NC State vs Carolina basketball post-game comments by coaches and players

Raleigh, NC – On Sunday, February 19, the NC State Wolfpack defeated the Carolina Tar Heels in basketball, 77-69. Here are some post-game comments by coaches and players.

NC State head coach Kevin Keatts 

(opening statement) 

“So, I know a lot of coaches will get up here and say how proud they are of their team. Man, I am proud of  my team. This has been a really good year for us because I have 100 percent buy in. When you look at  our group, I wanted to go in and find some older guys to be able to put around Terquavion Smith, with the  vision of this possibly happening. These guys have really grown a lot and it means a lot of what we have  done. You look at the bunch after the game, they are just so excited for one another. I thought Jarkel  Joiner was great. I thought he made every big shot we needed to have. He did a good job of getting us to  do what we needed to do. We defended. We defended the last eight minutes of the game. I think that is  the reason we got away with a great win.” 

(on Jarkel Joiner) 

“That kid is unbelievable. I don’t know if you guys have had time to meet him off the court, I mean  tremendous young man. We are in an age now when you are not young, you don’t get drafted. He is a kid  that because he has played so much basketball and is a good basketball player, I can see him on  someone’s roster in the NBA. He is a better person than basketball player and that is scary.” 

(on battle between DJ Burns and Armando Bacot) 

“I thought it was great. I mean both of those guys are good. You look at the numbers, Armando didn’t  have what I call “video game numbers.” Against us early in the year he had 23 (points) and 18  (rebounds). I think we can manage that if he gets 16 (points) on 14 shots. He is so good and he is so  talented. It is hard to guard him on the other end. But man, I love my guy. A great touch. Untraditional  Kevin Keatts player, but I have turned into one of the best post coaches in the country because of DJ  Burns.” 

(on trusting Jarkel) 

“Well it’s a mixed bag, I mean we call some things for him. Very rarely does that kid call his own number. I  let him play during this part of it and he called his own number. It was one of those things, he was feeling  it so well, he pulled up for that three right by our bench and I was like, ‘no’ and then when it went in I was  like, ‘great shot.’ That kid is good, he is really good. He has bought in and I can’t say that enough. It’s  tough in this league when you don’t have a quarterback or point guard. He makes us better.” 

(on having Jack Clark back) 

“It gives us another dimension, his ability to pick and pop. I do expect when Jack is on the floor it makes  things a little easier for DJ, because now you have four shooters around him when we throw the ball  inside. He is not in great shape yet, we wanted to go with Ernest (Ross) at the end because I wanted  Ernest to be able to defend and rebound a little more, but Jack is going to help us down the stretch.” 

(on post game celebration) 

“It’s great. Here is one thing we have done, we celebrate every win. I know that’s silly. People say even  your non-conference wins. I think we have 21 wins and those 21 wins I leave the locker room most of the  time wet. Winning is so tough. It means a lot. Our guys were pumped up. When I walked in they all had  water bottles. It’s like 15 guys against one, so that is why I look the way I look. We are so happy. I love  this bunch. I’ve loved all my teams, I am going to love all the teams I coach but there is something about  this group that makes it something special.” 

(on 21 wins on the season) 

“We have had a great turnaround. I am proud of our guys. I wanted to make last year a one off. We didn’t  want it to be one of those situations that happens every year, because we were better than that. I am  happy with the way we played and the way we turned it around.”

(on a loud and packed PNC) 

“I don’t blame folks for trying to wait and see. Some coaches would be pissed off, but you don’t see me  say one thing about our attendance this year. I leave that up to our marketing. I did know if we won, they  would come to games. Just to touch on that, our fans were tremendous and the atmosphere was great. I  think this was the first time our group of guys got to see what Wolfpack Nation looks like. They will come,  as we continue to win they’ll come. We had to earn that and I am completely ok with that.” 

“Either my players were ignoring me or it was really loud in there. I tried to call 10 plays and they were like  they couldn’t hear me. It was a great atmosphere and probably the loudest I have heard it since I have  been here.” 

NC State graduate guard Jarkel Joiner 

(on delivering the “knockout punch”) 

“It felt good, especially against them. We know what we’re fighting for. We’re trying to stay in that seeded  area of the tournament. We know what we’re focused on. 

(on beating UNC) 

“It felt good. We know how deep this rivalry is. We’re glad we got a (win) against them and made it seven  straight home ACC wins for us.” 

(on second half run) 

“It was just confidence. My teammates and my coaches trust in me and I made a couple of shots.” 

(on fast pace of play) 

“That’s what we do. That’s what we focus on. We watch film, play fast, and pressure the ball on the  defensive end.” 

(on some claiming this isn’t a rivalry) 

“Oh, man, well it felt like one today with the crowd. They know. We know. Everybody knows it’s a rivalry.  We showed that today.” 

(on celebrating with the team) 

“It’s fun, just winning. Like I said, we’re fighting for a seed in the tournament. We have a big (game) on  Wednesday.” 

(on if this is the most fun he’s had playing) 

“Most definitely. I was telling my coaches today that this is the most fun I’ve had in my college career. I  love playing here.” 

(on feeling the hype in the arena) 

“It was fun, man. That was exciting. The crowd, teammates, coaches, everybody was hype. It was really  fun.” 

(on ending the game hot) 

“It was amazing. God blessed me to be able to make a couple of shots. My teammates and coaches trust  me.” 

(on beating UNC and Duke) 

“That’s why I transferred here, for games like that. We are always confident in our team and what we  bring to the table. I came here to win games like this.” 

(on padding the team’s resume)

“UNC is a stepping stone to where we will be seeded in the tournament. We have to keep winning, of  course. I feel like if the season ended today, we’d be in there. We just have to keep fighting. Like I said,  we have a big one on Wednesday against Wake Forest.” 

