Saturday Press Conference Quotes + Audio

- Inside Carolina
Posted Mar 26, 2005


SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Listen to UNC head coach Roy Williams, Sean May, Raymond Felton, Jackie Manuel, Marvin Williams, Jawad Williams and Rashad McCants, as well as Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, Sharif Chambliss, Clayton Hanson, Zach Morley, Mike Wilkinson and Alando Tucker address the media from the Carrier Dome on Saturday…

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LISTEN (10:24)

ROY WILLIAMS

Could I ask you about the defense? How much better is it and have the guys bought in more this year than last year?
“You know, that question has been asked a couple of different ways. I think they bought into what we were saying last year, but we had to continue drilling it so much. I think that’s another reason that we are much better defensively this year. We had another year to work on it and basically the same team. We should be better, and I’m hoping after practice in awhile we’ll be better tomorrow than we were last night, but the kids understand how important the defensive end of the court is, and I told them during the pre?season, I have never seen a team make it to the Final Four and definitely not win a championship that wasn’t a real good team defensively. Make sure you understand.”

Some people say Marvin Williams is the best sixth man in the country. Some people say he’s the best basketball player in the country. Given all of the egos and personalities that go into a team, how you have been able to keep him in that role and keep everybody happy, and the team as good as it can be?
“I think the kids partially answered that themselves because we’re only concerned about the team, and it was something that’s been a two-year process in selling them on that idea and they’ve bought into that completely. Marvin Williams is one of the nicest youngsters that I have ever been around in my entire life. Thirty years from now, if somebody mentioned the name Marvin Williams to me, it will bring a smile to my face. And I think that the other part of it is he just wants to win. His high school team did not win as much as he wanted to and he has won more games this year than he did the last two years together in high school. That part is something else. But he sees that Sean and Jawad have had pretty good years as well. And so he’s accepted his role, and he knows that he is extremely important. And last night, he played more minutes than Jawad did even though Jawad started. So I have never been hung up on who starts.”

Roy, on a good team, you hope that there is no one player who is indispensable but given everything that Raymond does for you on both ends of the floor, is he the closest thing that you’ve got to a player who is indispensable?
“Probably the closest thing that I’ve had in 17 years as head coach. I really believe that, but I loved what Melvin and the other guys do too. During the part when he was out after we found out we were not qoing as smooth but during the first part, I did love what they did, but I would hate to think where we would be without Raymond and yet if we had put Quentin and Melvin out there and tell them they have to do it, maybe they would have done even better themselves, but he’s a phenomenal player for us on both ends.”

Given what he does he sets tempo for you on both ends of the court. Doesn’t that make him more important?
“Yes, but one of the most amazing statistics to me is that coming into the tournament at least, we were leading the nation in scoring in, and in the last half of the games the people have tried to control the tempo so we are used to that part of it. Yesterday, they controlled tempo with dribble penetration. Tomorrow, it’s controlling tempo with the pass. And I love the way Wisconsin plays. I love the way they compete on the defensive end of the floor. They share the ball on the offensive end of the floor. I mean, they outrebound their opponents. To me I love going up and down, but if I did not really like a fast, fast tempo, I would like to go and sit in Bo’s office for a month and figure out how to coach like that because I would love to coach like that.”

Five years ago, you expressed some dislike for Wisconsin’s style of play. Has it changed under Bo?
“No. Everybody their opinions, but in my opinion, it was not anything directed at Wisconsin. Dick Bennett is one of the guys that I admire as much as anybody in coaching. Last summer I had a great morning. Went downstairs and he was sitting there and we sat down and talked for a while. And I love the defensive play that Dick’s teams always had. I love how they shared the basketball. I can say the same thing with Bo. That statement was against the officials. I’m getting in trouble probably with the officials now. But I just think the game had gotten so physical, that it was hard to make a cut. Let me back up. It is not against the official, it was the way the games were being called, okay. So we were on the rules committee. We had talked the summer before about we need to get some of the physical play out of it. And that one game, and I made probably inappropriate remarks about the score of that game, and I can’t even remember now what, 19 or 18, whatever it was, that kind of thing. But it was interpreted as against that style of play and that was not it. And Dick understood it. I mean, Dick and I had a talk about it and he understood it as well. But I would say this right here, if I didn’t have a team that would, that I felt like could really run up and down, I would like to play the way Bo coaches and I would like to play the way Dick coached at that time because they share the ball and they guard your rear end. But I just think that our college game had gotten too physical at that time. but it wasn’t. The Wisconsin people, they would never believe that because they booed me quite a bit a couple of years later,but Dick knows how I feel and Bo knows how I feel too. The last time was just this past summer. We sat at the Nike All-American camp in Indiana downstairs in the hotel lobby. I had gotten back from my run and it was before the game started. I spoke to Dick after my comment at that point just to tell him to make sure he understood that I had a great deal of respect for him. And I do, and I do right now with Bo and I have for several years even before he came back to Wisconsin.”

You said last night when you came in here that you thought Villanova’s coach did a better job more or less than you did. Can you specifically talk about what you meant by that?
“You watch the first three or four possessions of the game and I told our guys, they are going to come after us. It is going to be aggressive. It is going to be physical and it is not going to be, you know, any casual approach. And I don’t remember if it was the first play or second play, but a shot was taken, and Raymond sort of patted the ball down to the ground like he was going to take off to other end and their kid dove for it and ref called it out of bounds on Raymond. A few minutes later Sean went up and got a rebound and thought the battle was over with and their kid came up and knocked it loose. I did a poor job. I said what it was and what I meant, but I didn’t get them to understand. And later on, I got on Sean again at one time because he caught the ball and he’s got the ball down low and he’s looking this way. Well, you know, there’s 360° in basketball court that somebody can be around you and he’s looking over here, and somebody comes from this side and knocks it loose. And so at that point, we were more casual and more careless than we needed to be. And I thought without Sumpter, I thought that Jay had their team at an emotional and mental high, and a level that we were not at.”

