Some of Roy Williams’ former Kansas University basketball players were quick to stand up for their coach Saturday in the wake of allegations from disgruntled former North Carolina player Rashad McCants, who alleged Williams was aware of no-show courses in the Afro- and African-American Studies Department at UNC.
McCants, a key member of the Tar Heels’ 2005 national title team, also alleged tutors wrote his term papers and Williams was behind switching a passing summer course grade with a failing grade to keep him eligible. Williams has denied wrongdoing.
“I will stand by coach Williams 100 percent. As many times I had to get my butt out of bed and go to class, no way I could believe any of that,” former KU guard Billy Thomas told the Journal-World.
“We had class-checkers, people coming by making sure you were there. If you were not in class, the coaches would know (and make players run). You had to sit in front of the class so the class-checker could see you.
“Those things (UNC allegations by McCants) are coming from a guy who has had sour grapes a long time. If you’ve got that many players who played for this man, and nobody is agreeing with the one player, what does that tell you?” Thomas added.
McCants’ UNC teammates all signed a document indicating they did their own coursework under Williams in earning their degrees.
“I don’t know Rashad McCants. To say coach Williams knew and tried to sneak his way through it (college) would go against everything I’ve known about him in 20 plus years,” former KU guard Ryan Robertson told the Journal-World.
“I remember my freshman year, the maddest I’ve ever seen coach Williams get, and we know he could get fired up, were (concerning) two of my teammates’ semester grades and another instance a guy missed class. He went berserk. If things happened the way Rashad said they did, I’d bet damn near my life coach Williams didn’t know about it,” Robertson added.
“The bigger question is why do it or why now?” he added of McCants speaking out.
“I’d just say to me the allegations are false and completely unfounded in my experience with coach Williams,” added Robertson, who said Williams has told him the only photos of individual players in his UNC office are those of his academic All-Americans.
Former KU guards Keith Langford and Rex Walters took to Twitter to speak in support of Williams.
“I absolutely stand by Roy Williams and academic advisor Wayne Walden, both of whom I was with at KU. I don’t believe McCants for one second!” Langford wrote.
“There are a few people that do it right and also win at the highest levels in college basketball and without a doubt coach Roy Williams is just that man,” wrote Walters.
Former KU and UNC academic adviser Walden has also been mentioned in articles involving past academic problems at UNC.
“If I had to judge the most ethical people I ever met in my life, Wayne Walden would be in the top two or three,” Robertson said. “He’s one of the most ethical people I’ve ever been around.”
Noted Thomas: “Wayne, more so than anybody, was behind pushing me to make sure I graduated. When I got my degree (in 2013), he’s one of the first people I called when I walked The Hill. He said it meant the world to him that I reached out to him.”
Thomas, who started out in crime and delinquency and finished with a degree in African American Studies, laughed when told the African American Studies department was under siege at Carolina.
“If that was the case (improprieties in program at KU), I would have had that degree a long time ago,” Thomas said. “That’s in no way possible (at KU).”