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UNC Tar Heels vs Oklahoma Sooners postgame press conference

Posted Monday, March 30, 2009

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Greensboro, NC - Postgame quotes from the coaches and players of the UNC Tar Heels and the Oklahoma Sooners.

NORTH CAROLINA QUOTES

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We appreciate everybody being with us. We're going to start with University of North Carolina. As you see, we're joined by head Coach Roy Williams. Student-athletes Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Deon Thompson, Tyler Hansbrough, and Wayne Ellington.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: We'll try to make this quick because we do have to go to practice here in a little bit.
I think as much money as we're making off this tournament, we ought to be able to afford more than one freakin' cookie back in the room there. I think NCAA can afford more than that. Other than that, we're happy to be here.
Hey, if we don't have any cookies later on, it's Norm's fault.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and take questions.

Q. Tyler, obviously a lot's been made about Blake Griffin and the season he's had at Oklahoma. Just your thoughts on him as a player, and are you looking forward to the matchup against him?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Yeah, I mean, clearly he's a good player. I really don't watch a lot of college basketball, so I haven't caught many of his games.
I understand the hype surrounding him, and I've seen some highlights of him. He's a pretty impressive player.
I'm not going to try to go out there and try to have a one on one match with him. I'm going to try to do whatever my team needs me to do to win. That's just going to be my focus.

Q. Ty Lawson, in terms of a year ago being able to take a look at the NBA, going to draft camp and come back. Talk about your decision to leave the NBA and your decision to come back now.
TY LAWSON: I wanted to at least get back to the Final Four and win the national championship. I think my decision's real good. We're playing real well. We have a chance to get back there. I worked on things that a lot of people said I couldn't do, and I'm showing that I can do them now. I feel like it was a good decision.

Q. Wayne, when you look at Oklahoma, do they remind you of anybody you played in the ACC?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I don't think so. You know, I think their inside presence is a lot tougher than any ACC opponent that we played. And at the same time, they have a great perimeter play.
I can't really think of one team specifically that we played that reminds me of them. But like I said, it's going to be a big time challenge for us.

Q. Danny, I understand you and coach had a meeting after the tournament, after the ACC tournament just to talk about your play. Can you talk about that meeting and sort of the progression of your play during the NCAA tournament.
DANNY GREEN: Basically, the meeting was to see where my head was at, if anything was bothering me. If I had any distractions off the court.
I just told him there was no real distractions, just had a bad weekend. From then on out, he basically just told me to not worry about anything else. If there's any distractions, he'd help me with it. But there was nothing else for us to talk about.
He told me to just play basketball and not think about it. From then, I've just been playing and not really stressing or pressing or anything. And losing myself in the game, and things have gone my way.

Q. A question for Deon. Your thoughts on Blake Griffin and if you have seen enough to have any on Taylor and what role that he plays in the big picture for them.
DEON THOMPSON: Like everyone up here said, Blake is definitely a good player. I think Taylor is one of the most underrated players in the country just for the fact that he doesn't get as much notoriety as he should playing beside his brother. He definitely is a solid player for them.
Me, myself, Tyler, the other Tyler are going to have to do a good job down low containing them and having our teammates come down to help with everybody else rotating.
It's going to be a good challenge for us.

Q. This is for Ty. First of all, what's the toe update? Any kind of swelling? How did it bounce back? Second of all, given the inside strength that Oklahoma has, how important is it on you perimeter guys to shoot well, to attack the basket, and to try to make you be the focus rather than the inside guys?
TY LAWSON: My toe is feeling good. It didn't really swell up last night. It's not much pain in it. It's getting better.
Just we're going to come out strong. We're still going to go inside first because that's our game plan. We're not going to change it because they're big down low.
We're going to go inside, and when the opportunity comes back out, the ball comes back out, we're going to try to knock down the shots or get back in the lane and things like that, like we normally do.
We're not going to try to change or be more aggressive, perimeter oriented just because they're good down low.

Q. Danny or Ty, if you could just talk about how critical Wayne's played the last couple of weeks. How much has that meant to you getting as far as you have?
DANNY GREEN: It meant a lot. It's definitely helped us. It doesn't hurt us any, of course. It's opened up a lot of things for our bigs as well when you have an outside -- a good shooter outside like Wayne.
He's been hitting some shots. Myself, I'm trying to find my touch a little bit. But he's been doing a lot of things other than just shooting the ball, getting rebounds, running the floor, getting easy baskets for us, getting steals.
He's playing better defense. So his play, as well as everybody else's play, has picked up, and it's going to help us.
TY LAWSON: Wayne's play has been real good for us. Even like sometimes when we're struggling in the game, Wayne is knocking down the big shot or the big three in a tough moment.
I mean, with him playing like this, it's tough for us to stop because it opens up a lot for everybody else. It's hard to double down when you have shooters out knocking down threes and things like that. Like Danny said.

