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March 20, 2014
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR:¬† We are joined by University of NorthCarolina student‑athletes, James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige.¬† We'll take questions from the floor.¬† Please raise your hand and wait for the microphone.
Q.¬† Hi, Marcus, can you just talk about Cotton and how much he plays all those minutes and the high production he has and how he never seems to tire and just the challenges of guarding him?
MARCUS PAIGE:¬† Yeah, obviously, he's a great player.¬† I thought I played a lot of minutes until I started looking at his stats and seeing how many minutes he played this season, and how he's able to still be effective the entire game despite playing that many minutes.
So he's a great player on offense.¬† He has a great pull‑up jumpshot.¬† He's really quick with the ball, and we're going to have to do a great job on containing him on the ball screen.¬† It's going to be a fun match‑up, and I look forward to playing someone as highly coveted as he is.
Q.¬† Marcus, how is your thigh doing?¬† Are you back to 100%?
MARCUS PAIGE:¬† Yeah, I'm close.¬† I had a good practice earlier today and the last couple days it's loosened up a lot.¬† So it shouldn't be too much of a concern.¬† I'll probably wear a pad or something to keep it from getting hit, but it feels pretty good right now.
Q.¬† James Michael, this is your third NCAA tournament now.¬† How are you feeling going into this one as far as mentally, physically, and just coming into the game?
JAMES MICHAEL McADOO:¬† Physically, I feel really well.¬† I feel like, not really freshman year, but last year just late in the season struggling with my back, you know.¬† Compared to this year, it's night and day and just how my body feels.¬† Mentally, the team, we're all excited like Marcus said.¬† We didn't really finish the way we wanted to as far as the regular season, but it's the tournament now, and this week has been a great week for us in preparation, physically and mentally.¬† Just getting our minds right for the task ahead, and that happens to be Providence, which is a really good team.
Q.¬† Marcus, can you just talk about Brice Johnson being a big man who gets up and down the floor and helps the transition game for you guys?
MARCUS PAIGE:¬† Yeah, Brice is a big weapon for us.¬† When he's going we're a lot better as a team, especially offensively.¬† When he gives effort on the defensive end, our team kind of jumps to a whole other level.¬† With his production he's really efficient around the basket, and he gives us a consistent inside scorer.
We need to establish him and try to make him one of the dominant weapons, especially going forward, because he's a tough match‑up for a lot of people.¬† Like you said, with his athletic ability and his ability to run the floor and block shots is.¬† He's big for us.¬† If we get to Brice that's really active and into the game, we're going to be a tough team to beat.
Q.¬† James, does it seem like you guys have everything to lose, maybe they don't have much to lose because they were the team that was on the bubble and are maybe happy to be here and you guys are the storied program with 18 Final Fours?
JAMES MICHAEL McADOO:¬† I wouldn't say that.¬† Like Coach has really been trying to emphasize, there are 68 teams playing today or yesterday in March Madness.¬† Every team has everything to lose, and that's either win or you go home and your season is over.
I think they're a great program.¬† They won the Big East tournament to get here, and they're hungry just like we are. I feel like, with that being said, it's going to come down to who wants it more and who is able to go out there and execute for 40 minutes.
I think you can look at our program versus their program, but at the end of the day, it's going to be our five versus their five tomorrow.
Q. ¬†Marcus, Coach told us, I guess, on Tuesday, he felt Monday's practice was one of the best ones you've had all year.¬† Just wondered if that's continued throughout the week and kind of the mindset of the team after losing your last two?
MARCUS PAIGE:¬† Yeah, we've actually had a really good week of practice.¬† Three or four days in a row we really got after it, and everyone seems to be locked in now.¬† That doesn't mean a whole lot if you don't bring it tomorrow and have that focus and intensity on game day.
But we feel good with the way we've prepared.¬† We still have some film to watch and things to go over.¬† But we feel really confident, and we're locked in mentally right now.¬† So if we can transfer that to tomorrow into the game I feel pretty good about the way we'll be able to play.
Q.¬† This question is for James Michael.¬† You guys have been hurt the last two games due to offensive rebounding from other teams.¬† What have you done in practice to address that this week?
JAMES MICHAEL McADOO:¬† We've done a lot of rebounding drills, that's for sure.¬† And coach has really emphasized it more so of us watching a lot of film of us getting our butts kicked on the boards to drill it into our heads.¬† We've also watched film of games where we've been successful at doing that.¬† That's something that we know we can be good at.¬† We know we're great at with our size on the front line and our athletic ability from guys like J.P. and Brice and myself.¬† You can go down the line.
So I think that's the biggest thing is just our mindset.¬† I think we really got away from that as far as hitting the boards and really making that something that we pride ourselves on.
Q.¬† THE MODERATOR:¬† Anything else for the student‑athletes?
Q.¬† Can you guys tell me a little about how it feels to see J.P. develop as an offensive threat?
JAMES MICHAEL McADOO:¬† Can you say that again?
