“Don’t know where to start. I hope we did a good job in exams this week and get those grades back, but I congratulate Jeff [Lebo] and his team. They kept fighting and kept fighting. We gave them a lot of opportunities by screwing things up a little bit, but I got more frustrated perhaps today than I have in a long time. I look down on the stat sheet and no post player got an offensive rebound in the entire game. Reggie [Bullock] had four, P.J. [Hairston] had three, J.P. [Tokoto] had two and then we got a team rebound, but I don’t think we can give that to a post player so I was frustrated with that.
“I was frustrated that we didn’t pick up three point shooters soon enough. Akeem Richmond we know is really a good shooter, but we couldn’t pick him up soon enough and they were pressing us. We had one silly turnover and the other times we converted on the other end, but we were making one or two and giving up three to them.
“I was really not surprised at all by the way Jeff’s team fought. They’re an experienced team. He’s got a good team. I enjoyed watching them play the games that I was able to see on tape, but it is a little frustrating out there to say the least. It’s another game and another opportunity to get better. Yesterday afternoon we even had a player leave practice earlier yesterday for something for one of his final exams so it was a tough week. It looked like we hadn’t practiced all week and we didn’t do a lot of practicing, but still it’s a ‘W’
There were a lot of empty possessions to start the second half. To what do you attribute that to?
“I don’t know. We ran a set play the first play of the second half and got a guy wide open for a layup and didn’t throw the ball and then they go down and score first. I think they did a nice job and I think give them some credit. I’m very frustrated with my team, but I think around here particularly we always just focus on our team and don’t give the other team credit, but I’ve never had a game where a post player never got an offensive rebound the whole game so I got really frustrated and I went really small. We’ve gone small with keeping one post player in there and today I think at one time I had J.P. and Reggie, I guess, as the four and five. That way we could switch all the screens on the ball and do a better job and then we’re supposed to be switching and one of the next plays we don’t switch and they throw it to their big guy for a layup underneath so the head coach at North Carolina has got to do a better job.”
How much does shot selection have to do with guys not getting offensive rebounds?
“I’m sure it’s some, but in the first half we took four bad shots and the second half I have to think back but I know exactly how many we took, but it’s an easy deal. Anticipate your teammates shot. You guys in the stands, guys that are knowledgeable about basketball, people that aren’t knowledgeable about basketball sort of can tell when a guy is getting ready to shoot. Then anticipate your teammates shot and go to the board. That’s a pretty simple thing to do right there, but, again, we got some time period now for three practices before we play and then a couple more when we get back before we play again and let people go home and we got to do a lot of work.”
How much of a different feel is it when part of the Tar Heel family comes back home? It just seemed like the atmosphere was a little different?
“The atmosphere was sort of like my team. It was a little different. We didn’t practice until Thursday and then Thursday we had a pretty good practice, but had to let three guys, I think it was, go early or come late or something like that and practiced yesterday and I think two guys had to leave early, but it was an unusual game. It’s hard for me. I tried to never look at Jeff and it’s because that’s somebody on the other end that I really care for. I helped recruit him, I helped coach him. When the game was over I’m happy that we won. I’m ticked off the way we played but then you look at that guy he’s got an ‘L.’ His team may have played closer to their potential than I did than our team did so it’s hard… it’s different. I’ll just put it to you that way. That’s the way our team played today. Like we have in practice.”
What happened after Reggie Bullock got his fourth foul?
“We never did do a very good job of getting picked up and then we had two very uncharacteristic turnovers because we had P.J. taking it out and we haven’t worked on with him taking it out enough and that’s what I mean. I got to do a better job. If I’m going to go small we’ve got to get them opportunities to work on those things and do a better job of it. Two different occasions in practice, once this week and once the week before, we’ve gone small and tried to practice a little bit of press offense, but we’ve always been really good against the press and we were really good today once we got it in. When we got it in to our team we laid it up on the other end, but Marcus [Paige] turns it over trying to dribble between two people. Dexter [Strickland] turned it over. Just silliness, both of those. You just got to pass that.”
Do you think you play better smaller?
“Today I don’t know which way we played better.”
You said this week you’d like to see Reggie attack a little more. Was today the beginning of that process?
“I don’t know. He got hurt again. He’s got a bad hand where he got stepped on. That’s one of the reasons I took him out at one spell and it’s hard for him to put the ball on the floor as comfortably as he’d like to, but it’s part of the game. I made the decision to start Brice [Johnson] and I go to pregame and he’s sick as a dog and that’s the reason at the 15 minute mark in the warm-up I went out to see if he felt like he could play and things change and you got to be able to overcome. That’s the reason if Reggie gets four fouls whoever comes in for him has got to be able to play and for us during this time period we’re playing a lot of people and I’m committed to that because I think down the road you’re going to have to have some of those guys who may not have gotten minutes that a lot of people are going to have to get.
Defensively, you gave up 61 points in the second half. You mentioned not getting around screens and not getting out on shooters. What was the main thing that bothered you?
“Both of those, probably. We had a timeout, guys, and we said we were going to switch every screen and all of a sudden the big guy lays it up… Right now, there’s not anything that Ole Roy is ecstatic about. Let’s put it that way.”
Can you talk about how P.J. Hairston played today and what he’s bringing to your team at this point?
“He got whacked again one time himself there because I thought he should have shot the ball in the corner when Dexter penetrated and pitched and he didn’t do it. But James Michael was setting a screen for him and he got whacked. P.J.’s doing some good things. Again, I think he had at least two or three offensive rebounds for baskets. I think that was important to us. Leslie [McDonald] has really been doing some good things. Leslie didn’t necessarily have the numbers today that he’s had recently, but the good thing is that what we’re trying to do is build a team. And a team means everybody being able to step up and do some good things.”
Is going small long-term a possibility?
“If they get no freakin’ rebounds, yeah. There was one possession down there where [East Carolina] got four shots. Why is that? That’s partly my fault because we don’t have any big guys in the game. So why don’t I have any big guys in the game? Because they weren’t getting rebounds either. Everybody’s got to pitch in and do a better job. There’s no question that during parts of certain games that we’re going to go small… But I don’t foresee us going and starting small and playing small for 30 minutes a game.”