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January 9, 2013
Williams isn't panicking just yet
In a Wednesday afternoon press conference in the Smith Center, UNC head coach Roy Williams said that there's not just one thing wrong with his 10-4 squad.
As is evident to most anyone who has watched this young Tar Heel team play so far this season, there are an array of areas for improvement.
"I asked all our coaches, what do you think our main problem is? And they didn't give me just one thing. And I asked the team. I went around to everybody on the team," Williams said.
"I don't think there's one thing. I'd like to have more inside scoring. I'd like to get to the free throw line more. I'd like our big men to turn the ball over less."
"(We have) inexperience in being there (in games), and being able to withstand prosperity, and being able to withstand adversity at the same time," Williams continued.
"This team so far has been bothered (by what the other team is doing). (It's a) lack of confidence, but I think that's caused by experience, because you've never done it, experienced tough times and bounced back. Out at Long Beach State in a tough environment we did, and here against UNLV we did."
After a couple of good days of practice last week, the Tar Heels inexplicably fell on its collective face at Virginia, suffering the team's third road loss of the season so far.
"With a young team, you don't know what you're going to get from one day to the next. I think our team was just as surprised as I was that we played the way we did Sunday," Williams said. "It's not just about us. Virginia had something to do about it. Around here we talk so much about us that we don't think about the other guy."
While much of Tar Heel Nation is panicking about the unranked UNC squad while reminiscing about the 2010-2011 nightmare of a season, Coach Williams says it's simply not time yet for him to hit the panic button as they prepare for tomorrow night's game against Miami.
"I'm not going to panic. I've lost eight in a row before. I'm not going to panic," the Hall of Fame coach said. "If I play 17 holes, and I'm 900 over par, I'm going to try to birdie the last sucker. It's not panic time. It's the way I coach."
Reggie Bullock was the one guy that Carolina could count on to score against the Cavaliers, dropping 22 points in the low-scoring affair, and both he and Williams confirmed that they called a players' only meeting following the setback in Charlottesville.
'We just talked about how we have to turn it around," Bullock said about the meeting, adding that it was P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo who also called it. "There wasn't any anger or frustration. Just people getting things off their chest before we go deep in conference, just bonding."
"I don't know if Reggie called it. There were three guys (who spoke up). I've never asked players what goes on in players' meetings. I don't expect them to ask me what goes on in coaches' meetings," added Williams.
For Bullock's part, he certainly did everything he could for the Tar Heels Sunday night coming off the minor concussion that held him out of Carolina's important win in Chapel Hill over No. 20 UNLV just before the New Year.
"He (Bullock) is playing well. He's playing better than anyone else on our team. he's developing into one of our leaders. He's getting more involved in that. Generally the best leadership comes from respect," Williams said. "Reggie wants to do what he can do to help the team. He wants to do what he thinks is best to help the team win."
Coach Williams added that junior guard Leslie McDonald tweaked his right knee during Tuesday's practice, and his status for Thursday night's game against the Hurricanes was up in the air.
Williams also touched at the end of his press conference on how much things have changed over the more than 30 years that have passed since he started coaching, as well as some of the things that he misses about the sport from when he began.
"The whole culture (has changed). The recruiting, the kids, the families, the monster of the NBA and big money, the involvement of people outside the family in the recruiting process, the immediate rewards expected," he said. "It has changed, the immediate gratification that everybody expects, and again the emphasis of the NBA money changes it."
Williams said if he could change any one thing, it would be 'The importance of college basketball, period. It's a bus stop.'
"I love the game. I think college basketball is great. It provides so much for the campus, the University, the alums. The influence and the monster of the money at the NBA level has really made our level a bus stop," Williams continued.