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November 1, 2013
CHAPEL HILL--- Following North Carolina's 82-63 triumph Friday night over UNC Pembroke in an exhibition game in the Smith Center, head coach Roy Williams and multiple players spoke with Tar Heel Illustrated and other reporters. See what they had to say below:
"It's a good night for us to learn a lot of things about our team---some good, some bad. It's hard to throw a lineup out there. Poor Isaiah (Hicks) has never played the three-spot in his life and we're trying to get him some minutes out there."
"James Michael (McAdoo) never played four (his natural position) the entire game. We had some guys that did some good things. Marcus Paige is one of the smartest basketball players I've ever been around, but we went brain dead there for a set time. There were things that helped us a great deal."
"I've always called this (early-season exhibitions) a glorified practice. And I think a glorified practice is the correct terminology. And that's not a slight towards Pembroke in any way but it was an opportunity for us to get better. I think we will gain from it."
On what the possible lineup will be for the season opener......
"I think James Michael had some really good moments. I have so much confidence in Marcus. He's going to be fine. Nate (Britt) is going to play a lot for us early. Six assists and two turnovers is not bad, and he can shoot the ball a lot better than two-for-seven. Brice (Johnson) can shoot a lot better than four-for-11, too."
"I'm not close to a set lineup by any means. And we have a lot of guys that will get a chance to play."
On the chemistry between Marcus Paige and Nate Britt......
"Oh, I like it. I think playing two point guards 100 years ago, in 2002 I guess it was (at Kansas), I started three point guards and we made it to the Final Four. It was one of the most comfortable teams I've coached because we didn't turn it over. Tonight those three point guards had 10 turnovers. We don't need to do that."
On Paige adjusting to playing off the ball.....
"I think it's okay. I wanted him to shoot a little more tonight. But again, it's the reason we are practicing. We're trying to find some consistency. We practice with three guys and we play a scrimmage a couple of weeks ago without them, and then we practice with the three guys (Leslie McDonald, J.P. Tokoto, P.J. Hairston) and play without them tonight. That's probably in the mix a little bit, too.
On the play of freshman Kennedy Meeks.....
"In the second half I was (pleased). In the first half, he just stood and didn't box out. You have got to box out. I think he can be a really nice rebounder. Six rebounds. James Michael and Brice got 10 (rebounds) apiece. In the first half they (Pembroke) had 13 offensive rebounds to our 10. In the second half we did a better job rebounding. That's a pretty big margin, 56 to 34 (total rebounds)."
On what Coach Williams expects out of the 'five' position......
"(The) guy's got to rebound the ball. If you are going to play the five, you have to rebound the ball and be a factor around the rim."
JAMES MICHAEL McADOO
On playing the 'three' position Friday night.....
"It was good. It was a lot of fun, just trying to get up and down. There's only so much I can do in practice to get used to playing that new position, so I enjoyed it. I've got to limit my turnovers. That's probably the biggest thing. It was a big lineup opportunity for everybody."
On practicing his new position......
"I've also been able to work in there throughout practice (at the three), knowing that today I was going to be playing that position. Coach (Williams) has really been helping me along with other coaching staff members. Coach (Hubert) Davis was coming in before practice, after practice and just working on stuff."
On adjusting to playing the 'three'......
"The biggest issue is probably just getting to a spot on offense where I am comfortable scoring. Usually that has been the low post, but now being able to be on the perimeter, just trying to create and get other people involved."
"On the defensive end, in games like today, I'm guarding guys who are six feet tall. It's really tough, moving my feet. I'm used to only dropping down to guard a guy like 6-6 or something like that. So (I'm) really just trying to stay in front of my man."
On freshman teammates Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks......
"They've been doing awesome, and they have great attitudes. Coach has really been on them, but that's a given with him. They've done really well in just responding. They both did really well today. They really just took what Coach has been telling them and really learning and practicing. I look forward to playing alongside them this year."
On playing the unfamiliar 'two' guard position.....
"It's different. I'm used to having the ball in my hands a lot. But Nate (Britt) did a great job tonight. He's going to help us out a lot and I'm not going to have to do it the entire year (bringing the ball up the court). It allows me to be more aggressive, but I have to remember not to be a stand-still shooter when I'm the two. It's an adjustment, but it's kind of fun sometimes.
On the biggest challenge playing 'two' guard......
"It's just hard sometimes because I've never done it. I have a tendency to stand on the wing and not be active, not screen, just sit and wait for the ball. I'm still getting used to being active as the two, rather than, you know, just being the two.
On UNC's 23 turnovers against the Braves......
"I think we just had some sloppy possessions overall as a team. It was like the ball was greased up before the game or something. A lot of us couldn't handle it on the fast break. I know the first play of the game almost, I went 75 feet with the ball bobbling, and then we had a couple guys drop some good ones. But I've just got to be sharper with the ball."
On where he'll play with the other players out......
"I'm just ready to be on the court a lot more, with our rotation being a little shorter. A lot of those minutes are probably going to have to be at the two, at least early (in the season). So I'm definitely trying to get in that mindset, but I'm not losing my desire to play point guard."
On the players getting time for UNC at the three......
"I'd say it's been quite often, we're still learning how to play with each other, especially with James Michael at the three. It's kind of awkward. But we're still learning and getting better with every practice."
On his own mentality.....
"The first four minutes of that game were a little jitters for me, but after Coach took me out and yelled at me, I was pretty good after that and I was just ready to play basketball."
On how to improve his rebounding......
"Before the shot is taken, initiating the contact first---fully boxing out my man and then going after the ball. I feel like if you make that contact first, you have a better chance of rebounding the basketball. It's coming slowly, but it's coming. It was a lot harder for me tonight, playing against smaller guys. I'm not used to boxing out smaller guys. They're more mobile, so you have to find them, box out, and then go get it (the ball). But it's a lesson."