North Carolina-Radford Postgame Quotes
March 19, 2009
NORTH CAROLINA QUOTES
COACH WILLIAMS: Needless to say, we're still happy we're playing. I thought we played the first half really, really well. Except for a couple of three or four probably bad shots. One charging foul and about three bad shots.
Other than that I thought we played really well in the first half. I think the pace of the game, and the number of big guys that we could run in there, perhaps, tired them out a little bit. I don't think their big guy was nearly as effective as I've seen him on tape. That's what we try to do all the time is try to make the pace and stamina a question mark.
But we didn't shoot the ball nearly as well as we wanted to. We missed a bunch of easy ones, but I was pleased with about everything we did. You take away some of the bad decisions on the shots in the first half, and we feel very fortunate to continue playing, and we're glad to be here playing in the game on Saturday.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Now that you've broken the scoring record in this conference that's had so many great players, what does this mean to you, and how do you feel?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Well, it means a lot. You know, I look back and think of all the players that I've watched when I was young and in the ACC. All of those, and for me to top all of the scorers in that league, it's special. It's an honor. But still, at the same time, you know, I came here to win the game today, and I didn't want to focus on individual goals.
Q. Can you tell me, you had a timeout there before you had the free throws to make it. Can you tell me what's going through your mind there and whether you noticed the standing ovation you got when you made the one to break it?
TYLER HANSBROUGH: Well, when the time outs, I was like just shoot your free throws like you always shoot them. So I tried to block everything out. But once I got the standing ovation, I thought about waving, but no disrespect to anybody, but I just wanted, again, to stay focused on the game.
Q. You look about like you did as a freshman as far as mobility and everything. Probably as good as you have in a couple of years with all the injuries that you've been battling. Did you feel like that? Did you feel 100%, or as close to it as you can be?
BOBBY FRASOR: I felt pretty he good out there. My body doesn't feel any different than it has the past couple of months. But I guess it's more of a confidence and mental factor that you're ready to play. I was just at ease out there today, and it felt really good.
Q. Would you guys just talk about being from the very tip, you got it, and raised him for a bucket and y'all were able to create your pace and run all day the way I know you want to. Can y'all talk about being able to do that and force them into your game?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Well, from the opening tip I got to give Coach credit for that one (laughing). He sent me right there, and set me up for the lay up. But we just wanted to pressure them. We wanted to get up on their guards and create some turnovers. Not only did we do a pretty good job, but our big guys got out and did well, too, which opened up a lot of things from a transition standpoint for us.
BOBBY FRASOR: And I think mid first half you could see the big guys were really tired. So I was able to pitch ahead to Ed for an easy basket, and then Tyler got behind their defense, so that really forced the pressure on them for their bigs to sprint back.
Q. Could you talk about, you guys have seen Tyler day in and day out for the last three or four years, just talk about what it's like to play with him, watch him? Is there anything about his game now that it's evolved that surprises you?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Well, I just want to say it's been an honor to be able to play with a player that has the type of skills and caliber that Tyler has. And just watching him, how hard he works and how consistent he is, you know, it's tough to be as consistent as he is, you know, night in and night out. You basically know that he's going to give you 20 or maybe 10 every game, so just the consistency. How hard it is to do that and how consistent he is.
BOBBY FRASOR: I'm just glad he broke the record on a free throw. I think that's pretty fitting. But it is pretty impressive the way he's just able to perform day in and day out like Wayne said. And his game has evolved since freshman year, and this year he hasn't gotten the recognition for breaking all these records and doing everything that he does.
Everyone's kind of overlooking him saying this is his last year, his time in the spotlight is done. But he's still going to work every day and producing for us, and we get the same old Tyler Hansbrough every day.
Q. Can you talk about how you try to do things when you're on the court at point guard versus you how things run when Ty's out there?
BOBBY FRASOR: Well, when Ty's out there, he can get the ball. He's at the basket, he's blowing by nine other guys on the court and getting his lay up. I was, unfortunately, not born with that breakaway speed (laughing). So I try to use my head, I guess, as best I can. Pitching the ball ahead, getting the ball to the guys in position to score. Just forcing the tempo that way.
