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June 15, 2012

Tar Heel tidbits

Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams addressed his age and his goal for how long he hopes to coach during his annual summer news conference on Thursday.

Williams will be 62 years old this summer.

"I just hope I'm coaching, period, when I'm 66," Williams said. "My goal is six to 10 more years if I'm healthy enough."

***

One of the better developments with NCAA regulations has gone into effect this summer.

Coaches and their staffs can now work with their players on a limited basis. Players may work with coaches up to eight hours a week. Two of those can focus directly on basketball skills.

The others must be spread among such things as weight room and conditioning.

In this day and age of the quickly disappearing collegiate player, at least on the elite level, this is a blessing because it includes the freshmen who enroll in summer school. Carolina's four newcomers -- Joel James, Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Marcus Paige -- will soon be arriving for the second session of summer school.

They will join their teammates, who have already been working with the coaches.

"I think it's silly not to have that," Williams said. "We're coaching them. Mom and dad are sitting in the living room, and they expect us to make sure they keep developing. But all of a sudden you hit a four-month period in which you cannot watch them shoot a jump shot. You can't tell them you have your right foot in front of your left, so it's been silly in the past.

"I think it's really good," Williams said. "I don't think we're going to overwhelming the kids. We have done four sessions with them in the last four weeks. When those guys [freshmen] get here next week, the fact that they can be involved is even more positive."

***

Paige suffered a stress fracture at the McDonald's All-American game. Williams did not say when Paige can join the workouts.

"He has to get healthy," Williams said. "He broke his foot at the McDonald's All-American game. He's had the surgery and everything has gone very, very well."

***
In addition to Paige, Williams updated us on the injuries that cut the 2012 season short for guards Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland.

"Dexter is being released right now to shoot jump shots, but no sharp cuts, no playing," Williams said, "just to do a little bit of running and jumping on his knee. I would expect by August he would be released to do everything.

"Leslie has been going full speed since the last eight, 10 weeks of last season," Williams said. "He has a little hamstring problem right now, but it's not related to his knee. If we had a practice today, we would not treat Leslie as if he were injured. We would treat him as if he were full speed ahead."

***
Rising sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo will be the obvious focal point of the 2012-13 team's interior offense.

McAdoo said he is ready, but he is also eager to add a new role, one of being a leader. He was a follower last season. He promised that will change.

"We're overall a pretty young team," McAdoo said. "I feel like I'm ready for it. Being a leader is something I'm good at, something I did all through high school. I feel like I'm more than ready and capable of doing it."

***
Williams said what many Carolina football fans have been saying since the news broke of the cheating scandal that once centered on the football team. Now it has now been shown to be a much broader issue than any of the sports teams.

The scandal is focused on a variety of charges against the African-American studies program. While football players got caught in the scam, some basketball players have taken classes in that department as well.

"I'm concerned about it because it's a very sad time," Williams said. "But I strongly feel that is not a basketball issue. I'm worried about it as a university issue, not a basketball issue."

***
When asked, Williams said that he would not be surprised to see N.C. State as the favorite to win the league in the preseason.

"I would think that could very easily happen, and maybe should happen," Williams said. "In basketball you can turn it around a lot quicker than you can in football, where you need 30 or 40 players.

"I think Mark [Gottfried] has done a great job. There is some good talent and some good players there that Sidney [Lowe] brought in. Mark has done a great job of getting them to be ever more focused and helping them to mature. They have some big-time opportunities."


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