Friday, April 4, 2008
One unique aspect of Saturday night's KU-UNC matchup is that both team's sixth men are former McDonald's All-Americans. For Kansas, it's speedy spark plug Sherron Collins. For North Carolina, it's 6-foot-6 wing Danny Green, who was a hamburger all-star the same year as KU's Mario Chalmers. Green's minutes have bumped significantly this season, and in response, he's produced as a legit inside-outside threat. A huge factor in tomorrow night's game could be which sixth man provides the most punch off the pine. With that said, here was what Green had to say in a Q&A session Friday in the Carolina locker room ...
Ryan Greene: All right, the sixth man showdown - Danny Green and Sherron Collins. How do you stack that up?
Danny Green: It's gonna be a tough one. I mean, two different positions, of course. You know, I think the team that's gonna win as a team is the one that's most disciplined and comes with the most energy. We come with that energy, and I feel like if I come with some energy off the bench and give my team a spark, it could help us a lot. And basically that's what the sixth man job is. If he gives their team a spark, he does his job. If I give my team a spark, then I do my job. Whoever gives their team the biggest spark is gonna have the biggest advantage.
RG: How sick of it are you at this point in the week answering questions about Roy Williams?
DG: Oh man, you have no idea. You have no idea. I just did media for 45 minutes, and a bunch of those questions were about when coach Williams was at Kansas. Comes down to it, point blank, we don't really talk to him about it, so we really don't know. We know he had a great career there, and of course he probably has a soft spot for them ... maybe. I don't know. But coach is competitive. No matter who he's playing, he wants to win every time.
RG: Did he just address it at one point at the beginning of the week and say 'all right, I'm just gonna get it out there, so it's not a distraction?
DG: He told us not to worry about it, to let him worry about all the media stuff with that, and let him answer the questions about that, because he doesn't want us to be bothered with the questions about him and Kansas.
RG: So many of the questions in the KU locker room for the big men were about guarding Tyler and all that ...
DG: Of course ...
RG: ... and he's obviously the face of this team, but having a guy who gets that much team, does it make things a little less stressful for everbody else?
DG: I think it makes it easier for me, it makes my job a little easier. Because not as much attention on me. They're double-teaming him, that leaves me open sometimes, and you know I get open for open shots in the corner or on the opposite wing. So hopefully they'll keep paying more attention to him and leave me open, and hopefully I'll be able to knock down some shots if I'm open and they find me.
RG: How much have you watched of Kansas this year? They're on TV about as much as you guys are.
DG: They are. Since they're on TV so much, we have to have seen a couple of their games. I've seen a good amount of their games and I know what kind of basketball they like to play. They're a good team, and they've come a long way from where they were in the beginning of the season.
RG: What stands out to you about them? What do you think is their biggest strength?
DG: They like to do the same things we do. They like to run, get out, throw some lobs, get it inside to their big men. They attack, they have good guards, they have a well-rounded team. Everybody on their team can score, is capable of scoring 20 points any night. So it's going to be hard to guard them. They have multiple dangerous players that can score. We can't just focus on one guy. So we have to beware of everybody.
RG: There's really no bad blood between these two programs in history, but does it almost feel like there is this week? Like there's a deeper-seated rivalry with everything going on this week?
DG: I don't think so. I think it's just more of wanting to win, the competition. The competitiveness of everybody on this team and on their team. I know each team here wants to win, everybody wants to have a national title under their belt, and I don't think it has andything to do with any added blood or attention to it.
RG: With the magnitude of this matchup, is it almost easy to forget that there is another game after this one if you win?
DG: You can't worry about the next game. You look ahead and look past a team, that's when you'll probably be going home, so you can look at the next game you have, and hopefully if you play good you'll be lucky enough to play another one.
Green averages 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Tar Heels, who are making their 17th Final Four appearance in school history, and are looking for their second national title since 2005.