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April 6, 2009
North Carolina Â– 89
Michigan State - 72
THE MODERATOR: If we could get you to give a quick overview, please.
COACH WILLIAMS: 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.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. 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.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: We came out strong. We wanted to get going from the gates. We knew there was going to be a big crowd there for them. We kind of wanted to take them out of it early.
On coming back, I mean, sounds like I made a pretty good decision. Nothing beats this feeling right here.
TY LAWSON: 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.
Q. 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.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: 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.
Q. Ty, 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?
TY LAWSON: 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.
Q. Wayne, Walton had been so good locking down guys in this tournament. Did you watch the film, take it as a personal challenge, or was it how the game came to you tonight?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Really it's just how the game came to me. I was talking a little trash to Ty Walton before we came. He was telling me he was going to shut me down. No, really, I just took on the challenge. He's a great defender. He was there. He was in my face. You know, I just saw a pretty big basket tonight from the first half.
Q. Wayne, 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?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: 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.
Q. Wayne, you're on a team full of superstars and around several of them right now. What does it feel like to be the MVP of this tournament?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: It feels good. Early in the season, my shot wasn't falling the way I wanted it too. Just stuck with it, fought through it. It came back to me. It feels good. It shows this hard work pays off. You really can't give up on yourself or give up on anything. My teammates helped me through it. Coach helped me through it. They stayed positive with me. You know, one game, I got it back. That's all it took.
Q. Tyler, how does it sound, "Tyler Hansbrough, national champion"?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: 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.
Q. Wayne, all these guys came back to win it. Are you going to go back to back or have you thought about coming back yet?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: No, we haven't thought about anything yet. We're just enjoying the crap out of this. That's ridiculous.
COACH WILLIAMS: Sounds like me. They pick up some of my bad habits. 'Enjoy the crap out of this.'
I just asked them I wonder what Franklin Street was like right now. This is a time we'd all like to snap our fingers and be right there right now, I can tell you.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much. We'll continue with questions for Coach Williams.
Q. Roy, 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?
COACH WILLIAMS: 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.
Q. 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?
COACH WILLIAMS: 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.
Q. 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?
COACH WILLIAMS: 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, '91 was an unbelievable run. We beat 2, 3, and 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.
Q. You didn't mention the tie Dean. Does this hit you in certain way?
COACH WILLIAMS: 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.
Q. 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?
COACH WILLIAMS: 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.
Q. Speak on Ty's defensive effort tonight.
COACH WILLIAMS: You know to me the key to the game was going to be the defensive end of the floor. If we could keep them off the backboards, because they destroy people rebounding-wise, and if we could get some turnovers, we decided not to press. We didn't press full court a single possession tonight. But we wanted to get some turnovers and give them one bad shot.
So I think our defense as a whole, which people have really picked on, including me for a lot of the year, down the stretch this year, we've been pretty doggone good. Ty was a huge part of that tonight. When he's really active, it's the frontline of our defense and he's fantastic.
Q. You were talking about Tyler, what he went through. How much did you want him to have this moment?
COACH WILLIAMS: I can say this, and you guys can choose to believe it or not, I wanted this championship for Roy Williams, yes. And I'm extremely, extremely satisfied. But I desperately, and it's not war and it's not economy or anything, but I desperately wanted this championship for that young man. I know that's corny. But, hello, Pete, that's who I am.
Q. Can you at all describe when he came over to you, when you took him out of the game, and you shared that hug.
COACH WILLIAMS: Let me explain it to you this way. And, yes, I earn a good salary, but if you put $10 million in that pile right there, and say, Roy, you can have that $10 million, but if you take it, you'll forget that feeling you had when that big rascal came over and hugged me, you guys can split that $10 million because I wouldn't give $10 million for the feeling that I have at that moment.
Q. Can you put the season into a bit of context. Your club lost more games due to injury than I think any team in college basketball. Then you just take off. You won every game by double-digits, nearly played spectacular basketball throughout the tournament.
COACH WILLIAMS: I think the focus of our team down the stretch was unbelievable. We lost in the ACC tournament. I stood up in the locker room and told them, It doesn't make any difference, that we can still have something that people will talk about forever.
The last two years we won the ACC conference tournament, then we didn't win in the Final Four, we lost in the Final 8 one year. Nobody talked about, Yeah, but that's okay, you won our conference tournament. So we knew we had the biggest prize in front of us. Our team really focused and, yes, Ty got healthy, and our seniors just did a really great job on the leadership part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
COACH WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. Again, this was a fantastic setting for the tournament. I wish they could raise the floor and get it to court level, but other than that, this was a wonderful venue.
End of FastScripts