Posted On: November 10, 2017
North Carolina 86 – Norther Iowa 69
November 10, 2017
"Well, we are happy to be playing a game. My team is for sure. They were tired of practicing against each other. First part of the second half we really played well for about eight or ten minutes there. Two, three possessions we took outside shots without even thinking about getting the ball inside. Other than that I thought we were good. I thought Luke [Maye] was really good. 26 and 10 in 28 minutes. I thought he showed a great deal of leadership out there. I thought Kenny Williams
was sensational defensively with his effort, with his passing, getting to the boards I thought he was really something. For the first game I think Garrison [Brooks] did well, 5-6 (shooting), he had three turnovers, two of them on offensive fouls. We got to do a better job of playing with our body and not using our arms so much. Jalek [Felton] for a freshman, first game, I thought he was fine. Seventh [Woods] came in and gave us some good moments. It's hard playing without Joel [Berry] there is no question about it. Cam [Johnson] hurt himself in a play Tuesday, there was a screen involved and there was a collision. It wasn't a bad collision but all of a sudden he started stretching his neck. He's had muscle spasms. He was willing to try and go before the game. I went and made the decision during warmups. Just didn't think he was as positive about it as I wanted him to be and I didn't think it was necessary to push somebody in the first game of the year. Hopefully he'll be able to go on Wednesday. He has gotten better every day but he hasn't practiced. He tried to practice yesterday a little bit and went through some dummy offense today but I didn't think it was necessary to try to get him out there. Without Joel and Cam that's two of our three best shooters so I didn't like starting out shooting 3s on four of our first six possessions. All in all, we did some good things. It helped us when [Bennett] Koch got in foul trouble early and we were able to do things inside. There's a lot of things to like and a lot of things to work on so it is a coach's dream."
On emergence Luke Maye
"He is very confident; he has been playing well. In the jamboree he had eight turnovers. I got on him about his turnovers. Tonight he had one and it was an offensive foul. He's been playing very well and he is confident and he should be because he is a very good basketball player and his preparation, trying to take care of his body and trying to be a better player is about as high as it can possibly be, so he is seeing the benefits of some of that work."
On Garrison Brooks
"Garrison is playing more minutes because he is making fewer mistakes. You like to give a guy plaing time because of the great things he does but if his competition isn't doing great things then the other way to go is who's making the fewest mistakes and I think Garrison is doing that. He's boxing out more, he's running the floor more. I took him out of the game because he didn't run the floor so hopefully we are teaching some lessons. That is the reason he is getting the spot. I think he is a good basketball player and he's done a really nice job in practice of paying attention and doing a great job learning what we want."
On Luke Maye's potential
"I wouldn't recruit players if I didn't think they could be really good. I really think he has a chance to be a player. I kept saying to his dad 'don't sell youself short, he's gonna have a chance.' I really wanted him and told him that he would surprise people and that he would be very good. What you don't know is how much they want it. I think Luke has fulfilled my expectation for how bad he wanted it and then some."
UNI Head Coach Ben Jacobson
"I talked about how much we liked the way we battled, liked how we shared the ball. We got to some things where we stretched them out and made the extra pass and were able to get some things to go in. The thing we talked about on the other side of that was we are down six or eight and in that position there are going to be two or three plays of transition defense, two or three offensive rebounds and two or three live ball turnovers that happen to getting to that point. Had we taken care of the things we worked so hard for a week, in terms of preparation for Carolina, but transition defense and rebounding we have been working on since Sept. 29. Had we been taking care of those two things and we might have a tied game. We might be up a possession or two. There were some positives in the first 15 minutes, and there were some things that we worked on a lot that we didn't take care of which would have put us in a nice position going into the half."
On the big's foul trouble:
"This is a challenging game for Bennett [Koch] and Klint [Carlson] just because of the size and how good those guys are up front. It was going to be a challenge but our two guys are fifth year seniors. They need to be able to be in a challenging game against high-level players and not be in foul trouble and then be productive so that we can put ourselves in a better spot. I love how hard they're playing. Klint [Carlson] and Ben [Koch] their leadership and communication at practice, our games last week and even tonight they are working their tails off to do all the right stuff in their leadership and that's been great."
On the toughness of defending Luke Maye:
"His versatility. He's quick to shoot it. He's got no fear. Whether it's on a block where he's going to spin and make a play or it's on the three-point line. That one time we switch to a big to big cross screen and he comes down on just catches it and fires it. Obviously it's a shot he can make. It just adds to the versatility he's got. Then you combine that with he just plays so hard. He's active block to block. He's active to pop and catch and if he feels like he has space he's shooting it or ripping and driving. He's an aggressive offensive player playing with a lot of confidence. He's got enough versatility so that's a hard guy to guard. Tonight we had a couple where we didn't give him much space. We just barely gave him a crack, twice, and he made two threes. He had that kind of night tonight."
Theo Pinson, Senior Guard
On his playing time tonight:
"I'm going to be honest. I didn't know I was going to play either. We've had Cam [Johnson] all pre-season and he ended up being out and Joel was all pre-season except the past three weeks. We prepared to play without Joel, but we didn't know Cam was going to be out too. But like we always say, next man up. I was really proud of everybody. It was a team effort as you can see. We played very well tonight. I'm really proud of everybody."
On big man play:
"Oh, every night, but the thing is we've got some bigs that can run. Garrison [Brooks] can run. Sterling [Manley] is getting a whole lot better. As you all see, Luke [Maye], he's just going to run people down to the ground. They all played well tonight. We're going to need that every night, but at the same time, as of last year, you never know who is going to step up. The scary part is we didn't have Cam or Joel so that's a good sign."
On combined freshmen play:
"It's big. Big. Those guys took advantage of the moment, of the opportunity. And they're fighting for minutes. Right now, you're fighting for minutes. You want Coach to trust you going into ACC play and they did a very good job tonight. Very good first step."
On Garrison Brooks
"Garrison, you can tell him he does it, but he does it at full speed and [Coach Williams] loves that. He earned his position and he worked for it."
Kenny Williams, Junior Guard
On playing hard without over doing it
"I tried to focus on effort, mainly on the defensive end. I wanted to challenge myself. I didn't want to let my guy score. I took that to heart for myself, and everything else fell into place."
On Coach Roy Williams
"It's all about effort. If he sees the effort and how much you are giving, and not caring about what is going on during the game and just giving constant effort, he likes that. He is going to let you know when you are doing well and when he appreciates it."
On whether he thinks he's play with this level of confidence before:
"I don't think so. I think that was part of my growth from the injury by going out and playing like that with that kind of confidence. I can recall my first two years, and I would miss a couple shots and I wouldn't look to shoot anymore. I wouldn't drive the ball like I was tonight. I think it is all with the growth I made from my injury in February."
Luke Maye, Junior Forward
On shooting and rebounding success
"I think a big thing with this game was getting the nerves out and then playing my game. I've worked hard all summer, really trying to get ready for this season. I am looking forward to a new year. To have Joel and Cam out and play like that is really exciting and we're really looking forward to Wednesday."
On motivation behind playing without Joel Berry and Cameron Johnson
"Coach always tells us next man up no matter who is playing and it was good to have some guys step up like … Kenny played unbelievable, and Theo gave us what Theo does, and he does everything so it was really good."