Previewing Fayetteville State
So far, Williams has been happy with his revamped team which includes five freshmen, two seniors, and only one player who started a game – just one game – last season. But it’s the freshness and the lack of relative notoriety that Williams says makes this team fun to coach.
There are no underlying agendas or burgeoning egos on this squad, just 10 scholarship athletes who are focused on one thing – beginning the long process of returning the Tar Heels to greatness. However, Carolina Basketball will look a lot different early this season than what fans enjoyed at the end of the last one.
“There are no expectations for their individual performances, because no one has been on the big stage before where they were expected to perform,” Williams said during Thursday conference call with a select group of UNC beat writers. “But they’re great kids. They want to do well and they want the team to do well, and they’re willing to make the sacrifices.
“What I hope to see is kids trying to be very attentive to the little things that we’ve put in and try to execute the way we hope they will execute when the competition is even more difficult. It’s going to be interesting to me to see how the freshmen react.”
Beyond Reyshawn Terry and David Noel, Williams said he didn’t have his starting lineup set. But he did stipulate he wanted to go with two separate starting lineups to begin the first and second halves.
“Noel is competitive and he’s setting an example on the court by how hard he’s playing, how hard he’s running and how competitive he is in the drills,” Williams said.
Despite playing with basically one hand, Marcus Ginyard has enjoyed a good preseason. As of about 2 p.m. on Thursday, Ginyard was being seen by team doctors.
“They’re trying to make a decision whether or not they’re going to eliminate the cast, cut it back, or whatever they’re going to have,” Williams said.
The report Williams gets from the doctors today will determine how much Ginyard will be able to play on Friday.
Meanwhile, Mike Copeland’s recovery is farther behind than Ginyard’s. Copeland hasn’t been released by the doctors to play, Williams said.
“We’re trying to increase his participation everyday, particularly in all the ‘dummy drills’ of five-on-zero, three-on-zero, whatever it is. We’re not getting more than one or two possession out of each. On five-on-five, we’re trying to be cautious with him.”
Expect to see everyone available on the roster to participate during the Tar Heels’ preseason exhibitions, and perhaps even through some early regular season games. But Williams said he expects to rotate just eight players primarily.
“I always like it when you’ve got more players who are chomping at the bit to come in the game, as opposed to having some on the end of the rotation that are scared to play because they’re not as confident in their abilities. I’d rather have guys that are extremely confident and stay a little disappointed in me because they think they’re not getting enough time.”