Friday, March 23, 2012

Roy Williams still fan of Jayhawks

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams laughs with injured guard Kendall Marshall during a day of press conferences and practices at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams laughs with injured guard Kendall Marshall during a day of press conferences and practices at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.


Roy Williams, who has 61-year-old knees, takes a daily walk, instead of a jog these days.

Thursday, the ninth-year University of North Carolina basketball coach who coached the previous 15 years at Kansas University crossed the path of a KU fan during his morning stroll.

“This guy says, ‘Rock Chalk Jayhawk.’ And you know what I said: ‘Go KU,’” Williams said Thursday at the Edward Jones Dome. His Tar Heels will meet Ohio at 6:47 p.m. today, with the winner meeting either KU or North Carolina State on Sunday.

“OK. And he walked about three or four steps, and he says, ‘Damn, that was Roy,’” Williams added. “That is the way I feel about it. I’ll be ecstatic if we are still playing on Sunday regardless of who we are playing. And I’m a Kansas fan. I’m a North Carolina fan first. For 15 years, I was a North Carolina fan, but I was a Kansas fan first. And I’m interested in what is going to happen tomorrow (vs. Ohio). That is taking every ounce of my energy, every ounce of my concentration, and that’s what we are trying to work on.”

Williams, who attended North Carolina and apprenticed under KU grad and UNC coaching legend Dean Smith, said: “I’m really being truthful. I love the University of Kansas. My first chancellor at North Carolina (James Moeser) said it’s not immoral to love two institutions, and I think there’s some truth to that. OK. I love Kansas.”

Haase recalls wrist woes

Tar Heel point guard Kendall Marshall isn’t the only member of the UNC basketball program who has had surgery on his hand. Tar Heel assistant coach Jerod Haase broke his right wrist during his senior year at KU (1996-97).


North Carolina assistant coach Jerod Haase watches over practice at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

“I broke it the first game of the year, the Santa Clara game. It’s probably good for the team I didn’t shoot that much. I let the All-Americans do their thing,” Haase said. “It would get a little better, a little bit worse. Toward the end, it got really bad. I had a cortisone shot right before the Sweet 16. It went south. That was the end of that.”

In fact, Haase was rendered helpless in KU’s Sweet 16 loss to Arizona.

“It’s the toughest loss I ever had, certainly one of the low points of my life,” Haase said.

Haase, who is in his ninth year on Williams’ UNC staff, and wife Mindy have three children: sons Gavin (51⁄2), Garrett (21⁄2) and newborn daughter Gabrielle.

McGrath reflects

UNC assistant C.B. McGrath also is a former KU guard in his ninth year in Chapel Hill.

“The last 16 years of our lives we’ve spent basically every day together,” McGrath said. He and buddy Haase trade off every other year coaching UNC’s junior-varsity team, gaining head-coaching experience while also assisting Williams full-time.

“It’s a lot of fun working for coach Williams in a big program. We’ve got a nice life. With coach Williams, you get in a comfort zone. We all work hard. We know what we have to do to be successful and keep him off our backs,” C.B. added, smiling.

McGrath and wife Kris have twin daughters Kate and Addison, born in 2006, and son Hunter, born in 2008.

Marshall update

Williams said he has “no idea” if Kendall Marshall will play against Ohio or Sunday if the Heels make it that far.

“If he comes running in and jumps down and does 10 right-handed pushups on his right hand, then I’ll say I’ll probably play his rear end,” Williams said. “But I don’t expect that to happen. The guy can’t brush his teeth right now.”

Nice dunk

About 2,000 fans attended KU’s afternoon shootaround at Edward Jones Dome. Highlight was Tyshawn Taylor throwing the ball off the shot clock to a trailing Justin Wesley, who slammed for the fans to conclude the action.

T-Rob says

KU’s Thomas Robinson on his motivation last summer:“Me proving to people outside of Kansas’ program that I am a good player, that I felt like I deserved to be named among the top players of the country. And as far as working on my game, I just wanted to get better at everything. So I don’t really try to get great at one thing. It’s something that I just try to work on every single aspect of my game.”


