On his role as director of operations:
“It’s been good. Coach and I visited about it several years ago and we felt like that was a good thing for the program, and so I’m just going to do whatever I’m supposed to do. Actually, I’ve kind of moved on to that role. It’s different. You’re home every night. You’re not out recruiting and you’re not coaching on the floor. I’m not allowed to coach at all during games or on the court, so it’s definitely different when you’ve been coaching for 40 years.”
On his start in collegiate coaching:
“Well, I didn’t think I could go wrong on the deal. It was Coach Williams and the University of Kansas. The timing was perfect. My kids were in college and I had one almost ready to go to school. The kids were out of the house and I had moved around a bit in my younger days of coaching. I had been to five schools and settled on Jenks High School in the Midwest for 13 years, and so the timing was good. I had always thought that I wanted to be a college coach, especially when I first started out. I was very happy in what I was doing, but when that opportunity came around, I just didn’t think I could turn it done. It’s been a great ride for me and my family.”
On the team needing to play with more emotion:
“I think we’ve all got a lot of concerns. I’m hoping that this Saturday against a good quality team at home that we will get started on a streak – 40 minutes with emotion and skill – and we’ll turn this thing around and go from there.”
On the team playing with energy late against the College of Charleston:
“I think our guys felt good about that and the crowd felt good about it. It was kind of lethargic because we weren’t really playing hard in the first half, as hard as we should be. Then we got behind five points and then all of a sudden we cranked it up and the crowd got into it and it was like old times. We made some defensive stops, scored six points in a row. Everything just fits together when you’re getting after it and playing hard defensively. I think we’ve made some strides in that area, though – since Puerto Rico, even.”
Does the staff view each season differently?
“I’d like to think that we do. We have tried not to think – last year was last year, so we don’t dwell on that. It hasn’t been brought up at all as far as how things went last year. And I think we will be a better basketball team than last year. I really do. I just think we haven’t hit on all cylinders yet and some of our guys are pressing a little bit. Things haven’t gone right for them, so they’re pressing a little bit in the games and are tighter than they should be. I think all of that will work itself out and I’m hoping that will start on Saturday.”
On physical play:
“I will say that from Coach Smith all the way through Coach Williams, they hate physical play. They don’t think basketball should be played that way. We have some physical players from time to time, Tyler Hansbrough was physical, but as far as teaching to shove people as they go through the lane, or hit you in the back and stick that leg up through the legs when you’re inside, or push on you and swing your arms, that’s a big deal in practice when you’re doing things like that, when you hurt somebody else. That comes from Coach Smith. It should be a different game than football. It wasn’t designed to be played that way. Coach Williams followed that through and I like that myself.”
On Harrison Barnes:
“Harrison’s going to have a great career. He’s one of those guys I was talking about pressing a little bit. You’ve got a big target on you when you’re picked as high as he was in the preseason, as far as All-American honors, but we’ve seen him in practice and so forth. He’s drawing the best defender and we’re not quite in sync, anyway, offensively. We’re still working on that, on spacing, and doing the things that we need to do, but I’m telling you, he’s going to be a tremendous player.”
"Roy Williams Live" airs Monday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.