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ROY WILLIAMS, TYLER HANSBROUGH, WAYNE ELLINGTON & TY LAWSON
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COURT INTERVIEW WITH CBS
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"The first one was unbelievably sweet in 2005, but in some ways this one's even sweeter. So proud of this team. People anointed us before the year that you were going to go undefeated, which I thought was silly at the time. Then we lost two games and everybody jumped off the ship. The kids believed us in the locker room at Wake Forest when we told them we were going to be there at the end. That's about the most satisfying feeling I've ever had as a coach.
"The other thing I think, with Tyler particularly and the senior class in general, I felt like it was going to be fitting what this group just accomplished. It's an incredible feeling. I do congratulate Tommy and his club because they made a fantastic run. They also had some people doubting them during the course of the year, but they made a fantastic run. He's one of the true gentlemen in the coaching profession and a guy that can coach his rear-end off.
Detroit, Ford Field, this was a marvelous experience. Yeah, there were some more green shirts in there, but our kids have focused all year long on the road and have been a big-time basketball team in some tough places.
"So my hats off to these three guys here and the guys in the locker room because they took Roy Williams on one fantastic ride, and it's something I'll never forget."
What is it like to be in a position where you know you can compete for this thing every year? Ever in your career have you been at this point where you knew you had a shot every year?
"I've been very fortunate, as you know. 15 years at Kansas, we had some great teams. My goal I've said since my second year as a coach, I wanted to have my program where we would be in a position that at the end of the year, we would have a chance to win the whole thing. And for the most part, we've had that, except for our first year at Kansas and our first year at North Carolina.
"It's an unbelievable feeling. I was standing down on the court in '05, when we won the thing. We celebrated quite a bit Monday night, didn't go to bed, got back Tuesday and had a great celebration on campus. I left on Wednesday morning to go recruiting at 6 a.m. My rear-end's going somewhere either Wednesday or Thursday because I enjoy this feeling."
You're on an extremely short list of people that have won multiple national championships, including Coach Smith. For a guy that had to have four other jobs to pay for your coaching habit 30 years ago, have you thought about the rarer era you're in right now?
"Somebody told me if I win, I'd be the 13th coach to have more than one. I have a hard time believing that. I mean, I really do. I hope I never change. I'm gonna go work at the end of this week. If the weather is permitting, I'm going to play a couple of holes tomorrow when I get back.
"Roy Williams is not that good. But, boy, old Roy has got some big-time players, and that's what it takes."
You actually have a rare distinction of having inherited two different schools with different groups that you took to a championship game. You've also taken full classes to title games. But you won it with this one. Did you learn something a little different on this ride that you didn't know or makes you a better coach?
"You know, the best coaching job I ever did in my life was '91. Second best coaching job I ever did in my life was probably 2006. And I just spent more time thinking about that part of it than I've ever spent in my life. I don't look in those terms. 2005, I said I'm not that better a coach than I was three hours ago. I'm not now.
I work extremely hard. I have strong beliefs in how the game should be played.
"I believe I can convince kids to make sacrifices for a common goal. I have a great university too work for that I can recruit big-time players.
But, you know, again, I mean, 1991 was an unbelievable run. We beat No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 in the country in a three-game stretch.
No, I just spent more time answering that question than I've ever thought about, old Roy, what kind of job he does."
You didn't mention the tie Dean. Does this hit you in certain way?
"Roy Williams and Dean Smith don't fit in the same sentence. I really believe that. I'm not being humble. I just don't believe that.
I've got an unbelievable staff. I mean, guys, we've been to five Final Fours in the last eight years. I've got an unbelievable staff, when I'm about to mess something up, they take care of me. They give me great suggestions, and I get to make decisions.
"You know, I'm glad that Jimmy Nantz asked me the question so I could say hello to Coach, because I know Coach was sitting there watching it at home."
You said at the beginning that this one may be sweeter than '05. Is it because of the expectations that were put on you early? For what reason?
"I think it's two things. I think the expectations, regardless of how little I let that affect me, it affected the players because I can't control the families and the friends and the people around them. So when we stumbled at home with Boston College, then when we lose at Wake Forest, I challenged the kids. I'll tell you something. This is a great accomplishment. I challenged the kids to not say anything to the press about this. With Danny Green, every time I tell a secret, he tells the press. This is a heck of an accomplishment for me.
