UNC-FIU: Freshman Q&As (w/audio)

Henson

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Tar Heel freshmen aren't allowed to talk to the media until after their first game, so following Monday night's opener against Florida International, the five newcomers held their first interviews with Inside Carolina ...

Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.
JOHN HENSON
(4:17)

You played so much in the post in high school - how's the adjustment to becoming a full time small forward going thus far?

"It's been going well. Coach is helping me out with certain stuff - where my mind, my mentality is somewhere else - but overall it's going well and I'm just adjusting to it and getting better each day."

Can you talk about the bond you've developed with the other freshmen?

"We're real cool - me, Dexter, Leslie are rooming and then the Wear twins. We kind of knew each other before we came here - which is different than most. We were real close before we came here so it's been really cool ... The Wear twins, they stay to themselves, but you've got to watch them, though. Dex and Les, those are great guys. Leslie likes to dance and Dex is always doing something, so it's been real cool. ... We kind of have the same backgrounds and personality-wise we kind of click together - we all get along."

What's been the toughest adjustment on the court thus far?

"Probably the defensive end. Back in high school I would just stand in the paint and block shots. No you've got to get help side, deny, so it's different, but I like it - it's fun."


LESLIE MCDONALD
(6:20)

How's your first month of college basketball been for you?

"It's going great right now - practicing, working out, conditioning - it's going pretty good. It was a smack to the face at first, being a freshman, but I'm loving it ... We call it 'The Wall' - just the toughness of the college atmosphere, as far as conditioning-wise, learning the plays, so it's new to the freshmen, but as you get used to it, you just roll with it and it comes with you. ... The game is played much faster. Especially at North Carolina, we like to run, so conditioning-wise, running up and done, I had to get used to that."

Can you talk about the relationship you've established with your teammates, especially the freshman class?

"Me, John and Dexter are roommates and the Wear twins are living with Tyler a couple floors above us. We're getting along well. In practice we talk to each other, trying to figure out what plays we have to learn - we help each other out. ... I like to dance a little bit. I'm a funny character - I'm very humorous and outgoing. Me and John, we hear a tune we like, we like to get down a bit and Dexter follows right behind us ... John is a clown. You'll wake up in the morning and hear him yelling and run to his room and he'll say 'Aww, nothing, I just felt like yelling.' He's a clown, the stuff he does. ... As soon as we got on campus, we bonded quickly."

Just a couple days after you arrived here back in June, you were playing pickup alongside some former Tar Heels who are now in the pros. What did you take from that experience?

"If you're playing on the best team, you've got to get thrown out to the dogs. So once I got here we had to play NBA guys as well as college guys. It was a great experience for me, I learned a lot - especially from the NBA guys. They told me things I needed to work on and things I was doing well - it really helped me ... Rashad McCants was telling me about spacing. I had trouble running the lane with spacing - that's the key - and Coach tells us that a lot."


DEXTER STRICKLAND
(4:53)

Learning the point guard spot under Roy Williams is difficult for a freshman, let alone one who didn't play the point the last couple years of high school ...

"It's challenging because you have to do different things - on a shot I can't go to the rim because I've got to get back on defense, I've got look to get my team involved - things like that. It's a challenge but I'll get through it. ... I don't think I'm going to grow any more, so I think I'll be a point if I get to the next level. Coach Roy is doing a good job trying to teach me the point guard's mentality and things like that. Once I get that knowledge down I think I'll be all right. ... [The biggest adjustment] has been just getting a different mindset from a point guard and a two-guard. Getting my teammates involved first and not taking that shot - just stuff like that."

How's the adjustment been moving from New Jersey to Chapel Hill?

"I feel like it's home. I actually have family members down here, so they come to the games. I love it down here - I can't complain at all. It's nothing like home, but I can't complain at all. I love it down here."

Coach Williams was yelling 'Go, go, go' at you tonight - how often do you hear that?

"All the time. He wants me and Larry to run like Ty Lawson, and you know Ty was up and down the court at 100 miles per hour. He's just getting on us about that. Me and Larry are doing a good job so far ... I don't have much experience, so I'm not used to going 100 miles per hour, so he's getting on me a lot - like tonight he got on me and tomorrow at practice I'm sure he'll get on me. You've just got to take what he says and learn from it."


DAVID WEAR
(3:04)

Some were surprised to hear Coach Williams say you'll play some at the '3' this season, but you have in these first two games. How's that gone so far?

"I've been working at the three and I'm still trying to learn the rest of the plays as a '3' because I started off playing mostly the '4/5.' It's going well so far, I've just got to get a little bit quicker on defense to be able to guard the '3' guy, but so far I think I'm adjusting pretty well to it."

You've got so much depth on this team, so how's the rotation working out so far?

"We play an up tempo type of game, so we realize we'll end up playing a lot of guys and our depth will help us as the year goes on as guys start to wear down and get tired. It only benefits us that we have so many guys that can contribute to this team."

Coach Williams has talked about how the freshmen's heads are spinning right now ...

"Yeah, it's a lot of new stuff and a lot of new plays. And when you're sprinting and trying to remember what play to run, it can be overwhelming sometimes. But if you don't know something, you just run. "


TRAVIS WEAR
(3:39)

How's it gone so far, getting used to college and this level of basketball?

"It's been pretty good so far. I'm still adjusting a bit from high school, but just getting used to college life, balancing out classes with all the practicing and preparing for games. It's a lot more intense than it was in high school."

What's practice been like - has it been what you expected?

"Every practice is like a game to us - we give 100 percent every time and try to bring that to [games]. ... The size, the intensity and the speed and quickness of everyone [has been the biggest adjustment in practice]. Everyone out here can play - they wouldn't be playing for North Carolina if they couldn't. Everyone out here is big, strong, fast and you've got to be on your toes at all times."

Coach Williams is still figuring out lineups at this stage, giving everyone minutes and see who fits where best. You've played more at a post position in the exhibition and tonight, whereas David has played more at small forward. Do you think that's where you two are settling in?

"We'll see how it happens. I know that Coach has told both of us that we're going to play some small forward. It's just the way the rotation is going right now, that Davis is playing small forward and I'm playing more power forward and center. I played some small forward the other night, so we'll see how it works its way out throughout the season."

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