Former radio play-by-play announcer Woody Durham served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
Williams categorized the 2012-2013 season as “an unusual year, to say the least.”
After losing four players in the top-17 picks of the NBA draft, Williams knew that his team would have some holes. The biggest focus from last season revolved around the switch to the small lineup, which was uncharacteristic of a typical Williams-coached team.
“We went small and that was good for us, but the players really had to accept it,” Williams said. “At that point we started getting better. We didn’t play well in the first six minutes at home against Duke and in the second half against Kansas out in Kansas City.”
The Tar Heels have ten players returning to Chapel Hill along with three newcomers: point guard Nate Britt, forward Isaiah Hicks and center Kennedy Meeks. After the freshmen were labeled by Durham as talented, Williams joked, “We do hope they are talented.”
“I think all three of those kids will help our team,” Williams added.
He explained his reasoning for adding another point guard in Britt was due to the lack of depth that was exposed with Kendall Marshall’s injury in 2012.
“We were playing basically a walk-on point guard and you can’t go from the Elite Eight to the Final Four with that,” Williams said. “Since that time I’ve said I’ll never be caught without three point guards.”
Williams praised Meeks as the “best outlet passer that I’ve ever successfully recruited,” noting that the rookie center’s skill is on the same level as NBA standout and former UCLA star Kevin Love.
Williams explained watching Meeks in action, saying, “He is really something. Kennedy can turn around and throw the ball two-thirds, three-quarter length of the court and guys can catch it and lay it up without a dribble.”
Williams added that Meeks has to work on his body more than anything upon his arrival to Chapel Hill and said that process will begin this summer and throughout the fall.
The third newcomer for the Tar Heels made some noise locally with his stellar state championship game, tallying 34 points and 30 rebounds in the victory. Williams noted this dominating effort, saying, “He’s gifted and we need him.”
Going forward the main focus for Williams and his staff will be the 10 returning players working on elevating their games in the offseason.
“Marcus Paige, P.J. Hairston and James Michael (McAdoo) started a bunch of games,” Williams said. “They have to be better.”
The audience was given free reign to throw out questions for Williams and they pertained to NBA games, recruiting tidbits and NCAA thoughts. Williams admitted he enjoyed NBA playoff basketball and watching former players such as Raymond Felton, Danny Green, Harrison Barnes and Paul Pierce. He missed the thriller between Green’s San Antonio Spurs and Barnes’ Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
“It is exciting this time of year to watch those guys,” Williams said. “I’m very fortunate to have several guys who are still playing.”
After several minutes of back and forth with the audience, Durham allotted one more question for the audience. The final question was simple and expected: “What are the chances of us signing a top unsigned recruit?”
The crowd erupted in laugher and Williams sheepishly responded, “25 percent. Four in a hundred is 25.”
He followed it up by saying, “I have no earthly idea.”
Williams proceeded with an anecdote on his lack of television viewing by telling a story in which he didn’t recognize Kramer, the iconic Seinfeld character, while in Lawrence, Kansas. He did admit that he does watch ESPN’s SportsCenter and that the recruiting updates now have his attention.
“Every time you’re looking at that ticker and it says ‘recruit,’ I sort of get up a little bit,” Williams said.
He closed by saying that the signing period ended on May 15th and that he “expected it would be done by then.”