“I’ll just see who smiles at me the nicest before the game, I guess,” Williams said. “There’s been big-time competition at the point and at the shooting guard position.”
Williams said Bobby Frasor, Ty Lawson and Quentin Thomas were vying for time at the one, while Marcus Ginyard, Wayne Ellington and Wes Miller are battling out in practice at the two.
“I don’t know what my role is yet, and I don’t know what the rotation is going to be,” Miller said. “It hasn’t been established that one guy has won that position. I’m just going to go out and play hard and let everything else take care of itself.
“Everybody talks about how talented and deep we are, but what I like the most about this team is the competitiveness.”
Hansbrough and Terry earned their starting positions before practice started, and Wright has separated himself as the early leader among the Tar Heels’ talented trio of big freshmen, scoring 31 points in two games with a variety of moves and crowd-pleasing dunks. Being a quick learner is a major characteristic that has led to Wright’s early success.
“Brandan came in real confident the first week,” Miller said. “He was never scared to take big shots, turn in the post and score or drive to the basket. Where he’s improved is picking things up like the principles defensively and on the secondary break. There are still things he needs to improve on, but with his upside it’s only a matter of time.”
Williams has substituted freely in exhibition action, though he expects to cut his rotation down by one or more from here on out. Still, it may take a week or so before the competition dictates a more specific determination on the ultimate rotation.
“I don’t think I’ll substitute as much as I did in the exhibitions,” Williams said. “I’m very comfortable with what we have to work with.”
After disposing of two exhibition opponents by a combined 70 points while scoring 250 total points, the next time the Tar Heels impose their will on the basketball court it will go down in the official record books.
However, despite coming off two overwhelming victories, after a lackluster defensive effort versus Pfeiffer on Saturday in which the Tar Heels allowed 28 points in the final four minutes of the game, Williams vowed to whip his team into shape via practice the last two days.
The threat may have been enough, as the team’s pre-workout fear included the possibility of rimless backboards and medieval disciplinary rigor.
“I wasn’t pleased with what we did defensively the whole game, but the last four minutes amplified that,” Williams said. “But I wasn’t too worried, I didn’t have to go practice for them; they had to come and practice for me.”
After Miller first reached the gym on Sunday, he quickly returned to the locker room to put his teammates' mind at ease – the rims were still there.
“That was the first thing everybody was looking for,” Ginyard said. “Everybody is looking at this as a challenge from the coaching staff and a challenge to us to see how we'll play over the next few games."
Williams said he has had to do very little to motivate his players to work on their defense the last two days.
“Sometimes the fear of the unknown is worse,” Williams said. “If they practice like that, they will build good habits and not get in that position next time.”
In light of the Carolina football coaching situation and the Tar Heels’ hiring of the high profile Butch Davis, Williams was asked if he had discussed the restructuring of his contract with UNC administrators.
“No, I’m comfortable with it,” Williams answered. “I worked under the same contract since 1990 until I left Kansas in 2004. I’ve got no problem with it the way it is. I’m happy as long as I’ve got enough money to buy golf balls.”