Thursday, October 23, 2014

Roy Williams never doubted he’d succeed at Kansas

North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Kansas coach Bill Self greet each other before the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Midwest Regional final Sunday, March 25, 2012, in St. Louis. Kansas, where Williams coached for 15 years, defeated North Carolina 80-67.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Kansas coach Bill Self greet each other before the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Midwest Regional final Sunday, March 25, 2012, in St. Louis. Kansas, where Williams coached for 15 years, defeated North Carolina 80-67.


Though cautioning reporters he was mighty busy Tuesday and didn’t have much time to discuss next Monday’s “Celebrating 60 Years” event, current North Carolina and former Kansas University basketball coach Roy Williams gave one long, thoughtful answer to the final question of a 10-minute teleconference.

He was asked about the obvious confidence he took into his first college head-coaching job at KU in 1988-89, despite the fact he was third assistant on KU grad Dean Smith’s UNC staff.

One reporter who covered Williams’ entire tenure remarked that the coach appeared to have a plan from Day One and instituted it aggressively.

“I think I’ve always been very confident. Some people would probably say cocky,” said Williams, who will join fellow former KU coaches Larry Brown and Ted Owens and current coach Bill Self at Monday’s 7:30 p.m. speaking engagement in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I’ve always been confident on the court. Coach Buddy Baldwin (Williams’ high school coach), coach Bill Guthridge (UNC assistant) and coach Dean Smith did so many good things for me and taught me so many things, it was a confident feeling on the court.”

Williams’ first KU team went 19-12, yet received special praise from USA Today after the season. The paper lauded Williams and his players for inspired play despite the fact the team knew it couldn’t compete in the NCAA Tournament because of inherited NCAA probation.

Williams’ second KU team went 30-5, and the program was off and running to the tune of 418 wins and 101 losses (.805) in 15 seasons.

“You’ve heard me say this before. Our first team at Kansas: Milt Newton, Mark Randall, Kevin Pritchard, Scooter Barry, Jeff Gueldner, those guys gave me a chance from the first day and believed in what I was trying to do,” Williams said Tuesday.

“If they had been knuckleheads and hadn’t gone along with everything I said, who knows if I’d have been that confident the second day or the second week? Those guys really believed in what I was trying to get to, and it worked out. That confident feeling was something I did have. Those kids were more important than that first team than anything else because they had confidence in what I was saying, too.”

Tickets for Monday’s program, which will be led by ESPN’s Jay Bilas, are available at and by calling 1-800-34-Hawks. Self said Wednesday that about 5,500 tickets had been sold for the show in which proceeds will go to charity.

“We’re hoping to sell more,” Self said.

Collison back in action: Former KU forward Nick Collison of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had been battling an ankle sprain, played in his first preseason game of 2014-15 on Tuesday, scoring eight points in 11 minutes versus Utah. The 6-foot-10 Collison, who has made five three-pointers in his entire 10-year NBA career, was 2-for-2 from three in the exhibition.

Collison, who turns 34 Sunday, is a free agent after this season, for which he’ll be paid $2,242,003.

“Everyone, always, you think about the future,” Collison told the Daily Oklahoman. “But one thing I’ve learned over the years, you can’t really ask yourself an unanswerable question. Someone told me that once and I think that’s a good way to look at it. There’s no way to know what’s going to happen. What you can control is how hard you work every day and go from there. It’s nice to be a little more mature. I know I’m comfortable with who I am as a player. We’ll see how the year goes and see what happens.”

Last season, Collison played a career-low 16.7 minutes per game. He averaged 10.8 minutes in the postseason.

“As Serge (Ibaka) has been playing more minutes, Nick has been playing less minutes,” coach Scott Brooks told the Oklahoman. “I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure that out.

“You could put him in for five minutes or for 35 minutes,” Brooks added. “He’s going to give you everything he has.”

The Thunder have big men in Ibaka, Steven Adams, Perry Jones, Mitch McGary and Kendrick Perkins.

Black update: Former KU forward Tarik Black scored 10 points off 4-of-5 shooting (2-for-4 from line) and grabbed eight rebounds in Houston’s 90-89 exhibition win over Orlando on Wednesday. Black started and played 15 minutes. Black, who was not selected in the 2014 NBA Draft, according to will make $507,336 this season if he makes the team.

Survey says: The Journal-World recently asked some of the 2014-15 Jayhawks, “Who is the best shooter on the team?”

Some answers:

Conner Frankamp: “I’d say right now Brannen (Greene), Svi (Mykhailiuk) and myself I’d think are the top three shooters on the team. They just knock shots down and can knock them down when they are open.”

Hunter Mickelson: “I’d probably say Conner Frankamp. I’m sure that probably will be the overall answer. That would be mine. He’s pretty comfortable with it. He has a smooth shot. He’s always been able to shoot it.”