Q. Danny, last night you said that as well as you guys played, it was still only about an 8 1/2 or a 9. What do you guys need to do to take it from that level to 10?
DANNY GREEN: Just focus on doing the little things better. Boxing out, having the rotations right, splitting back on defense, closing out, having better closeouts and stopping penetration and running the floor better offensively.
And just moving the ball around. We had some little simple mistakes, unforced turnovers by trying to force passes inside when it wasn't open. I mean, they all came from a good cause. We tried to get the ball inside.
If we just make the easy play and defensively box out and do the little things.

Q. Ty, do you feel like obviously you being healthier and back in the lineup helps, but do you feel like your team started way up here and kind of went this way and now is ramping back up in terms of how you're playing as a team at the right time?
TY LAWSON: I think so. Just like you said, I think we're playing good at the right time. Everything is starting to click. Everybody's playing to their strengths, and everybody's playing real well.
And also on the defensive end we're picking it up. We're rotating, getting a hand up on shots. I think just the defensive end is where we're picking up more. That's why we're playing so well right now.

Q. Tyler, another question about Blake for you. You were national player of the year last year. He may be this year. Do you get into any of the personal pride matchup with him tomorrow?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: No. Like I said before, I'm going to do whatever our team needs to do to win. I mean, it's not me going out there and trying to play one on one, like I said before. It's just North Carolina playing Oklahoma.
I'm not going to try to make it bigger than what it is by trying to be selfish and go out there and try to play for myself. So whatever our team needs to do, that's what I'll do.

Q. For both Wayne and Tyler, some people say this game, the Elite Eight game is the toughest game because you're so close to the Final Four but yet you're not there yet. You've been here before. Oklahoma hasn't. Do you think that experience helps you at all going into tomorrow's game?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I mean, we hope so, but I don't think so. It's just another basketball game. Two pretty good basketball teams are going to go out and play tomorrow.
I think, you know, the team that plays the best and does the best defensively and works to the best of their advantage is going to win.
I don't think any experience of being here before really is going to matter tomorrow.
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Like Wayne said, I wish it did, but we're still playing basketball, and, you know, we're going to have to play our game. And maybe we'll see what happens if we play well.

Q. Tyler, how much sweeter would a win be tomorrow because OU's coach played for Duke?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: I mean, it's always good when we knock out a former Duke player, whatever. We're not really looking at it like that, but I guess, if you want to throw in some extra fuel to the fire, that's a way to look at it.

Q. Ty, who got the cookie?
TY LAWSON: Who got the cookie? Nobody got the cookie. I was about to take it, but everybody was looking at it, and I didn't want to be selfish. So I just left it there.

Q. This is for Tyler. I noticed last night when you came off the court, when you had the cut on your hand, that there wasn't even an intensity about you when you went to get the cut worked on so you can get back in the game. You appeared more demonstrative since the postseason started, even dating back to Atlanta. The book has always been you are as focused and intense as any player in the country. Have you felt that you've even actually picked it up a notch these last couple of weeks?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Like I said before, I'm just trying to, you know, win ball games, whatever. I guess you could say I'm a little more focused because it is my last go around.
But I'm just trying to play my game. Yeah, when I went out last night, I tried to get in there really quick. I went over to the trainer and was trying to put some stuff on my hand to stop the bleeding and get back in there.
If you want to look at it like that, yeah, I'm taking this pretty serious.

Q. Ty, you guys came into the season, your team is the number one team. People say you may not lose a game. You're a step away from the Final Four. Is there any more pressure now than, say, there was during the whole season just because of the expectations?
TY LAWSON: I don't think so. The whole season we had expectations. We really don't listen to like we're going to be number one the whole year or we're going to go undefeated. We just try to go out and win.
Look at the game at hand, the game we're going to play and focus on that. Whatever happens after that happens. I don't think there's any extra pressure on us from the media and things like that.

Q. Wayne or Ty, can you talk about the difference Danny makes when he's on versus the nights that he's off a little bit?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: I think Danny always finds a way to have an impact on the game, even when he's not making the shot. He finds a way to block shots and get rebounds and play some good defense.
So even when he's not making the shots, you know, he's always having a positive impact on the game. You know, when he does make his shots, it's huge for us. He puts his shooting in with all the other things I just said.
Either way, he's definitely an important piece for us.
TY LAWSON: Danny is a stat sheet stuffer for our column. He does everything, blocked shots, rebounds, scores.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Turnovers.
TY LAWSON: Yeah, turnovers. When he's on, it's just tough for anybody to stop us because we have three legit scorers, four legit scorers out there. And he knocks down the three, the deep three. He can go to the basket.
He has tip-in dunks. When he's on, we're just that much better. It's easier to get the game going and get our offense going when he's out there. It's just another weapon out there for me to look for to kick out to or just him to score on his own.
When he's on, it's real good for us.

