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UNC-Chattanooga Postgame Quotes
Release: 11/13/2016

Postgame Quotes

North Carolina 97, Chattanooga 57 • November 13, 2016

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

 

Opening Statement

“I think the biggest thing, when they beat Tennessee at Tennessee Friday, I think that made our guys know how good they could be. And then they believed what we said about 29 wins last year and most of those guys back. I think they’re a real good basketball team. I think our guys were much more ready to play because they believed what we were saying. I think Joel [Berry] and Nate [Britt] really did a good job of building out our pressure and starting some. [Chattanooga] turned it over 26 times and that always helps; I just like to make sure we don’t turn it over 15 [times] like we did. I asked them after the game, ‘think of the real good moments in the game and it was all sparked by hustle, diving on the floor, loose balls, guarding people, those kinds of things.’ We still didn’t shoot the ball great, 48 percent, but you like seven for 15 from three-point-line…I love having six guys in double figures. We did a nice job on the backboards, take away the silly turnovers and didn’t shoot free throws as well as we’ve been shooting them in practice, and we will be really really pleased about what we did.”

On how well the team is sharing the ball

“I told them that last year was the first time that somebody had played for the national championship and only had one guy that made all conference. It was the team. It really was, and I think that we’ve emphasized from day one that this group’s got to be a team now as well. Twenty-six assists, 34 baskets is pretty good, and I think we can even do better because we’ve missed some of those easy shots. I told Seventh [Woods], he missed a lay-up the other night in the Tulane game, missed a dunk tonight, so he’s staying after the game here to work with me on his dunks, but I think getting Seventh more time, getting Tony [Bradley] more time, getting Brandon [Robinson] more time, I think is something that is going to help us. It’s a quick quick turnaround. We talked the other day about seven games in 13 days, so we need our guys to be healthy there’s no question, because without Theo [Pinson] it’s more difficult to go small with the right people as well.”

On what has Tony Bradley off to a good start

“He’s a very good player. That’s the easiest part right there. And he doesn’t try to do things that he can’t do. He made that one turnover trying to throw it when Isaiah [Hicks] was borderline open or not. I’ve said, first day Tony’s going to be a very good player for us and I think he’s showing that right now. Four for seven, twelve [points] and eight [rebounds] in 15 minutes, and he’ll get more and more time as his career goes on and he’s going to be a big-time basketball player.”

On Kenny Williams being more than a shooter

“You know it’s strange, I did think he was a really good shooter, but the first game I ever saw him play he made five threes, but he also took three charges and he’s an intelligent player. He jumped up in the air tonight and made the charge when we had either Isaiah [Hicks] for a lay-up or Justin [Jackson] in the corner, but he’s a smart player and I think he’ll stop doing that as well.  Last year he made us feel like, and in the preseason this year, that he might be our best perimeter defender. Four for seven, six rebounds, 11 points, five assists, one turnover, three steals – that’s a Danny Green kind of stat sheet right there.”

On Tony Bradley’s fundamentals

“I’m not going overboard on Tony. I don’t think he is as fundamentally sound as he needs to be, just in the basics, but you love the package. He’s just going to get better, and he wants to learn. He really does want to learn what’s going on. He’s absorbing so many things because we are throwing about a thousand things at him. But he is really doing a nice job.”

On Kennedy Meeks stepping up

“He was four for 13 48 hours ago, so we weren’t too pleased with that so he needed to get that one. [He was] six for 12, so he’s still under 50 percent. I like my big guys to shoot close to 60 percent, but Kennedy had 15 rebounds the other night. I was more impressed with the 12 rebounds tonight because the people involved. Also the other night he had seven rebounds on the offensive end before or after his own misses.”

On experimenting with the line-up in Theo Pinson’s absence

“In the exhibition game we started Nate and then started Kenny at the half. Friday night, we started Kenny both halves. Tonight, we started Nate both halves. I want to see who is going to play the best on game night…I’m just giving guys some chances, and when you get in there you need to play well and do some good things. It doesn’t show up in the scoreboard, but Nate defensively was really good for us.”

On the character of the people he surrounds himself with

“I’ve made a lot of decisions in my career taking character over talent. We have wonderful kids. You know I’ll make a mistake and we’ll have a guy who ends up being a knucklehead sometimes, but for the most part for 29 years we’ve had wonderful kids. You give me a kid with great character, he ‘s going to care more, he’s going to work more, he’s going to be able to make sacrifices for the common goal. I have two grandsons, one will be seven on January 1st and another one that just turned five in August. There’s not a player on my team that I wouldn’t let babysit and feel very good about them taking care of the grandsons. Now if it was Kennedy, [they] may be babysitting Kennedy.”

