On Harrison Barnes’s dunk against Clemson:
“When I recruited Harrison, he was playing pick-up one game and I said something to him about dunking on somebody. He said, ‘Coach, I really haven’t dunked on anybody my whole life.’ In two years, I was in Ames, Iowa, 11 times – I saw the kid play and I never [saw it]. So today at practice I went up to him and said, ‘Do you remember during you recruitment when you told me you had never dunked on anybody?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘You have now.’
“I thought he was just going to lay it up. I wasn’t really that impressed when I saw it first. To me, it’s two points. But when you see it on replay and he knocks Milton Jennings down, it was pretty impressive.”
On Kendall Marshall winning ACC Rookie of the Week:
“Against Duke on Wednesday night, he was really good, especially in the first half. None of us were quite as good in the second half. But I thought Kendall really did some great things and they tried to put a lot of pressure on him and emphasized taking care of him a good bit. And then the same thing Saturday at Clemson – they were trying to take care of him and he didn’t have that gaudy 16:3 assist-error ratio, but to go to the free throw line and make 10-of-11 down the stretch and have a key steal when it’s a two-point game, those are pretty big plays for us.”
I noticed on Saturday that Kendall seems to be directing his teammates on the floor more than he has in the past –
“No, Kendall started doing that in the seventh grade. I’ll never forget he came down to play pick-up with the guys in the fall of his sophomore year in high school. They’re playing pick-up and nobody knew who he was. He was on David Noel’s team and I asked David at the tailgate afterwards before the football game, ‘How was the young kid?’ And he said, ‘Coach, he’s amazing. He told me, ‘Go over here.’’ And he said, ‘So it surprised me so much that I went over there. He penetrated and passed it to me and I made it and he just nodded at me.’ So Kendall’s been doing that. That’s his game.
“I’ll tell you a good story. After the [FSU] game when he had 16 assists and set the record for the most assists by a Carolina in an ACC game ever, the guy who was most excited was Dexter Strickland. And I think that’s the greatest thing in the world when you can really be excited by other people’s successes. That’s the way the kids feel about Kendall. And they should, because he passes the ball to them and they get to shoot more.”
On helping the players believe that they can be really good:
“The first thing you do is that you have to get the kids to buy in to how hard they’re going to work. How important is it to them? Is there a sense of urgency? Are you willing to be focused? Are you willing to sacrifice some other things? You have to have the ability also. From the first day, I’ve told our kids that we can have some big-time dreams and big-time goals, and they’re very realistic. After every game we’ve played this year – wins or losses – I’ve said the same thing. ‘We have big-time dreams and big-time goals and they are realistic. We have to put in the sweat and put in the concentration. We have to get lucky, we have to stay healthy and all of those kinds of things, but guys, we can be really good.’ I mean, we’re close to being really good. We’re not, and I’ve been around the horn a couple of times so I know what I’m talking about, but we’re really close.”
On what separates UNC from the really good teams right now:
“The really good teams have some guys that can score when they’re being guarded. Tyler Hansbrough could really score when he was being guarded, sometimes by two guys. It made no difference. Sean May could score when they were being guarded. He could get them in foul trouble. Both of those guys would look at the ref and say, ‘Oh, you blew the whistle and called a foul? Okay, I’ll make the free throw also.’ Some guys try to get up there and draw a foul instead of making the dadgum shot.
“You’ve got to have that mentality and you’ve got to be able to make jump shots… So that’s what this team needs. We need to be able to score and score a little better and score when people guard us because the farther you go, the better the defenses get. I think that’s one thing that we need to keep working on… You can be a special team when can score when you’re being guarded.”
How do you deal with fans that expect you to win every single game?
“I’ve said this for a long time, but the people in Chapel Hill are normal. There are people in Lawrence, Kan., that think that same thing. There are people in Lexington, Ky., that think that same thing. There are people in Columbus, Ohio, that think the same thing. People think that your school is the only one that has the right to do this or do that. That is part of it, but I’d much rather have great expectations because that means that you have great interest. I would hate to be at a place where nobody cared. That would be the absolute worst place for me. I would drive myself crazy at that point. I’m human – I get frustrated like everybody else with some expectations or comments that I think might be out of line.
“The bottom line is that I love the people that support us like crazy and I love the people that show up and cheer like crazy. They’re enthusiastic and they help us. At some point I draw a line at things that I don’t appreciate, I don’t even mind the constructive criticism. I really don’t. I mean that sincerely. My skin is too thin about certain things, but that’s who I am. I’ve never tried to put on a face and a phony kind of guy. I just love the interest. I love the passion that people have for basketball, and I wish there was even more passion, I really do. It is a great place to be. I’m coaching at the University of North Carolina, where I went to school, my wife went to school and our children went to school. How could it be any better than that?”
"Roy Williams Live" airs Monday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.