Q. This is for Deon and Danny. How fun is it to play at this time of year? We always take it for granted. I know fans are excited, media. We're fired up to be here. Is this doubly fun to be playing at this time of the year versus, say, regular season or in anticipation of the regular season.
DEON THOMPSON: This is definitely what you work for in the beginning of the season. Preseason you're out there running laps and doing sprints and getting yourself prepared for something always bigger than just the regular season. This is that time of year.
It's definitely fun running out there, and we got something big to play for trying to get back to another final four. This is definitely one of the most exciting times of the year for us.
DANNY GREEN: I think every game I have fun. We try to use every game as an opportunity to get better, but also have fun.
A lot of people don't have the opportunity or are fortunate enough to be where we're at, so every game I have fun. But definitely this part of the year everybody's watching. These are the biggest stages of your career in college. How could you not have fun?
You're on TV. Your family's here supporting you. Your fans are here. You're playing with your brothers, my teammates. I'm having all the fun in the world right now.

Q. Deon, the fact that you're wearing last year's Final Four T-shirt, is that on purpose, or is it just the only one you had clean?
DEON THOMPSON: It wasn't the only one I had clean. Just what I picked up today. Just ironic, I guess.

Q. It wasn't on purpose?
DEON THOMPSON: It wasn't on purpose.

Q. Tyler, I was going to ask you, how much has your game benefited from coming back your senior year?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: I think one thing is I've become more of a leader, I think, in one aspect.
Also, I think my jump shot, just my personal game. My jump shot's gotten a little better, and I'm a little more confident in that. I think I'm trying to play a little better defense than the previous year. That's something I've been working on.

Q. Ty, your thoughts on the Oklahoma guards.
TY LAWSON: Oklahoma guards, I mean, they're real good. I've been watching Willie Warren play a lot this year. He stepped up in the big games when Blake Griffin was hurt or had a concussion.
You've just got to slow him down and don't let them get off on us or score a lot of points. Limit their shots and limit them to a lane, and we'll do good.

Q. You mentioned one of the reasons you came back was to get back to this point and possibly to a Final Four. Can you talk about the disappointment last year in the Final Four and how that's driven this team to get back to this position?
TY LAWSON: Last year it was just tough. I mean, because how we lost. But we fought back, so I think that was good for us, the way we fought back and showed real heart.
That's what's driven us the whole summer. That's why I put up shots and late nights and things like that, to get back to this spot because I want things like that to happen again.
All of us have worked so hard all season to get back to the position we're in right now.

Q. Tyler, I know you said you haven't been able to watch a whole lot of college basketball while playing this season, but from what you have seen of Blake, what specifically is it that sets him apart from the other big men you faced?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Well, he's 6'10", and he's really explosive. You know, that's pretty clearly obvious. You watch some of his games and his highlights, he's pretty explosive, and he's a good offensive rebounder.

Q. Tyler, Blake's been the victim of some cheap shots this year like you've endured for four years. Can you explain how difficult that is and how difficult it is to keep your composure like he does and you seem to do?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Yeah, well, I think every player kind of understands you can't retaliate. Sometimes you take cheap shots, and they are called.
You know, if you retaliate, my philosophy is the second one always gets caught. You don't want to make the situation any worse than what it is.

Q. To the guards, you guys protect the ball well. How important is each possession in this game, and what are your thoughts with respect to protecting the ball each possession in this game?
DANNY GREEN: It's very important to protect the ball in every game, every possession. Not just protecting the ball but doing everything, every possession. Every possession counts in these games.
It's a tournament. If you don't leave it all out on the floor, every possession, there's a big chance you'll be going home. So every possession is very important to us, and protecting the ball is a big key for us. And taking care of the ball.
Just working inside out and playing our game.
TY LAWSON: Protecting the ball is always good. I mean, you don't want unforced turnovers or give them easy layups on a turnover, allow them to get a steal or anything like that.
When we don't turn the ball over, that means we get more shots, and that means more points.

Q. Wayne, can you talk about the expectations of playing at North Carolina? Seems like anything short of a Final Four is a disappointing season.
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Yeah. As a North Carolina player, you come in with a lot of expectations. You know, you got that all season long. I think all the expectations of your season not being successful unless you make it to the Final Four, that comes from the outside.
From the inside, we kind of focus within ourselves and try to accomplish the goals that we have.
At the same time, we understand that we work to the best of our ability and work as hard as we can so, even if you don't make it to the Final Four, I think we still feel like we did some pretty good things. I don't think it's a disappointment at all.
I think that just comes from the outside expectations and the pressure from the outside people.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. At this time, we'll go ahead and open the floor for questions for Coach Williams.

