On end to Duke/Syracuse game Saturday night and the issue of making critical charge calls:
“It was a sad way to end such a really good basketball game because it was a really good basketball game. It’s sad that it has to end like that. At first, I thought 'wow that is not a good call.' Then you look at it on replay and it’s a lot closer than I thought originally and the whole bit but it’s the kind of thing that you hate it to end on a call like that. I was impressed by Jimmy’s (Boeheim) quickness and his stamina and all that but it’s a tough way to end a basketball game. You can look at that play three different ways and you can have three or four different opinions.”
Do you stay in contact with NBA player and former Tar Heel commit J.R. Smith?
“Not very much. J.R. came and played in a pro alumni game here in ’05 after our championship year. I said ‘I’m finally glad you got here because I’ve been wondering where the crap you’ve been.’ He’s a good kid, good family, but no we don’t keep in touch very often.”
What do you ideally believe Desmond Hubert’s role is with this team?
“He’s our best pivot defender so he needs to get in the game and play the best pivot defense in there. He can outrun everybody on our team. He can fly so we need to get him involved more like Tyler Zeller running the floor. He’s also got the problem in his mind of making the free throws and sometimes that makes him shy away from some contact. We need him to defend and need him to rebound and call out and talk on the screens and set screens on the offensive end.”
Is there a chance your team will wear the Nike throwback uniforms again this season?
“No, we’re not going to wear them again. I thought it worked so let’s don’t push the envelope too much. You know it’s crazy, and if everybody in here was honest, how many of you realized that it was something different in the uniform? See over half of you didn’t realize it. I knew we were going to do it, I chose the game for when we were going to wear the uniforms and I forgot about it completely. I didn’t even know it and said something to Wanda about it and the same thing. She knew about it and didn’t even realize it. You have to be in that generation that looks at those kinds of things. I’m not trying to upset anybody but that’s like shoes. I have no idea what kind of shoes. I just know they better be Jordan and blue or white. If we have 15 players then we have 15 styles out there and I really don’t care. Other people look at that a lot more but no we won’t be wearing those again. They worked and we’re happy with them.”
How happy were you to be able to rest some of your starters Saturday after holding a large lead over the Demon Deacons?
“I was really happy with Marcus trying to get him below 30 minutes. There’s no question I’ve been a little concerned about him all year long. James Michael (McAdoo) was messing it up a little bit in the first half so that’s why I took him out. I told him 'if you’re not going to play then just come over here and sit down, I’ve got plenty of room over here.' When he went back in he did a better job and then all of a sudden people were in foul trouble and I wanted to get Joel (James) more time and try to get Brice (Johnson) on something positive because he had three turnovers and no assists in the first half so it just depends. I did like having the fact that those guys didn’t have to play as many minutes.”
Have you pushed Leslie McDonald to drive more and not settle for just outside shots?
“We do that with everyone but I think that the nature of the game against Duke the other night, we were trying to get really good spacing so it opens it up a little more there. Pressure defense, like us, sometimes they’re a lot better and sometimes they’re not quite as good. Pressure defenses get out and if you’re going to pressure people it opens you up more for the dribble penetration. It’s a battle that we fight all the time ourselves so we did want to get great spacing so we could do that against Duke. I always say to get the ball inside by dribble or pass. I don’t care how it gets in there, we’ve got to get it inside.”
On the 2014 recruiting class and its potential for an immediate impact:
“Well I think they all will. We need them to. I think that Justin (Jackson) has a great ability to score. He’s a very good shooter that I think could be a great shooter and he’s 6-8. He’s a very talented individual. Joel’s (Berry) a point guard, body sort of like Raymond (Felton), can shoot the basketball, can defend and really does some good things. Theo (Pinson) is a little bit like Jackie Manuel but probably a little bit more athletic but Theo’s a winner. He plays awfully hard, rebounds and Theo can play one, two, three or four so that gives us some great versatility there. All three of those kids I’m ecstatic about and hopefully we win a lot of games between now and when they start playing.”
On the matchup against N.C. State on Wednesday night:
“They’re a very good basketball team and I’m hopeful that it will be a very good basketball game. We’ve got to play and you’ve got to get past all the people patting us on the back saying that 'you guys are doing great.' We’ve got to be freakin’ hungry and be ready to play basketball. The crowd is right on top of you. Their players get more energized from the crowd. It’s one of the most difficult places to play in the league.”
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