Travis Releford and Robinson on distractions during the tourney: Releford: “I would just have to say our family, maybe. Because they probably are the biggest distraction right now, worried about tickets and telling us to do things that we haven’t been doing like throughout the season. So maybe them and our friends. We keep them out the way and stay in our circle, our team, and coaches, and just do what we have been doing to get here. We should be fine.”

Robinson: “Everybody thinks they’re coach (Bill) Self this year, so we get all kinds of crazy texts and people telling you what to do. So we just try to stay away from it and stay within ourselves, and we can put them off for a couple more weeks.”

Self on upsets

“I don’t think there’s really any upsets this time of year, like a lot of the so-called prognosticators think there is. Once you get to this weekend, all the teams are good. So there may be minor ones, but they’re not major upsets this time of year.

“I’ll be honest, we did not play our best (Sunday in win over Purdue). I think Purdue had a lot to do with that, but we played tough. I think sometimes coaches take more pride when their team plays tough than when things aren’t going their way, kind of figures it out, then when they do it’s easy. We tell our guys, it’s not hard to have a good attitude and a great outlook if everything’s going perfect for you. The key is when it doesn’t go perfect for you, how are you going to respond, and I thought our guys responded well in that area.”

Ellis honored

KU signee Perry Ellis on Thursday was named Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year for the fourth straight year, the only prep in Kansas history to win the award four times.


poet008 2 years ago

If Roy really loved us, we'd be in the ACC right now.

If KU was smart, it would continue to play Mizzou and pray it could lead to SEC invite.

For the life of me, I can't understand why KU has chosen to cling to the Evil Axis of OU/ OSU/ Texas.

Talk about Stockholm Syndrome!!!


Randy Bombardier 2 years ago

Good grief. Words fail me. Good luck, Roy.


Krohnutz 2 years ago

I cannot hate Roy, he was the "coach of KU" when I was a kid. I never liked Brown as much, never felt like his personality was there like Roy's.

With that said, I would take our current situation over the old days.

Point of argument one; Roy refused to recruit against his alma mater. If they put their name in the hat, Roy withdrew ours. When you are a kid you don't notice those things, but looking back, yeah it happened. I don't think that was the legit professional thing to do.

Point of argument two; a Roy Williams team defense is NOT a Bill Self team defense.

Point of argument three: a Roy Williams half court offense is NOT a Bill Self half court offense.

Point of argument four: Bill Self, if it is possible, has an even better sense of humor than Roy. Actually, I am not sure there is a funnier coach in college athletics.

I'm happy where we are at, and I am glad the OP recognizes that those years with Roy allowed us to stay relevant in a very competitive basketball landscape. If not for Roy, would we have taken Self from Illinois? Debatable.


Mo Mosallaei 2 years ago

I guess I'm in the minority, but I love Roy too. Still love self more, and would not trade him by any means.


HawkKlaw 2 years ago

I don't hold anything against Roy. I don't really understand all the animosity. It sucks that he didn't win the championship at KU, and there was a lot of deception in his final days at KU (which sucked), and and it sucks even more that he won two championships at UNC (one of those was just two seasons after he left KU).

But it worked out better for KU with Roy leaving. Even though he won a ton of games and had an 81% winning percentage over 15 years at KU, Bill Self has also won a ton of games and boasts an 84% winning percentage over 9 years. Roy won 13 Big XII titles (both regular season and tourney), Self has also won 13 Big XII titles (both regular season and tourney) plus a national championship. Don't get me wrong, Roy did some great things at KU, but Self has surpassed him in just 9 years.

So keep your animosity towards Roy if you want, but I'm past that. I, for one, am elated that we got Bill Self, the most successful college bball coach since he came to KU. I can't fathom how anyone could ask for more than that!


