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January 6, 2014

Roy Williams Live: January 6

Over the last seven days since we last heard from Roy Williams on his weekly radio show, the Tar Heel basketball team started out well enough. They were able to secure a blowout victory over UNC-Wilmington 84-51 on December 31. But then ACC play started and maybe the worst fears for many
UNC fans were realized.

The Heels dropped their conference opener on the road in Winston Salem against Wake Forest 73-67 in a lackluster effort that was missing that little bit of something that could have helped put them over the edged and get in the win column.

For Williams, it was an exercise in patience as he continues to maneuver his young team through the perils of inexperience and inconsistency.

"It was about as frustrating as it could possibly be. It's what you have when you're messing with 18, 19, 20, and 21-year old kids. But we didn't play well. There were a lot of things. I didn't coach well," said Williams. "Bottom line is, in my opinion that Wake Forest really wanted to win the game a lot more than we did. To say that I'm frustrated would be the nicest way that I could possibly put it for you."

Just like after their loss to Texas, Williams made an on-the-go change to their practice schedule in an attempt to re-focus his team on the task at hand.

"We were going to give them the day off today. We're still not in class but brought them in and did the weight program for about 35 minutes today because the way the schedule falls we're only going to have one day to lift this week anyway. Took them on the court for one hour," said Williams. "That's all it was and it was almost exactly an hour. Then we took them in the locker room and watched tape for an hour. The ole eye in the sky don't lie. They see the things right now. Hopefully it got their attention. If it didn't then they're not alive is the bottom line."

It was a frustrating game in many ways because UNC was able to do the things they wanted to do without getting the last ten percent they needed to finish the job.

Rarely does a team outrebound their opponent on the offensive glass 24-8 and still not get the win.

"It was a frustrating game. They shoot 33 free throws, we shoot 11. We get eight million offensive rebounds and can't finish the play around the basket. It was just a frustrating game in so many different ways but the bottom line is Wake Forest played better (basketball) than North Carolina," said Williams. "Well it was a tough night putting the ball in the basket. Today, as I said we were on the court for an hour, I would bet about 45 minutes of it with the big guys was posting up low. And that means low, your butt down to the ground, and it also means low in the lane.

"So we explained to them what both of those meant, showed it to them, worked on it for about 45 minutes and also finishing plays. Most physical practice we've had for an hour all year long," said Williams. "They were beating each other up and it didn't bother me in the least bit. We've got to be more forceful around the basket and finish plays. Hopefully it helped today and we're going to try the same thing tomorrow."

Nobody, including Williams, would have expected them to get that much production in the rebounding department but still fall short. But it wasn't just rebounding that was going to make or break their game against the Demon Deacons and coach Williams pulled back the curtain on some of their pre-game plan ideas on the radio show Monday night.

"Well you've got a dumb coach because I said if we won the rebounding battle we'd have a better chance of winning the game. Well, we clearly won the rebound battle. You want to rebound missed shots to put them back in but we didn't do a very good job of putting them back in. In fact, they scored on a much higher percentage of their offensive rebounds than we did," said Williams. "Well you know James Michael has five turnovers, Marcus has four turnovers---we had four turnovers passing the ball from A to B, you now where the defense is not involved. We had three turnovers just dribbling the basketball.

"One they stripped J.P., one Marcus dribbled it off his foot out of bounds and one James Michael dribbled it into the other guy and he took off with it towards the other end of the court. It was silly turnovers. That's the kind of thing where if it happens out front like that it helps them get their break going," said Williams. "The whole focus for Wake Forest was don't turn the ball over and don't take bad shots because that leads to run outs for them and that gets their break going. Let's make them score against our set defense by doing a good job on the offensive end and it didn't work."

Maybe the guy that got the hardest brunt of Williams' criticism was the head coach himself. Williams was his biggest detractor and points to his abilities to get the most out of his players as an area of opportunity for himself.

"Yes and we showed them 20 lay-ups on the tape this afternoon. So the players don't have to take our word for it, they saw it when it was happening and in the tape room this afternoon too," said Williams. "Some way, somehow, Roy Williams has got to do a better job of getting the kids more fired up, more enthused. I've always said I shouldn't have to coach effort. I shouldn't have to coach interest. I shouldn't' have to coach desire. I should coach the execution of what we're trying to do but I've done a poor job of getting these kids fired up to play and it better change. That's the bottom line."

A bit of good news was brought up during the show as it appears Joel James will return to action against a big physical Miami team Wednesday night. Many fans noticed the big man was dressed and on the court prior to Sunday's game but didn't get any minutes logged. Williams said the decision came down to giving James just a little more time to get fully healthy before returning for good.

"No, he's there. It's just that we made the decision that we were going to hold him out for a certain number of days and see how he felt. Friday's practice, that was the decision maker because at Friday's practice, we asked him to do a little bit more and he was sore afterwards," said Williams. "So then we cut him back a little bit Saturday, played the game Sunday and we put his name in the book in case of emergency. We could have played him but at the same time I said let's let him shoot lay-ups, stretch and work out a little bit and then get one more day and see how the knee feels. He was full-go today at practice, no limitations unless he gets some pain or swelling or something he will be able to play."


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