Bernie Bickerstaff: I’ll keep my statements real brief. I just wanted to let you know we’re pleased to have both of these young men. It’s adding to the championship quality that we started last year with the addition of Emeka Okafor. We’ve added two winners from Chapel Hill in Raymond Felton, who will be our point guard for decades, I hope. Then there is Sean May, who is a guy that we really need. He probably has the greatest hands that I’ve been around, akin to a guy named Chris Weber. He’s a guy who is very valuable, because he can get you possessions. I think that’s important, because you have to have possessions in order to score. So we’re pleased. We’re very happy. I talked a lot last night, so I will turn it over to Raymond, and then he can turn it over to his running mate.
Raymond Felton: I just want to start off by saying that I am truly blessed. Me and Sean are truly blessed. This is like a dream come true. I am living a dream right now. I always wanted to play NBA basketball, and I definitely wanted to come and play for the Bobcats. It’s closer to my hometown. It’s closer to Chapel Hill, where I went to school at. I’m just very excited to be here. I can’t wait to get started – to work with coach (Bickerstaff), work with Sean and work with my other teammates. I can’t wait. We’re going to come out and win a lot of games, because I hate to lose. That’s the attitude I’m going to bring to the Bobcats. With that said, I just want to thank you all for all of your support. Please come out this year and continue to follow us.
Sean May: I just want to thank Presbyterian Hospital for hosting this and allowing us to be here. I want to thank the Bobcats organization for choosing me. This is a dream come true, like (Felton) said. When they selected Raymond, I had a gut feeling that they wouldn’t select me because I didn’t think they’d take two Carolina guys. I guess I did a little bit better than what I though, because I did a lot of politicking trying to get here. I told Charlotte that I chose them and was just waiting on them to choose me. We’re excited to be here and know that we’re in for a lot of hard work this year. Raymond and I are going to come in, do what’s asked of us and we’re going to win some games this year and bring that winning spirit back to Charlotte.
Bickerstaff: Both of these guys should be in politics after basketball.
QUESTION & ANSWER
May: (On what sort of politicking he did) I just said that out of all of the North Carolina guys, with four of us in the draft, that there would have to be somebody that they would choose in the top 13 with the two picks that that had. I knew that it would be giving fans a face that they could recognize that they had seen for the last couple of years, and why anybody else but me? The whole time I was hoping that Ray would go higher than Deron (Williams) or Chris (Paul), because I thought that if they got one of those guys that I would have a better chance at going to them at 13. That shows you what I know about picking guys and how everything is going to work. It seems to have worked out for everybody though.
Bickerstaff: (On how having these two players on the team is going to make an impact from a business standpoint for the Bobcats) I have to defer to the business part of it, because I like for the business part to defer to us about basketball.
May: (On if the response that they have gotten from the fans has been better than they expected already) It’s been incredible. We knew we would get a lot, but I didn’t think it would be like this. When all of these people come up here and show up at a press conference, it’s exciting. We went over to the new arena today, and this year we expect it to be a great atmosphere in Charlotte. Hopefully there will be a lot more business here because two Carolina guys are coming in, and that will help the economics of the city of Charlotte. I’m extremely thankful, and we are truly blessed just to have people that want to come out, support us and see us work.
Bickerstaff: (Following up) Let me just clarify something. These guys just happen to be from North Carolina and played at Chapel Hill, but they’re pretty damn good basketball players.
Felton: (On what they thought of the new arena) It was spectacular. It was wonderful. It has to be the best building in America, in my opinion, and it’s not even finished yet. I can’t wait to play in it.
May: (On the building) It was beautiful. I’ve been to 12 different arenas and have seen some of the best over the past two months, but from the plans that they have and the pictures, it’s just incredible. It’s right up there with the best if it’s not the best on its own.
Felton: (On how special it is to look back now on what North Carolina did last year and where it has gotten all of those players) It’s very special. I had a thing that I was telling these guys the whole year, “If we win games, we won’t have to worry about anything. We’ll get all the individual accolades. If we play together as a team, win games and win a championship, everybody’s gonna eat. Everybody is going to have a great chance to go play basketball in the NBA and further their career.” We had four guys that got picked in the lottery, so that shows that we have talent, know how to win games and are great people. It’s not just basketball. We’re good people on and off the court.
May: (On how special it was) For me, it’s one of those things that I’ll always cherish going through those experiences with Raymond, Rashad (McCants) and Marvin (Williams). There’s not many times that I can call a guy and complain about my workout in Charlotte – the first one I had, and Raymond is on his way, so I’m telling him what they’re going to do. It’s fun. It’s fun when you can go through experiences like that. It’s something that we’ll always cherish, and for me this is the best part of it. I have a great relationship with Raymond on the floor and off the floor and now we’re taking it to the next level. Our families are close, and now they’re going to be able to develop a better relationship than they already had.
Felton: (On what he, the point guard of a National Champion, plans to bring to the Bobcats) The same attitude. I’m the same guy. I’m the same player, so I’m going to bring the same attitude. I love to help my teammates out. I’d rather pass the ball before I shoot. I think my teammates will love to play with me, because I don’t think about myself. I think about what is good for the team, whether that’s me scoring a lot or passing the ball. I’ll do what’s best for the team.
