Tuesday, April 7, 2009

UNC celebration continues

DETROIT — North Carolina coach Roy Williams walked off the team hotel elevator Tuesday morning, carrying the championship trophy and net and smiling broadly. He’d only gotten about 1 1/2 hours of sleep, but the celebration of his second national title continued as the team left Detroit.

And it will continue again this afternoon at the Smith Center, when the Tar Heels are welcomed home. Doors at UNC’s home arena will open at 2 p.m.

Williams said he had not yet had a chance to talk to mentor Dean Smith, who like Williams won two national championships. President Barack Obama — who picked the Tar Heels to win in his bracket — hasn’t called yet either.

But the only mildly disappointing part of the past 24 hours, he revealed, is that The Temptations left the floor so quickly after singing the game-opening national anthem at Ford Field that he didn’t get to shake their hands.

But having some other legends at the game made up for it.

“Having Larry [Bird] and Magic [Johnson] there, that was neat,’’ Williams said. “Larry Bird has been a great friend, he’s offered me an NBA job at least a couple of times. He came over, and Magic came over, and I said, ‘I know where your allegiance is, but I appreciate you supporting college basketball’ kind of thing, and then Larry came over and said ‘kick their butt. ' I think he did that because he knew Magic was so big in Michigan State’s corner.”

— Robbi Pickeral