Shawn Otrimble 2 years ago

Again Jaybate, you spew out some stupidity. Roy was great for Kansas as was Kansas great for Roy. He went home period. Everything has worked out just fine. I wish North Carolina well tonight and hope we get to play them Sunday. What a great time to be a Jayhawk.


kckuguy 2 years ago

Where is "Kansas University", Well, it is real close to that place we all call "KU". Is that your biggest pet project, griping about what some have called our university longer than you have been alive. You sound like an inmature antler. GO KU ! You want to call us U of K ? I repeat.... GO KU !


Ron Franklin 2 years ago

Embarrassing to see you 'fans' bag and tear down fellow human beings that dedicated their every ounce of energy to this program and its tradition.

You are low, and overcome with jealousy and hatred.


chalked 2 years ago

Is it just me, or does Jerod Haase look like Greg Gurley's twin brother?

Anyway, never understood all of the hatred towards Roy when he left to return to his Alma Mater. Put yourself in the same situation and what would you do?


jaybate 2 years ago

My how time flies. 9 years!!!!

Roy has had another career at UNC and got his rings.

And we have had another great coach and a ring and more thrills and success even than when Roy was here.

For what its worth, I love Baja KU, as much as Roy loves KU. I love BajaKU so much that I want Bill Self to recruit east and take recruits out of Roy's back yard as much as Roy tries to steal recruits our of our back yard.

Heck, I love BajaKU so much that I want Roy to limit his recruiting to east of the Mississippi, while at BajaKU, as he limited his recruiting to west of the Mississippi, while at KU.

Heck, I love BajaKU so much that I want Roy to tell Bill Self Roy owes it to let KU recruit east and west of the Mississippi, while Roy limits himself to east of the Mississippi, just so things are squared up after all these years. And I want Roy to tell Bill and KU that he will do this for a total of 15 years, so things are square.

Roy, until you retire, or stop raiding KU's recruiting backyard, which is now the entire United States, we love BajaKU just exactly the way you love KU.

Fair's fair, right, Roy?

No, fair is not fair. You still owe us 15 years of east coast recruits and two rings that you would have won at KU had you not made that devil's bargain with Dean so that you could eventually bump your own protege, Matt Doherty, out of the UNC job in the midst of playing for the only Final Four you had a shot at, while at Kansas.

No hard feelings, Roy.

We just like a square deal.

And will get it square the more time goes by.

With your help, or without.

And, yes, Roy, when you retire, I hope we will end the dispute with an asterisk in your biography: "*Roy Williams was the best Kansas basketball coach that only recruited half the country, so one day he might get the UNC job. Phog Allen, Dick Harp, Ted Owens, Larry Brown and Bill Self, in chronological order, were KU's best coaches, because their highest allegiance, while they coached at KU, was KU."

Rock Chalk!!!


Keith Hummel 2 years ago

I still have an old KU T-Shirt that says "Late Night with Roy Williams on it". When I wear it around Atlanta I get lots of puzzled looks and bewildered questions. "Why are you wearing that?" they'll ask, "Roy Williams isn't the coach at KU". And I'll say "yes, your absolutely right, but he was the head coach at KU for allot longer than he's been the coach at UNC." "But he's a UNC guy", they'll say. "WAS a UNC guy", I'll say. "You see, once you've coached at The Mecca of college basketball, nothing less will ever satisfy you", I'll say. "C'mon", they'll say, "he only went to KU to wait for Dean Smith to retire". "NO" I'll say, "he only returned to UNC to save his alma mater from a mess, and only because you Tar Heels wouldn't stop begging him." Then I'll remind them that he rooted for the Jayhawks in the National Championship, hired a Jayhawk as his assistant, still comes back to Lawrence, and to this day can't say a negative thing about KU. If the conversation continues I'll trump their Michael Jordan boasting with my Wilt Chamberlain boasting ("Wilt went to KU?" they'll say incredulously) and remind them that Saint Dean is a KU grad and learned everything he knows from the "Father of Basketball Coaching", Phog Allen, at The Mecca in Lawrence, KS. The same place, I'll remind them, where the very man who invented the game was the first coach. "So you see", I'll say, "UNC basketball wouldn't exist today if it weren't for KU". "Your welcome", I'll say. Then they'll say something I can't repeat here and walk away.

