UNC-Syracuse Quotes
Release: 01/16/2017

North Carolina 85, Syracuse 68 • January 16, 2017

Postgame Quotes

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams


Opening Statement

“It was a great win for us. You take out three or four little three or four minute sections we played really well. We didn’t get to the shooters one stretch there in the second half. They were 11 for 14 starting out the half, and after that we played a little better defensively. We kept going offensively; that kept us in the game because second half we shot 57 percent. In the second half we got the ball inside better to Kennedy [Meeks] and Isaiah [Hicks] ... They’re really a difficult team to play. They play a zone that’s more unusual so you practice it. Put it this way, Saturday we played a game, so Sunday we have a short practice and that’s the only time we spent trying to get ready for Syracuse’s zone, and it’s very difficult. They do a great job with it and they have size, and when they shoot the ball, well I would probably guess that’s the highest percentage they’ve shot in any of their losses. Last night, in the middle of the night, I was up because I couldn’t sleep. As a coach you do all sorts of foolish stuff, and I figured out that when they’ve shot under 44 percent, they’re 1-7, but when they shoot the ball well, they usually beat people … Feel very good about it. I really wanted 17 [wins] for this group. The only worry I had is that I was afraid other people were saying something to the team about 800 [wins], and I never mentioned it, not one single time. I was afraid if somebody else was, it might make them feel even a little more stressed; that was the worry that I had. But we did some nice things, ended up winning, it was a fantastic night and the stuff at the end with the former players was special.”

On what it means to be a coach who has won 800 games

“Two hundred is more impressive than 100, so when you get to 800 not a lot of guys have done that. So I’m human. I’ve got some feelings about those kind of things, and that was nice, but I hope that I get a few more. I really do. When I look back, whenever it is that I stop, I’ll feel good about that, but the statements, the Jacque Vaughn’s, and the Raef LaFrentz’s and the Danny Green’s and the Marcus Paige’s that they made. I’ll remember those statements a lot more.”

On the key to winning so many games

“Well I haven’t changed my beliefs, and I haven’t changed the foundation of what I want to do. You ask every player, like Patrick Ritchey who came to see me today, came to the game Saturday and came today, we laughed because every former player thinks I’ve mellowed so much and if he can tell the players now what I used to do to him, God almighty, we wouldn’t ever get a player cause I used to kill those guys. I was a looney toon at that time. But from 700 to 800 the kids have been my salvation. You guys know the junk that’s been going on. I’ve taken a lot of it personal and that I was not involved, but if it wasn’t for the kids and the way they’ve made me feel and made me really enjoy coaching and enjoy life every day. That’s the special thing.”


North Carolina Player Quotes

 Isaiah Hicks, Senior, Forward

On rebounding in a zone

“Yeah, definitely. That’s the hardest thing about a zone. When we play our zone, the hardest thing is finding somebody to box out. Since you’re in the zone, you don’t have a man so that split second turning your head trying to find somebody gives the other team an advantage.”

On recent big games

“Just me being aggressive. I’m trying to attack, to use my body to my advantage. Get to the rim, get to the free throw line, just try to make everybody be aware. I know a few times I probably wouldn’t have take the ball to the goal. Sometimes I’d just sit there and wait and be passive a lot. It’s really just switching that.”

On playing for 30 minutes for the second time in career

“I think Coach would like that more, rather than me having to come out and sit because of foul trouble. I think that’s the biggest thing is me just trying to limit the fouls.”


Justin Jackson, Junior, Forward

On Coach Williams’ affect on him

“He has just helped in a lot of things. I think the biggest thing is the type of preparation that it takes in life and not just on the basketball court. The amount of time that you have to put in to get ready for whatever you have to do. Everything he does translates to life and I think that right there is huge.”