Q. Before the NCAA tournament began, Jeff Capel admitted that he was an East Coast snob when it came to basketball and is now trying to direct the more attention to midwest basketball and the big 12. Having experienced both sides of it now, can you see where Jeff Capel was coming from before and now what he's trying to establish at Oklahoma?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I'm not sure I'll get this exactly right, but I'll tell you I thought something similar. When I left the ACC to go to Kansas, I didn't know anything about Kansas, Oklahoma, what they had accomplished. And I felt like I was a little bit of a basketball historian but always thought it was just the ACC and then it was the rest of the world.
I went to the Big Eight which became the Big 12, and I realized there was some great basketball there, some great fans, great home court advantages because of the fans. I think that opened my eyes a little bit, and perhaps that's what Jeff is talking about as well because it just made me realize and perhaps made him realize there's some other really, really good basketball outside the ACC.
I think regardless of where you are, whether it's Westwood when Coach Wooden was doing it, or Coach Smith, Coach Krzyzewski, there's some great places around the country that you're just not aware of because of your experience. There's a lot of places that are big time basketball places.

Q. So now do you feel like it would be a good time this week to call on a former North Carolina player and ask him about Oklahoma as in Jason Capel, or do you stay away from that?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I think Jason is a wonderful young man, played with my son. My son was on the team when he was playing. But blood is thicker than that diploma, and I understand that and have zero problems with that.
Jeff has really done a nice job. I've watched their games a little bit just because my interest in Jeff. I've known his father and Jason playing at North Carolina and Jeff playing at Duke. So I've known the family or part of the family for a long, long time.
He's really done a great, great job, and it's been fun to watch his development.

Q. What, if anything, do you remember about the last matchup between these two teams? 1990, Rick Fox's amazing shot.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I remember I was in a hotel in, I think it was, Atlanta, Georgia, and saw the play because I was already at Kansas at that point, and I'd recruited Rick Fox. It was a good feeling for me at that point.

Q. A player like Blake Griffin, how many different looks do you want to give him defensively and bodies do you want to throw at him?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, Mike, I'll say this for everybody. I was really impressed with my players because you guys asked so many questions about Oklahoma. They have no idea.
You've got to understand we got out of here last night at 12:30. They have not been given a scouting report. At 2:30 they'll be given the first scouting report they've had. So I was pretty pleased with the way they answered those questions.
And Tyler doesn't watch a lot of college basketball because he doesn't have time. He's always in the dadgum gym working out. I don't know exactly what we're going to do yet. We're going to work on some things today at practice.
This morning I was up until 3:00 and then got up early and did my little workout. And I came back and watched Oklahoma-OSU from the tournament. I have three tapes I'll watch before 11:00 tonight.
This time of year you've got to be able to make little adjustments, but you can't make big adjustments. I can't. Other coaches may be able to, but I can't make big adjustments and expect my team to carry those out.
We'll try to play the way we've always played and hopefully think of a couple of little things that we can do that will help us with Blake.

Q. Given your limited knowledge of Oklahoma, though, everybody seems to center this around Tyler and Griffin. Is there something in Oklahoma's team that concerns you more than just the big men?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: There's nothing that concerns me more than Blake. He's a guy that can get 40 in 20. There's not many of those guys around very often. So that does concern me more than anything else.
But they really have good balance around. When they're making their jump shots, you're in trouble. Syracuse saw that last night.
I think that you can focus on Blake, and Syracuse chose to play zone to try to surround him. OSU, as I said, I just watched that tape this morning, they tried to play a lot of zone.
If they're shooting the ball like they did last night, you're going to lose. He is the number one concern, but Johnson and Crocker and Warren and those guys making the outside shots. They're a really good basketball team or they wouldn't be here.
Jimmy Boeheim said it best. You take away Blake's head injury, the concussion, they would have been a number one seed and had the chance to be the number one seed. I felt like we Saturday of -- I thought we got in the second round game, we got a conference champion. There were some other teams that got to play fifth or sixth seeds. We played LSU that won the regular season.
Last night we played Gonzaga that lost four or five games, they lost UConn, Memphis, at Utah, UConn, Memphis. Most people would lose that. Now we're playing the team the day of the pairing show I thought was the best number two seed and very easily could have been a number one seed.

