The UNC basketball team met the media on Monday to talk about where they have been and the season ahead of them.
Inside Carolina has full quotes and video via WRAL. Here some key quotes.
You obviously like it a lot here. What else went into your decision to come back for your senior year?
"Education - my diploma was a factor, too. My grandpa really stressed that and he's somebody who I always talk to. I know it seems times have changed, but to me that's important. Winning a national championship was the main factor, but I'd also love to get a degree."
What have you been working on this summer?
"Just been working on becoming more explosive, quicker ... on the court I've been working on my face-up game and trying expand my range. ... I've been working on a lot of different things and have been working out to the three[-point line]."
Were you at all surprised how it developed, with all of them returning?
"To be honest with you, I thought they were all coming back. I'm not really surprised any of them came back ... I thought that's what they wanted to do. They just wanted to test the waters and see what it's like. I just felt like they liked college a lot and I didn't think any of them were going to leave."
I find that last quote interesting. There have been rumblings of some level of discord between Hansbrough and Ty Lawson in particular. This seems to lay that idea to rest.
And a quicker, more explosive Hansbrough shooting threes and playing a face up game. Anyone want a piece of that? Anyone?
Can you tell us how the 'testing the waters' process was for you and what made you decide to come back?
"It was a long process and a tiring process, but it was good for myself individually to get some experience and get a lot of good feedback and be able to come back and work this offseason to get better. ... I feel like I can get a lot better and my stock can get a lot better, so I felt like as a player the best thing for me to do is to come back here to Carolina and work with my teammates on our goals and also get better."
What did you learn about what you need to do to get to the next level?
"Just the same things I've been working on - continue to get stronger, continue to emphasize defense and get better in those areas. If I continue to do that and stay focused, I think I'll be fine."
How much pressure do you think you guys will feel when the season starts and everyone talks about this as a team that's supposed to win the title?
"I don't think we'll really feel the pressure. There's going to be a lot of pressure and a lot of talk, but we had that last year as well. We're going to go into the season, take it one game at a time, not look too far ahead and concentrate on the task at hand
Ellington said all the right things, nothing earth shattering. Apparently he has been encouraged to play better defense which is something he will probably be sick of hearing about by November. It also appears Ellington is taking the correct approach to the season and one I hope the rest of the team shares.
Are there any fences that need to be mended here from the process?
"I wouldn't say so. I don't think there were any fences that were broken. There were some misunderstandings and some things that were put in the papers - I think the media might have blew it out of proportion a little bit. I talked to Coach about it, we had a sitdown, and everything is fine. We're just looking forward to the upcoming season."
Everyone seems to be enamored with how great this team can be? Did you allow yourself to think about that at all?
"Yeah, I thought about it last year - we were really good last year - and I'm pretty sure we'll be really good this year. But it's not about thinking about how we can be, it's about taking action and doing what we're supposed to do. Last year we let a couple games slip up and most importantly the last game. ... Each year we've learned and gone farther and farther in the tournament."
With so many people back, are you not anticipating not sliding back into that sixth man role?
"I don't know. ... That's coach's decision. It'll most likely stay the same, but I'm not the one to say. ... I have no problem playing anywhere on this team. It's a great group of guys, great coaching staff and we're going to be a good team - we're going to be winning ..."
What did Coach Williams tell you three guys once you told him you were coming back?
"He told us now that we're back, we have work to do. We went through the process, and the weeks we had off traveling, we have to make up that time by getting back here, doing our workouts with the team, getting back on the court with the team stuff here. That's the message he told us - we have to get back to work, we have work to do."
Danny Green loves to talk to the media. Green says he dealt with all the issues that arose between Roy and him so I hope that is the last time we hear about it. Not that the media will take what he said in this interview to heart. That being said, it seems Green is trying really hard to sell the fact he is okay with being a sixth man again this season. I imagine it is difficult because Green is a really good player and probably deserves a starting slot except the make-up of the team requires he come off the bench.
I do like they all seem to be on the same page as far as how much work they have to do as well as having the proper focus on the season ahead.
Is there a different approach needed with all that pressure?
"I don’t know if it’s something that I can put into words, but I guess it’s just a feeling that there’s something out there that you know is yours and it’s just a matter of what everybody’s going to do to go get it. I’ve felt like more than ever this year that what’s out there in Detroit is ours, so we’re just excited to get this season going and get closer and closer to that."
What's it like thinking you'll be even more of a favorite and under even more scrutiny?
"I know everybody is going to say a lot about it, but when it all comes down to it, if we don't play well, then we don't get to anything everyone is talking about. This team has done a tremendous job blocking those things out and just playing Carolina basketball. Just being a Carolina athlete there's a lot more pressure, because historically this program has been so good. That little bit of extra pressure I don't think is going to make a difference. It's just something you learn to play with.
Everything you want to hear from the senior leader. The fact he is treating the national title as though it is there for the taking if(and it is always a big if) they play up to their abilities is totally awesome.
So if I had to sum of the running theme through out these interviews it is: Work hard, play well, grab the title.
Also, it appears that Ty Lawson was not a part of the interviews. According to ACC Now, Lawson was out of town due to his not being enrolled in summer school. Given the 120 questions he would have gotten about his legal situation this was probably for the best.