TarHeelIllustrated - Roy On Injured Heels, Goals, Virginia & More
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Roy On Injured Heels, Goals, Virginia & More

CHAPEL HILL - North Carolina Coach Roy Williams met with the media Friday ahead of the Tar Heels' matchup with Virginia on Saturday night in the Smith Center.

Among the things Williams discussed were injury updates, goals for the rest of the season, the Cavaliers and much more.

Here’s what the Hall of Fame head coach had to say:

*Williams gave updates on the injuries of senior guard Brandon Robinson and junior forwards Garrison Brooks and Brandon Huffman.

Robinson hasn’t played since spraining his ankle in the final moments of the Boston College game on Feb. 1. He did travel to Florida State some two days later and was wearing a boot during last Saturday’s loss to Duke.

He was not wearing a boot, however, during the Tar Heels’ loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday night, meaning progress is being made in his recovery. While he is out of the boot, Williams said he will not play against UVA.

“He still hasn’t done anything yet,” Williams said. “He has not done anything five-on-five, half court. He hasn’t done anything except shoot.”

Brooks was poked in the eye during overtime of the Duke game and wore goggles during UNC’s loss to the Demon Deacons. He then busted his upper lip in the first half of the Wake Forest game and had to receive two stitches before returning.

Although he’s extremely banged up, Williams said Brooks is feeling better overall.

“He practiced yesterday, we didn’t hold him out of anything,” he said. “He said the lip feels fine, there’s no pain in his eye and he can see better.”

On if Brooks will wear goggles again Saturday?

“I hope so,” Williams said. “You think, guys, he’s had the same injury to the same eye three times. So, just protection. I think (head athletic trainer) Doug (Halverson) wants him to, I want him to and, so far, he hasn’t said he didn’t want to. But you can never tell what kids are going to do.”

Williams added that Huffman didn’t play against Wake Forest earlier this week because his knee was bothering him. Junior forward Walker Miller got the nod instead, finishing with two points and four rebounds in a career-high 15 minutes.

*Sitting at 10-14 overall and 3-10 in the ACC, UNC’s season goals have drastically shifted from what they were before the season started. Making the NCAA tournament is now a long shot and, barring a spectacular turnaround, the Tar Heels’ season will likely end in Greensboro unless they manage to win the ACC tournament.

With that in mind, Williams said the goal right now is simply to improve before the season is over.

“I hope it’s to play better basketball,” he said. “I haven’t seen any signs of them giving up and, if they’re going to, don’t even come to practice. You’ve still got your scholarship but, if you’re not going to come out there and do the best you can, don’t even come. The motivation to me is to get better and who knows what might happen at the end.

“You’ve just got to try to keep getting better every single day. I guess everybody’s talking about the tournament, I’m just trying to get better every single day. It would be hard for us to make the tournament as an at-large team, but we’re just trying to get better every single day."

*UVA visits Chapel Hill on Saturday having already beaten the Tar Heels in Charlottesville, 56-47, on Dec. 8. The Cavaliers currently sit at 16-7 overall and 8-5 in the conference and have won four of their last five games, with the only loss in that span coming at No. 5 Louisville last Saturday.

While the Cavaliers are far from the same team that won the national championship last season, they’re still good in Williams’ eyes, particularly on defense.

“(Coach) Tony (Bennett) still coaches the heck out of them on the defensive end of the floor, that’s what they hang their hat on, so they have that security blanket of how well they play defensively…,” he said. “We’re both shooting 40-41 (percent) but our problem is they’re giving up 36 and we’re giving up 41.4. So, they’re still hanging their hat on the defensive end of the floor.”