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The Daily Tar Heel

Roy Williams talks size, injuries and AFAM


North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams held his annual summer press conference June 14.

North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams held his annual summer press conference and answered questions on a wide variety of subjects ranging from his incoming freshman to the university’s investigation into the AFAM department.

Here are some of the highlights.

Williams said that there was no reason to think that Leslie McDonald, Dexter Strickland and Marcus Paige, who injured his foot in the McDonald’s All-American game, wouldn’t be at 100 percent by the fall.

Given the departure of Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Zeller, the incoming freshman will have their work cut out for them.

“A year ago sitting here I thought there was a great chance we’d lose Harrison and a great chance we’d lose John but I didn’t think at think at this moment that we’d lose Kendall even though I thought Kendall was eventually was going to be an NBA player,” Williams said. “So to those three and Z also changes our team drastically to say the least and it makes the four freshman a lot more important. They’re going to have to be able to play quicker.”

Incoming big man Joel James will have an important role to fill as the 2012-13 squad will have many more bodies in the back court than it does in the front court. James, who is listed at six-feet-11 inches dropped 60 pounds while in high school.

“He’s got a lot of growing to do,” Williams said. “He’s only played for a couple of years. He does have size. When he was here on his official visit they played a pickup game and Z told me that he hit him as hard as any body had hit him in his three year, at that time, college career.

“He’s got a load, there’s no question when he whacks you you’re going to know that you’ve been hit. We have a tremendous need for size and I think he can do some good things for us and maybe it’s all dreams and hopes but we’ll have to see when he gets here.”

When asked what he thought Harrison Barnes’ brand was Williams said, “I have no freaking idea what the hell it means.”

Williams said he wouldn’t be surprised if N.C. State was the preseason favorite in the ACC and that maybe they should be the favorite.

On the AFAM department and the possible involvement of basketball players Williams is not worried — this is a university issue he said, not a basketball issue.

“I’m concerned about it because going back to the NCAA stuff,” Williams said. “I’ve said the same thing consistently that it’s a sad time. But I strongly feel that that’s not a basketball issue. I’m in charge of the basketball program as much as the chancellor and the athletic director allow me to be.

“It’s not a basketball issue, regardless of what comes out am I going to be interested? You darn right, I’m going to be sad if some negative thing comes out, you’re darn right. But I think the way you phrased it, am I worried it? I’m worried about it from a university issue but not from a basketball issue.”

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