Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Roy Williams reminisces

You might think North Carolina coach Roy Williams’ 2004-05 national champions would be the first team that came to mind when he reminisces about his career.

Turns out he liked the next team – which had lost the top seven scorers from 2004-05 – just as much. He loved taking a bunch of freshmen and sophomores and proving wrong everybody who thought North Carolina wouldn’t be any good.

“Each and every year presents a different challenge,” Williams said Wednesday. “That team was fun to coach.”

Williams will do a lot of reminiscing this week as he gets inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Wednesday, he and his mentor, Dean Smith, met with the media to share their thoughts as Williams prepares to join Smith in the Hall of Fame.

Smith said Williams should have gotten into the Hall of Fame earlier.

“He’s got it all,” Smith said. “You go into a home (of a recruit), and he’s just as honest and straightforward (as could be).”

Before he makes a speech, Williams usually jots a few notes on an index card and ad libs. His induction speech is just the third one he’s ever written out. His two keynote speeches at alma mater, T.C. Roberson High in Asheville, were the others.

He says he wrote out the speech because the Hall of Fame wanted him to keep it brief. But he also is afraid he will get emotional as he thinks back about his past teams, coaches, friends and family.

“I had great, great, great help along the way,” he said.

– Ken Tysiac