same lines with Doug and his development, being successful in college is one thing, but being a first team All‑American when you saw him as a junior, as a senior, you guys were scouting Harrison but also watching Doug, did you see this type of potential in Doug?


COACH WILLIAMS: No. But I don't think it's ‑‑ I never think in those terms anyway about being a first team All‑American. I just say, can they be successful and will they be successful? And I said the best question is that I thought he was going to be good enough to be able to play at Iowa State, which is another team that's in the tournament field right now and I really don't make those kind of comparisons, especially if I'm not recruiting them. If I'm recruiting them, I try to predict and see what they can be later on much more.


What does a game like yesterday say about James Michael McAdoo's development and would he earlier in the season have recovered from the missing his first five shots to come back and play as strongly as he did on both ends of the floor yesterday?


COACH WILLIAMS: Well, it says about his development that he stuck with it. He's really‑‑ he really wasn't comfortable for him. It wasn't pleasant. He wasn't succeeding like he thought he would, yet he didn't moan and grown and gripe and complain about it. He just kept practicing and then he started getting a little bit better. And then he started getting a little bit better. And I think all you guys that cover us locally saw that during the course of the last pick a number, 10 or 12 games, and then all of a sudden he gets his opportunity and because he had had that success down the line he was able to handle it better.

And then the other part of the question I think was about would he have been able to overcome that one for six, probably not. If it had been the first ACC game, probably he would not have been able to overcome that. But he's really maturing quite well, handling things. I jumped on him one time and yet then I'm about halfway on the court slapping hands with him too because he made one big time play. We laugh about it this morning because he has a tendency to overrun on the defensive end. He can get off balance and all of a sudden he's out there around the centerline trying to find out where the other team is and his guy is 37 feet away from him.

And so at halftime yesterday, I got up and demonstrated in my perfect stance and perfect quickness exactly how I wanted him to do it. And at one play in the second half, he's out there denying and he stepped and the guy went back door and he stepped back and stepped out and all of a sudden he looked over at the bench and was grinning looking at us and nodding. I mean, he's still a kid and it's something that we really enjoy too.


You have some unique personalities in your locker room but Reggie describes himself as an observer. He just likes to kind of watch the other guys have fun and he gets his fun through that. What was unique about him aside from basketball when you recruited him that made you feel he would be a good fit?


COACH WILLIAMS: A little bit you answered yourself because he's such a good person. He does enjoy other people, he enjoys being part of a team. His birthday was I think yesterday. So it was either yesterday or the day before and Kendall was accusing him of being 29 years old and all this kind of stuff, but and he handles it very well and he's not really being really that truthful with you either because he's an instigator more than he tries to act like he is.

And but a wonderful kid who as you said had the basketball ability, but hadn't grown up with the easiest situation in the world, but he hadn't used any of this woe is me kind of stuff and act like that it's not fair and all this, he's just continued to try to be a good person and a good basketball player and I admire that of him.


We have seen some lane violation calls, 'pretty impactful' calls the last two days. As a coach do you sit there and feel like now you have to talk about that with your team?


COACH WILLIAMS: I already talked about it with my team. Steve Kirschner, he came in today, and the sad thing is the commentators haven't had the rule correctly. The officials made the correct call. And I don't jump on their side that often, but they made the correct call in both scenarios. And I had both of them described to me. If they were described properly they made the right call. I did not see either one of them on tape myself. But if they were described properly to me, they made the right call.

And there is a difference where you lined up. If you line up on the lane, you cannot leave until the ball leaves the shooter's hand. If you're lined up anywhere else, you can't leave until the ball hits the rim. So I asked Kirsch. He came in and said did you know they were talking about? And I said, well, when Kendall comes in, ask him, he'll tell you the rule exactly because we talk about it all the time. But it's‑‑ if it's in the rule book, it should be called. If it's not in the rule book, it should not be called.





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