On what is going right at this point in the season

“Defensively, we are starting to really get into it. We had some lulls tonight, but defensively I think we are really starting to lock down a little bit more. I mean, Isaiah [Hicks] is coming to play, Kennedy [Meeks] is coming to play, so with them we are really starting to dominate inside. I think we are starting to get where we want to be.”

On expanding his ability to get rebounds

“Just get to the boards. A lot of them just fell into my hands tonight. But for me its just trying to make the effort to get to the deep rebounding spot, get all the way in there. I think it is making me be more aggressive when I go in and some are just falling in my hands.”


Kennedy Meeks, Senior, Forward

On Roy Williams’ 800th win

“It’s a great milestone. To be a part of it is more special. It is a coach I looked at for many years before I began to look at colleges. To be a part of this team is a great honor. I’m sure my teammates feel the same way. He definitely deserves it because he spends countless hours trying to get us better on and off the court. Hall of Fame coach. I feel like he really does deserve it though.”

On success of Isaiah Hicks the past couple of games

“I think his preparation is a little different. I think he is more prepared for the game. I think he is a lot more focused. I know the scouting reports we have to read them off the coach, and I think he is a lot more fluent with it. I think he has a great understanding where he needs to be on the court. Some shots you can practice and some shots you can’t teach. That is where Isaiah [Hicks] is sometimes. He is really special, and you can tell.”

On aggressiveness of Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks

“I think that is what the game plan was. Last year, I think we averaged 44 points in the paint against those guys, so we wanted to keep pounding the ball inside. I wanted to get Justin [Jackson] inside a little more just because he could shoot the floater and those kind of things. Other than that, our main goal was to dominate the offensive glass. To give our team more of an opportunity.”


Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim

Opening Statement

“I thought that we got off to a bad start and made a good solid recovery, got in position in the first half. I thought we played well, we did a lot of things well, mostly everything well except defensive rebounding. They were going to get rebounds, they’re strong physical guys. But, +16 for them in the first, that’s the difference between a ten-point game and a four or five-point game. When they hit the shot to start the second, we were fifteen down, I thought we played the best that we’ve played all year on the road. I think we got it to five, I thought we really did a good job, I know we made a couple mistakes and when you a make a couple mistakes against them they take advantage of it and get down the court. I think they’re a tremendous basketball team, they have tremendous experience and size, they’re as good as anybody. I thought for us on the road, it was probably our best road game, doesn’t look like it from the final score but I really thought it was. I thought we showed a lot of good things, we had a couple opportunities when we got it inside ten, we got a couple open looks and we didn’t convert them, and they took advantage of that. We know we’re going to get beat on the boards coming in here, but it was a little bit too much for us to overcome.”

On three-point shooting

“We made some good threes, they’re a good defensive team, they don’t give that many easy ones, I thought we moved the ball. Offensively, we did a lot of positive things. We needed a couple more plays and a couple less turnovers, but we really needed a couple more defensive rebounds. They’re going to get their share, but you can’t let them get that many.”

On Roy Williams

“I told him, ‘You’re almost getting as old as me, that’s how you get to those numbers.’ He’s a great coach, one of the top coaches who have ever coached in college basketball, I believe. If you look at his numbers at Kansas and here, what he’s done, very few people have done that. He’s one of the very best basketball coaches to have ever coached in college. There’s no debate about that and he doesn’t need me to say that. He’s a good friend of mine, I’m one of the few people who is good friends with the North Carolina coach and the Duke coach, I don’t think anybody can make that claim, at least nobody that lives in this state can make that claim. But, he’s a great coach, a really good guy, I’ve known him a long time, we’ve had a lot of good games against each other. We’ve knew each other as assistant coaches way back, we played golf together when we were both young guys and could actually play golf, now we play golf and can’t play golf. I’ve known Roy for over 40 years. The great thing about coaching, and it should be, is you coach as you hard as you can to win against the coaches you coach against and then you shake hands and be good friends. Coaches don’t have that many good friends so we have to be friendly with coaches.”

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