Q. You hit your first couple of shots, did you know it was going to be one of those days today after those first few shots?
WAYNE ELLINGTON: Well, I was just feeling good. I wanted to come out and take the open ones. Not really force anything, not look for my shot. Just take the open shots. They dropped for me, you know. I got out there and got in the groove. Kind of got some rhythm going, so I knew I was playing really well.
COACH WILLIAMS: Especially after he realized we were wearing one shirt and the other team was wearing another color. Three turnovers in the first 5 minutes throwing it to the other team. So during one of the timeouts we reminded him we were the team wearing the white jersey.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Coach Williams.
Q. Talk about Ty and your thoughts about Saturday potentially? And how different things are for you to game plan and minutes and all of that?
COACH WILLIAMS: Well, it is difficult, because you don't know what's going on. I was very disturbed with Larry in the first half for getting a third foul on really a silly, silly play. Because we've got Larry and Bobby, ands that it. And you've got to have people not make plays like that. I have no idea about Ty. That's just the best answer I can give you guys. If we practice tomorrow if he's able to practice and do some things in practice, I'll probably play him. But if he's like he was yesterday, then I'm not going to play him.
Q. The question I asked Bobby, can you expand on that. The way he played today, the production and confidence. Have you seen him like that the last couple of years? Go all the way back to his freshman year?
COACH WILLIAMS: Last year I thought early in the season Bobby was doing some nice things for us. He wasn't getting the minutes that he's gotten recently to say the least because Ty was doing so many good things as well.
But I think with each and every game he's gotten a little more confidence. Gotten in the flow a little bit. He's really so good defensively that he's always going to help you on that end of the floor. When he makes the jumpshot it's the icing on the cake. I do believe he's gotten a better feel in the last three games. I think he played better today than he had in the first two games.
Q. Obviously everybody has a lot of high expectations, but I'm not sure any of them compare to the president of the United States. I was just wondering, you know, what you thought about him picking you guys to win it. As a coach, do you feel a little more pressure to make him look kind of smart?
COACH WILLIAMS: You know, I love the president. I really, really like President Obama. I've been fortunate enough to meet him, and I really, really like him. I think it's great that he's a sports fan and goes through the bracket and the whole bit like that. But frankly, he's got some more important things to worry about than the NCAA Tournament. But I still love the fact that he's willing to be involved.
I know the truth of the matter. He really didn't know who to pick. But when he played pick up with our guys, nobody blocked his shot and everybody passed him the ball, and everybody set screens for him. Wanted to let him score. So it's payback for us being so nice to him. And he drove to the basket one time, and Tyler didn't take his head off. So that was good.
Q. You said earlier in the week that Danny and Wayne had to get out in the lanes and help make the break more effective this week. Did you see pretty much what you wanted to see on the break in this game?
COACH WILLIAMS: Yeah, but I think we really missed some easy shots. Tyler Hansbrough, and then Cope, Deon, Z missed the dunk. So I think we missed shots. But I do believe we got out and ran better. There is no question to get Wayne and Danny out. But the other important part of that is we've got to get Tyler, Deon, Z, and Eddie running to the front of the ramp. Because that way the defense has to get back and stop the lay up, and then that opens it up more on the lanes, too. So it's got to be everybody. I do think that Wayne and Danny did a better job. And in the second half the big guys did a better job than they did in the first half.
Q. Could you talk about Tyler being a career scoring leader in the Atlantic Coast Conference now? I mean, you know the quality of athlete that's played in this league all these years. That's a pretty good accomplishment there.
COACH WILLIAMS: Well, it is big time. The people here were nice and gave us the basketball. I gave it to Tyler. We'll get it printed up for him, and probably NCAA will call me and tell me it's a violation, but I can handle that one.
