Ellington, Lawson, Wright Q&A (w/audio)

Inside Carolina
Posted Mar 16, 2007


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. --- North Carolina freshmen Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson and Brandan Wright took the podium on Friday in advance of the Tar Heels’ second round NCAA match-up with Michigan State. Read and listen to what they had to say to reporters at Joel Coliseum.

(Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen to the audio, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.)


Listen to Audio Part I (6:42)
Listen to Audio Part II (6:04)

WAYNE ELLINGTON

On what you learned after losing big lead to EKU -

Basically we learned we’re in the NCAA Tournament, and no team is going to roll over for you. And, no matter how much you’re up, they’re always going to make a run at you.

On team depth -

We're so deep, we've got a lot of people that can come in, and we've got a lot of guys that can come in there and contribute that you've got to give it your all. When you get tired, you can give the tired sign and go back in whenever you're ready.

How does Coach Williams seem to be holding things together after the death of his sister?

Coach doesn’t seem particularly down, he is trying to be business as usual. It’s a tough situation for him as it would be for anybody but he realizes that its unfortunate and he realizes that he can’t really show us that he is down because it might bring some of us down with him. He is being as tough as usual and being his normal self.

Is it a negative to be a freshman in the NCAA Tournament and how did it impact you in your first NCAA game last night?

Being in my first NCAA tournament is fun. I was anxious because it is something all athletes, all basketball players want to be a part of. Just to be here and be playing in the tournament and be competitive is something you always want. As far as last night, it was kind of a wake up call when they came and made that run at us and they cut that lead down to four. It woke us up and made us realize what the NCAA Tournament is all about. You lose and you go home so you have to bring your game at all times.

TY LAWSON

On what you learned after losing big lead to EKU -

Everybody who is in this tournament…at any time in a game, they can come back and make a close game like they did last night.

On what it means to put on a Carolina jersey, and what is your perception of Michigan State basketball?

It’s an honor for me to be a part of the Carolina basketball team…because of guys like Michael Jordan. Michigan State…they’re a good team. They’re physical and they rebound. They’re a tough team altogether. It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow.

On how teams can slow them down -

Those teams pressure us or go with a 2-2-1 zone, or a little soft press, or bring a big man up so I won't be able to bring the ball down the court as fast. It's just little things they try to do like play zone half court. So we have to get through our next game and grind it out.

On scouting Michigan State's Travis Walton -

I haven't really watched too many games, but people say he's a good defender. I just haven't seen him play too much, so I wouldn't know.

Can you explain the ‘art’ of getting other teams in foul trouble?

You try to get inside, and Tyler is such a great player, he draws fouls. There is no real art to it. It’s just playing hard and trying to score and they foul.

How do you feel knowing there is someone ready to back you up since your roster is so deep?

It is good for us because you get tired, you go hard while you are in the game you know there won’t be a drop off when somebody else goes in the game for you. Wayne has Marcus, I have Bobby or Quinton and Brandan has Deon so they are all great players and we don’t have a drop off when they come in the game.

Is it a negative to be a freshman in the NCAA Tournament and how did it impact you in your first NCAA game last night?

The NCAA tournament lived up to the hype. At the beginning of the game I was probably a little nervous playing in my first NCAA game. When you lose you go home and that was a big factor and also you have to play hard every possession. I don’t think it’s that big a negative being a freshman in the NCAA Tournament because everyone is playing hard. You just have to play together.

BRANDAN WRIGHT

On what you learned after losing big lead to EKU -

We kind of got sloppy and made some bad plays and didn’t take care of the ball.

On what it means to put on a Carolina jersey, and what is your perception of Michigan State basketball?

Carolina has all the traditions. It’s an honor to put on the uniform…when you step out into the Dean Dome where all the greats played. As far as Michigan State, we’ve got a lot of Final Four history. They’re a very tough team. They’re tough on the backboards and very physical-minded. It’s going to be a tough game for us tomorrow.

On how teams can slow them down -

A lot of teams won't crash the boards as hard as they usually do. Instead of four men, they'll send two, so they can go ahead and get back for our transition game.

How much have you learned from Tyler Hansbrough ?

I take a lot from him, because we've pretty much practiced together the whole season. Playing against him is very tough. He prepares me well for the games, and that's the most I've taken from him this year.

Can you explain the ‘art’ of getting other teams in foul trouble?

We draw fouls on the offensive end. I think we just have the advantage over the defensive player, and when you have the advantage over them, I think they’ll make mistakes.

How do you feel knowing there is someone ready to back you up since your roster is so deep?

Sometimes as a player and a starter, and you go out, there might be a big drop off or your teammate can’t pick up where you left off but with this team that is not the case.

Is it a negative to be a freshman in the NCAA Tournament and how did it impact you in your first NCAA game last night?

Like Ty said, I wasn’t particularly nervous but I was ready to play. I was ready to get out there and get it started with all the hype being a No. 1 seed. I am ready to get this show going even more and I think we have a good chance to win it all.


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