 

Chattanooga Head Coach Matt McCall

Opening Statement

“Terrific team. You know I said to our staff at the half it seems like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks when they get the ball down there with a foot in the paint they never miss. Joel Berry does a great job of running the team. He just plays mistake free. When there is an open shot he takes it, he doesn’t turn the ball over, and he plays the game the right way. Carolina is a top-10 team for a reason.”

On what went wrong

Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks don’t miss jump hooks. It’s so hard to double them when you have shooters all around the perimeter. We had two of our best front-court players in foul trouble, but overall I would say we competed. We got off to a great start which I thought was big. Unfortunately, they got settled in and really started turning up the heat which made it difficult for us.”

On the competitive first half

“When we hit the shot at the half I thought that would give us some momentum, but we just didn’t string together enough stops coming out of the locker room. When you don’t get those stops, it’s going to be a long night for you.”

On heading home

“I think for us it is important for us to not let this take away from our win over Tennessee. Moving forward, we have a big week. Three games, one of which is at home. So you know it’s going to be good to be able to get back home, practice, and watch film. We will cut it up and hopefully not just our new guys but everyone can learn from this experience.”

 

North Carolina Players

Isaiah Hicks, Senior Forward

On balanced participation

“Yeah it just shows we’re working together. I know the coaches were talking about how the assists on points were really good. Those are the things they emphasize; working together and stuff.”

On freshmen

“Like I told you all on the ACC Media Day, the freshmen they’re ready. They already impressed me over the summer. I talked highly about Tony (Bradley) especially because we go against each other all the time. Just using his length and using his skills, he’s amazing. I think he was twelve and eight, and I told him all you have to get is two more and you have a double-double.”

On unshaken nerves of freshmen

“That’s the good thing. Once you start practicing, you’re not a freshman anymore. Come in and impact the game. Just to have another ten-minute rotation, we don’t have to worry about getting tired. Somebody else can come off the bench with energy.”

On rebounds

“That’s the big thing Coach is emphasizing since Brice (Johnson) isn’t here anymore. Some practices he stops and looks around saying Brice isn’t here anymore so we have to pick it up. Kennedy is doing a really great job with that. I think last game he had fifteen and tonight he had twelve. Just having somebody picking it up, even Tony had eight tonight. Everybody’s getting in their trying to get to the board.”

 

Seventh Woods, Freshman, Guard

On the process of becoming a college player

“Coach has been throwing a lot at me, that’s true, but Joel has been helping me out a lot. He’s been telling me to stay confident and just take as much in as possible. He’s probably pushed me the most.”

On the pace picking up over the last couple of weeks

“It definitely picked up. Sitting on the bench and watching Joel pick up 94 feet was feeding off to me, so once I got in the game I just started keeping the energy up.”

On his biggest challenge playing the point guard position

“The biggest challenge for me is probably trying to keep the pace after Joel Berry. He’s one of the best point guards in the league, and coming after him is one of my biggest challenges.”

On his skill development

“Everything is so quick as a point guard. My mindset coming into the first week of practice was just to not turn the ball over, so I wasn’t really playing my game, I was just focused on doing the right thing. Now, with more reps, it’s getting easier.”

 

Joel Berry II, Junior, Guard

On setting the tone defensively

“I think I did a great job at it, just picking up in the half court, trying to pressure their point guard so they wouldn’t get into their sets easily. They had a lot of motion, so I just tried to pick up so they wouldn’t get into it easily and that helped us a lot. It was effort and intensity. Once we got that going, the intensity went to our side. That’s what Coach [Williams] wants. If anything goes wrong, or if he gets mad at anything, it’s always effort. I felt like we gave that today, and that’s why we were able to get that 20 point lead in the second half.”

On Kenny Williams’ improved confidence

“That’s one big thing that I noticed about Kenny. He’s shooting the ball with confidence and playing with confidence. One thing about him is that he’s kind of like me: he just goes out there and plays hard and plays with effort. That’s all Coach [Williams] wants, he wants effort. Kenny plays with that and that’s what we need. Whether he’s starting right now with Theo being out or coming off the bench, it gives us a lift.”

On what started the run in the second half

“It sounds repetitive, but I just think it’s defense. That’s always the key. If everyone on defense is talking and getting after it and being in the right spots and everything, then I just think that picks up the whole game. We want to get steals, we want them to turn over the ball so we can run the other way, and we did that and they got tired really fast. We just continued to push the ball and the lead kept going up.”

On team chemistry early in the season

“We’re returning a lot of guys from last year, and that’s one thing we did last year was share the ball, not turn it over much, and get shots. I think having people back from last year helps with it and just getting the open shot is what Coach [Williams] wants.

 


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