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ROY WILLIAMS PC (including Hansbrough & Ellington)
Listen to Audio (20:11)
“Well, congratulations to Kansas. It's a great thrill to be able to play for the national championship, and they deserve it. Early in the game they were much more aggressive than we were. We sort of came out a little more casual than we'd like to. They hit us right between the eyes. We probably rushed things a little bit. They just kept hammering.
But they were really something early in the game. And then we didn't play the way we wanted to early, to say the least. I guess it's a little like that story tale about the little engine that spent so much trying to get up the hill, it didn't have anything left when it got to the top.
”I was so proud of my team. We got it to four, but I don't think we ever got the ball when we got it to four. We had it to five one time, and Danny shot a three in front of our bench, went all the way in and came back out. I think Will Graves got the rebound. We lost it out of bounds. I couldn't have been prouder of my team at that point. We had a marvelous, marvelous run. But yet their dreams were bigger than this and it hurts a great deal now. The other coach, Bill's team, won the game. The other coach was the winner.
”But I love my kids. I love the road and journey they took me on, winning 36 games, the ACC regular season and the ACC tournament and the regional. This bunch did some great, great things. But we're extremely disappointed right now because we had a bigger dream. But, again, you have to congratulate Kansas. Wish them good luck because they were sensational for sure earlier. I'm sure Bill didn't love everything that happened after that. But it's a big-time loss and a big-time bitter feeling for us. Again, the other coach won. I wouldn't trade my kids for anybody's.”
On this team’s great chemistry:
“I think we're all lucky. I think Roy Williams is one of the luckiest guys in the world. But this team was really a special team. We had no issues. We no had problems. They were great kids. It was just a fun, fun group to coach. And in some ways, that makes it hurt even more because they are such good kids. I said this at the start of the season, some of you guys are a little more cynical and make fun of it, but there's not a one of you in here that wouldn't have grandchildren that couldn't say, How about watching my grandkids for the next six hours, and you'd feel awfully comfortable because they are that kind of kid. And that's what I want.
“As I said, the other coach won the game. I'm not being derogatory about Bill. I'll say Bill Self won the game. Don't try to paint things that aren't there. But I wouldn't trade teams because of the character our guys have. That's not a slight to Kansas. If you want to turn it into something that's not there, you have the right to do it, but I've got really good kids.”
What did you tell the team when you down by so much in the first half?
“I guess the good news is I haven't had that many experiences like that. But I did tell them – I'm corny as all get out, guys. What we have here is every day - again, you can make fun of this if you wish - but what the doctors and scientists do that are trying to find a cure for cancer, they get hit right in the mouth every day because it's not there, but they keep going back to work to try to do it again the next day. And I'm so dadgum corny, I even used that with my team. I said, ‘Hey, we don't want those guys to give up. You can't drop your head and say, ‘Woe is me.’ We've got to keep playing.’
”I know our guys did. I know that's probably melodramatic or overly dramatic or whatever you want to call it. But that is, that's life. It's not all roses all the time. But you have to continue trying to do the absolute best you can do. So during that timeout, that's what I challenged them. I said, ‘We can't do anything about what's already gone on, but we can do something about the way we do it now and have some pride.’ You know, I really did, guys, down 17 at the half, I still thought we had a great chance, that we would be there at the very end to win the game.”
On what he said to the team in the locker room:
“I told them one of the most inadequate feelings as a coach is what to say at a moment like this that can help them, can remove any of the hurt, that can give them something to grab onto. So I congratulated them on a great year. I thanked them for a great year. I thanked them for being great student-athletes to coach. I apologized to them because some way, some how I didn't have our team ready to play as well as Bill did.
That's not easy to say. But I did thank them for a great year.”
Listen to Audio (3:50)
Did playing in San Antonio feel different than playing in Raleigh and Charlotte?
“Well, of course, it did. You know, when you play in your state, you have more North Carolina fans. Also, the Alamodome is a lot bigger and there's a lot more people. You know, overall, but still the same thing: we're playing on a court still the same size.
I don't think that's the reason why we lost.”
On Kansas defending him:
“Yeah, they came after me with a lot of people. That's what every team's been doing, so...
They did a particularly good job of it. I don't think I played the best. But, you know, they played real good defense.”
Does you think maybe not winning it will affect your decision about coming back next year?
“I can’t answer that right now.”
Listen to Audio (2:35)
What happened in the first half?
“That is the first time this North Carolina team panicked. It got to the point where they were just up big. We did a great job all year long of stepping up to the challenge. Tonight Kansas threw the biggest challenge at us that we have seen and it took too long for us to respond.”
“They are a big-time ball club. They have a tremendous amount of intensity and they matched everything we did.”
Listen to Audio (3:28)
On the loss:
“They were just real aggressive, and then we had open shots that we couldn’t knock down. Other than that, we just didn’t play very well.”
On his future:
“[I’ll] probably just talk to my parents, talk to my dad [and] talk to Coach and see what’s best for me. Just use their advice and see what’s best for me.”
Any gut feeling?
“No gut feeling right now. I’m just still getting over this loss. No gut feelings right now.”