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On the rivalry:
“A couple years ago I did know this was the greatest rivalry in college basketball and college sports, I don’t know which one. I think it’s recognized as that around the country and yet there are other really big time rivalries around the nation. I was involved in Kansas and Missouri and things like that and on the west coast there is Arizona and Stanford, but I don’t think any of them can step ahead of Duke and North Carolina. The success this program has had for many years from Frank McGuire and Coach Smith on down to Coach Guthridge and Matt [Doherty]. I mean it’s been a long, long time they have been successful, I just don’t know if you can find any place that has had this tradition of history for such a long period of time that these two clubs have. The fact that you are eight miles apart and use the same airports and things like that, just adds a little more to it.”
On his relationship with Mike Krzyzewski:
“Well, eight minus thirteen years on the board of directors and Mike moved up to be president and I think I was president maybe two or three years after him, but I have a great deal of respect for his concerns, for the issues of college basketball, his opinions on the issues of college basketball and how hard the entire board in the industry has tried to work from the beginning of the years. Mike was one of the great leaders of that, so I have a great deal of respect for him, off the court about what he has tried to do to help our college game better. The work he has tried to do behind the scenes, very few people realize it is a lot of work to do for thirteen years and the amount of days that you give up and the college basketball issues. You have to have respect for that and I have tremendous amount of respect for what he has done on the court. The fact that I am here now, competing with him, has not done anything to diminish that respect. We have been very, very close on a huge majority of these issues and I think he is, at that level over there, very difficult to compete with because he is at such a high level. It is difficult to recruit against him, it’s difficult to play him.”
On the rivalry being the main focus:
“You know, if you look at it in the long term, you could probably go back and add North Carolina State to that. And I think when you look at it in those terms, it’s probably right, I think that the number of times that the two teams have met and they are ranked so highly, it’s just gotten more national attention. And that in it self is maybe more attractive than the players, the prospects don’t want to be involved in it.”
On how he would rank playing at Cameron compared to other tough places:
“It’s one of the toughest, there is no question about that. There are a lot of places your team can play in, and if your team is not real good there is even more places that are way difficult. But, there is great, great places to play, there is no question that Cameron is one of the best and I think the Smith Center is one of the best.”
On the rivalry with Duke:
“It’s definitely the best rivalry in college sports. I’d probably say it’s up there with some of the best rivalries in sport: Boston-LA, New York-Boston. It’s crazy how much people actually get into it and just walking around town this past week, this is some people’s National Championship right here. That’s sad to say, but a lot of people think this team can be won or lost with these two games you put in.”
On how Cameron Stadium would rate versus playing at other places:
“Everybody knows that it’s always tough to play there: one, because it’s so hot and two, because of the fans. But the fans aren’t the most brutal; they’re just the most clever. And they come up with some clever things. My experiences there the last two years have been fun. I like playing in a hostile environment like that so we’re definitely looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”
On how to play against Duke’s defense:
“Basically all we have to do is keep playing the way we’ve been playing. Just take good care of the ball, running the offense, pushing the ball down the court, just trying to get their guys tired--trying to get their big guys tired. So it’s really about getting them tired, getting them in foul trouble. So I think that would be a great asset to us.”
On if he thinks Duke will try to run with them or make it more of a half court game:
“It’s hard to say because they are the type of team who looks to run too. I think they are going to try to slow the pace of the game down a little bit, but I think that if they can get quick shots and get quick shots and turnovers from us then they will try to run. But as for running back and forth with us, no I don’t think they will.”
On what they’ve learned from the loss at Wake Forest that may help:
“Just that you have to play better. You know, you go on the road, you have to play [better], especially in a tough environment like Duke--it’s a tough environment, it’s one of the biggest rivalry games in all of sports. And you know with that game, they are going to bring their A-game so we are going to have to bring ours too.”
How much would it mean to win Wednesday night at Cameron?
"It would mean a lot, especially for my senior year. But I'm not worried about any streaks or anything like that. I'll just play hard and hope for the best."
Is the UNC-Duke rivalry more with the fans than the players?
"I believe so, because when we see each other we don't carry the on the court stuff off the court. We have a good time when we see each other."
Who's the best "Williams" in this league right now?
"Coach Roy Williams."
How are you affected by the Cameron Crazies?
"I'm not affected at all and I don't think my teammates will be. I've tried to describe to Marvin and Q how the fans will be getting on us, but the biggest thing is it's a lot of fun. It's the best atmosphere in college basketball to play in, if you ask me."
You were a Duke fan growing up?
"Growing up, being from Durham I was actually a Duke fan. It's just one of those things that you have to live with. Now I'm at Carolina, so life's been great."
What turned the tide for you?
"Just coming to Carolina, for the most part. Being around the people up here, not saying Duke is a bad place, but I've converted pretty much everybody in my family now."
Thoughts on the Cameron Crazies?
"I laugh, because they are funny over there and that's how I deal with it. I've been over there for two years now, this being my third, so I know what to expect."