"In the locker room at Wake Forest, we're 0-2. I ask Coach Robinson, who was with me in 1991, I said, 'Coach, do you remember 1991, what we started out the season?'
He said, 'Yes, we started out 0-2.' I said, 'Coach, do you remember where we finished that season?'
He said, 'Yes, we played Duke University for the national championship.'
"I told my team that in the locker room and I told them to keep it to themselves. Again, if they would do what we asked them to do, we'd have a chance and be there at the end.
Needless to say, they exceeded that. But the expectations, it's hard for a coach to control that. You know, I kept talking to them about dreams and goals. So that was part of it. But the other part is, it was one of the hardest years I've ever had in coaching.
"How would you like to be coaching a guy who came back to school when he could have gone, and he has a stress reaction condition. And one day, if I make a mistake, he could break his leg. Every agent in America would start smiling because they would say, See, you shouldn't go back. So for four weeks I'm worried about him. Do I practice him eight plays or should I cut it to seven? At the end of the year with Ty Lawson's toe, I'm the same thing. Should I practice him four minutes or three? Should I hold him out of the Radford game, out of the ACC tournament? You lose kids like Tyler Zeller and Marcus Ginyard for the season. You add those two together, the expectations, those kinds of adversity, they're really pretty serious to me. That's the reason I'd probably say it's sweeter.
"Hope that's not too long an answer for you."
How does it sound, "Tyler Hansbrough, national champion"?
"I mean, it's -- what we've been through, the way I started this year, it was frustrating. Not only me, but I kind of have this being with this senior class, look at Bobby Frasor, a guy that has had some bumps in the road, he's come through. Mike Copeland, what he's done. I mean, for all that, I mean, you know, I'm just part of something special right here. It's the best feeling in the world."
Tyler, take me back about three years ago when you first saw Ty come on campus, do his thing. The whole Sponge Bob thing going. Compare him then to the guy that was in control of you guys tonight.
"Yeah, definitely. When he first got here, he was a little rough around the edges. We had to show him the ropes. He came in here. But he's definitely matured. He's playing -- I mean this last year or two, you can't ask more from a point guard, the way he plays. Not only was he playing offensively, he was really playing defense. Pretty much led our team through the tournament."
A lot has been made of Tyler's quest, Danny's story, other things this week. On the trophy presentation podium, you were pretty emotional. Can you describe that feeling, why it's so special?
"Just how hard we worked, all the stuff we been through as a group. Our seniors, you know, mainly we wanted to do it for those guys. They've been through so much. We had a lot of adversity this year, lost two games, everybody doubted us. It just felt great. It's a feeling that you really can't explain unless you experience it."
All of these guys came back to win it. Are you going to go back to back or have you thought about coming back yet?
"No, we haven't thought about anything yet. We're just enjoying the crap out of this. That's ridiculous."
In the first half you had seven steals to tie the national championship record. Finished off with eight. Was that something you went into the game focusing on?
"My mindset basically was I wanted to slow down Kalin Lucas because he's the heart and soul of their team. Basically I was trying to knock down passing lanes, make it hard for him, make him do things he didn't want to do. That was my main focus. My shot wasn't falling, too, so I decided to spend more energy on the defensive end and it helped out a lot."
Can you talk about the first 10 minutes. One of the their players said it was a blur. You led by 21 points at the 10-minute mark.
"The first 10 minutes, we wanted to come out strong. We learned from past experience it's important in the game. So we came out strong. We was knocking down big shots, playing defense real well. That's what we wanted to do."
Listen to Audio (4:36)
What's up with your ribs?
"I came in with a strained muscle or a weak muscle in my stomach. The other day in practice -- I knew I was going to play, but I didn't know how effective I was going to be. It's a little sore right now, but other than that, the pain goes away after a little while."
Listen to Audio (3:40)
On the team defensive effort:
"If we played defense like this the whole year, it could have been pretty special. But we had a sense of urgency once tournament came around, and we knew that it was our shot. We wanted to go out on the right note, and the juniors knew what was at stake, so we played."
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What was the halftime discussion about?
"Last year's Final Four was brought back into play and the way that we were down -- it was almost the same exact thing. It's something that you've seen before. So we definitely knew that they weren't going to go away, because we came out fighting for it last year. We knew Michigan State wasn't going anywhere - they were in this national championship game for a reason."