Q. Roy, could you speak to the progression from the ridiculous preseason expectations, unanimous number one in both polls, to the string of injuries, to 0-2 in the ACC to where your team is right now.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, Steve, I'm probably as proud of this team as any team I've ever coached in 21 years as a head coach.
Last year in late May, early June, whenever it was that the kids decided to come back and we were anointed, I said at that time no team in college basketball is going to go undefeated anymore. It's just not going to happen. It's not what the game is today. There's too much parity.
Wayne said something, terminology that I used, expectations come from other people, and usually those people don't have anything invested. So I talk in terms of dreams and goals with my team. And we talked about that. We do have a chance to be really good, but we're only going to reach those dreams and goals if we work exceptionally hard and forget about what other people are saying.
Ty mentioned one of the reasons he came back was to try to do better. If you hold a gun to every one of those kids' heads, they came back because their draft status was not what they hoped it would be.
Whether it's the media or the fans, whoever it was, that anointed them saying, "Hey, here's the guys, these three guys are going to be number one, two, three in the draft." So they decided to come back.
Danny and Wayne, they felt like they would not be a number one pick. Ty, everybody said he'll be a number one pick, but nobody would tell me they would take him. So getting through that part and making sure they understood, if you're coming back, it's got to be, yes, to help yourself, but you've got to be concerned about the team.
I couldn't be any happier. Could not be one degree happier with the way our kids have tried to do things for our team and not be concerned about themselves. I just can't imagine anybody being luckier than I am with that attitude the kids have had.
Started out the great attitude, worked hard, had some nice wins. All of a sudden, stumble and lose the first two conference games. One of them at home. And everybody was abandoning ship, everybody was picking on Ty Lawson. Said you guys aren't nearly as good as you were supposed to be.
You know, and the kids persevered, and we won ten in a row and ended up winning the league by two games. I think I'll miss this a little, but I talked to Mark Few and looked at their stats. Their top eight players, all of them played in 35 games, or 33 games, I think it was.
Our top players have missed 85 games. I've never had anything like that in my years as a head coach. So I'm extremely pleased with the way they've handled that adversity. Steve, put a rose on it. I'm ecstatic to be here talking to you, and hopefully we've got something left.

Q. Coach, I asked Tyler about the intensity thing and being demonstrative. Have you noticed him being a little more demonstrative on the floor? Like that basket he had last night and that little strut. It's something we didn't used to see. If so, what do you think it represents?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I liked what he said, it's more serious because it's his last go around. I don't think he's been more demonstrative. I remember the dance after he made the shot against Virginia Tech last year. I remember the running up and down the court after Wayne Ellington made the shot against Clemson at Clemson.
I have seen that. It's just, when we played in Atlanta in the ACC tournament, we beat Virginia Tech. Heck, he started running out the wrong tunnel. That's the way he is.
But what he said, I think, explained it the best. He's a little more serious because he doesn't get any other chances after this year. But I don't think that Tyler Hansbrough can take it to a different level because I don't think that different level exists.

Q. Coach, I'm going to have to test your memory here a little bit. Can you remember and recall for me a little bit what your feelings were like at KU when you got to this point the first time within one win of a Final Four?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Yeah, you are testing me a little bit there.
It was a little different. I'd never made the Final Four. You have that excitement. We were playing in Charlotte. My family was there. My high school coach was there. This is a big, big time chance for us to do something. You know, we'd already beaten a couple of good teams. We get to Charlotte, and for us to make the national championship game, we end up having to beat the teams ranked number two, three, four in the country, Arkansas, Indiana. It was Indiana first and then Arkansas and then North Carolina to play in the national championship game.
So more inexperienced, younger. I don't think any hungrier than I am right now. I don't think that has ever changed. But the excitement level was big time.
But, you know, if we get lucky and do this again, I'll be probably a little silly out there again too because I am excited about it.
As I said to Steve, I can't imagine anybody having any better group of youngsters to work with than I do. I can't imagine anybody could be any luckier than I am.

Q. Were you nervous?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Was I nervous? I don't think I've ever been nervous. You're too dadgum busy. I'm not trying to act like I'm a big dog. I'm just too busy thinking of the next play or what to do. The nervous part of it is when I'm watching one of my buddies that I really care about, watching them coach a game.
But as you're going through the process of a game, I've never run out the wrong tunnel. I've been able to find my way off the court. Let's put it that way.

Q. Coach, how pleased are you with your team defense this year? And how imperative is it tomorrow? And do you think it will be your defense or offense that can get you the win?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Well, I haven't been pleased with our defense, but probably the eight coaches that are left in the tournament would probably say the same thing.
I have really pushed hard defensively. We've had to get better. Sometimes we haven't paid attention to detail. We've been too casual sometimes, including last night early in -- not the first four minutes, maybe the second four minutes of the second half.
But at times we've been pretty doggone good defensively. We've had some big time stops when we've needed them. I'm one of those guys, I like to hold our opponents to 35% field goal percentage and get them to turn it over 25 times a game, and that usually doesn't happen.
As to which phase will be the most important, I don't think you ever know until you get in the game. I was stunned last night we were making threes, they were making threes. And I thought it could have been one of those hand to hand combat games.