How did you sleep last night, and was there anything that you replayed in your head or was it all water under the bridge?
“These press conferences are really deteriorating when you want to know how the hell I sleep at night. I didn’t sleep. I don’t ever sleep. So that was no big deal. Went to bed for about an hour and got up and took a hot shower to see if that would help and went back to bed. But three or four hours is about all I can handle at this time of the year anyway. It’s a lot more comfortable when I’m thinking about holes I birdied and stuff like that.”

Zack is a Missouri kid that grew up loving Kansas. Did you ever cross paths with him in those days? What do you know about him?
“I did not cross paths with him. Maybe my staff did, but I did not and after watching him shoot, if I’m not mistaken, he’s about 50% from the three?point line. I wish I had paid more attention. But that’s a wonderful area of the country that they love their basketball in, Kansas. The attention and the passion that people have for basketball there is shared by a lot of people.”

Your players talk about working on the little things at this point of the year. What are those little things?
“Last night, we talked about it at halftime. We were down four and missed the last four or five opportunities at the free throw line. A free throw is a free throw, so to step up to the line and not make your free throws is a little part of the game. Calling out a switch. One time it was a perfect switch and one guy didn’t say anything, and the other guy thought he was going to switch and now all of a sudden we got two guys guarding a guy that doesn’t have the ball, and it’s a very simple thing. Just call out the switch and you have one of your guys that gets one of theirs in both situations. But communication I think is something that is a little thing, but it is extremely important. So those are the two things we talked about at halftime.”

I asked Jawad about being the only ACC team still standing and Big Ten clubs have had a hand in that. He shoots the idea down. But, the fact that Wisconsin beat N.C. State, does that help you get the guys’ attention?
“You know, I can’t speak for all of the kids but, I mean, if we have to think of things to get their attention in the round of eight, my gosh, we’re in a sorry situation. So I’m a North Carolina fan. If you separate me from that, I’m an ACC fan. But let’s make sure that you understand, I’m a North Carolina fan. And I think that that’s what the kids mean, they have to be concerned about our own thing. And I would love it if we have four ACC teams at the Final Four. But I don’t really care as long as we win. So let’s not be sitting up here and be a phony. I’m not going to sit up here and say rah-rah ACC. If I have an option, there’s no question I’ll pull for the ACC, but you are so consumed about what you are doing, you don’t have a lot of time. Don’t go back and make a big deal of what I said, just understand, you are so consumed. We got back to the hotel, it was almost 2:00 in the morning. And I’m not going to sit there and watch the Duke tape and North Carolina State tape. I’m not going to do that and that doesn’t mean that I’m being disloyal. You don’t have time to worry about other people. You are consumed with your own self right now, and I don’t think that’s being selfish. When I get back after it is over with I’ll say, ‘Gosh, our league had a great year,’ and I do believe that. But I think it’s unfair to expect, particularly the kids, to have any feelings towards anybody else. You’re just trying to survive and advance as Jimmy Valvano said.”

You talked earlier about Marvin Williams. Why did you decide not to start him earlier in the season and even as he’s improved throughout the year?
“It was not what was best for our team. Jawad has struggled lately since he’s gotten hurt, but has not necessarily hurt us by having Marvin come off the bench. He had 20, 20 and 16 coming off the bench. It is hard to play 40 minutes a game anyway, but I think you have to look at what’s best for your team. I made this statement a minute ago, in ‘93, I had a guy that made second-team all-conference and never started. I started another kid who needed to start. And this kid could come off the bench or start so I had two players. If I had started the kid that could play anyway, I would have lost the other kid so that’s not what is best for our team. I don’t think I would have that here because I think that Jawad particularly would handle it either way because he’s a senior and he’s been through a lot of tough times, and so to me, it was better for our team, and initial stage of the season, he was more ready than Marvin was. You look down through there and it’s, we’ve been fairly successful with Jawad in the lineup. Folks, I can’t have too much more time because I have practice in a minute.”

I was just talking to a couple of your players about what it means when some of the old Carolina players come back and they specifically remembered Jordan’s visit. And him talking about that he felt that this could be a special team. And I was just wondering if you could give me a little insight as to how that came about that Michael came down that day and what you think that means, when players like that come back.
“Do you want the truth or do you want me to give you a good story? Michael was really concerned about how our team was doing and thought if he came back and gave us motivation, he’s so gracious at that. Or you can say the truth that he was on his way to Florida and needed to stop in the Chapel Hill area and get a golf lesson, and since he was there, he decided to come over and watch practice. You can figure it any way that you want to. But he did call and ask if he could come to practice and I said let me think about that a minute. And so there’s no question that he was traveling, wanted to get through and in fact, he was coming to one of the games this year and his son’s team won a game, and had an extra practice put in there and so he was not able to come. I had four tickets set aside for him and the whole bit but, he was coming down, wanted to come and watch us practice, tied in a golf lesson with that and was gracious enough to talk to my team a bit after practice. And I think he’s the greatest player that ever lived. And the kids nowadays still see some of those videos and still remember it too.”

How much credit do you deserve for turning this team around from where it was a couple of years ago?
“I think the biggest part of it is the kids maturity. I really believe that. And I have been on record as saying this. I think if Sean May doesn’t break his foot his freshman year, Matt Dougherty would have still been the coach there. I have always felt very comfortable in getting kids to play as a team. I’ve always been very comfortable as a coach, and I’ve got the best staff of anybody in the world. But I think just saying that we’re here because of me as, that’s so far off base, that’s like saying I birdie every hole. I may tell a lie every now and then and say I birdied one or two. The kids’ maturity, and the kids working hard, and the kids understanding over the off-season what we asked them to work on, and how important it would be to this team, and the vision that we had and the picture we saw if they would do that, but still, they are the ones that have to work. They are the ones that have to put in this sweat. And I’m not being humble, I’m being truthful.”