Brannen Greene: “I’d throw me, Conner and Svi into that category. Devonté (Graham) is a pretty good shooter, too. I was kind of surprised with that.”

Wayne Selden was asked how to slow down KU’s top shooters. “Not let ’em catch it so they can’t shoot.”


Andy Tweedy 6 years, 12 months ago

I think if any Jayhawk looks back on what he did for the program, it's hard not to like him!

Walter Bridges 6 years, 12 months ago

Agree 100% Joe. He should have one 2 NC's at KU but the basketball Gods had other ideas.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 12 months ago

I hated him for a minute. We're cool now... ;)

Chris Oestreich 6 years, 12 months ago

Roy was a class act and really ushered in the new era in KU basketball dominance. We should all appreciate how he nurtured our program! HC Bill Self took the torch and grew what Roy had started. Thanks to both of them we have a truly amazing program.

Chris Oestreich 6 years, 12 months ago

I know some of you will argue that Larry was the new beginning and he deserves credit as well but Roy had to deal with the NCAA probation and the black eye that Larry's staff created. Thanks should go to all three!!!

Walter Bridges 6 years, 12 months ago

I still believe that 'black eye' was overblown by the NCAA but yeah. Brown started the KU renaissance..

Bryce Landon 6 years, 12 months ago

While we're on the subject of black eyes, how about that academic fraud scandal at UNC. And of course the media is looking for a way to blame Williams for it.

Mike Riches 6 years, 12 months ago

Seriously, why have there only been 5,500 tickets sold to this event?? I know there's been some complaining about price, but students can buy tickets for 15 bucks, basically a movie ticket. I remember well being a broke student, but I could have put my hands on 15 dollars. I wonder if students are just not interested in this? I guess the community in general doesn't feel it's worth 25 bucks to celebrate KU Basketball in this way? This seriously baffles me, how a program that has sold 16,300 tickets to every game for about ten years, would only sell 5,500 tickets to this...I understand there won't be any basketball played that night, but this has to be at least almost as interesting as watching the Rider or UCSB game (almost). What am I missing here?

Trevor Otterstein 6 years, 12 months ago

Mike, I totally agree with you. I'm a senior here at KU, and as a die-hard fan, I wouldn't miss this thing for the world. Especially since it will be my last year. I can tell you, however, that many students have no idea this is even going on. I'm on the Advertising Staff of the school newspaper, and I know the editorial staff has not even mentioned it to the students, nor has it been advertised at all around campus. I only know of the event through Facebook (which doesn't advertise it with justice) and through KU Sports. When I mention it to friends, they have said they had no idea it was even happening. I think this will be a learning experience for the athletic department and hopefully great opportunities like this won't be missed in the future.

Kyle Rohde 6 years, 12 months ago

Yep. It's baffling. Personally, this will be far more fun than Late Night.

Greg Ledom 6 years, 12 months ago

Larry absolutely ushered in the 'new' era of KU basket ball, and Roy picked up the torch and then Bill. If bringing the school its first National Championship since 52 isn't ushering it in, I don't know what is. As for the probation...what Larry did wouldn't even garner a penalty these days. Not to mention the player that was involved never even ended up playing basket ball with Kansas.

Joe Ross 6 years, 12 months ago

One thing no one is talking about here is the class of Bill Self. How is that even relevant? Well, Roys return is at the bidding of the current coach. In other words, Bill Self is not in a personality competition with the specter of our beloved but departed Coach Williams. This speaks volumes about Coach Self, and how he places the KU tradition and legacy ahead of himself. Bravo!

Joe Joseph 6 years, 12 months ago

I don't disagree with you. But I wonder if Bill would show the same degree of benevolence towards Roy if Roy were 3-0 versus Bill since the switch, rather than the other way around...

Walter Bridges 6 years, 12 months ago

Hmmm..we will never know but I think Bill is pretty damn secure in his ability.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 12 months ago

Wanna sell some tickets? Announce that as part of the festivities, there will be a 20 minute scrimmage.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 12 months ago

Yup. Though the premise is intriguing, I think the event lacks entertainment value, especially for students who have little-to-no recollection of even Roy's time at KU. Unless there's something the athletic department simply is not communicating to the public??

Cameron Cederlind 6 years, 12 months ago

Ah yes, the 1989 season where we beat Kentucky 150-95, we had 80 points by halftime.

Joe Ross 6 years, 12 months ago

I loved that game! I still remember it. Ive watched it a couple of times since. Here is part 1 of 11 parts on youtube -->

Walter Bridges 6 years, 12 months ago

Roy asked Pitino if he wanted to call it off. I guess he didn't like Pitino's answer...

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 12 months ago

What great and classy comments by everyone. Certainly, KU has been blessed with some great men as the leaders of the basketball program. If I could make it, I'd even spring for an airline ticket from here in Tucson to see all four of these gentlemen.