(on when the building was loudest) 

“I feel like it was after the three pointer. That’s when I started the run. It felt like I was in a movie out there.  It was really fun and really exciting.” 

(on celebrating after a shot) 

“I don’t know what I did to be honest. I was enjoying the moment. It’s one of my last collegiate games  here, so I was just living in the present moment.” 

(on eliminating the UNC lead) 

“We just wanted to keep getting stops and just keep fighting. That’s the type of team we have. We fight  every day with each other. We showed that today.” 

NC State graduate forward DJ Burns 

(on Jarkel Joiner) 

“He’s a phenomenal player, I don’t know what we’d do without him. He can hoop. The thing about him is,  if he’s not scoring, he’s still making an impact for this team to win. That’s important. Tonight was his night  for sure. Even on defense he still made that impact for us to win. That says a lot about who he is.” 

(on beating UNC) 

“It was a team I watched a lot growing up, so obviously it feels good to come in there and turn a dream  into a reality. It feels amazing to come in and get a win, especially against a team I used to watch a lot  growing up.” 

(on conversation with Jarkel Joiner after 7-0) 

“I said you might be the toughest point guard I ever played with. That guy is phenomenal, I love him.” 

(on biggest improvements since the beginning of the season) 

“Just finding my groove, it took me a second to get acquainted. My role obviously got larger when Dusan  (Mahorcic) went down so I’m just be trying to do the best I can to pick up where he left off, just keep it  going and try to make an impact every single game and every time we step on the court.” 

NC State sophomore guard Terquavion Smith 

(on beating Duke and North Carolina) 

“It’s always good to win games. I mean it was just the next game and it so happened that they happened  to be the next game on the schedule so we just had to pull through.” 

(on the Jarkel Joiner run) 

That’s Jarkel Joiner for you right there. That’s Jarkel Joiner in full effect. I don’t think that he’s been on a  run this year that’s more electric in my eyes. That run woke me up, I was feeling kind of gloomy and down  but that run he had was crazy, it was electric.” 

(on the game as a whole) 

“Good game, a lot of ups and downs for us but we just pulled through. Coach told us early games like 12  or 1 pm it’s about who wants to play. I feel like we wanted to play and we wanted it more.” 

(on a 21 win season so far) 

“That means the most, we got older guys in here, senior year guys, so it just means more to me that they  can go out like this and go out winning games and finish their career strong.”

(on teamwork and togetherness) 

“That’s 100% chemistry. When I always say chemistry, that’s 100% chemistry. Just knowing where to find  each other. I think it all starts off the court, just talking bout it and having conversations makes it a lot  easier to play when guys know what you like.” 

(on getting hot) 

“I think guarding our offense, you have to give something up. Burns, he draws a lot of attention, all the  guards draw a lot of attention on the perimeter. Every team has to give something up and I think that’s  where we start, we just start clicking and just keep attacking and keep that momentum going.” 

North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis 

(on Jarkel Joiner) 

“You’ve got to compliment him, he stepped in the second half and had 20 points. He just got into a really  nice rhythm, not just being able to attack the basket, I feel like he hit some really tough shots: contested  twos, and step-back threes. At the end of the day, your big-time players have to step up. I think the shots  

that he took and the shots that he made in the second half, I feel like we had the same if not better shots,  and ours did not go in. In the second half, we had a six-point lead with a little under 10 minutes to go, we  had three straight possessions where we could have extended that lead and we missed a layup and had  

two turnovers that allowed them to catch up and tie the game or take a one-point game. We just didn’t  play well down the stretch.” 

(on other factors during the game) 

“I don’t necessarily just focus on the last part of the game, the last six minutes. What I’m referencing in  terms of the little things that mean a lot like the discipline and the details, I’m talking about the entire  game. In the first half, one of the things that consistently we have done really well this year is to limit  teams to one shot every possession, but we gave them offensive rebounds in the first half. We talked  about taking care of the basketball in the first matchup, we only had seven turnovers against them which  is huge. We turned the ball over in the first half, we ended up with 13. So every time I felt like we turned  the ball over it was like a pick-six. Anytime that you have a recipe for more turnovers than assists that’s  just hasn’t been good news for us. Down the stretch, we didn’t play well enough to win, but I felt like  throughout the course of the game we could have done the important little things that could have put us in  a position to not just be down one at halftime and not just be up six with a little more than nine minutes to  go in the game.” 

(on if he was satisfied with the shot selection) 

“I need to look at it. I know that we had some good looks from the guards. I know we were attacking the  basket and trying to score, trying to get contact, and trying to get to the free throw line. I felt like in terms  of execution we got the ball to the guys that we wanted to get the ball to. We just didn’t make the shots  and when we miss they came down to get the shots that they wanted and made them.” 

(on what they could do better defensively) 

“We tried to create some steals, deflections, and turnovers. One of the things about NC State is they have  multiple ball handlers, so if you take it away from one, there are two or three other guys that can handle  the basketball and get their team back into the offense. We definitely tried to get some extra possessions  and there are a number of ways to get extra shots. You can get steals or offensive rebounds. We got 18  offensive rebounds but we only scored 15 points off those offensive rebounds. If you want to count steals  and deflections, you could put it under getting second-chance opportunities for an offensive rebound and  also getting to the free-throw line. We missed six free throws which are close to our average, but I felt like  we got more opportunities on the offensive glass, we just weren’t able to generate steals and deflections  in the full court.” 

(on his thoughts on today’s game)

“We didn’t play well enough here to win, but I was really proud of the effort of all the guys that played. We  have to continue to stay the course and continue to compete. Even though I am disappointed that we  didn’t win tonight, I am very confident and hopeful in the group of guys that I coach. “