For May, the most difficult thing has been still getting back to full-strength after knee surgery while Felton said the toughest part is the hectic schedule.
“The travel,” Felton said. “Guys are always tired. We’re getting on and off planes going to different states all the time. It wears on your body.”
“Four games in five days, seven games in 10 days,” May added. “It’s tough. It’s an adjustment for us. In college we played once or twice a week. It’s nothing like the NBA.”
“For me, the hardest thing has been coming back from knee surgery,” May said. “I don’t have the lift I had last year. I don’t post nearly as much and I’m just adjusting to my role on the team. It’s going to come back if I continue to work on my body.”
Felton also said that the level of play, naturally, is higher.
“Everyone is so good,” he said. “So quick, so strong. You just have to work hard to stay on top of your game.”
Felton and May have both been content with their play thus far. Felton is averaging 7.1 points and 4.0 assists in 16 games this far while May is putting up 9.2 points and 5.3 boards in 18.8 minutes of action.
In Felton’s lone start of the season, a convincing win against Indiana, he scored 18 points and had 10 assists in 35 minutes.
“That’s what stands out for me so far in my NBA career,” Felton said.
May and Felton each agreed that the adjustment to NBA life has been easier because they have one another – and also from the fact that they aren’t all that far away from where they played college ball.
“Going through the tough times with Ray has made it easier,” May said. “We’re trying to turn the franchise around. To be 4-9 and still have 15,000 fans at a game on a Wednesday night is impressive.”
The duo made it out to North Carolina’s rout against Cleveland State.
“They’re going to go through their ups and downs,” May said of this year’s Tar Heels. “They’ve got talent and in the next couple of years, they’re going to be tough – especially with the class that have coming in next year. Tyler Hansbrough is playing well right now, but they are starting three freshmen. It’s easy to play when you are at home with the fans behind you, but when they have to go to Maryland or to Cameron and put the ball in a freshman’s hands with the game on the line, that’ll be tough. But they should be fine.”
“The first game they played, they had to get their jitters out,” Felton said. “But they played well [since then]. Everyone played well. They were really clicking. They just have to execute. Being so young, they don’t really understand the offense yet.”
While many people have already discounted the Tar Heels chances of making the NCAA Tournament this season, May doesn’t see it that way.
“With our schedule and coach’s ability to put them in situations where they can succeed, they’ll be in a lot of games,” May said. “With David Noel and his leadership, they’ll be able to close out a lot of games.”
May chats with assistant coach Steve Robinson at the Cleveland State game ...
... while Felton offers some words of encouragement to Quentin Thomas.