Who has improved more defensively since last year – Larry Drew or Dexter Strickland?
“It’s hard to say. I will say that two games ago against College of Charleston, Dexter won the defensive player of the game and then turned around and did it again against Illinois. He didn’t win that award his entire freshman year, so that’s a big jump for him. And Larry’s been right there in it as well. John [Henson] and [Tyler Zeller] were both very active defensively. Those four guys have really gotten ebtter and better defensively.
"Dexter and Larry are struggling somewhat on the offensive end trying to get the ball to go into the basket, and I told them, ‘You’ve got to give me something to hang my hat on, some reason to keep you in the lineup.’ And they’re really doing some good things defensively. Hopefully shots will start going in for them and hopefully others will be able to take their level of defensive up as well.”
You’ve said that Larry and Dexter can be great defensively. Are they in the process of reaching that level?
“Yes, they’re in the early stages. When I say Jacque Vaughn and Jerod Haase were the best defensive tandem that I’ve ever coached, those guys were sensational. On the scouting report, one of the assistants would say, ‘Well, we’re getting ready to play Evansville and Jack Evans and Woody Durham are the two best scorers they’ve got.’ And I’d say, ‘What position do they play?’ They’d say, ‘They’re the one and the two,’ and I’d say, ‘Don’t worry about them.’
“I wasn’t, because they weren’t going to score like that against Jacque and Jerod. They’d kill them first. It’s got to be that kind of attitude. I believe that Larry Drew and Dexter Strickland have the skills to be the best pair of defensive guards that I’ve ever coached. Now, they’ve got some road to walk first, but they are getting better and better.”
On nonconference scheduling:
“I try to play at least four nonconference games that can be national television-type games. And then after that it’s trying to put together a schedule that will challenge you but also not kill you, so that your team might be able to handle it if they play well.”
On future schedule locations:
“I’ve coached in about every place you can coach. They asked me at New Mexico about coming to play at The Pit and Bob Huggins is trying to get me to come up to West Virginia. Those are two of the places that I haven’t played and we’re considering those. We have a neat thing coming up on the schedule pretty soon that I might even tell people about.”
Do you want to tell them now?
“No, I said I might.”
On the offense:
“The game of basketball is not a democracy. Everyone doesn’t have to get the same amount of minutes or the same amount of shots. Looking at our club, Tyler Zeller should get more shots than Larry Drew because he’s a better scorer. Harrison Barnes is getting a lot of criticism right because people have put him on such a pedestal, but he’s going to be a fantastic player and he’s a fantastic kid. I’m not worried about Harrison; he’s going to start putting the ball in the basket, but he should get more shots than Larry Drew because he’s a better scorer.
“And so we talk about that a little bit with the guys, but it boils down to one thing – it’s what kind of shot at that stage of the game. Larry Drew shot one the other day from the corner after some penetration, and I wanted him to shoot it. We ran a set play for Harrison late in the game and he went up between three guys and I didn’t want him to shoot it. The quality of the shot is more important than who is taking it. It’s got to be a good shot, and a good shot for Michael Jordan was different than a good shot for Matt Doherty…
“If it’s in the open court, I want you to attack. I really do. I want Dexter to attack as much as he possibly can. And then I add two words. We say, ‘Attack, attack, attack,’ then I pause and look at the guys, and they say, ‘Under control.’ You have to be under control to make the play at the other end.”
On next year’s squad:
“I’ve always felt the best scenarios include five post players. If you have five post players, you can handle anything. And sometimes, that fifth post player could be Danny Green or it could be Will Graves, a guy that you could slide down and use in late game situations because of free throws. But I’d like to get back to that scenario. Playing only three post players is not very much fun.”
"Roy Williams Live" airs Monday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.