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March 26, 2009
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get started with North Carolina news conference. As you see, we've been joined by UNC student-athletes Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough. If you do have a question for the student-athletes, please raise your hand.
Q. Tyler, I was going to ask you a little bit -- I know a lot has been said about the game two years ago with you and the match up. Can you talk a little bit about that night and what you remember, especially Josh's play.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: They came out. They just played better than us that night. And, of course, Josh had a good game. He was hitting some shots. Got in the groove of things. I didn't really have my best game.
They just beat us.
Q. I asked their players this question. I'm going to ask you. Aside from experience, how different are you as a team now than you were that night? And what do you notice something about them that's different from that night? Again, other than experience.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I feel like we're a lot different. A little bit changed personnel, but I think our mindset going into this game is a lot different.
We had a lot of underclassmen back then, and right now we have a lot of motivation going into this game. They got us pretty good last time we played them. We're definitely looking forward to the challenge.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Last time we played them, I think, you know, we were pretty young. I know you said besides experience, but I think Ty Lawson is playing a lot better right now than he did back whenever it was we played them.
I think Wayne stepped up and played well. And also we have Ed Davis, who's given us a lot defensively, and he's coming along offensively for us too.
You know, we're pretty much a different team. Everybody talks about, oh, we have the same players, but we've all changed.
Q. Can you guys talk about the biggest difference in Ty Lawson from last year to this year?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I feel like he's become more of a leader for us. You know, he's always been our quarterback out on the court, but I feel like he's doing a great job by leading by example and just showing a lot of toughness.
I think that kind of gets us going. You know, when Ty gets going out there and he's making plays defensively and beating guys offensively, I feel like it gets the rest of us going.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Yeah, I think Ty, I think he's one thing that's different about him now than in the past, I think he's playing a lot more aggressive.
There's been some times when Ty, you know, he played, but he didn't always play as hard as he is right now. I think he's playing a lot harder than he ever has. He's really stepping up. He feels like, when he has the ball, he can lead the team and do pretty much whatever he wants to do at times.
Q. Wayne, has your mentality changed a little bit of late? You've been on such a hot streak on your shooting. But it seems like you've sort of changed your outlook on things a little bit too.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Yeah. I feel like it's that time of year where I think everybody should be elevating their game. I just -- I've just been stepping up to the challenge.
I've been picking up defensively. You know, being a lot more aggressive offensively. And I feel like that kind of got me going. I'm in the groove of things now.
Q. With how well Daye and Heytvelt shoot the ball for big guys, how much emphasis have you put on perimeter defense for your guys' post players this past week?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: A lot. We looked at them. We understand they can shoot. So we're going to have to be able to guard outside. It's something we talked about.
But also I think they're good inside players. We're going to have to be able to do a little bit of both.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I mean, I feel like, you know, our big guys have been doing a pretty good job all year long guarding guys that can shoot the ball and can step out to the perimeter.
They're just going to have to continue to do that job on those guys and step up to the challenge basically.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you guys. We'll have Coach Williams with us shortly.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get started with North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. Coach, if you'd like to start us off with just a few thoughts on coming to Memphis.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: We're excited to be here, excited to be part of the Sweet 16.
I've always loved Memphis, love the Rendezvous restaurant. It's a good thing for me. But really happy for our kids who have played well and basically played pretty well all year long and handled quite a bit of adversity. We're happy to be here.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Coach, in what way is Ty better right now than Raymond was at the season?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Right now he's not because he's not 100%. Ty's done a great job with the assist ratio. He's shot a great percentage. He's been really good at times defensively, probably not as consistent as I've wanted him to be or maybe be as consistent as he's wanted himself to be.
I think it's hard to compare the players because we've asked each one of them to do different things.
Everybody from the outside would look and say, well, they both had a big guy. They both had a bench. They've both had this. I think it has been a little different. I wouldn't say I'd compare it to Raymond, who's better, who's not as good.
He's had a sensational year for us. He's gotten much better. Let me back up. He's gotten better in every phase of the game.
When you add all those together, he's gotten a lot better.
Q. Can you give us an update on how Ty and the toe is doing today. Any improvement over the last couple?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: No. No is the answer to your last part of the question. It's not any better. It's not, no, that I won't answer the question.
I asked him this morning. I'm just being honest. I'm pretty straightforward. My high school coach told me once, if you always be truthful, you don't have to remember what you said.
I went up to him this morning, and said on a scale of 1 to 10, how was it yesterday? He said about a 6. How is it today? About a 6. I said how was it Saturday before the LSU game? He said about an 8. That's not encouraging to me. It's just something that's taking a long, long time to heal.