I do think that he said it best. When you think of the players in this league, the caliber of the players and understand that he scored more points than anybody that's played here, that's as big as it can be. But as he said, he was trying to focus on winning a game. Tyler Hansbrough, from the first day he stepped on our campus, has tried to be the best player he can possibly be.
If you think back of some huge celebrations that he's had. The one when he made the basket against Virginia Tech last year in the tournament, yes. But the one when Wayne Ellington made the three at the end of the Clemson game was huge. Those celebrations for other teammates' success really speaks volumes about the kid. He's got individual honors, but he wants his team to do well.
As Wayne said, sometimes you just think how lucky you are to play with a youngster, and how lucky I've been to coach him.
Q. What does it mean to you to see Bobby Frasor and all he's been through to start and play well in an NCAA game?
COACH WILLIAMS: It does mean a great deal. I talked to him before he left the locker room for the Virginia Tech game. You've got a chance to play great. And those things are important. I've never had a player that's handled as much adversity with injuries as Bobby Frasor has as well as he has. I've never had anybody that's handled that many injuries. But he's handled it with such grace and care about his teammates to do everything he can to get back and help them.
Q. Could you share what you told Brad as you were look through the lines there? Obviously, the big in here. And maybe a few thoughts on what he's done with his team this year?
COACH WILLIAMS: Some of those things probably should be kept privately. I have a great deal of respect for him. This probably says it best. I forget when it was. It was after we got beaten, I know that. But watching the TV, and it comes across that Radford is representing their league and they made the NCAAs. And my first reaction was that's great.
The reason I had that reaction is because of Brad Greenberg. Wasn't because I love Radford, the University or the colors or anything. It's just because I really like the guy. He's a liver. He's a coach's coach. He's very genuine. I congratulated him on what they'd accomplished, and told him I don't mind saying this. I said Brad, we played really well. And I said that in the way I intended it to be taken was that we really played well, that's the only way we were able to do this. We didn't beat you with our C game. We played very well.
For me, he is one of the really, really good guys. It had to be a fun time around Radford the last week. Hopefully when they get back home tonight or tomorrow there will be some people there that tell them how much they appreciated it as well.
Q. You took Tyler out about 16 minute mark after that hard foul on him. Were you concerned he might have shaken himself up a little bit then? And were you thinking of maybe keeping him out the rest of the game? Because you waited about 6 minutes before you put him back in
COACH WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was going to do that. We got a little sloppy out there. And I wanted to talk to those guys that have been in. I told him I put him back in because I wanted him to get a rebound. I didn't know if he got a rebound the whole game. I also told him in the locker room congratulations.
He scored more points than everybody in the history of the ACC and went 4 for 50 tonight. It was, I almost kept him out and didn't put him back in, period. When I got him back in, I didn't feel comfortable with it, that's the reason I took him out pretty quick.
Q. How physical do you think this game was with Tyler in this game? And do you expect more of that as the tournament evolves?
COACH WILLIAMS: All college basketball is physical. I think there were a couple of really hard fouls. You know, Tyler's it's been a physical game played against him every year. None more so than this year. I think he's been playing at a more physical state than any player I've ever coached. And that part, I think, he's just the way he's handled it has been amazing. But, you know, these games mean something. Kids are going to play as hard as they can play.
One of the fouls was a little hard, but I never saw anything dirty on out there. Didn't have any concern about that. It's just he plays at such a high level himself.
Q. I wouldn't expect you to have seen too much of LSU this season, but what is your early thoughts about that match up?
COACH WILLIAMS: Well, you said it yourself. I was a few minutes at the hotel when we came over in the first half. I thought it would go down to the wire. Both teams are good when they get in the tournament. They were 8 seed and 9 seed. One year we were one of the two either 8 or 9, and we played DePaul and it went into overtime. So you expect that to be a big time game. Tasmin Mitchell I saw him play a lot when he was in high school and in the summer circuit.
Thornton I think is just a big time, big time player. I thought he was sensational at times today. I did not see any of the second half. They had the TV on in the room, I was doing my preparation. I'd look up and see, but I wasn't really paying attention to it.