You mentioned earlier how Wisconsin likes to control tempo with the passing. Could you go a little deeper into that and how it differs from let’s say, N.C. State, and what a bunch of other teams have tried against you?
“Last night, particularly, Villanova would spread you, but they want to beat you with dribble penetration. They want to get you into the lane and fake up and spin back and get a foul or, get you to drop back in there and pitch back out to the shooter for three. Wisconsin has constant movement. They are moving guys around and they are also trying to have one post player inside that they are trying to get the ball and they can change who that post player may be. But, they are moving the ball around with the pass much more so. They can still hurt you on dribble penetration. But that is not the whole game with them. And this is not meant to be a cut towards Villanova by any means, but we had to control dribble penetration last night. And the level that we controlled it was going to determine whether we won or lost the game. Now, if we controlled dribble penetration against Wisconsin, they are still going to move the basketball to pass. So I think it is different.”

Your players talk a lot about the respect that they have for you because of all of the success that you’ve had. Do you ever use the times that you have been on the wrong end of upsets as a teacher and motivational tool for them?
“I try to deal with so much more on the positive side. Somebody asked a question last night if I had flashbacks to a game and did I go back and look so I know what year it was. My answer to him is that at the time, I’m working. I’m not thinking about something that happened that long ago. And during the course of coaching, you bring out good memories and you bring out bad memories and try to get them to see a picture. And if something from a bad memory helps them to see a picture, I don’t mind using that. There is no question. With this team, with most teams, I try to be very positive and coach this team, and I do. I have said and I did say to Sean last night, I have coached quite a bit and to stick with me on this one, and I’m not nearly as good a rebounder as you are, but I’ve seen a lot more basketball. And I think that that’s the way I try to coach is to be very positive and use all of the experiences, whether they have been good or bad.”

JAWAD WILLIAMS

When you have the height advantage like you do tomorrow, how do you take advantage of that?
“The big thing is we’ll get the ball inside. Pass and dribble. We’re not going to focus on one area, we’ll try to play our game and hope for the best.”

How is your hip, and is it limiting your game in any way right now?
“I’m never going to use an injury as an excuse. I haven’t been playing as well as I want to play, but my teammates are stepping up and making plays for me. My shot is not falling, but I still try to do other things as far as rebounding and plays defense. I will be fine.”

The biggest differences this year on the team, maturity level, whatever the reasons are, why you guys are where you are now as opposed to where you were the past couple of years?
“I believe it’s also maturity. Guys are really stepping in, playing their roles. Even in the postseason, roles for guys on the team have changed. Even mine has changed, but I’m not complaining about that at all, because I love my role when the team is getting wins.”

How much do you know of Alando Tucker and the challenges he might present to you guys, and does he remind you of anyone that you have played against this year?
“For me we’re not going to worry about anybody else. We’ll worry about ourselves and go out and play good team defense, play our principles and hopefully we’ll come out with the W.”

You are the last ACC team standing. Does that conference stuff matter to you guys?
“Not at all. The conference stuff has nothing to do with the NCAA Tournament. I could care less about the ACC winning, the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and all that type of stuff. Those records and those wins are not going to help us now.”

How important were those four games that you guys won without Rashad? Was it preparing you for what you went through last night?
“I think it was a blessing in disguise because when Rashad went out, we had to play them harder as a team and last night, Raymond got in foul trouble. He fouled out and Melvin stepped in and played a big role in the win last night. So that just showed when we lose somebody, other guys can step up and make plays.”

JACKIE MANUEL

What were your thoughts on last night’s game against Villanova?
“It was a great win. It was tough. Those guys played great. It was a great run for us to play a game like that, so close. We took a lot from that, and hope to not put ourselves in that situation again.”

Why are you guys are where you are now as opposed to where you were the past couple of years?
“I think it is just maturity, you know. We understand what it takes. Guys understand their role. We all have one goal in mind and that’s winning. So everybody is willing to sacrifice their own game and do whatever it takes to win.”

How important were those four games that you guys won without Rashad, was it preparing you for what you went through last night?
“It was tough for us. To lose our top scorer, Rashad, but it also gave other guys the opportunities to step up. With that, and Rashad back into the mix, it just made us more dangerous.”

You said earlier that the game last night was a learning experience. What did you learn and how do you apply it?
“That it is going to take the little things to win a game. And especially now, its crunch time, so we have to go and work on those things and make sure that we’re ready.”

RASHAD McCANTS

What were your thoughts on last night’s game against Villanova?
“For me personally, it’s only two letters that you can really take from it. You can have the L or the W. And we didn’t want the L. I told the guys before the game, that we didn’t want this to be our last game and we definitely didn’t want to lose our last game. We had to take from it all the pressures that they put on us, the press, the defensive pressure, and offensive pressure. It was a tough game. I think that was one of the toughest games of the year as far as having to play defense like we did, and being pressured on offense. Having to make the best of it.”

I’m sure that you’re still learning a little bit about Wisconsin, but you know North Carolina State well. So when you see what Wisconsin did to State last night, what does that tell you about their toughness, and their team?
“From what I saw, State put a lot of pressure on them early and turned the ball over in the first half quite a bit. And in the second half, they came out and hit shots and they came out very aggressive. Wisconsin is normally known as a great defensive team, and they really got up there and pressured N.C. State into really taking tough shots and limiting their offensive rebounding. I think our advantages will be on the backboards and our front court as far as Marvin and Jawad and Sean. It’s going to be tough down low for them, and getting those big guys in foul trouble and making them get deep in their bench.”

Do you think that when it gets down to inside 15, 20 seconds, that unless there is something blatant that has to be called, that refs should not make a call?
“I don’t know. That’s really tough for the refs. That puts them in a tough position because depending on how the game has been called the whole time, those last ten seconds they are going to be decisive with the whistle in their mouth and it’s going to be tough. But that’s a hard question to answer.”

