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February 12, 2013
Roy Williams looks ahead to Duke
After stringing together a series of games where North Carolina appeared to gel, the Tar Heels ran into a Miami Hurricanes team that is playing better than almost everyone in the nation right now.
UNC lost a not-so-close game against Miami 87-61 Saturday afternoon but Roy Williams wasn't so upset that he couldn't give his opponent their just due.
"It was disappointing. That's probably a good way to put it," said Williams. "I knew we had to play really well and they had to help us by playing poorly if we were going to win. We didn't play well and they definitely didn't help us by playing poorly."
"I was not happy with the way we played. I was not happy with our sense of urgency. We also need to give Miami some credit. They're really good."
Miami lined its Sportscenter highlight reel with a constant barrage of three-pointers, and Williams again praised the performance as a product of their talent instead of heaping blame upon his team.
"They were 15 of 26 from three-point range. Reggie (Johnson) shot two, you heard me say in the press conference that Reggie hurt their percentage. On 9 of the 15 they made we gave the guy shooting a good defense. They still made shots," said Williams.
James Michael McAdoo had two early shots blocked by Miami's Kenny Kadji.
Williams didn't think those two early rejections affected McAdoo's confidence despite McAdoo going into a first half slump after those missed opportunities.
"I don't know if it affected his confidence. I think he made three, he was 3-12 and I think all three field goals were in the second half," said Williams.
"It was big time play (by Kadji). He (McAdoo) takes it to the basket, he was going to dunk it twice and Kenny Kadji blocked both shots. Again, you've got to give some credit to the other guy."
One of the greatest North Carolina players of all time, Michael Jordan, will turn 50 years old later in the week. Williams told the listening audience what his favorite Jordan moment was during the legendary player's time at UNC.
"My favorite one was that jump shot against Georgetown," said Williams, not so surprisingly.
"He's a wonderful young man that's getting old," said Williams. "He treats me and acts with me the same way he did 32 years ago. I still call him a kid."
"In my opinion he was the greatest player to ever play the game. He's a guy that came here at 6'4 and grew to 6'6 and got better and better every single day. He tried to outwork everybody every single day. No one that I've ever come in contact with is a better competitor than Jordan was. We had some great times."
Williams gave a short response to a listener question which asked how his players can go about earning more playing time.
He then elaborated.
"That's all it takes. Joel (James) hasn't played basketball but three years. Every day he's taking some steps forward. He's also taken some steps back," said Williams before turning his attention to another player who the fans have requested see more court action.
"P.J. (Hairston) had been playing more and more lately. Then he had the unfortunate thing that happened at Boston College," said Williams.
"He got banged in the head by Dexter (Strickland) and had the concussion. Three or four games in a row right before that he was really playing well. He was able to come back and do some things and I think that he will be important to us."
Williams wrapped up Monday's radio show by previewing the Duke game on Wednesday.
He talked about one of Duke's freshmen Rasheed Sulaimon who will be playing in his first UNC-Duke game.
"It's another shooter. We tried to recruit him (Sulaimon). I loved him. I absolutely loved him," said Williams. "He can score the ball. He can take the ball to the basket. He had a couple of games earlier where he kind of hit the wall. Once conference play began he's really played well."
Williams then talked about Duke's size down low.
"They have a team full of shooters. Mason Plumlee is a guy that can score, rebound and block shots. Then you've got Jefferson and Hairston and some of those guys give them another big body to play through," said Williams.
Williams' last comments of the night should have UNC fans fired up for a game that doesn't need a lot of hyping.
"We've got to play really well (at Duke). We've got to make shots. The biggest thing is we've got to have a sense of urgency about what we do."
"We've got to be ready to go in there and play our tails off. I know that sounds corny but you've got to be willing to draw a line in the sand and step across it with both feet and hit somebody right in the mouth."