On the reason for not starting-
My performance at Georgia Tech. I take it that's the reason.
Were you expecting to be in there at the start of the second half?
I don't know what to expect anymore so I just cheer on my teammates and look to go in whenever the opportunity comes.
Did Carolina rely on the three pointer too much in the first half? 3-20?
We probably did. Didn't get fouled enough. Did not take [it to] their big men or their guards.
It appears they (the coaches) had confidence in you when they put you in there in the end. Was that a good thing for you?
I guess so. I guess (me) being in there is good for our team. I don't know what to say.
[from another reporter] Again, why was it that you didn't start?
My performance at GT. I am in a basketball slump whether you want to call it freshman (slump) or whatever.
So it was performance based?
I don't know. I didn't start. Keep playing.
When did you learn you wouldn't start?
What's today? Sunday? It was Friday.
Did you have a good practice yesterday?
I didn't practice yesterday. … I have a slightly pulled groin.
What did you learn Friday about why you weren't starting?
He wanted to reward David Noel for his defensive performance in games and I am not playing well so ...
When you say you aren't playing well, what do you mean?
The performance speaks for itself. I'm not scoring the points that I scored in the past or playing the defense or whatever. That speaks for itself.
Where you pleased with the way you played?
It was there for the taking. We had it ... Some calls didn't go our way, the ball didn't go our way, we didn't shoot a great percentage. No excuse. We had it. Now it's gone.
What do you think of [Josh] Howard's performance?
Howard's a great player. Senior. Leads the team. He does it all. He's great.
What happened when you got tangled up with him?
All I remember is we kind of bumped into each other and the refs stopped it before anything happened.
Is it exciting now going into Cameron?
Every game is exciting to me. We have nothing to lose. Our backs are against the wall.
Considering the way the season started, are you surprised it's at 11-9 now?
Very surprised. Me personally, I wanted to go undefeated. I hate the thought of a loss. I am not used to losing. We've just got to get through this, day by day, getting better.
What does it take to get through this?
Stay mentally focused. Stay together.
Did coach say late in the game...was he trying to go offense/defense?
Not really. I don't think he has to tell us every time why we come out. It's his decision, he's the coach. We can't question anything he does.
Are you upset about not starting?
No. Why would I be upset? (I don't know. I'm asking you.) That question is not to be asked.
When was the last time you went through something like this (the slump mentioned earlier)?
Probably my junior year, my first year at New Hampton Prep.
Talk about the flow of the game. It was there for the taking.
We had stretches where we played really well then we had defensive laspes. Josh Howard did a good job of taking advantage when we did have lapses. He played a good game tonight and he hit a tough shot to win the game.
Talk about the last five minutes.
The last five minutes I think we did a good job of playing great D until that final possession. I wouldn't say we played bad D on that final possession, it was just a good shot. Then we needed a big shot, so figured that if anyone wanted to take the last shot, I wanted to take it.
Talk about the last three, was that a set play?
Yeah it was a set play for me to shoot it. I've proved myself in the past that I could hit big shots and I had just hit two big free throws. It was just one of those shots. Michael Jordan didn't make all his game winners so I can learn from that.
There seemed to be a lot of talking going back and forth between Howard and McCants.
That's going to happen between two tough competitors like they are. They got in each others face a couple times but that's all part of the game.
Talk about going to Duke, yet another ACC war.
Come out and play hard. That's all we can do. Go out there and give it our all and hope for the best. If we make shots, anything can happen.
You guys had chances. What happened at the end?
Howard hit a big shot. That's it. A big shot.
Do you think not starting Rashad works to motivate him?
It's a coaches decision, I wasn't here so I don't know what happened.
At halftime, were you surprised he wasn't back in there?
A little bit, but you know...
Did their rebounding hurt you guys?
They outrebounded us, but I don't think that hurt us too much. We missed some big time shot and Josh came down and hit a big time shot. That put us down by two, Jawad may have gotten fouled but he missed the shot. Downey hit big free throws to put the game away. So, I don't think rebounds hurt us.
On the streaks of not scoring and how do you overcome that?
We have just got to score. We aren't knocking down shots so it's something we have to get in the gym and work on our shots.
On the positives of the game.
We were there the whole game. They are probably one of the best teams in the ACC and we took them down to the wire. We should have won the game but we couldn't hit big shots. They hit a big shot from their key player, Josh Howard. He's a leader, a senior and a great player for them. It goes like that sometimes. We should have won, could have won, but we didn't pull it out.
On the crowd
At times, we like to feed off the crowd. We try to get the crowd into it and get real loud in there. That kind of puts us up to get us ready to defend or run a great play. Some times the crowd might be down when we don't do anything to pump them up. We make a little run to pump the crowd up. The crowd helps us out a little bit, they really do.
What can you do to be more consistent?
Maybe I need to score a little more or look for my shot a little more. I am basically trying to run the team. Trying to get open shots for my teammates. Maybe I need to look for my shot a little more.
On playing Duke.
No game in the ACC is going to be easy. Duke is a great team but we are going to come in and play them like it's any other team.
On Jawad's play in the second half.
Jawad is the type player that can hit big time shots. He wants the ball in his hands when the game is tough. We have so many guys (that want that). Jawad is a great player. 6-10 and can put the ball on the floor. He's got a nice jump shot. He's a nice player.
Are you more comfortable running offensive sets or freelancing on the court?
We are comfortable, but we are the type team that would rather push the ball up court and get a great shot. Move a little, set screens, move the ball. We have proven we can run sets and win the game.
Seems like when the shot clock is running, it's Raymond Felton with the ball in the one-four. Is that how it's drawn up or how it just happens?
That's how we practice. That's what we do in practice. Shot clock coming down, I try and make something happen, either take a shot or kick it to someone for the shot.
On the highs and lows
There were some highs and lows out there, and I did have a hot hand. There's nothing better than having a hot hand and a win, but unfortunately we lost. So we're just going to have to practice tomorrow and rebuild and get ready for Duke on Wednesday.
On his progress
In practice I've been playing pretty well. I'm just trying to make progress and hopefully continue doing what I am doing.