When Raymond went down last night, you seemed to sort of step up, show a lot more emotion on the floor than sometimes you do. Do you believe that you have developed some leadership over the course of the last couple of months? Do you think that was leadership on your part?
“Well, I have always tried to show a lot of leadership on the court, but it is often confused with me being moody or showing too much emotion and too much facial expressions. So I have tried to cut down on all of that and lead by example. Last night was a prime example of a lot of my teammates coming to me and telling me to really just be aggressive. They kept giving me the ball to get fouled, and Marvin stepped up and made a huge three that really capped off our run. I think that was really big for us as far as momentum. They had to continue to foul, and it put them in a hard spot.”

Could you talk about end game situations? You guys kind of let a big lead evaporate late in the game. Where you concerned about that at all?
“Like I said before last night, good teams are going to make their runs, and it is hard to really deny a good team from shooting the ball as well as they were last night. We knew as a team that we had to find a way to win and that was just on our defensive end, and using our bread and butter defense to stop one play at a time. I think that was very important for us just to come down every play and make a stop and make them take a tough shot.”

The biggest differences this year on the team, maturity level, whatever the reasons are, why you guys are where you are now as opposed to where you were the past couple of years?
“It is amazing what can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit. I think that was probably the most instrumental thing about our season, that we had a lot of guys sacrificing a lot of their part of game just to be successful. Coach wanted us to go out and just believe in him, that he was going to take us to the Promised Land. He’s been successful in the past getting here many times, and we have never really won anything. So if we just got on his back and just rode him, we would get here. Now we’re two games away, and it gives us goose bump just thinking about going somewhere we’ve never been.”

MARVIN WILLIAMS

What were your thoughts on last night’s game against Villanova?
“It was a great time. They are very well coached. They are big?time players. When Raymond went down for the game, Melvin came in and stepped up and that was big for our team so it was a big win for us.”

How much do you know of Alando Tucker and the challenges he might present to you guys, and does he remind you of anyone that you have played against this year?
“I have not watched anything. I wouldn’t be able to answer that question.”

RAYMOND FELTON

Are you tired right now after last night?
“No I’m fine, I’m fine. I’ll be ready to play tomorrow.”

The game you had against Villanova, they play a slow down kind of game. You’re going to see that again with Wisconsin. How did last night’s game prep you for tomorrow?
“There are several teams that tried it against us including N.C. State. They play a slow pace game so I think we’re prepared for that. We’re going to come out during practice and work on it more, but I think we’ll be ready tomorrow.”

Knowing how important it has been for you to be on the floor for this team, do you go into this game trying to avoid fouls?
“No, I know one way to play and that’s to play hard and that’s the way I play. It went a bad way last night but I’m not going to think it is going to be that way tomorrow. I’ll go out and play the same way.”

How much better defensively is the team this year than it has been in the last year or two?
“We play a much better team defense than anything. But we still have little things that we’ve got to work on. But at the same time we’ve done a tremendous job with that this year. It shows. We’re 30?4. That sums it up right there, but we definitely do a much better job playing team defense.”

SEAN MAY

What kind of confidence does having Coach Williams, instill in you guys?
“It instills a great deal of confidence. He’s been there; he’s not up with one of the first-time coaches and trying to show us the way to do something for the first time. He’s been there. He knows his stuff along with Coach Robinson, Coach McGrath and Coach Holladay. They know what they’re doing. There were times last night when I thought I was right on something and he said, ‘I’ve been coaching a long time, I know a lot more than you.’ And I said ‘Yes, sir.’ I changed it, you know, and that’s the thing. When you have coaches that instill a lot of confidence in you, it allows for them to hide your weaknesses and showcase your talent.”

How much better defensively is the team this year than it has been in the last year or two?
“We are better defensively than we were last year, but at the same time Coach says every day, ‘Let’s get better.’ We can continue to do better. Last night we did play a very good team defense. Our guards did a great job of trying to control their guards. They got hot in the beginning of the game, but over the course of the game, they wore down. We just have to continue to keep doing a better job and to continue to keep improving.”

Do you feel games are being called more tightly than maybe they were during the regular season?
“I think they are being called a little tighter, but it has been that way. We can’t control how the refs call the game. We can only play. We can only try to play as hard as we can and do the things that we can do to try to change the outcome of the game. I would say that they are called evenly. They were called the same way throughout the whole game. It is not like they allowed us to play and then they were calling it tight. They called it tight the whole time. So I don’t think the officiating is really that big of a deal.”


LISTEN (18:44)

BO RYAN

Opening Statement:
“I’m extremely excited for our young men here to be able to have this opportunity. Again, they get to keep wearing the uniform, and we keep staying together as a team. The way it works with basketball is, you can keep practicing as a whole group as long as your team is still alive, and once you’re knocked out, then you can only work with four of them. So we’d like to keep these guys together as long as we can, and I know they’re looking forward to playing in the next round and seeing how far we can go. But I’m extremely proud of them.”

I’ll ask you the same question I asked Mike about getting back in transition against teams that really like to push it. Does anything suffer or does it take away from any aspect of what you normally would like to do when you’re really focusing on getting back in transition?
“We practice the complete game. When we do possessions, we’re always encouraging the scout team or teams to push the ball to make sure that the defense is back. The other thing that we do every day in practice is they have to play until they hear a whistle. There is no such thing as half court. In 30 some years of coaching, every team I have coached, they are not allowed to stop until they hear a whistle. And that helps in transition defense. Because you never know in practice when the other team is going to leak a guy out or get back, or throw a baseball pass, a big long outlet along the side. So they have to play until they hear a whistle.”

I’ve heard successful football coaches talk about how scared they are on game day because of all of the treacherous things that can happen during the course of a game. I was wondering if you could relate to that at all. Not only this game particularly, but for this game and all other games that you may coach.
“I thought you meant on getting to the game, all the treacherous things that can happen. The head coach that I played for used to talk about that. I don’t know when you say treacherous, are you talking about the different things that a team might do to you when you get into the game?”
Things that may go wrong for your side, yes.
“Well, that’s interesting. Sometimes I’ll make things uncomfortable in practice just for that very reason. And I’ve known other coaches growing up watching guys. If everything is orchestrated, what happens when things get out of their normal order? So sometimes in practice, we have routines. And then you get away from the routines some. And it happens. You know, the bus is late, the police escort that you have gets a little too far ahead, and you get caught at a light. When you get there, somebody forgot a uniform, somebody forgot a pair of shoes. At Platteville, that happened a couple of times. So far here, it hasn’t. But yeah, there are things that can happen. But the one thing I try not to do is go crazy. You know, if a coach loses his cool because something wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, don’t let the players see you shaking or disturbed. Wait until you get out in the hallway and then rip a manager or two.” {Laughter} “And keep that away from the players. So, you know, sometimes you create situations to handle adversity.”

