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Here's what you missed at Roy Williams' press conference at UNC media day

UNC Men's basketball head coach Roy Williams speaks to the press during the UNC Men's Basketball Media Day in the Dean Smith Center on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

The North Carolina basketball team began its media day on Wednesday with a 30-minute press conference with head coach Roy Williams. Here's everything you need to know:

  • At the outset, former UNC point guard Kendall Marshall was announced as the Tar Heels' director of recruiting, a new position within the program. The name of the position was news to Williams, too:

“I didn't know at the time that was the title of the job," he said. "What we’re trying to do is get somebody that’s aware of social media and things that we can use in recruiting.”

Marshall, who played for the Tar Heels from 2010-12, will play an "evolving role" with the team. Williams called Marshall one of the five most intelligent players he had ever coached – with another being Sean May, UNC's current director of basketball operations.

  • Months after the graduation of Cameron Johnson, UNC landed two more grad transfers, Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce, this summer to fill out their roster for 2019-20. Why the turn to the grad transfer market?

“Need," Williams said simply. "We needed some more guys. I think we needed people on the perimeter, we didnt have as much of a need up front.”

Williams had praise for both players, saying that Keeling has "been coached very well" and that he "understands how to play," while referring to the 6-foot-7 Pierce as "a sneaky kind of rebounder, who goes in there and gets his hands on a lot of balls."

  • Williams was also asked about the new California bill allowing college athletes to profit off their image. While he first asserted that "I've never been one to say yes to paying players," he also told a story about Peyton Manning's first game at Tennessee, when the university made hundreds thousands of dollars off of sales of his jersey.

"Peyton Manning didn't get one cent," Williams said. "That’s not right. I've always had that feeling.”

  • UNC offered no timetable for the status of Sterling Manley, who is out with a sore left knee and, per Williams, "Isn't doing anything. I mean, nothing." The team did confirm, though, that the junior big man had surgery in the spring and that team doctors are trying to find the cause of the recurring pain.
  • When asked about the advent of social media in the recruiting game, Williams pleaded the fifth. 

"I have no idea, guys," he said, "I still don't know whether it's tweet or twit." 

He did, though, have something to say about first-year big man Armando Bacot (who himself has been active on the digital recruiting trail for the Tar Heels):

"He doesn't have much of a filter. There's no telling what he's gonna say."

  • Williams got plenty of questions about much-hyped first-year guard Cole Anthony, expected to be a top pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He compared and contrasted Anthony to his previous starting point guard, Coby White, who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls last year:

"He’s a different point guard," Williams said of Anthony. "Coby was more of a scoring point guard, which I'm okay with. I like point guards who do something great, and I thought Coby did that great. Cole can score, but Cole is more of a quarterback. He’s trying to get other people the ball.”

  • More Cole Anthony nuggets: Williams told the media that the New York City native was "the best defensive rebounding guard I'd ever seen" in high school, and that he had the best times in the team's 12-minute run and in the team's conditioning program.

Though returning upperclassmen Brandon Robinson and Garrison Brooks are the presumed leaders of the Tar Heels, Williams said he expects Cole to "naturally" assume a leadership role given his role as the team's primary ballhandler. And as for Anthony's considerable potential, perhaps greater than any other point guard in recent UNC memory?

“I enjoy it," Williams said. "It's a level of excitement having that kind of guy who can make everybody else better.”


@DTHSports |

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