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3 takeaways from No. 8 UNC men's basketball's press conference before facing No. 18 Duke

Junior point guard Joel Berry II (2) goes up for a lay-up early in the first half against N.C. State.
Junior point guard Joel Berry II (2) goes up for a lay-up early in the first half against N.C. State.

Berry and Allen’s history

Joel Berry and Grayson Allen have a history together.

The two played together for the same Florida-based E1T1 Elite AAU team. That team must have been a spectacle — Berry, Allen and Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell on the same court.

Berry is shocked at the portrayal of his old teammate. Allen has drawn scrutiny for tripping players and was suspended for one game — but Berry said he didn’t do that when they played together.

“I just hate that people are playing him out to be a tripper,” Berry said.

Cameron Crazies

Though Cameron Indoor Stadium can be daunting, Williams isn’t scared of its infamous fans.

He said the noise is an issue, but the Cameron Crazies themselves aren’t. He enjoys seeing if any of the fans’ signs make him laugh.

“I can remember the days where they were really vicious,” Williams said. “Now they are very loud and very enthusiastic and sort of cute.”

Williams brings a veteran group to Durham this season. His team, led by juniors and seniors who have played at Duke before, know what to expect ahead of the road test.

“(I’m) not really worried about anything outside of the court,” senior Isaiah Hicks said. “I know our freshman year, it’s like, ‘Wow, kinda nervous, can’t believe this. We are actually playing in the game.’ But now, it’s just like, ‘Ready.’”

Williams calls out HB2

Williams criticized House Bill 2 after North Carolina beat Notre Dame on Sunday in Greensboro. On Tuesday, he again took aim at the law.

“I’m not a lawmaker, but I know the impression that that law has given other people of our state,” he said. “And that’s the saddest thing in the world to me ... ”

“I think it’s discriminatory, I don’t like it, I don’t think we should have it. And from my job dealing with student-athletes and some things that are really unique about our state of hosting events and those kinds of things, I think we are in a bad spot. I really do. And so I think it’s harmful to us — it’s just not right.”

Williams hasn’t shied away from politics this year. Before the season, he voiced his support for athletes like Colin Kaepernick protesting racial violence in this country, and he expressed disappointment in the polarity of the 2016 presidential election.

But North Carolina’s controversial law has been Williams’ biggest frustration.

“That’s the longest monologue you’ll ever hear from me about politics,” he said. “But yes, I said it and believe it.”


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