Offseason Revival

Offseason Revival

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Roy Williams took time away from a hectic summer schedule Wednesday to look back on the 2006-07 season, as well as to discuss the ever-evolving world of collegiate recruiting, before jumping back on the road this weekend.

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    Williams talked briefly about the Elite Eight game versus Georgetown, detailing the difficulty of losing any game that late in the season. He pointed to his 1991 Kansas squad that upset three of the top four teams in the country before falling to Duke in the finals, and stated that the Hoya defeat was not any worse than that Jayhawk loss. The defeats haven't gotten any easier for Williams to accept.

    "Coach Smith said one time that his biggest worry about me as a head coach was that I took losses so hard as an assistant," Williams recalled.

    The fifth-year UNC head coach said that he felt like the NCAA loss was the first game where his freshmen and sophomores played to their inexperienced age. The team got away from what they were supposed to do, such as getting the ball to the post players, but Williams noted that he never knows how a player will react in any given situation until he has gone through it. That experience is a key to execution down the stretch in close ball games, as well as solid defense on the ball, something the staff stressed this summer for the players to work on.

    "One of my best friends called after the Georgetown game and said, he'd take it every year to have a wide open shot by a good shooter to have a chance to go to the Final Four, so you've got to look at it a little bit like that," Williams said. "But it's a shame, if we had won that game, people wouldn't be saying as many bad things about our entire league, if we had been able to go to the Final Four."

    Williams also spoke about recruiting, indicating the new NCAA rule banning text messaging on Aug. 1 will not effect his recruiting efforts much because he uses it so infrequently. He expressed a wish that the texting option was available to keep in touch with prospects, but understands the NCAA's ruling.

    "We're our own worst enemies, because everything is better in moderation," Williams said. "And some coaches did not do it in moderation. Some coaches not doing it in moderation hurt it for everybody."

    With the increased scrutiny placed on high school kids today, Williams spoke about the difficulties of the recruiting process, using the term "demeaning" on several occasions when discussing the practice itself. He pointed to the media drowning prospects with attention at summer events, leading to earlier commitments, as well as college being a stepping stone for many recruits on the way to the NBA.

    "Make sure you understand one thing -- I love recruiting when I get there and get a chance to sit down and talk to the kid," Williams said. "I love recruiting when I get in the gym. I just hate the airplanes and the rental cars and the ups and downs. I spent seven hours in an airport one day last week."

    Notes:

  • Williams was sidelined on Monday with vertigo, his first bout with the illness since July '05, and was visibly ill during the press conference.
  • Williams noted that he feels better about Bobby Frasor's prognosis regarding his ongoing foot injury now than he did earlier in the summer. "Last part of July during our camp he participated in our camp game and was fine. … I haven't seen him since the recruiting period started, but I would assume that he's doing well or I would have heard about it."
  • Stated that Ty Lawson played his best basketball of the year during the last four games of the regular season and in the postseason. Williams said his rising sophomore point guard began understanding the little things about the position, which bodes well for his second college campaign.
  • Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough both elected not to try out for the Pan-Am Games and USA Basketball teams. Williams indicated that Hansbrough's offseason needs of 6-8 hours of practice and strength and conditioning would not have been met with summer squads, while Ellington wanted to work on his ability to play on the ball defensively. "[Ty] just didn't want to do it. Tyler was invited also, and he didn't want to do it. Tyler's so focused on his own individual workouts."
  • He said Deon Thompson is down to 235 pounds, and William Graves is down to 247 pounds, after enrolling in school last summer at 274 pounds. Williams said that he expects Graves to be in the 235-240 range by the start of the season.
  • Williams' golf game is currently not up to his high standards: "For the first time in my life, my handicap's in double figures – it's a big fat 10. It's so bad now that when I ‘m in town and can play, there are limousines lined up out in front of the house. All of my buddies trying to get me to come over because I'm losing so much money to them."
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