How frustrating is it that this situation with P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald hasn’t been resolved?
“Well you know it is frustrating, but it’s also a long process. We’re trying to do what we can do. The NCAA is trying to do what they can do but it’s what it is. I’m sure they meaning the NCAA would like to settle all of their cases in five minutes too. We’ve just got to try to continue to working with them and working with our student athletes and do the best job we can do and see what happens.”
Have things been taken out of your control when handling the disciplinary response to the issues with Hairston and McDonald?
“We’re already talking about it more than we need to talk about it since Steve (Kirschner) made the statement but I’ve never felt that. I can’t control how people interpret what I say but I’ve always thought it was a joint thing.”
How have you handled practice with Hairston and McDonald?
“They’ve been practicing. They’ve been practicing really well. The last…I’m going to guess here… but the last week I haven’t had them on the first team at any point. I’ve had them on the blue team the whole time. They’ve been practicing really well. P.J. has played about as well at this point in the season as any player I’ve ever had.”
How different is this North Carolina team without both Hairston and McDonald on the floor?
“Well statistically speaking, your two best three-point shooters. It changes you. Last year at the end of the season with Reggie (Bullock), P.J. and Leslie, I thought we had three really good shooters that would be coming back. I didn’t think Reggie would leave but it worked out great. I was very happy for Reggie. I got to find out why he didn’t play last night in the NBA game. So it does change your team when your best shooters aren’t playing. It changed us in the national championship game against Michigan State when Danny Green didn’t know until shoot around that afternoon whether he was going to be able to play or not. He didn’t play nearly as effectively but Wayne (Ellington) did.”
Will the team this year center around a more post oriented group due to the lack of perimeter scoring?
“We’re thinking about starting five centers. I don’t know if we could get the ball down the court but if we ever get it up in the air we have a better shot. I forget which coach it was that said, ‘Instead of raising the goal they ought to dig a hole in the floor.’ I think that might have been Abe Lemons. So all the little guys will feel more important. I’d like to raise it to 15 feet right now because we’ve got several big guys. It has been a very erratic planning time and preseason time. It really has because things aren’t as smooth and as settled as we would like them to be but it’s what it is.”
Comments on the original claim that the suspension to Hairston and McDonald would be handed out before the season:
“A hundred years ago when I stayed at Kansas I told those people if we have another press conference like this I’m either going to be retiring or dying. You know why I said that? Cause I honest to God believed it so I didn’t lie. I said exactly what I honest to God believed. That’s what I’m doing in this case. I haven’t lied to you guys. I haven’t tried to con you or anything. I’ve said exactly what I’ve believed.”
Has anyone else solidified a starting spot other than Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo?
“Good question. It must be a good question because I don’t have a quick answer. Not really. We’ve got two guys that haven’t been on the first team at all that you hope eventually will be there. You’ve got J.P. (Tokoto) who didn’t play in the exhibition game. It’s still not set but that doesn’t bother me. Most times in my career it’s been a set deal but right now if the lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise and that kind of stuff then tomorrow night I’ll start Nate (Britt), Marcus, J.P., James Michael and depends on who brings me the best piece of dessert to practice tonight. I hope this is going into the locker room.”
How do you feel like the game of college basketball will be impacted due to the way officials are supposed to be calling it differently this year?
“That’ll be the biggest question of every basketball coach in America right now. I’m not necessarily against the intent of any of the rules. How they’re going to play out I think is something we’re all really anxious to see. It could be a very big effect. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’m a guy that’s always been saying let’s have more freedom of movement and all that kind of stuff.”
Comments on Nate Britt’s play since his arrival in Chapel Hill:
“He can attack. He can play at a fast pace. He’s a quarterback. Those things I really treasure. He gives us another ball handler out there. Wade Moody is a better shooter but Wade doesn’t give us the ball handling so you have to pick and choose what’s important to you. I think he and Marcus together both can make plays. He’s done some nice things. If you had everybody at your disposal he might not be starting but right now of the guys he gives us another dimension.”
Is Kennedy Meeks still shrinking into playing shape?
“Not fast enough. Not fast enough. He was 280 after practice on Monday or Tuesday. His vertical jump has gone up a great deal since he got here so I think he’s seeing the benefits of it himself. The first part of what you lose is a lot easier than the last part of what you need to lose. We’ve got to wait and see if he can do that but I haven’t given him a number. I just want him to be able to play effectively. He’s got to be more explosive and got to be able to run.”