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October 25, 2017

Jim Christian

Charlotte, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Jim Christian from Boston College.

Q. Ky Bowman earlier today was talking about how nice it was for him to have a teammate from North Carolina in Jerome Robinson. They were really like big brother/little brother. Did you see a lot of that, did you see that pairing and maybe how that translated to a good relationship on the floor?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Not as much early. But I think as the year went on, I think they kind of gained such a great respect for each other from a work-ethic standpoint, from an appreciation for what the other guy was doing and what they're trying to kind of build together.

They knew that they were going to be the foundation of what we did. So that naturally kind of bonds people together. And it helps when they're both really good kids. They both come from good families. It's a natural.

Q. Teddy Hawkins, top recruit for you this year coming in from Illinois State, what's he going to bring to your program?
COACH CHRISTIAN: He's bringing so many things that I didn't even know he could bring. I could look at statistics and see what he shot from three or how many points a game, how many rebounds he averaged, but that doesn't even tell the story of what he's done.

He's the best communicator on our team. He brings a toughness to our team, and really an appreciation for winning. He came from a program, they won 27 games. He was a pivotal part of that and we haven't had anything like that. So he's been invaluable to us.

Q. What about Nik Popovic's development this year, he's going to be a big front court player for you. What are you expecting?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Really it's all about consistency with him. He had some really good moments for a freshman post player. It's not easy to play the post in this league as a freshman, but -- just because of the physicality of the other guys in this league. He did a really good job, I think, in spurts. Now he's ready, I think, to hopefully take that next step and be consistent.

He's a really good post scorer, but his perimeter game is getting better. And he's just a guy that again is a sophomore in this league. I think he's really getting ready to take the next step.

Q. Even Coach Pastner was saying, was talking about how dominant your back court will be this upcoming season. Could you just talk about how they will be dominant and the expectations you have from them?
COACH CHRISTIAN: The expectations are for them to improve as players, not so much scoring-wise, they're both good scorers, but now to let the other parts of their game flourish and develop and get other guys around them to improve their numbers.

So even if the points go down and assists go up, well, good decisions go up, that's how you become a better player. They've now -- we know they can score and it's going to be nice they can score the ball extremely well. But now the evaluation comes down to decisions during the course of the game and what you did when the game was in the balance.

That's the next step for any player, especially a young player, especially a guy like Ky is a sophomore, Jerome is a junior. Now when that game could be won, you're in part of that. And you did all the different things to help us win, and that's how you grow and that's how your name becomes even bigger than it is for these two guys now.

Q. Do you have any expectations on what color hair Ky Bowman will have during the season?
COACH CHRISTIAN: I can't -- I know it's not going to be black, dark black, like he did for the Virginia game because he was awful, and I never want to see it again.

So I'm assuming he's going to go back to the traditional red. But he's yellow now. So whatever he decides to do. His hair -- I don't care what color it is, just play.

Q. Devil's advocate question. Stats for last year's team were stats associated with that year's team. How much do comparison of stats matter from one year to the next?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Numbers might change. But the impactfulness of the numbers, there's numbers and there's impactful numbers. And there are certain things that don't go on a stat sheet that impact winning.

And I think this year's team has gained a better appreciation for that. We spent a lot of time talking about what it does take to win, what's a winning play, and moments where we had opportunities to make those plays and didn't do it.

And now we've got to take the next step. And it's not just straight numbers. It's not points or rebounds or assists. It's what do you do in crunch time? What were you doing during that time on both ends of the floor? How vocal were you? How vocal was our team?

And I think, again, our trip in the summer, the best thing that came out of it was that the nights we played, they went to dinner as a group all by themselves. Coaches, no coaches, no managers, nobody else, just them talk about what they want to do this season. Talk about what they did in this game.

And that's what you have to do. They have to take ownership now. They have the ability. We have the talent. They know we're going to give them a plan, and now they've got to take ownership. That's the next step.

Q. Over the left shoulder there's an image of you.
COACH CHRISTIAN: Much skinnier.

Q. I don't know if folks at home can see it but what was the secret?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Diet. The strength coach says you cannot out-train a bad diet. All the exercise guys out there, you cannot train a bad diet. I changed my diet a little bit, and a wife, relentless on making me eat the right way. She wasn't with me on this trip so I have to apologize to her.

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