Q. Roy, tapping into your college basketball knowledge, is Blake's combination of size and athleticism and explosiveness, is that unique in what you've seen? If not, who would you, through the years, most compare him to?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, it is unique. There's no question about that. He led the nation in rebounding and could get 35.
The mix of the explosiveness, the quickness in doing it, the power. You know, you don't find that very often. Boy, there's been some great players in the college game from Patrick Ewing, Olajuwon, all the way down, David Robinson, and all of them did it a little bit differently.
Sean May, we had in '05 on the scale against Blake Griffin would be last, last, last and last in the two-man race in every category. But Sean could really play. 26 points, 24 rebounds against Duke. And MVP of the region, MVP of the Final Four.
So it comes in different packages, but it's hard to imagine anybody's got a better package that Blake has.

Q. Coach, if you could take yourself away from out of the situation being the head coach of North Carolina, can you understand, and how much fun would it be just to watch? I know they're not one on one against each other, but Blake and Tyler because everything with last year's player, this year's player, they both played extremely hard, if you watched that, how much fun would that be, and can you understand why people are so excited about it?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I guess I can understand the hype. I wouldn't enjoy it at all because I think one on one is stupid. I don't enjoy watching dunk contests because I never could do those kinds of things.
But during the confines of the team play, I'd love to watch that. I think that both of those guys -- you know, it's a little different, but Blake is perhaps more gifted, more explosive. You can pick whatever you want out there. And Tyler is just so focused in what he's tried to do to make himself the best player he can be. I know the guy that was down on that end. If you say, Tyler, you're going to have eight points and seven rebounds but North Carolina is going to win, he's going to be the happiest guy in town.
That's where I do feel very lucky. But just to watch them play one on one, I couldn't enjoy it. I could care less. I'd go get the peanut butter cookie. During the course of the game, when they were matched up, I would love to watch that, but only in a team situation. Who would read the defense better? Who would throw it back out better? Who would post-up better? Who would get to the offensive boards better? I think that part would really be a lot of fun.

Q. Two questions on Bobby Frasor. One, how important has he been to this run? And, two, one day can you see him sitting where you are taking a team to the Elite Eight?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I definitely think he could be a coach. I hope I live long enough to see him sitting in this spot. I would like that.
Bobby's been extremely important to us all year. His leadership, his play on the defensive end of the floor. The crazy thing yesterday is I got really disappointed, Wayne turned it over underneath, Danny took a bad shot, Tyler threw it away, Wayne turned it over up top, somebody else took a bad shot, and I called a time-out.
We set up a set play. We ran the set play, and Bobby came out and ended up making the three.
Now, honesty always pays. I wanted Ty to throw it to the other side, and that would have meant Wayne would be coming off the screen as opposed to Bobby. But when Bobby got the ball, I wanted him to shoot it because now we'd gotten back into team play instead of the five or six possessions we hadn't, and it went in.
The very next possession down, when he pulled up and shot it, I didn't like the shot. I yelled, Bobby, good shot, just like everybody else does. But he's just a wonderful, wonderful kid and I'm lucky to have him too.

Q. Back to the Hansbrough versus Griffin thing. Tyler said he's not looking at a one on one matchup, but is that too much to expect from a young man? When so much is made about that matchup? Or does he have that kind of tunnel vision?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: He has that focus. He has that determination. He has that tunnel vision, and he doesn't -- I mean, I'm serious. He doesn't sit around and watch college games.
Guys, I'm telling you, we win last Saturday in Greensboro, and we had the guys go to report to the trainer at 1:00 if they needed treatment. Most of the other players in the country are watching the games on TV.
I go to the trainer's room just to see Ty and Eddie and Larry's bad back. Tyler wasn't even in the training room. He was in the weight room working out. He didn't have to do that. He called our strength and conditioning coach and asked if he could come work out.
If you work out and do those kinds of things, he doesn't have enough time to watch TV. He's got time to jump off balconies in swimming pools like a little kid sometimes because he's done that in the past too. But these guys sitting up here, I guarantee he's watched less basketball than anybody because he tries to do the things that he can do and control those kind of things.
You know, there's going to be -- the camera's going to be on both of them. They'll have the split screen, and they'll compare at halftime who's got what. That kid on the end of the table here is going to be concerned about North Carolina winner.

Q. Coach, can you talk about what prompted you to meet with Danny Green and what you'll see out of his production since you guys had your conversation?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: It's easy what prompted it, 3 for 25, and two of those were tip-ins. And I did want to see if there's anything wrong. I think as a coach, I didn't know if I could fix it, but I knew that it was part of my job to try to find out if there was something wrong, or if it was like Danny said, just a bad weekend.
I think one of the things I talked to him about is he started rushing his shot and talked to him about that. Even last night he missed one early in the Gonzaga game right in front of their bench because he rushed it. I think, when you're rushing it, things aren't going to happen in a good way.
And so the meeting was just to do my job, just see if there was anything bothering him. If there was, what was it? Can I help you with it? See if we can erase that. If not, try to give him confidence.
Even in the Florida game, son, you screw up every time you touch it. But I keep putting you in there to show I've got confidence in you. Didn't work that game. But since then he's started making more shots and getting back into it.
As the kids said, Danny blocks some shots, gets some rebounds, gets some offensive rebounds for us, and that allegation helps us.