I know Trent Johnson, I consider him one of the class acts in college basketball. I'm not so sure that anybody did a better job in college basketball than Trent did this year. If I knew he'd buy me dinner I'd tell him the truth, and that's the fact that I voted for him national "Coach of the Year". But I don't think I can swing that anyway.
But I do think he did a great, great job. The team is an extension of him. They're going to be fundamentally sound, aggressive and enthusiastic and play with passion.
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COACH GREENBERG: We had a great year. Just a fantastic season. We played a great, great team today. I think they played a pretty good game, and we couldn't score enough. They had a little easier time scoring on us.
So it was just one of those games where they just were so strong around the basket. Scored a lot in the paint. Turned us over enough times to score in transition. Crashed the glass enough to score on second chance points. Just scored too many ways for us.
We got the ball inside enough, our interior guys got shots that they make against most teams but we weren't able to put them down. Probably the length and athleticism of their front court had something to do with it certainly. Got a lot of shots up just didn't make many of them, and the game got out of hand.
So, they're real good. I'm sure they'll keep playing for a while. At least I think they've got a good chance to keep playing for a while.
But I'm really proud of our guys. We had a fantastic season. I just told them in the locker room, in no way do I want them to feel anything but proud of what they accomplished this year, and feel good about what they did. To walk as tall as they can possibly walk. Feel as good as they can possibly feel about themselves. And be proud of what they've done not only as a team, but also in helping the university get some exposure. Helping the big south get some exposure. Just doing great, great stuff on and off the court.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. How difficult was it to get off shots inside, especially against Davis? I'm guessing he's quicker off his feet than you guys are accustomed to seeing?
JOEY LYNCH FLOHR: You know, when he's coming from the weak side, coming off whoever he's guarding, obviously you're not ready for that. I wouldn't say it's harder to get off shots. Maybe you're met with a more physical force than you're used to. But we just missed shots inside, myself included.
Q. You guys have heard about and seen those guys on TV, I'm sure a lot during the year. What was it like, specifically going up against Hansbrough in person, and was there anything about his game that took you guys by surprise and surprised you in any way?
KENNY THOMAS: Everything he did we expected. Man, he's an awesome player. I mean, he was definitely everything we expected. He knocked down his free throws. You know, he didn't stop. He works real hard. And he's a great player.
JOEY LYNCH FLOHR: He did what he always does. I'm sure he was above his average tonight. He did what he always does. We didn't want him to do that, and he did, so.
Q. Could you just talk about what it's like with those guys when you're out there and you see how fast they can get up and down the court on you, and trying to stop that and get some kind of control of the pace of the game?
KENNY THOMAS: Obviously, they're a great team. I know Ty Lawson adds to their speed, but they did a great job tonight pushing the ball. At times we had a tough time getting back in transition. I know they scored a lot of transition buckets. But they're definitely a fast team. They knock down their shots tonight.
Q. I saw at the end of the game you kind of stood and clapped. Tell me what's going through your mind at that point? Were you able to kind of immediately look back on the season as a positive as on opposed to what the scoreboard said?
AMIR JOHNSON: Definitely. We're the Big South champs, and in my eyes we're champs no matter what. We played a great team tonight. They're picked to win the NCAA Tournament. But our fans came down and supported us, and I'm happy for that. I'm a champ no matter what. We get rings, and I'm happy for the whole season we played.
Ended like this, but we played North Carolina. It was fun. Why not play one of the best teams in the country. They played well, but I had fun out there, so.
Q. Play watching you in the first half you did look like you were having the time of your life. You were smiling all the time. When you made shots you were smiling. When you missed a couple it looked like you were having a blast out there. Could you just elaborate about that?
AMIR JOHNSON: When we went out there, Coach said play free and have fun. I just embraced the moment. Playing against North Carolina, you don't get that chance. A lot of people don't get that chance. And I just looked at it as a chance to showcase our skills. Hopefully come out with the upset. But it didn't happen like that.