When it happened, they told me about this, it was going to be this way. But I was just, I guess, being more positive or hoping or whatever you want. I was hoping it would be better by this time.
Each time that he's played, the first time in the Duke game, he played, and it got very swollen. This time it hasn't swollen, but it's been painful.
Q. Going back to the game two years ago, how rare is it to have so many key players involved in the game again as we look at it two years from now? How different are you guys?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: It is strange because so many of those kids are very gifted on both teams and are still in school. That's part of it. Brandin Wright was our best player in the game, and he's the only one gone for us that didn't graduate. Rayshawn Terry, Wes Miller -- I might be leaving somebody out there. Their team, Ravio and Mallin. I might be leaving somebody out there too.
I think it is unusual to have that carry-over for two years in college basketball. I think our guys have gotten better. I think their guys have gotten better.
They really totally outplayed us in that game after the first three minutes of the game. We were ahead 14-2 three minutes into the game. And at one point in the second half, we're down 16. That's a 28-point swing in their favor.
I mean, it was ugly for a long time for us.
Q. Can you talk about just the difference of having Ty on the floor and not having him on the floor. What he means for your team.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Having Ty on the floor, you generally get easier opportunities. Because he breaks down the defense. Either in half-court with his penetration, in the half-court with the fact that they have to come out and play his outside shot.
You know, I'm going to guess here, with two games to go in the regular season, he's shooting 50% from the three-point line. Even in a half-court situation, they've got to come get him. That makes the entry passes inside a little bit better and a little easier.
We average for the year 90, 91, 92 points a game. In the two games in the ACC tournament without him, we average 74.
The first game against Radford without him, we had numbers up there. We're more gifted than Radford, and I'm not trying to pick on Radford.
I think it's just we have easier baskets offensively. Defensively, it takes away because he can pressure the basketball, but it also takes away from that guy that comes in for him when it's Bobby Frasor because Bobby is so good defensively and gives us a lift defensively with his intensity, with his talking, with everything.
So it really affects our team in a lot of ways.
Q. Coach, in Greensboro, you said that you were against the pain injection shots going into the LSU game. Assuming that Ty did not have one of those and still pulled off a 23-point performance, at this point is he just running on adrenaline, or what's getting him through?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: He did not have another shot. He had the shot before the Duke game and has not had anything else since then.
But it was feeling better. It took us a long time to get the swelling down, but it was feeling better at that point. Part of it is adrenaline. There's no question about that; the competition, the excitement.
You know, if you'd have told me that he could do the same thing again this weekend without practicing at all, I don't know what I would have done because I think kids still have to practice.
But, you know, it was amazing what he did. There's no question about that. And he really did have to lose himself in the game against LSU. Needless to say, I thought he did a pretty good job of that.
Q. I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about your friendship with Mark Few, how it developed, and what you guys have done, say, non- basketball activities together.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, I think Mark is a guy that I really do admire and respect a great deal.
I was sitting at Kansas one time and Gonzaga called us and wanted to play. We didn't have that happen very often. That's when Dan was the coach there, and Mark was his assistant. They were really good and came in and played a great game against us.
So that really got me to more or less be more aware of Gonzaga. And then when Dan left and then Mark takes over, I like that idea of a guy who's been a longtime loyal assistant being able to get his opportunity. Mark was an assistant at Oregon with Jerry Green, and both those guys had been my assistants, and they knew Mark very well and thought a lot of him. So I heard them say some things about him.
A couple of coaches trips, we spent some time together. Played some poker at night with the coaches. His wife Marcy, in fact, was in the golf tournament, and was on my team, and I tried to help her. She said I was awfully nice, which I was just trying to win. That's what I was trying to do. She's just a lot of fun to be with.
So over the years in the summer travels, seeing him, it was always somebody I enjoyed seeing. In the summertime in Vegas, I've got my posse. It's the oldest posse that anybody's ever had, my high school coach, a former baseball teammate of mine, another former classmate of mine, and my next door neighbor. They go and watch games for 10 or 12 hours a day, and then we go shoot craps for two hours at night. And then I go to bed and do it again the next day.
Mark has always been so nice and so gracious to my high school coach. That's really special to me because that man was and is extremely special to me.
So from the coaches trips, recruiting, sitting watching games, shooting craps, just how he's treated my friends is something that's important to me.
Q. Roy, is there -- a while ago you were talking about the difference of what you were asking Lawson to do and what you ask Felton. Are there just a couple of things that the laymen may understand that you are differentiating there?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, with Raymond, his first year, Raymond wasn't nearly as good, first year with me, okay, in '04. Wasn't nearly as good defensively as stopping the basketball. And I asked Raymond really that you've got to do that for us.