When you look at Carolina on tape, what do you think?
“You know, coaches will always say whoever they are going to play is a good team, they’ve run great stuff, well coached, very athletic players. So that’s what I’m going to tell you that I see when I look on tape because it is what you see. I mean, there’s outside ability, there’s post?up ability, there’s transition ability, there’s defensive pressure. You know, I guess all you guys wouldn’t have picked them where you picked them, or they wouldn’t be a number one seed, if they weren’t a good team. So we understand that. Our players have been through this before. Three of our bumps are against Illinois which is the number one team. So it is not as if our guys will blink. They’ll play, and they’ll compete, and prepare as we have for the other ones, but when you look at North Carolina, I see a very good team. A team that’s on a mission too.”

Who has most influenced you as a coach, and why?
“We’ve been through this, but I would be more than happy to share with you again. I think growing up in my house, just competing and watching my dad coach youth teams in Chester and Aston, Pennsylvania, Sun Valley school district. He coached a lot of guys that went to St. James and a lot of guys that went to Chester and Sun Valley. And I always know this. All the guys that ever played for him would always, you know, they would come back and say thanks. A guy like Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, who he coached, I remember the words that he had to say about my dad. He was a lot of tough love. But he was very street smart, and so I learned at an early age, ways of getting people to do things. So it helped me as a quarterback, a point guard and a shortstop just watching my dad work with people. So you say, what’s that have to do with coaching? Well, if you can’t get people to do things, if you’re not persuasive, and you’re not convincing, you’re not going to be a decent teacher and a coach. So he had the biggest influence. My high school and college coach who I played for for seven years, three years in high school, four in college. I always have to explain it that way, because people think that I’m a little slow then. But Ron Rainy, a guy that I learned an awful lot from also, about Xs and Os, and about team and about working personalities together. When to sit a guy, when to play a guy, how to do some things in practice to touch a few nerves, I learned that from him. Probably basketball?wise, early with the clinics on defense, first one was at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. And I have always used those principles of five guys guarding three. And Dr. Tom Davis, probably as far as the recent time is concerned, just what a great teacher and a great motivator and personality, just a good guy who showed me that you can be a good guy and still get people to play hard, and be successful. And not that the other guys were tough guys, and never were nice to players, but I guess Tom Davis wouldn’t be in that category with Coach Knight.”

In Clayton Hanson, when did you think that, this former walk-on that I have to think about giving this kid a scholarship, and then after that when did you think to yourself, gee, I’ll have to start this kid?
“Well, equal opportunity employers, and equal opportunity coaches should treat people the same way. And I think way it works is that if somebody earns something, then they should get their just rewards. I did not give Clayton a scholarship because he signed with us at UWM. There were players at UWM that wanted to come with me to Madison. There were players who were transferring at that time maybe to UWM or somewhere else that might have called their high school coach and said, ‘Hey, Coach Ryan is going to Wisconsin,’ No, no, no. I was not going to take people from where I coached before. I don’t think that’s right, and so I told Clayton there wasn’t a scholarship, and talked with Bruce Pearl and said, ‘Bruce, this is what the young man wants to do.’ Straight-A student, tops in his class, one of the top two or three in his class. Milwaukee is a great school, Madison is a great school. But there was some things that he wanted to accomplish at Madison, and Bruce said, ‘I don’t have a problem with that, we’ll release him out of his scholarship.’ And so he walked on at our place. And then I don’t know what a scholarship is worth now in-state at Wisconsin, but Devon Harris is making just a little more money than that twice a month. They get paid in the NBA. And so Clayton got Devon’s scholarship. There were other people that got word back to us about transferring or whatever, and do you have a scholarship now. No, that scholarship is going to Clayton Hanson and he earned it and that was before he was starting. Then practice starts. In every drill and everything that he did, he kept working on his feet over the years. He was always described as a guy that was too slow, couldn’t jump, but don’t leave him open. You know, they still might say he’s too slow, can’t jump and don’t leave him open, but he’s a better player because of how hard he’s worked and we’re just happy that we were able to help both he and his family this year with a scholarship. But the companies have been beating the door down. I don’t think that Clayton is going to have to worry about too many things when it comes to financially being stable, and supporting a family. There’s are a lot of businesses that are after him right now, and it is not the NBA that has asked about him.”

Do you view coaching at Wisconsin almost as an extension of what your roots growing up? You have recruited a bunch of kids from Wisconsin and a few others from that general region. You played a unique style of basketball that a lot of coaches don’t use any longer or, you know, kind of faded out. Do you see that as an extension of your entire life really, and is that kind of a thrill for to you be able to do that in big-time college basketball and get to this level?
“Well, I haven’t seen passing, cutting, screening, shooting and playing defense phased out by any team yet. I don’t know what you meant by that. I have no idea. Because we set the same screens that any motion offense, any flex offense, any Princeton offense does. We do the same things only maybe in different sequences, maybe slightly different spacing. But it is still all about getting a good shot and taking care of the ball, which we did so well last night in the first half. And that’s probably what you’re referring to. I hope coaches do throw that out and they’ve gotten rid of that half. Anybody watching that just burned the tape. But is this an extension? I’m doing what I enjoy. I love the game. I pay respect to the game. I want my players to pay respects to the game by being solid players on both ends of the floor, not trash talking players, not doing things that takes away from the game or that draws more attention to them than it does to the team. If people have thrown that away, I’ll tell you, first of all, I don’t know why they would throw it away, those kind of ideals. Because what is the game all about?”