I was just happy to be out there with my team, and with my seniors out there. But we have a shot next year to come back and win the Big South again, and hopefully get into the NCAA Tournament again. I was just happy to be out there and have the bright lights on us.
Q. I know it's obviously a tough loss out there, but can you just talk about ending your career on the biggest stage in college basketball and how cool that must have been for you?
KENNY THOMAS: Yeah, man, it was awesome. I dropped a few tears. And it wasn't all because we took this and my career is over. But I had a great time, man. I haven't won a championship since my sophomore year in high school. So it was definitely an emotional ride for us all, I think.
You know, to end it playing one of the good teams in the tournament and on the biggest stage in college basketball, it was awesome. And I know a lot of people don't get to experience what I've experienced.
When I was out there, I just tried to seize the moment, man, just enjoy and relish it.
Q. What are going to be your lasting memories of Coach Greenberg? I'm sure you'll probably stay in touch. But what difference did he make in your career here?
KENNY THOMAS: Coach, he definitely changed the mentality as I've said time and time again. He's a great guy. He keeps your mind on the positives. I don't know how much we lost by today, but he only had positive things to say to us.
He's an awesome guy, and one of the last moments I remember is this past one when we lost and he gave me a hug and said I had a great career.
I know they're going to be great. And Coach Greenberg is a good coach and what not, so I wish them the best.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Coach Greenberg.
Q. Could you just now that you've seen Hansbrough in person, your thoughts about him? And also how tough it is to slow them down when they get on a roll running the way they did today?
COACH GREENBERG: Well, I'd seen him before. You know, he's just a very persistent, aggressive player. I don't think he played so great today.
Everyone's getting crazy about him. He's great, don't get me wrong, but he shot 5 for 16. So it's not like he had Bill Walton NCAA experience out here. He didn't need to do much more. Wayne Ellington was pretty good today.
But as far as their speed, yeah, it's something. Those guys fly out on the wings. Whether it's Hansbrough or Davis or Thompson, they fly down the middle of the floor, too. So they're not only coming at you wide, but they're coming at you right down the middle of the floor, too. If you're trying to load up the middle of the floor to try to help out on the guy getting to the basket first, sometimes you leave the wings open.
You know, they're just good. They're just real, real good. And what they do, they do well, and today they did it really well.
Q. You're in it for 13, 14 minutes. It's within reason. What happened there at the end of the first half and in the beginning of the second?
COACH GREENBERG: Well, I think their depth, I think wears a lot of teams down. We're not a real deep team, so I think it wore us down a little. I think fatigue set in. We made more turnovers in the first half than you can afford to make against them.
You know, they scored transition baskets, they scored second chance baskets. A lot in the paint. And we didn't make enough shots. We had, I think, 14, 12 or 14 shots from our two inside players. Maybe 16 shots from our two inside players. Maybe that's what it was. 16 field goal attempts from Joey and Art combined. And I think we only made four.
So, you know, you've got to score to try to slow them down a little bit, too. If you keep missing shots they're just going to come flying down the floor. We just didn't make enough shots, and we turned it over a little too much. When they missed shots, they got second shots, Danny Green got second shots.
So we just didn't do that many things even close to well to, you know, stay in the game. It's that simple. What they did, they did really well. What we tried to do, we didn't do real well. So the game got out of hand.
Q. How do you during those timeouts, how do you maintain a positive vibe among your players when, obviously, they know what the score is?
COACH GREENBERG: I just spoke about the success we've had, and the importance of playing as hard as you can for every possession. Just encouraged them to just keep going. Just keep playing. You know, you've got 5 minutes or 10 minutes whatever the time was on the clock to play, in this atmosphere, in this event against a great team. You've got a chance to make plays and do things on the court that you want to do. You dream about being able to do. So keep going. Keep going.
It was hard. I mean, our guys were disappointed, no doubt about it. They were down. They realized the game had gotten out of hand. We've only lost twice since January, so all of a sudden we're not only losing, but we're losing where it's not pretty.