Q.¬† J.P. is a rebounding guy, energy guy, tell me how it feels to see him develop offensively?
JAMES MICHAEL McADOO:¬† Yeah, of course everyone knows J.P.'s leaping ability.¬† But I think this year with him, of course, starting and being such a pivotal role on our team, I think he's what Dickey V. would call a stat sheet stuffer.¬† He does a lot for us.¬† We really rely on that as far as each and every game where you don't necessarily know who is going to perform.
You know in certain areas, but just to have him in games where he can score the ball really well and defend really well, and also rebound and just be a guy that we can always rely on.¬† Like I said, he's developed throughout the year, so we've become more accustomed to that.
MARCUS PAIGE:¬† Yeah, I'll just add by saying he's done a good job of recognizing his strengths on the offensive end.¬† He's not going to be a guy that shoots a bunch of threes for us, but he's done a great job of picking his spots to attack the basket this year more so than last year.¬† And he's getting comfortable shooting that mid‑range jumpshot as well.
So those are the ways he's been able to help us on the offensive end.¬† And everybody knows about his ability to finish in transition and start the break with his defense.¬† So he's been a big lift for us this year so far.
Q.¬† James Michael, you guys have been criticized, if anything at all this year, that you're an inconsistent team.¬† You also won 12 games in a row in the ACC.¬† What is your reaction to that?¬† Are you an inconsistent team?
JAMES MICHAEL McADOO:¬† Now, I would hope not, at a point where it's win or go home.¬† But, obviously, it's true by looking at our record earlier in the season.¬† We did have a really roller coaster type start to the season, dropping some games that we feel like we should have won, and then winning some games that everyone besides ourselves thought we were probably going to lose.
So I think the biggest thing is just becoming more comfortable with who we are.¬† I feel like we don't want this season to be defined by a 12‑game win streak. We dropped the opportunity in the ACC tournament, but we have another one now.
So I think the biggest thing is just going out there and emphasizing the thing that's we've been emphasizing all year.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We are joined by University of NorthCarolina head coach Roy Williams. Coach, an opening statement and then questions.
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† Okay, same as everybody. We're happy that we're still playing. I enjoy San Antonio. I haven't enjoyed the way we've played here a few times, so hopefully it will be better this time. We've already practiced out today in front of the open practice here in a few minutes. We won't do much except shoot and get out of here. But it's an exciting time of year for everybody.
Q.¬† COACH WILLIAMS:¬† If we don't have any, that's okay too. I've seen you guys so much during the year.
Q.¬† The fact that we get to cover you guys and NorthCarolina Central here, I know there is a unique relationship that you have with LeVelle. Could you talk about that and how it's kind of grown over the years?¬† Even when you played in 2009, LeVelle said that you fed them pregame meal and then beat them by 50.
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† Beating them by 50 was a lot more fun to me than feeding them. I can tell you that. But I think I'm right on this, I think that was LeVelle's first year, too, his first game. Just a wonderful human being. A guy that I really enjoy.
When I first came back, I'd see him around a lot.¬† He'd work out with some of our guys, David knoll, those guys loved him to death. I knew who he was because I checked as soon as I saw him the first time and tried to find out.
But I really did understand him a little bit at that time. I didn't think he had any personal thing he was trying to gain from it. I think he just loved basketball and loved helping guys. Over the years it has developed into a very good friendship, and I have a great deal of respect for what he's done. I really, during the course of the season I'll text him two or three times. He'll text me back two or three times. This was a funny one. I even called him the other day, I guess, on Monday and said I don't know how many people you're planning on taking.
I don't know how many people we're planning on taking, but we could probably help our budgets if we went on the same plane and could get the NCAA to give us the difference, money for your budget and my budget kind of thing. I told him we'd flip to see who got the exit row seat.
But he's really a good guy, and one that I think is really, really good for basketball, and really good for young people. Just don't tell him I bragged on him so much. Yeah, don't tell him.
Q.¬† Roy, I think that you said the other day in the video press conference you did that you haven't watched PC a lot. I'm sure you've watched a little more in the last couple of days. What's kind of stood out?
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† You know, it's crazy because I almost tried to ask myself that same question, which means you and I are on the same wave length, so I feel sorry for you to begin with. Then I became‑‑ it hit me that the clear thing was their whole game. I saw them play one of the tapes they played man‑to‑man almost the entire game game.
Another tape I watched they played zone the entire game. They rebound the ball well. They defend, they shoot, they can run, they can slow it down. So it was. It was the whole package was the thing that really impressed me the most.
You have to look at Cotton because he's been so successful, but I like everybody. He plays six guys, basically. Of the five starters there are not one of those guys that I wouldn't love to have on my team, and I think they'd be really important to our team. Ed is another one of those guys that I really enjoy. He's done a fantastic job at Providence, and he's a very small image of himself from what he used to be.
