Opening remarks -
"It was a fun time on Saturday afternoon. I love the way ours kids played against Illinois, but we just didn’t make plays – didn’t get a shot twice. To turn around after something that hurts as badly as that did and play like that on Saturday, I was awfully proud of those kids."
On being ranked -
“I don’t dislike it, because it means we’re winning, but if I didn’t come to this show I wouldn’t know we were ranked. At the end of the year, that’s when I like them.”
On the turnaround from Tuesday’s loss to Saturday’s win -
“Tuesday night the crowd was sensational. You have no idea how much that helps us. The crowd never gave up on us and the kids didn’t give up. I was really pleased on Wednesday, the day after, the thought of the day, that I made up myself, said ‘Praise is important, but achievement is really good.’ And it’s good that everybody said we played well and were proud of the freshmen … but it’s even more important to have the satisfaction that you achieved something. I challenged them at that time to see if we could achieve something on Saturday.
“What I was really pleased with was that at the start of the game it wasn’t pretty, but we hung in there and then made some shots. Going into halftime, David did a great job talking to them before the coaches came in and we talked about at that point, ‘Regardless of what the score is, just focus. Keep your poise, keep playing.’ And then at every timeout I told them, ‘The longer this goes on, the better we’re going to get’ . Kentucky made that huge run at the start of the second half, I called a timeout, I went crazy over there a little bit and calmed down and said, ‘Let’s go play.’ First clipboard broken of the year – and you know they don’t make those clipboards as long as they used to.
“For this club it was an important win. Especially if we build on it and I think we will and the kids understand that.
On who does the scheduling -
"I have to approve everything, and that’s one of the conversations I had with [AD Dick] Baddour when I got here. It’s an easy deal for me. I say ‘Yeah, let's play Kentucky again’ and then I get out of it and let the administrators do the paper work. Larry Gallo does a great job with the scheduling. Most of the time basketball schedules are done two years - very seldom do you play someone on a one-year basis. This year we’re starting Arizona, but we play at Arizona next year. We’re going to continue the Kentucky series, but we’re waiting on the paperwork for that. They do allow me to say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ and then I get out of the way. TV does come in and make a lot of proposals through the AD office.”
Why did UNC schedule St. Louis?
"Because we’re going to take Tyler [Hansbrough] back home next year. St. Louis is a little over two hours from Poplar Bluff. We called them about playing and that way next year we get to take Tyler back home."
On Wes Miller’s defense -
"Wes Miller is a quick youngster, and does a good job shadowing people around screens. In fact, he’s probably better off the ball than on the ball, because on the ball his size can allow people to shoot over him. But I thought Wes played effectively on both ends of the court. Late in the game we wanted to stay out on the three-point shooters and play [Rajon] Rondo one-one-one and nobody did a good job on him then. I didn’t mind him taking it to the basket, but I didn’t it to take more than four seconds. We didn’t do a good job slowing him down there, but I thought Wes was big-time for us on Saturday and it was fitting for him because he’s worked so hard.
On when the team will next trip to Maui -
“You can only play [in Maui] once every four years and you can only play in two exempt tournaments every four years. There are regulations that you have to go by. Next year, if things go as expected, we’ll play in the Preseason NIT … You can only play in Maui once every four years, so believe it or not, we’ll be back in there after four years. Bobby, Marcus, Danny and Tyler’s senior years we’ll be back in Maui. So Thanksgiving week of 2008.”
Expectations coming into this season -
“I’m very simple. I’m not intelligent enough to know any shortcuts. I told the kids this on the very first day - we’ve got to work as hard as we can possibly work every single practice. And then try to do the same thing in every game. My expectations are doing the best we can possibly do and then at the end of the year look back and see how we did.”
On whether or not UNC was looking to shoot more threes against UK -
If you go in every game looking to shoot more threes, I don’t think that’s what you should do. We always want to get the basketball inside first, and if it comes back out then shoot the three. Coach Smith a long time ago, one of his rules was ‘Three passes unless it’s a layup against a set defense.’ I’ve kept that rule forever. … Our three rules are -- three passes unless it’s a layup, change sides of the floor with the ball and give the defense a chance to make a mistake. … Every additional pass you make, the defense is weaker. And I don’t want to come down and jack up a shot without making the defense work. In the open floor, I want to make them go as fast as they can go, but if the defense is set, we want to make them work a little bit.”
On David Noel’s improved play this season -
"The biggest thing is that David's doing everything. He’s good as of a leader as I've been around. At halftime, he told them that ‘Kentucky's going to make a run, we just have to be able to withstand that’. He also does it by the way he plays – it’s not just a verbal thing. … Leadership is the most important thing. Every day in practice he's playing and hustling his tail off. … He’s playing within himself, he knows his speed and quickness is going to be better than the other big guys he’s playing against and he’s playing to that strength.”
Do you prefer being the top team or do you prefer a challenge like this season?
"You love both of them. It’s fun to me being the top-ranked team. I like that challenge. … Yet, I love coaching this team. Practice is a lot of fun. … These kids really want to do the right thing immediately and they us -- completely. It really is a joy to practice. … If I had my choice, I would always want to be the best team in the country, I always want everybody to think we're going to beat you at our place, your place, anywhere we play, in the morning, at night, when you're pretty, when you're ugly. … I like both, but this is a different kind of challenge. … [These players] bust it. They try to do it to their best of their ability and I tell them the easiest way to be successful is to do what I tell them to do. … I think I’m going to enjoy the heck out of this year."
On Quentin Thomas’ status –
“He still didn’t go through practice today, I’m hoping he’ll be able to do some things tomorrow and then play against St. Louis. But if it’s not going to work out and he can’t play against St. Louis, then we’ll hold him out and be hopeful he can play against Santa Clara.”
On Bobby Frasor’s performance at the point -
“I think Bobby’s getting better each and every day. He acknowledges his mistakes, which I think is a quicker way of learning. … He’s got tremendous instincts, remembers the things I tell him and for a point guard there is a lot I’m laying on him, but I’ve been very pleased with what he’s done and I think he’s going to get better and better.”
"Roy Williams Live" airs Monday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.