Atlantic Coast Conference Operation Basketball

Wednesday October 25, 2017

Luke Maye

Theo Pinson

North Carolina Tar Heels

Q. Luke, what you can say about the incoming talent into the team and what the dynamic of the team has felt like through the summer going into the season.
LUKE MAYE: Yeah, we got seven freshmen, all kind of new to the program, and then with Cam Johnson coming from Pitt, it really brings a lot of different faces and different personalities to the team, but I think Coach does a great job of kind of assimilating everyone very well and giving us a great kind of dynamic to begin the season, and with so many new guys, I mean, it's kind of different than past years. We've had a lot of experience, but coming into this year, I think we've got great talent and we've got a lot of guys coming back from two National Championship runs, and really looking forward to making that a third.

Q. Luke, has the buzz stopped? Has it died down at all for you in your personal life about the shot from last season?
LUKE MAYE: I mean, it's died down some. I feel like with the new season right around the corner, it gives us something to look forward to, and experiencing that with my teammates, like I said, we have so many new guys, different kind of feel around the locker room. But we all have the same goals in mind, and we all want to do it again, so that's the kind of goal right now.

Q. You mentioned Cam Johnson; how does he fit into the team, and coming over from Pitt, what kind of player do you see?
LUKE MAYE: I mean, it's been great. He rooms with myself and Kenny, and being able to grow our relationship off the court has been really cool for myself, and I speak for Kenny when I say this, he's an unbelievable guy and really works hard and late nights at the gym, and we're really going to use him a lot. He's proving himself at Pitt and gave us 26 at home, so we're glad that he's on our team now.

Q. You've got a lot of experience at the guard position, guys like Theo and Joel, but how have you guys gelled and especially with the youthful front court that's been brought into this team?
LUKE MAYE: Yes, sir, I feel like with so many new guys, it's been a lot of learning and a lot of coaching, but I think Coach does an unbelievable job of really making sure everybody gets the plays, gets the defensive assignments, and he's talked a little bit about maybe going small a little bit and being able to spread the floor with guys like Theo and Cam who really have a great opportunity to guard 4 men and are big enough. I think it gives us a different dynamic that makes us very unique in the league.

Q. Last year you guys told us how the word redemption was such a big narrative, big motto for the season. Is repeat the new redemption, and is that as strong of a motivator as redemption was?
LUKE MAYE: I definitely think guys are still hungry. I mean, like I said, we have so many new guys. We have a great mix of returners who have been through it and know kind of what to expect throughout the season and the grind, and then we have new guys coming in who are hungry, and they saw us get our rings and they want that for themselves. With such a different perspective across the team, I think it still gives us a lot of hunger and really aspirations to do it again.

Q. You mentioned the small ball lineup. Obviously you are the big in that lineup. How do you feel like you would hold up guarding 5s and just being in that type of different system with Coach Williams?
LUKE MAYE: Yes, sir, I think I rebound really well for my size and do a great job of kind of knowing where to be and using kind of my IQ to my advantage. But guarding 5s, that means they have to guard myself, as well, and being able to spread the floor and having an opportunity to maybe play 5 around zero gives us a little different aspect that not a lot of teams can do. I think Coach wants to play two bigs, he's always done it, and it's just going to be interesting to see how the season unfolds. But I'm excited about it.

Q. Coming off of last year and just how essential you were to the team when it came to the intangibles and things like that, what preparations are you making this year in your new expected role?
THEO PINSON: I'm going to continue to just do what I do. As far as just letting the game come to me. I understand I'm going to have to score the ball a little bit more this year, but it's just something I have to do. I can adjust. But I'm going to continue to make plays. That's what I do. That's the answer.

Q. Speaking of your leadership, moving forward, kind of going off of that, who you've taken from that has been at North Carolina with you that's no longer there, some of those guys that you've been able to grab something from in your time with them.
THEO PINSON: I mean, it's funny because I went through it with them. Like most of the guys who went to the Final Four, National Championship game, I was right there with them. We were both learning on the go. At this point I'm teaching other guys what I know and the way to be successful and to help this team win. It's a different experience for me because the past couple years they've been teaching me the ways and how to get through certain moments, through adversity. But now I'm getting to teach the younger guys; it's pretty cool.

Q. You just spoke about teaching and adversity. Some adversity, Joel's broken hand might lead to some teaching moments for young guys. Do you think that's coming at a perfect time?
THEO PINSON: Yeah, of course we don't want Joel to get hurt at all, but at the same time, you know, you've got to look at the positives. It might be a blessing in disguise. I remember my sophomore year Marcus got hurt before the season started, gave me the opportunity to get in those big-time games in crucial situations and see what I can do and make plays and had Coach trusting me more to be in the game at the end. You never know. It definitely can help the young guys come off and get those big-time minutes and have to produce because we don`t have Joel Berry to throw right back in there to save the day.

Q. Obviously Joel is a huge on-court guy with as good a player as he is, but his tenacity and mentality he gives to the team, how much will that be missed, and how do you tell him to stay engaged with stuff?
THEO PINSON: Yeah, Joel is a senior. You won't have to tell him anything how to be engaged. As far as setting the tone and intensity, we just have to find someone else to -- someone else has to step up, and I think that's the job of me, Luke and Kenny. We've got to find a way to get everybody going. Usually our point guard gets us going by the way he plays every possession. We just have to find a way, and somebody else has to step up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #166 at 2017-10-25 14:24:00 GMT

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