May: (On if playing in a high-tempo system at NC makes them more prepared for NBA basketball) I think so because what we did at North Carolina was run. Then, in the tournament, everybody stops you, and that’s when you really see the true side of a team. We didn’t run a whole lot once we got to the tournament because people found a way to defend us. So being able to play both styles of basketball – walking it up and running – will help us both benefit because we both know how to do it. In the NBA, there’s times when it’s real high-paced and times when the scoring is low and you walk it up possession-by-possession. I think that’s where we benefit by going to North Carolina, because we did both.
May: (On how he really seemed to take the impression he left at his first workout to heart) That workout for me was my worst one. When I came in here, I talked with Coach Bickerstaff about it, and I got the feeling that they had the feeling that I was kind of out of shape. That was the key for me, because he told me that when I was going to come back it would be real key for me to be in shape and finish the workout. My back was messed up a little bit and I took it to heart because this was somewhere that I wanted to be. I wasn’t just saying that to get a headline in the paper. This is where I wanted to play basketball in my professional career. I think I did four or five more workouts after Charlotte and played my way into better shape than I was at home resting. I still did individual workouts with Marvin and kept my condition up, which allowed me to come in here and have a better performance my second time around.”
Felton: (On if things have started to settle in and they are feeling like NBA players yet) In dealing with the media, yes, we are NBA players. To be honest with you, yes it has. There have been times when I think about it that I just want to cry. Coming from a small town and coming from a town where nobody really knew anything about me, it was tough coming up. I didn’t really have the exposure until I got up into my high school years, so it was tough for me. But I got that chance. I always believed in God. My mom and dad always stuck by my side and I made it. What can I say? All of my dreams that I’ve had, I’ve accomplished. I wanted to go to Carolina. I went there. I wanted to win a National Championship. I did that. I wanted to be an NBA player. I’m doing that now.
Bickerstaff: Keep dreaming young man.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH RAYMOND FELTON
(On how to describe the last 24 hours) No sleep. No sleep. I haven’t had an hour of sleep in the last 24 hours, and that’s the truth. I got to sleep for one hour coming from New York to here and that’s it. I haven’t been to sleep yet and am not sure if I want to.
(On how much playing in an atmosphere like at North Carolina has helped him prepare to deal with the media) I’m ready for anything. I’m ready to take anything on, me and Sean. We’ve already been through everything with basketball, so we’re ready for anything.
(On how surprised he was to be drafted with his teammate) It was unbelievable. We were all thinking that we were going to be scattered around everywhere and would just see each other every now and then. To know that I’m going to be with him every day, that’s great. I got somebody by my side that I really know and trust. I’m looking forward to it. If I start to struggle, I know that I have somebody that is going to be there by my side and help me get through it. We’ve been through a lot of things together, so we’re going to be there for each other and pick each other up if we get down.
(On if he thinks he and Sean will have more pressure on them than Emeka had last year) Not necessarily. Sean and I came in here with the same situation that we came into in college. We were expected to come in then and do great things, but everything takes time. We could be in the first year and do a lot of great things, but everything takes time. It took us three years to get that National Championship at North Carolina.
(On how it is going to feel to not only see May out there on the court with him, but also Okafor) I’ve got two dominant forces down there. I have two guys that dominated the game of college basketball before they left. Emeka had a great year last year and was Rookie of the Year. I’m looking forward to it. There are a lot of guys here that I’m looking forward to playing with.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH SEAN MAY
(On how the Charlotte media helped him sell himself) I had to do what I had to do. This is where I wanted to be. This is where I wanted to play. If you see something that you want, you have to take advantage of every single opportunity that you have. You guys (the media) were around and I got the word out that I would love to play here. I let my basketball take care of the rest, but I think the fact that I wanted to be here also helped in their decision.
(On what the main attraction was to Charlotte) It had nothing really to do with the organization. It was more the fact that Carolina gave me a place to call home when I didn’t have one. When everybody turned their backs on me in Indiana, everybody here opened their arms. It wasn’t just in Chapel Hill; it was all over the state of North Carolina. I felt that with the Bobcats organization being here, being young and being new, it was a perfect opportunity for me to put my stamp on a franchise.
(On the shot of him before he got drafted on television) The thing is, we knew. We had just talked to Coach Bickerstaff when the Clippers picked. They told me that I was going to go next and I still didn’t believe it. The only problem with that was that there was a five-minute commercial and then something technical happened in the back, so instead of it being five minutes, it was like nine. I was just sitting there sweating it out. I knew where I was going to go, but my thinking was that it wasn’t a sure thing until it happened.
(On if he likes playing in the four spot) Definitely. I like being on the floor wherever it’s at. The thing I like most about that is that I’m going to be playing with Emeka. I want to play with Emeka because I know how good he is, and for me, I’ve always wanted to play with another good big man. It’s going to take a lot of hard work. We’re going to earn it, and the thing that excites me is that this coaching staff wants to work with their players, wants to be good and brings that into the everyday. That’s what we love about it.