And Raymond accepted that challenge, and our defensive -- the front line of our defense was so good because of what Raymond did. Raymond also, his first year with me, had his elbow out flying. You guys can go back and look.
His freshman year he shoots 30%. For us, he shoots 32 or whatever. Raymond really worked so hard to revamp his shot. And I think his junior year, second year with me, he shot like 44%, 45% from three.
Those are the two things that we did with Raymond.
With Ty, it's always been you got to push it. You got to push it. You got to push it. Don't forget and ignore your outside shot because I think Ty has always been a really good outside shooter. This is the first year that I've got him to do that.
But Raymond was so tough mentally that he embarrassed people by not working hard. Because I'd say, "Raymond, how's your groin?" It's okay, coach. "How's your wrist?" He played almost half a year with a broken wrist. It's okay, coach.
Why don't we give you a little time off at practice today? Coach, I need to work. It was that kind of attitude, and Raymond led that team with that.
Ty leads the team with his play, his toughness under pressure to make big plays. And so to me, there is a difference in those two.
The other thing is that we were a little more of a set offense with Raymond. Rashad McCants could get his shot at about any time. Sean May was maybe as good a passing big man as I've ever had. Tyler Hansbrough not only invites the double-team, tries to beat the double-team, tries to beat the triple-team. So their supporting cast was different.
I guess just the responsibilities we gave him were a little different. I don't know if I answered your question very well at all, but it's the truth. So we'll go with that.
Q. Who do you, after looking at tape, see as the leader of this Gonzaga team? And then what worries you about them?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: The funny thing is, when I answer this, I'll tell you what worries me. I think they've got a whole team full of leaders.
The point guard is a leader because of his position, and Jeremy is very experienced and very successful.
I happen to think that Matt Bouldin maybe has much natural innate savvy as any player I've seen in a long, long time. Any time you're watching a tape and you say, wow, because of the great pass, it's usually his.
And say, wow, he doesn't jump over the moon. He doesn't 360 dunk on your head. But he makes the layups. Nobody blocks it.
Heytvelt was great against us a couple years ago. Josh gives them a shot blocker, a scorer down inside. Micah Downs gives them another three-point shooter.
You go through that whole team, and it's guys that really, really do good things for them. To me, that in itself tells you what you worry about is you worry about their whole team.
Austin Daye may be as gifted as anybody on the court tomorrow. I think that their leadership, I think it does come from Bouldin's savvy, from Pargo's leadership as a senior and a point guard. Those other guys with their ability and ability to make plays.
The thing that impresses me is that offensively they share the basketball, and it's an instinctive, boom, playing.
If a guy slips the screen, they throw him the ball. If a guy breaks open, they throw him the ball. It's not any of these, well, maybe I can take another dribble. You never see Gonzaga -- I hope I'm not trying to give you too much information. You never see Gonzaga fake a pass to the open man. It's one of the plays in basketball that drives me crazy because you fake a pass to the open man hoping your guy will leave you so you can shoot. You never see that.
The open man, it's just instinctively they make that play.
And then on the defensive end, every time the ball moves, you see five of their guys move. Mark Few, I think, is one of the great coaches in our game.
Q. How is the duck walk, and how did you get into that?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, it was neat. I've probably been coming here since I recruited Elliott Perry when I was an assistant at North Carolina, and somebody told me to stay at the Peabody.
That was at least 27, 28 years ago. I really enjoyed the hotel. I've always heard about the duck walk, and I've been here probably ten times recruiting. Tony Harris, Thaddeus Young, Leslie McDonald this year. So I always try to stay there, if I can.
I've never seen the duck walk. I've had some awfully nice things happen to me over the last three or four years, but I thought when Jared Haase said they wanted me to be the honorary duck master this morning, I said, yeah, I'll do that. That's pretty neat.
I'm corny as all get out, but I thought that was neat. They gave me one of the canes that you sort of pop to the ground a little bit to huddle them over there in the right spot. It was a neat deal.
I told him I was surprised they let me keep the cane because I've got a deal with my team, every time Ed Davis makes a mistake, I'm going to hit Mike Copeland with the cane. Ed Davis told Michael he's never played a perfect game.
Q. So the ducks were pretty coachable?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Ducks were really coachable. They went where I told them to go. They didn't balk at it. They didn't fake a pass to the open duck. They got to where they were supposed to go. This press conference has really deteriorated. Thank you.
End of FastScripts