With so many people picking North Carolina and so much hype over their talent, how important was it for your players to see Villanova pushed them to the limit to show that they are a little vulnerable?
“Well, I mean every team believes that another team is vulnerable from the stand point of they also have to play us. Jay went into the game as a coach and his staff, hey, they have got to guard us. We’ve got to guard them. I don’t know why competitors would ever go into an environment other than thinking that if I could do this, this, and this, then here is our chance, so let’s do this, this, and this. That’s how we approach it with our game preparation. But we don’t wait until now to put together stuff to play North Carolina State last night or to play North Carolina tomorrow. All of these things that we’re doing now started the first day we were on campus, and the first day the player steps on campus. So it’s a process. And as far as who people are picking and everything else, you have to understand, players really don’t care about that. Coaches don’t care about that. That’s something for you people to talk about and throw out there and get the fans going back and forth and stirring the pot a little bit. That’s okay. But we only know one thing. We have to teach and the players have to learn what it is. I mean, we can say a lot but it is what they’re learning that’s the most important. It’s what you emphasize.”

Many people are assuming that tempo will be the key in tomorrow’s game. Where do you put your team’s chances if they can’t keep Carolina from running up and down the floor?
“Do you guys look at film? Does the media look at film, or did you see us play UWM? Maybe some of you have. Maybe you saw the game. I don’t know. There’s a team that likes to get up and down. Good team, which they’ve proven. I’m not telling you that’s a good team and just saying it because it’s another team. You saw how they play. Michigan State is a pretty good team. So we’ve played teams that like up-tempo and like to push the ball. You know, Maryland, Alabama. There are other teams out there that we’ve seen that want to do that. It is a matter of can they? Will they? And it is our job to stop them. So I don’t understand. What was the score of the second game? I still don’t understand all of your question. I don’t understand. I really get confused and I’m not being in any way argumentative. I just don’t understand sometimes when you look at scores. How about the way the Illinois-UWM game started out. How many here thought that 165 points were going to be scored? I did. In the first five minutes. What was the final in that game? I don’t know the exact number, maybe some of you do. I’m not throwing it out. What was it 70 something to 60 something? Was that the final? Okay, so tempo, take the first five minutes and tell me was that the same tempo in the last five minutes or in the middle five minutes of the first half? What was the tempo? Our guys are like anybody else. They like to play. I mean, we’ve never told our players to milk a shot clock, to do this, to do that. It has never been said. And a bunch of guys have always tried to ask my players when they corner them, and they go, what are you talking about? We don’t do that. We’ve never done it. Get a good shot. Get a good shot. That’s all. What coach doesn’t tell their team, get a good shot? I haven’t met one yet.”

You know, you look at North Carolina, they have Sean May inside, Jawad and Marvin Williams, Rashad McCants. You talk to those players in the North Carolina locker room and they’ll say, the man that holds everything together is Raymond Felton. Could you put that into perspective on how you guys might want to attack him?
“By your accent, I’m sure you’re from there, correct?”
Actually, believe it or not, I’m from Connecticut but just been down there for about ten years.
“You’re working down there because you knew the names and you said the names like they say it down there like Roy says them. They are all in the caliber of the upper-echelon level. So, yes, Felton, how do you control a Felton? How do you control a McCants when he gets going? How do you control May in the post. If you could see my eyes up close and I don’t know what those lights are doing to them, but film last night, film this morning, and some film here this afternoon when we’re done with this, and tonight, and tomorrow morning, I might have a better answer for you, but we just know they have a good team with parts that can get off at any time.”

Your career path has followed an interesting and atypical one. What were your aspirations when you, before you took the job at Platteville?
“First of all, my aspirations in college were that I was going to make a gazillion in business, and took a job with ARCO. I got the job because I was coached by a gentleman that liked my work ethic through sports, and was offered a great job with ARCO in 1969. But then because of my prowess on the court, I was drafted. I’ve used this one before. The local media has heard this. Did you guys know that I was drafted? Okay. It was a team in green, and yes, it was the U.S. Army. And it was 1969. So while I was in the army, I ended up being put in the military police, and then sent to a correctional specialist school when they started working with prisoners in the stockade because in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, the stockade was full of deserters, and guys that went AWOL. So what they decided to do was to work with these young men, and try to get them back to active duty. Now, I’m giving you your answer. I started working with these guys and I found myself doing a lot of the same things my dad did for a lot of the kids growing up that he was coaching, trying to steer these guys back into the active duty. Look, you don’t want to be dishonorably discharged. You want to honor your country. You want to fulfill your obligation. Get it done. It’s just like playing on a team. You sign up with a team. I never let my five children quit any team that they started. They are not allowed to quit. You make a commitment, and you follow it through. So I found myself working with prisoners in the stockade doing this about commitment. And then I thought about it, and I wasn’t allowed to play basketball on the base team because of my position. I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t go with the team to all of these different places. That was a bummer. So I thought, you know, I miss the game, I miss that camaraderie, the team thing, I decided to go back and instead of having my degree in economics and marketing, I decided to get a teaching degree in history because all of my electives were in history, and because I love history. I finished up with a degree in social science, as a teacher and started teaching and coaching in junior high. That’s how I ended up in coaching. And then a gentleman by the name of Bill Cofield asked me to take my first college job and then from there, ended up back in Wisconsin. And that’s how I got into it. My goals were a little bit different then. The business world is pretty competitive so I wasn’t worried about competing in that. But because of my two years in the army and what I did, I decided that coaching and teaching could be very fulfilling and that you can help young men down the right path. Sounds idealistic? Uh-huh. It does work if you give it a chance. And I have been very fortunate to be able to be in a position to help some of these guys, and they’ve helped me along the way too.”

This notion that has been touched on a lot today. It seems like that your team is boring or stodgy.
“You said it.”
I guess so. One, does that bother you, and two, how do you think that kind of came to be?
“I have no idea. And you have no idea what it takes to bother me, Do I look like a guy that ruffles easily? I don’t think so. Hey, we’re in Syracuse. We’re playing. It’s okay. It’s all right.”