I just wanted them to soak it in. Out of respect for the seniors, Eric, and especially Kenny. Keep fighting. Play every second, every possession like it's important for the younger guys. Get some experience. See what it's like on this stage. Keep playing. If we're lucky enough to have a good season next year and get back, you know, learn from it.
So I just didn't want these guys to, in any way, not feel good about themselves, despite what the scoreboard read. They've done too much this year to be proud of. They've helped the university grow in many, many ways. There's a spirit around our campus now that wasn't there six months ago. Part of it is because of what they've accomplished.
So I want them to realize that it's a season of success, despite the fact that today was a day that was disappointing. I just wanted to make sure they heard that over and over and over. I don't know how many people will tell them that the way I'll tell them it. But this shouldn't diminish in any way had a what they've accomplished this year.
Q. How many times did you say it? Every timeout? The same mantra there?
COACH GREENBERG: I said it a lot (laughing). Unfortunately, I had a lot of time to say it, those timeouts were long.
Q. Was today a learning experience for Art, and if so, what do you hope he learned?
COACH GREENBERG: Well, every day is a learning experience for Art. You're talking about a guy that's only been playing for five years. I think Art is a very proud guy. I think he's disappointed that he didn't do well, but because he's so young as a player, he knows he's just scratching the surface. So I think he'll look at this as a great learning experience, and it will motivate him to work even harder.
I think he saw what it's like to be trying to finish plays around the basket when there's a whole bunch of big athletic guys swarming him. He's seen what it's like in our conference when there's a bunch of little guys swarming him, but he hasn't seen it when there's a bunch of big guys swarming him.
So that's good. That's good for him to understand that's the next step in his evolution as a player to be able to play with poise and gather himself and be a little quicker, and go up even stronger and be more productive.
He played 30 minutes and he had 10 10. Joey played 28 minutes and had 12 and 11. Those two guys had double doubles on a bad night on a game that got out of hand. But they're really good guys, and I'm proud of what they did this year.
Q. In the past, ever since you won the Big South Tournament even before that Radford was appearing in lots of national newspapers. You were on the cover of the sports page of USA Today twice, you were in The Post a few times and a bunch of other things. Can you talk about not only what kind of good that does for the team but for the school as a whole?
COACH GREENBERG: Well, it's obviously fun for the players on the team to read about themselves. You know, it's nice to get attention like that certainly on the bigger stage than The Tartan, no offense, Colin. But, yeah, it's great for the school.
It's great that people are proud you're a student, you feel good about it. It's wonderful for alums. For people in the community. That's the one thing about sports. It can bring a lot of people together. In some small way we've been able to bring a lot of people together. It's terrific.
So these guys have worked real hard to have this successful season, and to have it mean more than just them feeling good about what they accomplished on the court for them to recognize that it meant something to a lot of other people also. And even to the university as a whole. That's tremendous, that's tremendous.
Q. As a well read guy you're probably aware that the president has picked North Carolina to win this thing?
COACH GREENBERG: I voted for him, too (smiling).
Q. Do you agree with him?
COACH GREENBERG: You know, I don't know. My background having been in player personnel and all that kind of stuff, I don't get to see all the teams and study them the way I would like to to be able to predict who should win a National Championship. I just don't see those other teams and study them the way maybe some of these guys, including the president, although I doubt he's I think he's going more with his gut than as if he's been studying these teams.
They're very, very good. And they're even better with Lawson. So they have offensive fire power, they're disciplined, they're deep. They're obviously extremely, extremely well coached. They could outscore most teams on a night when they're making shots, they could outscore most teams.
Someone's going to have to be a pretty good defensive team to be able to slow them down when they're at full strength. So I think they certainly deserve to be a number 1 seed, and they've got as good a chance, I guess, as anybody to pull it through. I'm rooting for them, you know. I'd prefer to say that, hey, we lost to the National Championship than we lost to someone who didn't make it quite that far.
And Roy Williams is a wonderful, wonderful guy. He's a gentleman. You know, it's an honor for me to be coaching a game on on the same sideline as him. So I wish him well. I wish him the best, really do.
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