(Roy Williams Quotes - Locker Room Report - Photos I - Photos II - Box Score)
Felton scored 20 points and dished out nine assists, while a slimmer May scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds exciting the crowd of 8,178 in attendance at the Smith Center on Sunday.
“I’m not trying to be the go-to-guy,” Williams said of his high-scoring performance. “I’m just going out doing the best I could and my teammates did a good job of getting me the ball.”
New head coach Roy Williams, who was welcomed with a resounding round of applause to start the game, was active on the sidelines mostly urging his troops to get the ball up the court quickly.
“Needless to say, we are not ready to run the ball like I want to,” Williams said. “It is a difficult thing, even now, to get it out of the net as fast as I want them to get it out and it’s something that we will continue to work on and try to get better at.”
Rashad McCants, who missed several practices this week with an injury to his thigh, did not play.
“Rashad hasn't practiced in four practices at all and it’s definitely costing him,” Williams said. “He’s got a really bad quad strain and it is a bad one. I feel for him just as much as I do for our team, but he’s getting further and further behind.”
While the Blue-White contest has experienced waning attendance in recent years due to the addition of more exhibition games on the schedule, it was not without one breathtaking moment.
With 7:42 remaining in the game, May collapsed on the near sideline while running back up court. As he lay in obvious pain for several seconds, the arena fell dead silent. But relief quickly spread throughout, as it was clear that the injury was not severe and not on the same leg as the broken foot he suffered last season. However, May did not return.
“I suffered a calf bruise last week in practice, and it just got aggravated again a little bit,” May said. “It’s fine. I could have come back. I just didn’t want to risk getting hurt in the Blue/White game, so I just called it a day.”
His teammate David Noel, who scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, suggested jokingly that perhaps May was playing on the crowd’s sympathy.
“It kind of scared me a little bit, but when he got up and started walking, I knew everything was all right,” smiled Noel. “Sean is the dramatic type. He should be a stunt double for a guy that gets hurt a lot.”
May will have X-rays done on the leg tomorrow as a precautionary measure, but there is no reason to believe the injury is serious and he will be back on the practice floor on Monday.
However what the incident did do was call a sobering attention to the UNC’s lack of depth this season, and not just in the post. If either May or Felton goes down for an extended period of time, the Tar Heels could be in serious trouble. For that reason, a running clock was used. Felton is the only true point guard on the team, while Melvin Scott will be counted when he needs a breather.
“Melvin is going to like the running game because he does like to run out ahead and stretch the defense out,” Williams said. “I'd like for him to be a better ball handler but we've spent a lot of time with him at the point in our practices and he knows that he's going to play that role some and I think that he's adjusted.”
Scott, who scored 13 points and made 3 of 6 three-pointers, said he is benefiting significantly from Williams’ instruction.
“He demands perfection – or close to it – and he’s not going to give up,” Scott said. “He’s going to keep working hard, and no one is going to work harder than him. He’s going to be consistent at his job and coaching and demanding the best out of his players. That’s what we like about him.”
Williams said he was most impressed by the play of Jackie Manuel, who scored 13 points, pulled down six rebounds and made two steals against just four turnovers.
“He did some nice things slashing to the basket and getting out and running,” Williams said. “I’m hoping he will continue those kinds of things.”
“I’m more mature,” explained Manuel. “I know what to expect and I know what to do. My whole game is about patience this year. That’s what I’m working on.”
Perhaps the most striking statistic was UNC’s three-point shooting numbers. The teams were a combined 8-of-13 from beyond the arc, marking a change in philosophy from last season.
“I don’t like the three-point shot unless a great shooter gets wide open,” Williams said.
Reyshawn Terry – the lone scholarship freshman – and his high school teammate Justin Bohlander – this year’s invited walk on – were both impressive. Terry finished with 10 points and just one turnover, while Bohlander scored 12 points. Both were 5-for-8 from the field.
Bohlander ended the game with a demonstrative dunk that sent the fans home happy.
Damion Grant was also in street clothes and his status for the season is in doubt at this point.
“We’re still holding him out for a little longer,” Williams said. “We've got two doctors with two opinions and we’ve got to get those doctors together to decide when we're going get him to start him again. But I don't see him being able to start practice by the start of the season.”
“They’re trying to determine if he will be able to play or not this year,” May added.
Former two-year junior varsity member C.J. Hooker, who bears a strong resemblance to McCants physically, will join the team along with the Tar Heels’ other walk-ons.
“We’re probably going to keep Phillip [McLamb], Damien [Price] and Jonathan [Miller],” Williams said. “And I told C.J. Hooker that unless he goes out and robs a bank, we’ll keep him also. He’s done a nice job, considering he’s only practiced with us this week.”