Had the chance to meet and visit with Roy Williams in his first year at KU when he came to Topeka to speak to a group about alcohol abuse. At the time, I wondered why he was going to be the keynote speaker, but when he told the story about his father who was an alcoholic and how it affected the family, it brought tears to everyone in the room. To me, he and Bill Self will always be two of the greatest sports personalities. Rock Chalk!

Brian Skelly 6 years, 12 months ago

I live in St. Louis, but I know if I did live in the KC metro area, I'd be there. This will be one for the ages. I like Trevor O's comments on this though. It sounds like the Athletic Department hasnt done a bang up job of promoting this. Maybe they just figured it'd be all high dollar alums already on a list. Who knows. Hope it turns out to be great though.

Gary Bedore 6 years, 12 months ago

Self has mentioned this in interviews with three radio stations, including KLWN. We've had a story on it every day the past four days. It's been on KU's Website. I guess in this day and age if nobody's listening at all to the media or the media websites and KU's Website it's impossible to get word out on anything. Should KU get a bullhorn and drive by the dorms and bellow, "There is an event at Allen Fieldhouse on Oct. 27!" Kidding, but how do you get the word out nowadays if the word is not out about this?

Rodney Crain 6 years, 12 months ago

Hope they record it for after event dvd/bluray sales.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

Remember the 4 marketing Ps....Product, Price, Promotion, Placement, Has it been promoted in the UDK or flyers in the Union, dorms or Greek houses? What kind of demand price elasticity are you likely to have from students? Have they augmented the event with complimentary activities, such as an silent auction for memorabilia, a scrimmage,

My opinion of this:

1) Product: First Class

2) Promotion: Self and LDW selling the product well but not sure if promotion is all that widespread. My son, a current student, reports there is not a word mentioned about it on campus.

3) Place: AFH...Great venue.

4) Price: Terrible. The upper sections should be free for students.

Gary Bedore 6 years, 12 months ago

Suzi, it's also a fundraiser for charity. Nobody gets in free. That's just the way life works as you know. The people paying 5000 for a table on the floor aren't up for anybody getting in for free. 15 bucks for students? They can decide if it's worth the price of 2 matinee movies.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

You're right but I also tend want maximum student participation, unless they are totally nuts, like the section U ordeal.

When I was a student, I used to think ..."I don't have any money, let the alums pay for it."

Now that I'm an alum, I think ..."The students don't have any money, let the alums pay for it."

I seriously doubt anyone, including the tables, which I was too late for, would have heart burn over students being admitted free in the upper levels. Heck, I'd love to see them in Section U!

Rodney Crain 6 years, 12 months ago

The True Measure of a Coach's success at any program, did they leave it better than it was when they arrived.

Of these four Coach Brown, Williams, and Self were/are very successful coaches at KU.

Owens, he tried, had some success, he has been honorable since he left, and he is a good friend of the program.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

Owens definitely left the program better than he found it from question about that. When he took the job EVERYONE rejoiced how he rescued KU BBall. Everyone seems to only talk about his last two years, especially the last one. We all knew he was prepared for another bounce back. Brown took over a great nucleus for Manning.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 12 months ago

Alas we differ on perspective again. Let's agree to disagree we both know neither will back down. Disagreement is healthy :)

Walter Bridges 6 years, 12 months ago

Harps last year: 13-12 Owens: 13-16

Definite is not the word I would use.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 12 months ago

Owens found success early in his tenure but looking at the final years, it's almost a coin toss.. The 60's are the only decade we did not make a Final 4 (4 years under Harp, 6 for Owens) but 348-128 uner Owens is better than 121-82.

Still the question was who left the team in worse shape.. I see both sides of the disagreement.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

We were robbed in '66. JoJo WAS clearly inbounds vs. UTEP.

Owens had a good year in 80-81 going 24-8. The next two years were lows but as stated earlier, he left a great core for Brown.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

We can debate this all we want with no conclusion. However, there should be unanimity about that Naismith guy. In nine seasons he accrued a record of: 55-60 .478 with no conference titles. Allen took over for him and promptly won titles in 1908 and 1909 before taking a 10 year break.

Hamilton coached 10 seasons between the Allen years and accrued a record of 125-59 .679 , with 5 conference titles.

Strictly looking at the records, is it reasonable to argue the only really bad hire Kansas had was that Naismith fellow.

Gary Bedore 6 years, 12 months ago

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

Rodney Crain 6 years, 12 months ago

I thought that we agreed to disagree the day before... :)

Who left the program in great shape? Harp and Owen are debatable, Brown, Williams and Self are not. (what did Gary say that was removed)?

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 12 months ago

He agreed with me 100% and said some really bad things about you.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

I meant beyond the obvious, of course he would agree with you and throw me under the bus... :)

Ross Hartley 6 years, 12 months ago

I just hope he survives this UNC scandal.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 12 months ago

I agree. The claims the Roy allowed this to continue in the same way JoePa allowed molestation to continue at PSU are not in line with the Roy Williams I remember...

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