Thursday, February 25, 2010

Couldn't Think of a Nicer Guy

I'm playing with sarcasm in the title here, because I'm talking about Roy Williams. Just to give the script up early, I'm not a huge Roy Williams fan. Thus, the fact that North Carolina is 14 and 14 right now isn't moving my hand towards the tissue box. Even basketball royalty isn't immune to a down year and good ol' Roy needs a dose of humility about as much as anyone in the sport. Before you think me too harsh, let's review the case:

Exhibit 1: Williams has come to lack perspective. Yes, the "earthquake" comment was a little overblown by the media. The full context of the quote isn't entirely out of touch with reality. Yet, the man did claim that because it's his life, this season feels like a catastrophe in reference to the tragedy that befell Haiti. The kicker is that the exchange took place between him and the team's massage therapist. You're getting paid millions to coach at one of the most storied programs in college basketball. You just won a second national title, last year. And, oh yeah, you're talking to your massage therapist. Nothing about that situation should feel anything like a catastrophe.

Exhibit 2: Williams has come to lack perspective part deux. In his latest book, coach calls out a 19 year old student athlete as a liar. In so many words, Roy William's describes the recruiting process of Delvon Roe. In the book's rendition, Roe is painted as deliberately misleading Williams prior to his commitment to Michigan State. After learning of the news, he describes his feeling as one of incredible dissapointment. I don't know what happened on the recruiting trail. I wasn't there. What I do know is that Williams is old enough to be Delvon Roe's father twice over. As such, he should display maturity and not disparage a young student athlete's name or reputation. After the December win over State, he wasn't even finished with the matter. When the press inquired about it, Williams replied that Roe had said he was coming to North Carolina and despite looking for him every day at practice, he never saw him show up. Let it go, Roy.

Exhibit 3 Last year, Roy Williams was the Pete Carroll of college basketball. North Carolina deliberately ran up scores when it wasn't necessary. Their average margin of victory last season was over 20 pts. It wasn't just because North Carolina was simply that good. They were that good. But, he wasn't exactly quick to call the dogs off in 45 point victories against teams like Chaminade. It's not exactly like it was neccessary to impress the selection committee either. Their 1 seed was never really in doubt last year. At least Carroll had the defense of "needing" to impress voters, flimsy as it was.

So while I'm not advocating for full scale reveling in another's misfortune, it is hard to feel bad for Roy Williams. I'm sure he knows this. Just like I'm sure that next year, with a fresh crop of All-American recruits, he'll be back. I'm simply saying that if it had to happen to someone this year, I can't think of a nicer guy.

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