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Archive for Wednesday, October 20, 2004

McCants: I love North Carolina

Guard, Williams address media over jail comments

October 20, 2004

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— North Carolina guard Rashad McCants is required to go to class, to show up on time for practice and to attend study hall. He has very little of the freedom most college students take for granted.

And he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love North Carolina," McCants said Tuesday. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't."

McCants and Tar Heels coach Roy Williams held a news conference to explain comments McCants made to a local TV station last week.

In an interview that aired on WRAL-TV on Friday night, McCants compared playing college basketball to being in jail. He also said he considered his time in the program to be his job.

"I've never been more mad at any player at anything they said," Williams said, noting he kicked McCants out of practice Sunday after printing copies of the quotes for all players to see.

"I told Rashad there is a huge difference between playing basketball at UNC and being in jail. First of all this is like Monopoly. If he wants to quit, he can, and I can give him a get out of a jail card.

"Second, I told Rashad I appreciate that other schools that will use this information with recruits for the next five years. That really makes my job and the jobs of our other coaches easier."

McCants said Tuesday he meant to give an example of how regimented his life is with the Tar Heels. As he told Williams when explaining the comments, he couldn't go anywhere during fall break like many of his classmates because he had to get ready for the start of practice.

"I do feel like there is a lot of things that are required for us to do," McCants said. "But this is what I love to do, and I want to make it my job someday."

In a game against North Carolina-Wilmington last season, Williams sent McCants and teammate Jesse Holley to the locker room in the first half because he said they weren't cheering enough for their teammates on the court.

Williams downplayed the incident after the game, and he had no further problems with McCants.

This season, McCants returned with two new tattoos -- "Born to be hated" on his right arm and "Dying to be loved" on his left. He talked about public perception of him earlier in the TV interview.

"The process of changing perception is like trying to get somebody to vote for you in an election," McCants said. "I don't think I can change anything about what people are saying about me. I can just be me."

Williams admittedly was angry Sunday when he first learned of the comments McCants made about prison, and he was equally upset about the reference to a 9-to-5 job.

Williams' mother worked for 51 years in a mill -- "Rashad has it a lot easier than my mother," Williams said.

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