Q. Capel is 34 years old. You were once a pretty young coach yourself in this kind of stage.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Long time ago.

Q. Can you talk about what the pitfalls are for a young coach and maybe what Jeff was going through that more experienced coaches may not.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: You know, Barry, I think it's probably a little bit different for Jeff because he's grown up in a coaching family. So he started out ahead of the curve a little bit.
I'm not trying to blow it up or anything, but I really do believe that he sat around the table and heard his dad talk about the high school coaching and about college coaching. So he did start at a better spot than I did.
I was 38 when I took over the head coaching job at Kansas. So I was 40, I guess, or 41 in '91 when we were in the Final Four the first time. But I think some of the pitfalls, I think, is the word you used, is just to right now there's not a lot of things that I haven't seen or gone through, and maybe there are a few more things that Jeff hasn't seen or hasn't gone through.
But I think he's very bright. He's very organized. He's very hungry. And he's charismatic. He can get guys to play the way he wants them to play. So he has every ingredient to be a fantastic coach, and I think he's already shown that.
This summer we were on a coaches trip together and sat together one night at the table and talked a little bit. Maybe even two nights. And I really enjoy him and think he really does a big time job.
I don't think the game tomorrow is going to be won or lost on the bench. And I think that the players playing the game are going to determine the game. And I know that North Carolina has zero advantage by Roy Williams being on our bench.

Q. Roy, I guess two-part question. One, the experience of being here before, does it help tomorrow? And, two, can you put into words the devastation of losing an Elite Eight game and the joy of winning an Elite Eight game?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. You know that sports -- not SportCenter. Wide world of Sports. That's it. When you lose at this stage, what somebody does is they reach in and they jerk your heart out and they shake it right in front of your face. It can't get any worse.
When your team is cutting down that net and going to the Final Four, it can't get any better. And I think that the experience of being there -- I think Wayne said he hoped it would be, but he really didn't believe it would be a factor. I think I'll say the same thing. I would hope, but I really don't believe it is.
I don't know how many, we've been to six Final Fours. We lost to Syracuse in '97 out in Denver. We lost to Georgetown in 2008 in the Meadowlands. And then I guess we've won the rest of the them. I think those are the only two losses we've had. I may be wrong there too.
The tough thing about coaching is that the lows are so much lower than the highs are high. I can remember every play of those -- of that Georgetown game, and this is when these kids were sophomores and Wayne and Ty were freshmen.
I don't think it changes the way the game is played. You've just been through it more. Just older and got more gray hair.

Q. Roy, I was going to ask you in this day and age of college basketball, how rare is it to have such a lineup of juniors and seniors that you do? And then how much did Ty Lawson benefit from coming back?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: Well, it is unusual for high caliber players to play three years, and definitely in Tyler Hansbrough's situation, four years. Tyler is one that would have been a number one draft choice the last two years. He's just enjoyed college life, and I think that's the purity of the game that I really love, and I think it's something that I'm really pleased with.
I think Ty Lawson has matured, you know, in past times, local guys have heard me refer to him as Dennis the Menace, and he hardly knows who it is. He's probably the only guy on our team who knows who he is because he likes the comics.
He's matured a great deal. He's better defensively. He's made better decisions. I spent his whole sophomore year trying to especially courage him to look for the outside shot and not ignore that because he can really shoot the ball. I think now he realizes what he can do even more so than he did last year. And I think all that helps him.

Q. Coach, as big as basketball is in your part of the country, North Carolina, and Oklahoma's being coached by a former Duke player, some would say in Oklahoma it's akin to OU playing a team that's coached by Colt McCoy. Do you think the North Carolina fans are into that kind of thing? Wanting to beat a former Duke coach?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I think that has nothing to do with it. If North Carolina is playing Duke, it has everything to do with it. If OU is playing Texas, it has everything to do with it. Mack Brown is the football coach at Texas. I'm a coach. When Texas wins, I'm happy for Mack. But I happen to love Bobby Stoops. I haven't talked to Bobby Stoops more than three times five minutes at a time, and I love him to death. He came this year to our Duke game at Duke. It's something I guess you can talk about. And you guys got to fill up a lot of columns, so you can write about something. But I don't see that being much.