My point is, you should all be very thankful Roy was our coach. Not just because of what he accomplished, but also because he will always be the perfect example of why KU trumps North Carolina in every basketball discussion. Just as Larry Brown, another UNC grad, has made Lawrence a second home, Roy will never get KU out of his system. And this, more than anything else, drives the UNC faithful bonkers.

Thank goodness I didn't throw away that old Roy Williams shirt.


Robert Brown 2 years ago

Let's give credit where credit is due. KU is a superpower in basketball today largely because of Roy Williams. I know Larry Brown won a championship largely on the back of Danny Manning, but when he left the program was hardly considered a national power. KU was 6 seed and just got hot. I think Larry Brown only won one regular season conference title. KU wasn't ranked every year. It was a big deal if we cracked the Top 20.

When unknown Roy took over, I remember thinking that at least I got to see KU win a national championship. Two years later, KU became a perennial Top 10 power that has been sustained for now 23 years. I think only once in those 23 years did we enter the tournament lower than a 6 seed.

Anyone over the age of 40 who has followed KU basketball knows that KU wasn't always on top of the college basketball world. The reason they are today is due largely to what Roy Williams built while he was the coach at KU.

I was angry when he left and have a hard time cheering for UNC but it has worked out pretty well for KU.


Displayhawk 2 years ago

Kansas is ballin', while Missouri is bawlin'!


MorganR 2 years ago

Like other KU fans, I was disappointed when coach Williams left but I think all of us understood the siren call of our alma maters. Coach Williams enhanced the basketball traditions at KU and, for that, every KU fan should be grateful. With the hiring of Coach Self, the sting of losing Coach Williams has gone. Both KU and UNC have Hall of Fame coaches. I wish Coach Williams and his coaching staff (many of whom were at KU) well. I am so excited about the KU basketball programs (men and women) this year. The KU men and women have exceeded expectations and are playing great basketball. ROCK CHALK!!


jayhawker_97 2 years ago

TRob:“Me proving to people outside of Kansas" dude, what are you waiting for? there's only a handful game left. go prove it now. so far in the tourney, TRob has yet to play like they said of him last summer at LBJ camp. he seems so frozen & couldn't complete the bunnies against people his size. now go for it, play your real game, TRob. there's no tomorrow.

go Jayhawk!


Hank Cross 2 years ago

Newsflash - Roy was always UNC 1st. Like Scarlett O'Hara pining for Ashley Wilkes when she was married to Rhett. That's who he is and I don't hold it against him. I hold not getting Pierce to the FF against him. He looks ancient for 61. Maybe those years of Stankums on his back wore him down.

And yes Jerrod, that loss to UofA was the lowpoint for many people. I don't remember him ever showing up for the tourney so he can blame that injury all he wants. From the pic it looks like he's been trying to drown his sorrow in BBQ sauce ever since.


manginorh00lz 2 years ago

Where is this "Kansas University" that the author is talking about?


Calijhawk 2 years ago

KU Sports....

KU is Kansas. UK is Kentucky. We could call the University of Kentucky ...Kentucky University, but then they would be two KU's. To distinguish, we would have to letter University of Kansas UK. Then KU would be UK and UK would be KU. Unless the new UK wanted to go back to being the old KU and new KU wanted to be UK again.

My suspicion is that UK would just as soon remain UK, and KU is content being KU.


kusportsdotcom 2 years ago

Just to be clear, I posted above something about why they refuse to call KU by its true and official name. Nothing derogatory, no profanity. And it gets removed. Could you please explain to me how I violated the usage agreement?


Cmill1221 2 years ago

Yeah, we get it Roy. We saw your sticker a few years ago but I still don't care.


Benjamin Piehler 2 years ago

Apologies for the repost; I assume my origional post will be buried by the todays articles.

We love ya too, Roy.

But, I wonder if we'd feel the same way if Roy beat us in 08" and we never won that title. Just a thought... I'd like to think so; but I honestly don't know. So much of our Jayhawk reality has been shaped by that Final Four/National Championship.


kusportsdotcom 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


kusportsdotcom 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


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