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Do you have a decision to make?
"No decision to make."
See you next year?
Listen to Audio (4:17)
Does this feel as good as you thought it would?
"Absolutely. I had no expectations of how great it was going to feel, but there's no doubt this is the most amazing feeling I've had since I've been in college. There's just no better feeling."
"God, well, first of all the best team won. That's an easy statement to make. They played well. I was, I guess, disappointed. The first part I'll say that we kind of turned it over early. We missed some shots early, and we didn't check very well early. They got off to that 24-7, or whatever that lead was, and that's kind of the way it stayed.
"We couldn't really dig into it. Yet these guys didn't quit on it. I thought Carolina played -- they made some big shots. I thought Chris and Durrell had some pretty good looks and just didn't make some shots. In that stretch, we missed some free throws. But the turnovers were the big key. To have 14 turnovers in the first half on a team that doesn't really press, that hurt us a little bit. So those are the bad things.
"But the good things are, it was awesome to see the place stay filled till the very end when I thought our fans could have left. It was great to see this senior class go out the way they did. It was a struggle to get here, and they had a lot of pressure on them, and I thought they handled it incredibly well. We looked like a team that ran out of gas a little bit, maybe deservingly so.
But as I told them in the locker room, we lost the game, but this program is way better off to have these guys here.
"And for what they accomplished this year, it will help us take another stride in that ever-growing part that we want to get to, and that's our program reaching a level that each and every year we're expecting to get here. So proud of 'em.
"Proud of North Carolina. I guess I will add this. North Carolina, as I walked off the floor, I told Hansbrough that it was really nice to see a bunch of guys that stayed in school and put winning above everything else. Even though we did have a cause - we had a bunch of causes - they had a cause, too, and I was pretty impressed by that."
You kind of conceded the talent disparity yesterday a little bit. Can you talk about what Davis did especially in the first half. Basically they had a lottery pick coming off the bench. Is that indicative of how rich they are in talent?
"Well, Davis is real good. And I think -- you know, I mean, they have four guys that looked to come out this year. They all came back. I still say that's what I'm most impressed about. But it is a very talented team. I thought we maybe could wear them down a little bit. I thought Roy did a good job of getting Frasor and Drew in there early. And, of course, as you said, Davis. And Davis did a great job. He's a very good rebounder. He's long. As he gets more physical, I think he's got a chance to be probably their next great, great one.
"But I look at our kid, Delvon Roe, he got seven or eight rebounds, didn't do as much offensively. I like what I got there next year when he gets through that knee injury and gets to play a little bit and work on his game a little bit.
"Yeah, the discrepancy, the biggest one is they've got some juniors and seniors. We played some of those guys two years ago, and they're still there. Really, the guys I've been playing more of lately, we've got a couple seniors and one junior, the rest freshmen and sophomores. I think that reared its ugly head a little bit, too. And that's what happens."
With five Final Fours and 12 straight appearances, you've seen a lot of pretty good teams. Can you rank North Carolina among the best?
"Yeah, I really can. Even Memphis was very good. There were some other teams we played in the past that have been pretty good. The Texas team a few years ago. But I don't think they have quite the depth that some teams have had, but there's six or seven players there that arguably could play for anybody. And they don't have a lot of weaknesses. He's right. When you play a Connecticut, there's some people you can cheat off of, there's something you can do. When you play North Carolina, there's nothing you can do.
"And I think Lawson says it all. When they struggled, almost lost a couple games, when Lawson was hurt, he does stir the drink. You know, he's 3 for 10, but he got to the line so much. So we couldn't stop Ellington outside or Hansbrough inside, and we couldn't stop Lawson getting to the line. 40 free throws, 21 turnovers, that kind of tells the story right there.
"But in closing, I also want to thank the University of Detroit. They are the host school. I don't know, everybody will have their own opinion of Detroit and what happened in this tournament. But if there was a more beautiful setting for a college basketball weekend as far as in this arena, the job that everybody did. I would just like to thank you, take my hat off to 'em.
"As I said, remember that my program got better this year and my team didn't get better tonight. But programs are bigger than teams and we'll bounce back. The best team won, and I congratulate Roy and his players. Thank you."