Q. Coach, I'm curious. You've been kind of on the flip side that Jeff is on here. When you're at Kansas, you played Duke in the NCAA tournament in what I remember a very intense game. I'm curious how unique that was for you as a coach in terms of were you able to rely on the North Carolina staff? Did you feel like your players understood what that meant to you playing in that type of game? Your players at Kansas.
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: I don't think that our players realized what it meant for a North Carolina, former North Carolina coach to be coaching against Duke. I do remember the game. I remember we get it to one of our players, and he throws it in the backcourt. Two seconds into the game, he has a turnover. I remember Bobby Hurley making one of the worst passes I've seen in my life, and Grant Hill going up and catching it and dunking it.
Every great dunk is preceded by a great pass. Because of his great pass, it was pretty easy. It was a huge, huge run for us at that time when we were totally not expected to be there.
We were a three seed, I think. Maybe a four.
But I think it was a three seed. It was still -- not that I remember, but I believe it was 72-65.

Q. Coach, going back to that when I tested your memory a little bit, when you made that first Elite Eight, was your mindset I understand how difficult it is to get here, or was it one I'm going to be back here many times?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: How difficult it is to get there. I'd been on the coach's staff, and we'd gone to the Final Four in '81 and lost in the finals. We went in '82 and won it. There was nine years where neither one of us went. So I knew how hard it was to get there.

Q. Coach, you guys were close in '07, closer still to winning it all last year. What have the guys learned and how have they managed to basically manage the expectations this year?
COACH ROY WILLIAMS: First of all, I think what you gain from those experiences, the motivation to work during the summer. I don't think it really is that big a factor now during the games itself, but I do think it's a great motivation for you to work in the summer.
We are older, more experienced. So you'd think that that would help. And we realize the suddenness. You know, when I was talking a minute ago about the highs and lows and somebody shaking your heart right in front of your face. What it is you go.
[ Snap ] and your season's over with.
I love playing golf. There's no freakin' Mulligans out there tomorrow. The end of the game, clock runs out, one guy's got more points than the other, and one guy's happy and the other guy's done. Suddenness is the harsh reality of it. It's a great position to be in because we've still got a chance. We're still shooting. Thanks, guys.

 

Oklahoma Sophomore Guard Cade Davis
Can you tell us about how frustrating it was after the season you all played?...
"You can tell by the expression on our faces. It is never easy having a successful season like we did and getting as far as we have. It is a blessing to get this far. You don't want to stop. You get that feeling of winning and the emotions are high. The farther you go in the tournament the more respect you gain. It is real hard. We had our goals set high and this wasn't where we were supposed to go out."

What did North Carolina do to take you out of your offense?...
"I don't think it was as much them as it was us. We didn't cut hard. We weren't running our plays to our full potential. We were real lax. We started doing that more in the second half. We started scoring the ball more. They are a great team. Our defense let us down at times. "

Did you expect that kind of defense?...
"No, we let them get that lead at first and then it was just a battle to get the lead at half. We talked at half time on how we just needed to start chipping away. We made our run and they countered it and started hitting shots. (Ty) Lawson is a tremendous player and he knocked down some big shots for them."

On trading baskets with North Carolina at the start of the second half...
"We kept telling our guys we can't keep trading baskets. What you get offensively is what you get offensively. You have to go down on the other end at get stops and that just never happened."

Oklahoma Junior Guard Tony Crocker
On North Carolina's defense...
"We just made it easy for them to get into their transition. We had a lot of turnovers and missed shots."

On Oklahoma's season...
"We came along ways from our first year not even making it into the tournament to the second round (last year) to where we are now. We had a great season and I'm just sad it had to end."

Oklahoma Senior Guard Omar Leary
On Oklahoma's perimeter shooting...
"We really couldn't hit shots from the perimeter tonight. As you saw in the Syracuse game, our shots were falling from the perimeter. If you look at the game, we were in it within a 10-13 range the whole game. If we would have been able to knock down those three-point baskets, and get some of those to fall that would have given us some confidence going. It would have opened the game up a little bit more. But that's basketball for you. One night you'll be hitting it and the other night they just won't fall for you. That was the case tonight."

On the success of the Oklahoma program this year...
"It's a tremendous feeling. This will go down as memories for all of us to tell our kids and new players that come through the Oklahoma program. Coach (Jeff Capel) was just telling us to seize the moment. It's a national powerhouse that we went out to in North Carolina, but we were just as good. It was just a matter of who was going to be the aggressor tonight. Unfortunately, they were. All the best wishes to them in the Final Four."On Blake Griffin possibly playing his last game with Oklahoma...
"He's a tremendous friend first and foremost, and a tremendous athlete as well. I think he's going to excel at the next level. He left everyone that was in the stands and on the team with the utmost respect in him. His brother (Taylor Griffin) as well and his family. That's all you can ask for. He's a better person than he is an athlete."

 
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