Fairly lengthy interviews for both over at Inside Carolina, especially Kendall Marshall who likes to give detailed responses versus Harrison Barnes' shorter, more direct responses. Be sure to checkout both interviews. Here are some of the topics covered with both players about next season.
What did Coach Williams ask you to work on?
"Main thing he wanted me to work on is just my body – just being more durable, knowing that I’m going to play an extended amount of time the entire season this year. Flexibility, taking care of my body and stuff like that. Also, my lateral quickness – being able to keep point guards in front of me. He just wants me to keep getting up shots, keeping improving my three-point ability. With all the weapons we’re going to have next year, teams are going to want to sag against me and Dex (Dexter Strickland), so we have to be able to keep the defense honest."
"Working on my ball-handling was definitely a big thing. There are a lot of other things such as shot selection, efficiency and assist-to-turnover ratio that I need to improve for us to be successful next year."
Key to winning the national title in 2011-12?
"Defense, without a doubt. We’re going to be able to score next season. We’re going to be more naturally talented than a lot of teams. But, you know basketball is a team sport so we have to be able to stop teams. We’re going to have to be able to win games in the 50s, 60s, 70s as well as the 80s and 90s."
"Consistency. We were consistent at the end of the season and that’s why we made a big run. Earlier in the season when we struggled, we weren’t consistent. It’s a matter of simply going out and playing every game as that game and not worrying about anything else."
Most impressive/most improved Tar Heel so far this summer?
"The biggest strides I’ve seen being made is probably Harrison. He’s learned to be more efficient with his moves, learning how to get his shot off easier, as well as John Henson with his strength and offensively being able to knock down that 10-foot jump shot. He’s impressed me with that."
"I’d probably say John Henson. He’s definitely worked on his body, put on weight and gotten stronger. He’s able to make better moves at the rim and he’s actually come a long way."
Both players were asked about team chemistry and said this was the closest knit team they have each been apart of in their young basketball careers. They also both said they expect the incoming freshman to be a huge help and the incoming players fit into the positions of need, especially P.J. Hairston and his three point shooting. It is interesting both mentioned John Henson's development. That was such a focal point last offseason with fans in general concerned about his weight and strength. Many of those concerns have receded because Henson looked so effective last season. It is good to hear he is still working on the weight/strength aspect of his game and apparently his jump shot as well.
I know I have mentioned it before but every time I hear Kendall Marshall interviewed he blows me away with his maturity. Barnes has always been impressive in the interview setting but in Marshall's case I am not entirely sure how comfortable he is with it, something he has alluded to before. You would never know it and it speaks volumes to Roy Williams' recruiting that he continues to not only bring in great basketball talent but guys who represent the school in the media so well.
Interviews like this only ratchet up my excitement for next season. UNC will be ranked #1, a favorite to win the title with a roster full of players who are not just talented but very well liked across the board. Good college players on a team with great chemistry are really fun to watch and will make the upcoming season an enjoyable ride for the fans.