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Media Day Roundup

You hear that? That's the sound of sneakers squeaking on a gym floor. Oh what a glorious sound.

UNC had it's basketball media day ahead of the opening of practice.  Inside Carolina has lots of coverage including a photo gallery which shows Marcus Ginyard in uniform but with crutches and a heavily wrapped foot.  Per UNC tradition the freshman were all look but no talk where the media was concerned.  ACC Now gives this tidbit on the four freshman:

Freshmen are not allowed to talk to the media before they play in a regular season game, so UNC’s new quartet shot baskets and watched the interviews Friday.

Forward Ed Davis will wear jersey No. 32; point guard Larry Drew II — who has “Drew II” on the back of his jersey — is No. 11; guard Justin Watts is No. 24; and forward Tyler Zeller is No. 44.

Quick trivia contest for the comments section.  Name the most famous Heels to wear the above numbers...without looking it up.

Roy and some of the upperclassmen did talk to the media.  Roy's press conference was informative as to how he is approaching the season as well as the team.  Here is your basic summary of his thoughts.

  • Undefeated talk is just that talk.  College basketball has great parity so going undefeated is not even "on the radar" because all that really matters is winning the title at the end of the season.
  • Roy likes being everyone's target because it inspires better play in general.
  • Danny Green will probably start in place of Marcus Ginyard which is a shock to absolutely no one and should make a certain parent very happy.
  • Ginyard's injury sucks on so many levels, even more so because he is a senior and a good kid.
  • Losing Ginyard means losing that guy who cleans up the garbage and plays great defense.  Roy also hopes Ginyard will gain some perspective on the game
  • There is not a question whether Tyler Hansbrough can hit outside shots.  The only question is with his confidence to do it during games which was helped tremendously by the regional final against Louisville.
  • Roy hates that testing the water takes two months.  He has no problem with the idea but in his opinion it takes too long.
  • Using depth and draining the life out of the other team on both ends of the floor is a high priority.
  • No commitments before kids are sophomores and if he does there are conditions involved.
  • Roy is happy with new three point line and the lane remaining the same.  Does not expect a huge difference.
  • True road games and traveling for Maui and Detroit will be very helpful in challenging the team.
  • Impact of four freshmen?  No idea.
  • Something about a Yankees game and water buffalo....don't ask

And just so we are clear on where the focus is to start the season, here is what Roy said about the first day of practice:

Tomorrow’s practice plan is 12 minutes on the offensive end of the floor, and one hour and 48 minutes on the defensive end.”

I expect it might be that for awhile.  There is almost zero need to work on offense.  Perhaps for the freshman to know what the deal is but I am not sure, other than incorporating Hansbrough on the perimeter, if practice is going to improve much with this team on offense.  I expect this team to gel on the offensive end fairly quickly which leaves plenty of time to work on defense.

On the players' side of media day all the key upperclassmen were talking.

  • Ty Lawson said he has watched the Kansas game twice since last April which has to mean he is some sort of sadist.  Lawson also said he was healthy and ready to go, especially since he missed games last season.
  • Deon Thompson also watched the Kansas game with Lawson.  Thompson is also his own worst critic which leads to "getting down mentally" when he does not mean his own expectations.  Taking those two fact in concert I am surprised he is even out of bed considering he watch it only two days ago.  Maybe he watched the Arkansas game afterwards to make himself feel better.
  • Wayne Ellington understands what they need to do on defense.  Now we will see he can execute it.
  • Bobby Frasor is still pleading with the NCAA and may have to sign over the rights to his firstborn son to get that fifth year.  Well not really but he is ready to play again.
  • Will Graves is focusing on defense and effort.
  • Tyler Hansbrough did not say anything really interesting but since he more than makes up for that on the court who really cares.

Danny Green had the quote of the day of the ones I have heard and read which is not a surprise considering how much he talks when asked a question:

“Of course with the whole NBA process thing, I’ve worked on my individual stuff, but when it comes to the team, there’s not going to be too much individual stuff going on. That’s stuff you have to work on on your own. Coach has emphasized sharing the ball and emphasized doing what’s best for the team, so when it comes to us playing as a team, you’ve got to play within the system and do the things he asks of you. That’s what I'm basically going to do.”

That should adequately answer the talking point almost every UNC preview will have about whether so many individuals can play as a team together if some of them are looking to the NBA.  The players apparently get it though I can only imagine Roy "emphasizing" this particular point was like.

The main question that will be asked of this team is whether they are focused, have the right approach to the game and if they will be a cohesive unit.  This team need to be busineslike in their approach but not wound up so tight as to not be having fun out there at the same time.  Based on the interviews on media day, which are limited to some extent in what they can tell you, this team appears to be focused on improving the needed areas, accomplishing the goal of winning a title and having fun all at the same time.

So far, so good.