Just as you can find players not in the McDonald’s game and develop them and things like that, do you see yourself as kind of a standard bearer for guys who work at DIII and finally get their shot and stuff like that?
“You mean the burger players? We call them burger players. We never use one company. It’s burger players. Do I feel that every time we step out in the public, whether it’s here, whether it’s walking down the street back in Madison, or anything that we do, when you say a bearer of intentions or of a lifestyle or a coaching style? I think every time we’re in public, we are looked at as Wisconsin, and coach, and I take the profession very seriously in that the things that we do should be professional. And so we try. We try to carry that and whether it’s as a DIII coach, a junior high coach, a high school coach or whatever I have coached, I have always tried to uphold the ideals of the profession, knowing that you’re going to make mistakes, knowing that you have got to, you know, take a few hard lumps along the way. But there are young coaches that come to our practices. There are young coaches that come to our basketball camps. There are coaches that write and call us and ask for advice. I don’t have all of the answers. But I can give them my feel from my experiences, and if they ask, I’ll give them answers that I feel can help them and things that have helped me, because there are coaches that helped me along the way. So I feel at my age now, if I’m a person that people are going to say, hey, you know, he coached at Division III and look, at 50 he’s at Wisconsin, in the Elite Eight, or this, or that, that’s fine. But it also means responsibility, and we also know that there’s a lot of eyes on us. Just like there are on the players, and that’s what we explained to them. Take your position, and just as you do as journalists and in the media, you take it as a responsibility. We’re all professionals, and we should act that way. Now, there might have been a couple of times last night on a couple of calls that maybe you’re going to ask me about. I was trying to be professional. I might have stepped over the line a little bit.”

In general, how much do you sleep at night, and during these short turn around times, for games, how much do you sleep?
“I sleep okay because I’ve always felt that if you’re not sleeping, then you’re worrying about things that you have no control over. If I’m not sleeping, I should be looking at tape because then that helps you to prepare for the things that you have control over. But anywhere from four-and-a-half to seven is all I get anyhow, which is fine. I think my wife encourages me to take naps at times when she thinks I get a little cranky. But I probably should. But I’m stubborn. I’m stubborn.”

In terms of the better players that we were talking about, have you bumped heads with Roy Williams on the recruiting trail, and would ever typically? For instance, Marvin Williams, would you even bother recruiting that kid to Wisconsin?
“Look, my sister danced on Band Stand. I learned at an early age. She taught me how to dance early. At every dance from the time I was 11 on, I asked the best looking, best dancing female in the gym, at the fire house, at wherever there was a dance, so do you think it’s going to bother me if somebody says no? I’ve got a few no’s along the way. You dance with a nine. I danced with a lot of fives. And when I say fives, I mean maybe they were not as good of dancers, but I like to dance. So when you say recruiting, recruiting is like getting people to dance when you were younger. There’s an art to that. You’ve got to be persuasive, got to have a couple moves, you know, they talk about in basketball a go to move. When you’re a teenager in the Philly area, you’ve got to have a dance go-to move if you want to get anywhere. Because a lot of times, you’re measured by how you dance. How you play it on the playground and how you danced. Those are the two keys. All of these names that you mentioned, we’ve gone after some very good players and we have some very good players. Guys that are up here are very good players. So if you think somebody is saying no to me is ever going to keep me down, you should have been around 40 some years ago.”

SHARIF CHAMBLISS

How important is tempo going to be in this game and how do you want to control it?
“Obviously the tempo will be very important. We know that North Carolina likes to get up and down, and we have to get guys back on defense. On offense, touch the posts, and establish what we want to establish and make the extra pass and just play Wisconsin basketball.”

You say that you want to control tempo, but a lot of people have wanted to control the tempo too, against North Carolina, and they are still able to score 90 points a game. What do you do if you have to get into a contest like that, how can you guys keep up with that pace?
“First of all, we have to take care of the ball. I think that’s one of the major things any time at this point of the year. Once you take care of the ball, you get a shot at the rim. No quick shots unless it’s a good shot, and everybody on the team knows what a good shot is. We’ve got to just make sure we get guys back on defense and hopefully we can slow them down in transition.”

I personally like a team running stuff. I enjoy watching that. But it seems like a lot of younger players these days don’t necessarily want to do that, it is a lot of one-on-one. Is that true? Is that what kids want to do rather than run an offense?
“When they watch street ball they think that’s exciting, but once you get to this level and this competition, you have to be able to run your sets, and have confidence in your offense. I think that’s where we’re starting to gel as a team.”

If I read your schedule correctly, this team won all six of the games you played this year, decided by six points or less. What was the key in doing that?
“Just sticking with our offense. Guys are going to sink the free throws down the stretch and I think we all have confidence in one another that we go out hard and get it done no matter what it takes.”

What challenges does Raymond Felton pose on offense and is there anything that he doesn’t like to have taken away from him?
“Obviously, he’s quick. He does a great job of getting his teammates involved. If you don’t stop him in transition, he can get all the way to the basket or pull up and shoot the three. So, we definitely have to make a conscious effort to stop the ball.”

CLAYTON HANSON

Do you guys think anything of the fact that you scored 40 something points in the second half on N.C. State last night?
“I think for us the biggest thing was being able to get out in the second half and start playing the way we knew how. We were embarrassed by the way we played in the first half and I think that’s the way we’re capable of playing.”

You’ve been a defensive stopper this year. What are the challenges that North Carolina presents and will they be some of the biggest challenges that you face this year?
“Yeah, you look at every position, and they’ve got guys that can have a career night. I think it’s going to be like any other game, a team effort, and position defense is going to be key for us.”

What challenges does Raymond Felton pose on offense and is there anything that he doesn’t like to have taken away from him?
“We all know he’s a playmaker and does a lot of things that makes them go; rebounds, moves the ball around, and finds the open man, and obviously, he can score with the ball too. He poses a lot of threats, and that’s the challenge that we have to try to stop.”

