Roy Williams, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Zeller met the media today ahead of UNC's opener versus Michigan St. in the Carrier Classic. You can check out full video here.
Most of the questions for all three dealt with playing a game outside on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson. Marshall and Zeller both acknowledged they have not played many serious games outside. They referenced the campus pickup games but said the competition would obviously be different. Roy basically said there was a lot of this they could not prepare for ahead of time. He did not run UNC through an outside practice at any point so the first time they do anything in the "elements" will be on Thursday when they practice. The feeling is when they are on the court with the bleachers around it will not feel as much like they are outside. There are question as to how the wind will affect shots, the sun(if there is any) and the dropping temperature as the game goes on. At this point Roy could not even say if players will wear some kind of extra clothing to keep warmer. At present the forecast is calling for mid-60s and the possibility of rain. If it does rain, the game will be moved below to the hangar deck.
Roy also talked about the schedule, which will be pretty hectic starting Wednesday and ending on Sunday. The Heels leave on Wednesday to fly to San Diego. They will practice on the USS Carl Vinson on Thursday and play on Friday at 4 PM PST. Following the game they will return to the hotel, shower and then fly from San Diego to Asheville, NC where they will arrive around 5 AM EST. After getting some sleep UNC will practice in Asheville and on Sunday play UNC Asheville to open the Bulldogs' new arena. Oh and UNC-A should not be taken lightly since they return four starters from a team that went to the NCAA Tournament last season. Yes, this constitutes a trap game so the Heels will need to be on their jet lagged toes for this one.
The only other important question that was being asked concerned Kendall Marshall's back.
“Better. He went through a little less than 50 percent of practice yesterday and didn’t appear any worse for the wear afterward. I haven’t seen him today, so hopefully he’ll be able to do a little more today.”
“I went to the doctor and I had an X-ray on my back. It came back negative. They found out I was just having some pain. We had practice Thursday and at the end of practice, it happened. Friday we were off. Saturday I came back and I wanted to practice. Coach only let me do dummy offense and things like that with no contact. Yesterday, he only planned on letting me do less than 50 percent, but I ended up being out there the whole time. I told him I felt great. I feel 100 percent.”
The funny thing about these two quotes is Roy saying Marshall only did 50% on Monday and Marshall saying he did the whole practice. At any rate it sounds like it was just a scare though I expect there will be extra care taken, especially on the two cross country flights UNC has over the next four days.