North Carolina’s Roy Williams: “I Really Think Our Best Basketball’s Ahead Of Us”
February 29, 2012 – 10:15 am by Eric Schmoldt
All Roy Williams tried to tell people heading into this season was that his North Carolina team was among the top 10 or so programs in the country. A few months later, he’s pretty much saying the same exact thing.
The Tar Heels enter their home finale against Maryland tonight with a 25-4 record and three of those losses coming against teams that have spent most of the season ranked near the top of the RPI rankings. Two of those losses were essentially last-second defeats to highly ranked teams in Kentucky and Duke. The Heels get another shot at Duke Saturday before entering postseason play. It’s the time of year that teams want to be playing their best and Williams says North Carolina is still getting better.
Roy Williams joined 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis with Dan Dakich to discuss if people realize what a good season Carolina is having, if the team is still getting better, the importance of Kendall Marshall as a scorer, the tough schedule and Tyler Zeller’s play.
Do you think people realize what a great season you’re having?:
“There is something to that. The expectations were really huge. The only thing I tried to do to temper them a little bit was to say, ‘It’s not like ’09 when everybody said that we were the best team,’ because this year I really felt like there were eight to 10 teams that were on the same level and that we could be one of them. You’re right, we’ve had two games — Kentucky blocked our shot that would have won the game and then the Rivers kid from Duke makes one from 3 when they were down two to win the game — and those were in the last two seconds of the game. … We’ve had some good moments and the best thing is I really think our best basketball’s ahead of us.”
Is your team getting better at this point?:
“I think we are. The strange thing is I really think we have a good shooting team, but we haven’t done it but two or three games. When we make shots, we’re really good then, because we defend OK, we block some shots, we rebound OK … so we’ve got some good parts. … We need to make some more shots, but we are getting better each day defensively.”
How important is it that Kendall Marshall scores for you?:
“It’s a little important. I don’t need him to score 22 … but if he scores enough to where they don’t just leave him and double down in Tyler Zeller’s lap or Harrison’s lap or John Henson’s lap, he needs to score enough to make people play him. … But, gosh, he’s averaging almost 10 assists a game. We’ve had some pretty good players here and he’s four assists away from breaking the school’s single-season record.”
On the tough schedule the Tar Heels have played:
“If you look at the RPI stuff now, we played Michigan State, we played Kentucky, we played Duke. That’s three of the top five teams. We played Vegas, we played Wisconsin. We’ve had some good teams on our schedule and we’ve done OK. I’d like to do more. There’s nobody disappointed more than the staff and the players. I mean, my gosh, Tyler Zeller took that Duke loss as hard as any player has ever taken any individual loss as I can remember.”
How has Zeller been for you since?:
“I tell you what, I mean this from the bottom of my heart, if everybody was like him, I’d feel like I’d have to back up to the pay window because it’d be cheating. It’s a phenomenal experience to coach a guy who, just last week, was named the Academic All-American player of the year. … He’s a wonderful kid. The best legacy I can say about anybody is when they mention Tyler Zeller’s name, a smile comes to my face. He’s what keeps all of us in coaching.”
Listen to Roy Williams on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis here
Tags: College Basketball, Duke Blue Devils, Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, North Carolina Tar Heels, Roy Williams, Tyler Zeller
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