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Listen to Audio (22:32)
On Ty Lawson's big right toe:
"He needed to be able to practice today and practice tomorrow, and we'll see...
“Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I really expected it to respond quicker than it has. And after he played against Duke, I didn’t really expect it to be that much swelling to happen and that’s what really set everything backwards. So I guess I’ve been a little surprised by the severity of it. I’ve just been thinking that everyday, ‘Oh yeah, it’s going to get better, it’s going to get better.’ But I’m probably as discouraged right now at this moment as I have been since it happened, because it’s not coming [along] as quickly as we’d like for it to come.”
So do you just assume that he won’t be 100 percent for this weekend or the rest of the tournament?
“I don’t know if I’d say for the rest of the tournament, but there’s no way he’s going to be 100 percent – absolutely no way. He hasn't played basketball in nine days. He hasn't broken a sweat in nine days. There's no way that he's going to be 100 percent. It just does not happen. Guys can miss two or three days and Michael Jordan can have the flu, but nobody misses that amount of time and comes back 100 percent. Plus, not even counting all of the conditioning ideas or the conditioning ideas, but his foot is not healthy. It's a pretty easy deal.”
At the ACC Tournament, Ty said his toe was getting better. Has there been a setback since then?
“No, but what he was telling you was the truth. But what had he done at that point? He had sat on his rear end for five days. I mean, my gosh… How does your toe feel? Is it bothering you? You’ve got to put it in that [context]. He did not do one blessed thing, and so it felt better because he hadn’t done one blessed thing. He tried to shoot some yesterday and it was not nearly as easy as I had hoped it would be.”
How does it feel to know that you're getting ready to coach the ACC's all-time leading scorer?
"Don't take this the wrong way, but it won't mean one more thing than if he fell three points short. Because it's a personal thing with one of the most unbelievable youngsters that I have ever been around. The fact that you can say that he's the leading scorer and leading rebounder in North Carolina history is enough for me...
"But just his place in the hearts of every Carolina fan, every person that wants North Carolina to do well. He means more to me in my little finger than all of those people put together. It's not even close. So what he has meant to me personally and how much he has allowed me to enjoy coaching -- I just sit back and marvel at him. I really do."
Listen to Audio (11:30)
In 2005, UNC and Duke both played in the Charlotte pod and the Tar Heel fans cheered loudly against Duke. Do you think this weekend will be similar?
“I guess it will be the same thing. I don’t think much will change. That’s the way it is. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to be pulling for us, so I doubt we’re going to be pulling for them, fan-wise.”
On Bobby Frasor’s recent play:
“He stepped up big for us. I think it was last year that we were kind of lacking Bobby’s leadership and him coming off the bench and giving us that extra step at times. And I think it was good for him to get out there and get that, ‘We need you out here,’ kind of feeling again. He’s stepping up big for us right now, and I think if Ty doesn’t play, then he’ll come out and perform like he has in the past when we called on him.”
You’re three points away from the ACC scoring record. Has that entered your mind at all?
“A little bit. I’m aware of it, but still, I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I think eventually it will happen.”
Listen to Audio (11:06)
What are your feelings on the fact that the NCAA Tournament is here?
“It’s just exciting, really. We’re all definitely looking forward to it, and we’re definitely up for the challenge. We’re just excited to finally be here to reach the tournament.”
In 2005, UNC and Duke both played in the Charlotte pod and the Tar Heel fans cheered loudly against Duke. Are you the exception to the rule? Will you be pulling for Gerald Henderson?
“Nah – no way. Gerald is one of my best friends, but I’m not a Duke fan at all. I wouldn’t mind watching them lose.”
Isn’t it odd that a toe is causing all of this apprehension and anxiety?
“It is pretty funny, and I always joke with Ty about it. I’m always like, ‘Man, nothing’s wrong – you’ve just got a jammed toe.’ But obviously, it’s been pretty painful for him [and] it’s pretty serious, so hopefully he can get it right.”