ZACH MORLEY

In the locker room last night you talked about how when State went ahead early that you and your teammates had the confidence that you were a better team and you were going to win out. Do you bring that same type of mindset to North Carolina or how do you approach this game?
“We go into every game confident. When we get the opportunity, we’ll take advantage of it and we just have to go in and play our style of basketball, try not to do more than what we can do.”

You’ve had experience through your career as a sixth man and bringing that energy off the bench. What does Marvin Williams do for North Carolina?
“He’s a great player and it shows. He does a little bit of everything for them. He comes in, he plays defense, he gets rebounds, and he scores. He just does whatever the team needs him to do when he comes in. That’s what all sixth-men are supposed to do, is come in and help the team in whatever way they can.”

ALANDO TUCKER

There seems to be a pretty widely held notion that you are a boring team to watch. What’s your feeling towards that?
“I really don’t have any feelings towards if we’re a boring team to watch. It is exciting playing with this group of guys, so I’m having fun. As long as we get wins. It doesn’t matter how you get a win, if it is boring or exciting. The ultimate goal is to get a win.”

What did it mean to see for yourselves what Villanova was able to do to North Carolina last night, and were you able to take anything from their performance?
“Mike brought up good points, they worked the ball. They were swinging the ball. Villanova was actually scoring, they were swinging the ball, and that’s something that we always practice, staying consistent, and finding the open guys. When you’re watching the game though, you always want to take what teams are doing effectively, how they are scoring and how they are stopping guys. We were able to get some good things out of watching the first half of that game.”

I personally like a team running stuff. I enjoy watching that. But it seems like a lot of younger players these days don’t necessarily want to do that, it is a lot of one-on-one. Is that true? Is that what kid want to do rather than run an offense?
“That’s exciting. You’re watching it and you see all the moves, but when you’re playing for a win, it’s not about the excitement, it’s about who is consistent and who is getting the job done. It might look boring, but as we always say, ‘we’re trying to get wins.’ So it doesn’t matter. You can have excitement, but a lot of guys that do all of those things, they end up going home. You can shock the crowd, get oohs and aahs, but if you’re going home at the end of the day, that’s not fun.”

Do other guys your age see it your way or not?
“Before coming here, you don’t really understand. You don’t understand until you actually have to play out there and defend guys, and you actually are on the offensive end. You really wouldn’t understand unless you were actually out there playing and we know we’ve been doing it since we’ve been here at Wisconsin. We learned that’s the way you win. So, you maybe would not understand it unless you are actually out there on the court running sets and different things.”

Carolina is kind of the star power. You guys are mostly all from Wisconsin, and the Midwest. Is there something more when you play a team like North Carolina, with that type of cache, and being able to take your style against that?
“We’ve got guys that work hard. It doesn’t take big name players to get far. That shows with our team. We’re a team. We’re focused on team concepts. That’s the main thing. This is not any individual. Once we get recruited and everybody is on the team, you all put in what you have in order to help the team. You put all of your abilities out there to help the team win. It’s all team concepts. It’s not any individual, it’s the whole team out there, and so regardless of how highly you’re recruited, once you get on the team, you have to find out what you can do to help the team win. I think we’ve all really did that well over the course of the season.”

When you look at the games that you’ve played now, are you back to exactly where you were physically before your foot injury? Do you do the same things or are you still kind of feeling your way back and getting back to that guy?
“Well, physically, yeah. But mentally, you always are learning. You learn every game. I’m feeling good when I’m out there. I’m back to myself, but you always learn. You always have something to learn. You always can take something from your last game, and apply that to the next game. So, I’m always having something to learn, but I feel good physically.”

MIKE WILKINSON

When you play a team like North Carolina tomorrow who has so much size, how do you deal with that, two or three guys who are taller than you?
“It is something we’ve been dealing with all year. We’ve all played against guys as big as or bigger than us and, you try to just play about the same. You have to make them work. You can’t give them anything easy. You have to keep a body on them on the boards. Just be as physical as they are. But you’ve got to do it without fouling and be able to move your feet and get around. It is something that everyone on this team has dealt with at one point or another. So hopefully we’ll be ready for it.”

did it mean to see for yourselves what Villanova was able to do to North Carolina last night, and were you able to take anything from their performance?
“We watched the first half of the game here, and I got to go back and watch the second half at the hotel. They were able to get inside and draw help. And find the open guys. We’re not the same team Villanova is, but we’ve got many guys that can do some similar stuff. It’s just going to be big key for us to not turn the ball over, get good shots and when we have open looks, knock them down. Teams have got some good looks. We just have to play our defense and get back and not give them anything easy and make them work for everything.”

When you are focused on getting back so much in transition, what suffers or what do you have to give up to get back in transition so well?
“I don’t know if you really have to give up too much. I mean, just because we’re getting back doesn’t mean that we can’t go to the boards. It doesn’t mean that we are not going to be patient. Maybe a couple of long rebounds we won’t get, but that may be it. We’re still going to go to the offensive boards. We’re still going to take good shots, be patient, and get what we want. We are just making sure we get back a little more than we have been in some other games.”

Could you compare North Carolina to Illinois and does having played a team such as Illinois with the great athletes like that, help to prepare you for what you’re going to face against North Carolina?
“I think a little bit. I mean, they are still two different teams. They run different sets, but both teams can play, and both teams have great players. We have an idea of what it is going to take to match up. We just have to go out and do it now. Transfer what we have seen on tape and what we’ve learned onto the floor and into the game situations. And I think if we do that well, we’ll be there at the end.”


Related Stories
UNC-VU: Post-Game Notebook
 -by InsideCarolina.com  Mar 26, 2005
UNC-VU: Villanova Post-Game Quotes + Audio
 -by InsideCarolina.com  Mar 25, 2005
UNC-VU: North Carolina Post-Game Quotes + Audio
 -by InsideCarolina.com  Mar 25, 2005

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