Pastner said he only picked up on Johnson’s identity when Demetra, who knew the call was coming, asked Johnson which western North Carolina native was the better coach, him or North Carolina coach Roy Williams. (Johnson coached high-school basketball at the start of his career.)
“Well, it’d be a toss-up,” Johnson said, “but I think Roy’s won a few more games than I did.”
The banter continued, with Pastner now addressing Johnson in the second person and continuing his praise.
“You had an unbelievable season — nine-win season,” he said. “I don’t care what anyone says, that’s hard to do. Winning one game’s hard enough, but nine wins, and this isn’t the first time that’s happened in your career.”
Johnson offered his congratulations again and told him that “we’re all pulling for you, so best of luck the rest of the year.” Pastner reiterated that he didn’t at first know that it was Johnson and that his praise was sincere.
“Thanks,” Johnson said. “You read that exactly the way I left it for you, and I really appreciate that.”
As for Johnson’s question?
Pastner said that he runs the backdoor cuts to take advantage of teams overplaying the Jackets.
“We got some good opportunities against North Carolina,” he said. “We know Duke’s going to overplay at some point, so we’re going to have to try to get them in some, as well.”