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Roy Agrees; UNC Post Players Are Soft

Not doughy soft, just "weak tot action" soft. From the now infamous and always unpredictable(as well as ornery) Roy Williams Live!:

"I think you’re right. John Henson – and I love the boy to death and he’s got a chance to be a big-time player – John had two shots on Saturday from collectively about 15 inches and got both of them blocked. He tried to dunk the ball twice and they blocked his dunk shot. That’s maturity; it’s strength. It is a physical nature kind of thing, but we’re really concerned about John. I’m shoving more food at that boy that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

"We got on the bus [on Sunday] and they have these snacks and I had ordered some buffalo wings and I wasn’t in the mood to eat anyway, so John got on the bus and he had his own food and I gave him all of my buffalo wings. But the bottom line is that John is still stretching when he steps up on those scales – he’s below 190. So he’s got to get stronger [and] he’s got to get bigger and that only comes with time. But I do believe that Deon one time and ‘Z’ one time and Will Graves one time… Will Graves has got all that he wants. I wish that he would shave off a little bit of that and put it on John’s body. Will went in with something too soft in the first half and got stripped. ‘Z’ went up soft one time. Deon went up too soft. I think that when you get within reach of the goal when you’re big…

"Tyler Hansbrough is the best example. Tyler tried to put the ball in the basket and you in with it. And then, if the whistle blew, he would say, ‘Oh, Mr. Ref, did you call a foul?’ A lot of guys go up there thinking they’re going to get hit and start looking at the defense trying to draw a foul and they forget about making the basket. Better than anybody I’ve ever had, Tyler made the basket and then ‘oh, by the way, you did foul me, too.’ So we do have to get stronger. We talked about that in the meeting [on Sunday]. We talked it about [yesterday]. I told John Henson, ‘If you want to be a great player,’ and I pointed at Jonas Sahratian, ‘Attach yourself to that man’s hip and do everything he says.’

"And I don’t mind saying this. Some things I keep in the locker room, but Jonas has this deal that he’s getting John to take his phone and take a picture of everything he eats. If Will Graves did that, Jonas doesn’t have time to go through the dadgum pictures. And I’m not getting on Will – he knows I’m chewing his rear end out all of the time anyway."

Moving past the rather shocking berating of Will Graves' eating habits. I mean, seriously, I cut Roy a lot of slack for stuff he says(as though he cares) but that seemed to cross the line unless Graves is simply not showing any discipline when it comes to his weight. Even then, it seems a bit much.

As for the actual salient points about basketball, Roy is correct and the comparison to Tyler Hansbrough's approach to contact is dead on. I think when people talk about the UNC players being soft, the immediate connotation attached to that word in people's minds is they are weak or cowardly. That is not what Roy is saying. What he is talking about is gripping the ball like death and bursting upward to the basket as quickly as you can muster with little or no regard to what the opposing team might try to do to stop you. That is what Hansbrough did. The current crop of UNC big men shy away from contact. They go up in a way that makes every effort to avoid it or if they do make contact it is the weak, jostling type not with enough force to put the defender into a bad position.

Now, where John Henson is concerned, it is going to be another year at least. The main reason Henson is a perimeter player is his 190 lb frame wouldn't last ten seconds in the post banging with guys 50 lbs heavier. That is why the debate over Henson at the three versus the four was moot. Henson cannot play the four because he lacks the necessary weight to handle a lot of guys who end up playing there. As for the rest of them, they simply need to step up. From what I saw, Tyler Zeller was much better in the 2nd half of the UK game being aggressive and going to the basket strong. Deon Thompson, not so much and one of the reason UNC is missing so many shots at point blank range is this issue of going to the hoop with some intention of scoring instead of fearing contact. And not to make any sort of comparison to me playing pick-up ball with guys my age and what happens on the college basketball court, I understand how easy it is to shy away from contact and miss easy shots because you get rushed or you fear your shot being blocked. I imagine the same sort of thing happens in relative terms for these guys. To a great extent it is a matter of focus as well as being a little tougher mentally. It is also understanding that more times than not, you will get the foul call if you go hard to the basket and draw contact providing it is not a charge/block situation.

And yes, if Henson develops the same relationship with Jonas that Hansbrough had, he will be something else to watch come next season.