But the totality of his game you heard it about Tiger Woods at the start that he had the whole package. When I look at Providence, there is really not any weakness. They really have the whole package. They had some games throughout the course of the year that they didn't play as well, just like we did. But man alive, did they play great down the stretch. They beat Creighton 2 out of 3, and Creighton's really, really good.
Q.¬† Just one more quick question about LeVelle. You've been through this 24 times as a head coach?
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, I think so.
Q.¬† So aside from the coaching and the basketball part of it, what advice would you give him in terms of going through this experience and kind of being able to appreciate it?¬† Because it is so overwhelming, I imagine, the first time you go through it.
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, the first time I went through it, I can remember all of it. I mean, we were playing in Atlanta first, second round, and I can remember all of it. I don't think I took the time to enjoy it, and that would be my advice to LeVelle or anybody doing it the first time or the second time is enjoy the heck out of it.
I've been very lucky, 24 out of 26 years. The first year we weren't eligible, and one year we didn't play well enough to be eligible, but I would. I would advise all those guys to enjoy it. Don't get caught up in any pressure kind of thing, coach your rear end off and try to get your kids to play as hard as they can. But enjoy the moment, enjoy the journey. I'm a little confident or cocky, depends on whether you like me or not which one you would use, I guess.
But I said this yesterday on an interview that my favorite day in coaching is when you're at the final four and you're coaching your team in front of the public because there are only four of you still working and everybody else is sitting in the stands.
If I was starting out again right now, I would try to realize that a lot of my good friends in coaching may not have made this tournament, and LeVelle has hundreds of friends and there are a lot of those guys that are good guys that aren't going to be able to enjoy it as much. So I would push him to enjoy it.
Q.¬† We were in the locker room talking to the guys. We were talking about the last four games, two win‑ugly games and two losses. What has to be fixed and corrected?¬† First thing they said is rediscover the passion and energy we need to play with. Is that what you've tried to rediscover in practices?
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† I've preached all year a greater sense of urgency. We had it for Michigan State, Louisville, Kentucky, the big kind of games. We didn't have it in several games. We got to a point where guys, if we don't get it for every game we're going to be sitting around at the end of the year. I think they realized that and bought into it for 12 straight wins. I'm not trying to say anything negative about Virginia Tech or Notre Dame. We didn't play as well in those games, but we still won. But Duke and Pittsburgh, if you don't play well, you're not going to win those games.
I think that in the game of basketball, if it you don't have a sense of urgency, there is a great chance that you still may not win, but you have no chance if you don't. I do think the kids understand that even more now after the last two games, after the last two weeks. Technically we've got to rebound.¬† We've got to run.¬† We've got to defend.¬† We've got to do all those things. But I think it's just the passion. You have to have more passion now, and I think they understand that.
Q.¬† Roy, is that maybe what you just said a reflection that this has been a frustrating group to coach at times?
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† A frustrating group to coach?¬† Oh, my gosh, no. All the bullshit around it has been frustrating, and you don't have to use that same terminology if you don't want to. That's okay too. Most of the time I say BS I've got such a young group they don't even know what BS is.
No, it's been a marvelous group. If it hadn't been for my team, I would have jumped off the top of the building. My team is the one that was the savior throughout the whole season, and since the off‑season. It's been a tough time around Chapel Hill.
But my group of kids?¬† Oh, my gosh, I wouldn't trade them for winning the lottery. So I apologize to my team if that was what you took from it, because that's not what I intend it to be. I even like the referees better than the stuff that went off‑‑ that stuff going on off the court.
Q.¬† With Marcus, and off the top of my head, I can't think of many point guards in the ACC that score the way that Cotton does. Is it to do with Marcus and he carries such a heavy offensive load for you guys, does he have to balance his abilities in this one?
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, but I tell you what, people don't give him credit defensively. He is really good. I go out on a limb and say this because I haven't checked it. I would not be surprised, is maybe the best way to say it, if Marcus has not won our defensive player of the game than any point guard I've ever had. I would not be shocked at all, because he is really good defensively.
So he does have a load offensively. He does have a load handling the basketball. He does have a load defense, he does have a load in the leadership thing. But he's really, really good defensively.
Q.¬† Can you tell me where you were‑‑ were you involved with the 1980 Olympic team or '76 or your relationship with Coach Gavitt way back?
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† I was 6 years old and 12 years old. In '76 I was a high school coach. And in '80 was my second year as an assistant at NorthCarolina. Al wood had been picked for the '80 Olympic team that Coach Gavitt was going to coach.
But I did not have any involvement at that time at all except for the disappointment of them not being able to play because I love watching basketball in the Olympics. No, Kevin, is that correct?¬† Kevin, I do hope you understand that was not what I meant earlier, because my team‑‑ now during the game I get frustrated at them like you do your children. You get frustrated with their actions sometimes.
But this team has not been a frustrating team at all. I mean, a lot of coaches, almost every coach in the tournament, loves their team. It would be a great challenge to find a coach that loves their team more than Roy Williams does, so I apologize if I gave you that feeling.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports