Roy On The Tough Slate, Carmichael, Black & More
Note: Roy Williams' full presser is below this report.
CHAPEL HILL – Roy Williams was relaxed Friday, a clear departure from the obvious frustration he wore following his team’s loss at Virginia last Sunday.
There, the Tar Heels failed to reach the 50-point mark for the second consecutive game, a first for the fabled program since 1948. Williams half-joked afterward he hadn’t coached any teams that failed to reach 70 points in consecutive games in his Hall of Fame career, though he has.
That was just one example of what must have been going through his mind at the time, and probably still is in addition to the Tar Heels not yet reaching the 80-point mark, either. The offense has been an issue from day one and nothing has changed for the 6-2 Heels.
During Friday’s press conference at the Smith Center in advance of Sunday’s home game versus Wofford, Williams had no more answers about his team than he did Sunday or four days before after the Heels were blitzed at home by Ohio State. Yet, the coach was relaxed because he knows it’s early, his teams tend to hit some speed bumps pretty before exams, and the Heels’ last four games have been to teams currently ranked in the top 10.
So, perhaps Carolina isn’t in as dire a situation as so many, including the media, are suggesting.
“That’s a good question because I’ve asked myself that,” Williams said. “A lot of teams play good schedules and we’ve played really good schedules in the past… but this is by far the most difficult schedule.
“You can say we’ve played four ranked teams, we’ve played four that are ranked in the top 10 and there’s a difference in each one of those little groupings that you go down, there’s a tremendous difference… My frustration has been more ‘Just do what I tell you to do.”
Williams also noted it’s not Christmas yet and there’s a lot of basketball to play, thus saying there’s plenty of time for the Heels to correct what’s ailing them.
*With freshman guards Jeremiah Francis and Anthony Harris finally available for the game at Virginia, Williams inserted them into the lineup with 7:42 remaining and the struggling Tar Heels trailing 47-35. Harris played six minutes and Francis three. So how does Williams view having them available now?
“Guys, they (practiced) two days last week, I have no idea,” he said. “I put them in the game just because I was ticked off. As a coach, you do things that are sound fundamentally and sometimes you do things by the seat of your pants. “Neither one had worked with the first group at all.
“But I’ve been thrilled, absolutely thrilled, how hard they’ve worked in the weight room to get their knees ready to go out there and participate. But, you’re talking about two days of practice full court. They (team) were screwing it up, so I gave somebody else an opportunity to screw it up.”
*Cole Anthony stayed in the game when Harris and Francis entered, so with all three on the court at the same time and Francis primarily a point guard, Anthony moved off the ball. UNC even got a wide open 3-point attempt from on the from him on the first possession, though he missed. Does having Harris and Francis available mean Anthony might move off the ball a bit more moving forward?
“Guys, you’re all making too big a thing – I don’t even know who the heck was in the game,” Williams said. “Seriously, my wife doesn’t like me to say it but I was pissed off, Jesus Christ, so I have no idea. They’ve practiced two days… And in the two days that they went full court, and I’m just guessing here, they probably did 25 percent of the possessions.”
Williams did say he wanted them to get a feel of some game action, so the opportunity presented itself and he took it.
As for moving Anthony off the ball some?
“I hope it give me a lot of opportunities to try a lot of things,” Williams said.
*Last June, Williams said Leaky Black had a chance to develop into NBA player down the road and in October he said Black is this team’s x factor. So far, however, Black is averaging just 4.9 points on 32.7 percent shooting from the field, only 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
“All I can say is he hasn’t been healthy yet,” Williams said. “It’s hard to play the game when you’re hurt. I’ve taken him out of three or four games and, I don’t know how to say it other than we still haven’t seen Leaky healthy.
“I think if he does get healthy in my lifetime we’ll be a better basketball team.”
Black has been hampered the last few weeks with a turf toe in addition to a couple of other ailments that sidelined him for quite a few practices in October.
*In UNC’s last two games, Ohio State closed with a 35-12 run that started when it led 39-36 with 15:57 remaining, and Virginia used a 16-3 run that began when it led 39-35 with 12:46 left, to salt away the Heels.
Is there a common thread between the two runs?
“I don’t know that there’s a common thread,” Williams said. “It’s the game of basketball. You’re going to have a lot of weird runs. In both games, I didn’t think that we handled the toughness, the pressure of a close game and being able to fight every possession. We didn’t handle that as well as I wanted to.”
*Williams said he was out recruiting for most of the week and hadn’t seen most of the players since Sunday. It was exam week, so the Tar Heels were off Monday and Wednesday, did some running and shooting Tuesday and Thursday and have full practices Friday (at the Smith Center) and Saturday at Carmichael Arena.