Listen to Audio (18:41)
Do you have a plan for point guard and, if so, what is it and who will be involved?
“Well Stilman and Justin will be involved. Stilman has basically had everything thrown at him all year. ‘J-Watts’ has had limited portions thrown at him, so we’ll throw a few more portions of it at him and try to give them tremendous number of repetitions Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in practice and see if we can get them up to speed, because our preparation is 100% preparation to play without Kendall.”
Do you tend to lean towards the more experienced player in this situation?
“I don’t know at this time. We’ll have to see how it works out in practice. In the middle of the year, I would have leaned towards a guy who’s been there before and that being Stilman playing that position. ‘J-Watts’ did a… four to five minute stretch in the ACC Tournament and did well, so we’ll just have to see.”
Are there any other options outside of Stilman White and Justin Watts?
“We’re at our third and fourth options. If we have to go to the fifth freaking option, we might as well just put ‘Z’ out there and try to see if we can draw the other big guy out and see what happens.”
What are going to be the factors to decided whether Kendall Marshall will be able to play or not?
“I have no idea. I mean I know you don’t like that, but guys I’m being truthful with you. If he comes running in here now and says ‘God I can play’ I’ll say ‘Well, let’s talk about this.’ He’s in a freaking cast from his thumb to his back. It’s not quite that big, but it looked that big when he came out of surgery… You got me between a rock and a hard place. I cannot give you any answers. I’ve given everybody all the answers that I can give, because I have said, honestly, I do not know.”
Has the level of expectations for this team changed?
“Not for me. I think we can still win the whole blessed thing, but it doesn’t make any difference, we got to win Friday. So, that’s what I’ve been focusing on and I said in the fall that we wanted to be one of those teams that had a chance to win the whole blessed thing, but I was trying to get ready to play Tennessee State or Mississippi Valley State and get ready to play in that first tournament, because that’s the only way I think a coach can do it… just try to do the best you can everyday. I guess I’m really full of bad answers today, but I don’t think I’m looking at the big picture as much as I’m looking at Friday. I guess that would probably be the best way to put it. We got to play well Friday and if we do play well Friday, maybe they’ll let us stay around and play again.”
Does not having the leader of your transition game available put an emphasis on other parts of the game?
“I think it puts an emphasis on every other part of the game. We’ve got to step our level up in every area. We have to defend better. We have to rebound better. If, make sure you emphasize this word, if we are not going to get as many easy baskets because Kendall isn’t out there, then we have to get some more that we have to earn and that’s ok too. Someway, somehow we just got to figure out how at the end of the game to have more points than Ohio does.”
Listen to Audio (9:14)
Where is the team’s confidence right now?
“Our confidence hasn’t changed at all. We feel like we have people that can step up. Doug Gottlieb, the person who knows everything, has his own statements, but we’re going to go out there and continue to play good basketball.”
What does it mean to you knowing that your name will be in the rafters?
“It’s a big time achievement. My mom called me this morning, I was pretty emotional, but I was very thankful that they selected me and it’s a big deal.”
Based on everything the team has gone through in the past couple of years, is this a team that plays it’s best under adverse circumstances?
“I think we do play well when the cards are stacked against us. We were kind of joking in the locker room that if everyone were healthy there wouldn’t be enough minutes for everyone anyways, so it’s kind of a blessing in disguise. We just have to continue to play hard and hopefully if everybody kind of gets that we can kind of make a little run.”
Listen to Audio (8:12)
Is the team morale back up to where it needs to be?
“Yeah, we just watched a little ESPN segment and were joking about it. They basically said we’re coming back to Chapel Hill instead of going to New Orleans. Obviously we want to go to New Orleans and we’re going to give our best effort, but it’ll be very interesting to see what happens.”
What is the difference between a senior Justin Watts and a freshman Stilman White running to point?
“Justin’s never really played point guard. He’s been around the system. He knows the system very well, but I think there’s a little learning curve at the point guard position where you got to be able to call the plays, know what coach is thinking and pay attention to different things. I know it’s much more difficult. I don’t necessarily understand it, because I’m not a point guard, but I know the point guard position is very difficult. I think he’s got a little bit of a learning curve, whereas Stilman learned the majority of that, he’s just got to be able to put it in. But Justin does have a little more experience as far as game play.”
Listen to Audio (9:27)
How is your wrist?
“It’s getting better. It’s a little sore, but that’s what happens with a sprained wrist. It’s not going to feel 100% for a week or so, so hopefully by Friday it will be fine.”
Does this team still believe they can win with or without Kendall Marshall?
“Yeah. We didn’t come all this way just to lie down first of all, so even if we don’t have Kendall, we’re not going to feel bad for ourselves because we didn’t have him and we had some bad fortunes happen to us unfortunately. But we’re going to keep fighting and with Stilman and Justin I think we have two perfectly capable guys that can get the job done.”
Do you think players are going after each other a little too hard in the postseason?
“No, it’s the postseason. I’ve seen all the YouTubes and stuff from Creighton, from Twitter, and ‘hey’ the fans are a little upset, but at the end of the day it’s a basketball game and they were playing hard, we were playing hard and unfortunately we came out with one less player.”