College Hoops: North Carolina 94, High Point 69
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 9, 2006
By Bret Strelow
CHAPEL HILL — Friends and family members gathered in Roy Williams’ hotel suite after North Carolina won the 2005 national championship.
Williams thanked former Kansas athletics director Bob Frederick that night for hiring him in 1988.
“Both of us got emotional, so we just went and got some dessert,” Williams said.
Williams again fought back tears when he encountered Frederick on the Smith Center floor after third-ranked North Carolina’s 94-69 victory against High Point on Saturday night.
Frederick and UNC athletics director Dick Baddour presented Williams with jerseys honoring the 500th win of his coaching career. The framed UNC uniform Baddour carried to midcourt displayed No. 500 on the front. Frederick offered a blue Kansas jersey that featured No. 418 — the number of wins Williams collected in 15 seasons at the school.
“He was an icon there,” Frederick said. “People there are still talking about Roy on campus, and I think they always will.
“At the time I hired him, I knew that he was extremely well-organized, and I knew he was a good recruiter. I had no idea how intensely driven he was to be successful.”
North Carolina sophomore Tyler Hansbrough led five double-figure scorers with 24 points on Saturday, and the Tar Heels (7-1) overcame a 26-point, eight-rebound effort from High Point forward Arizona Reid.
North Carolina players slipped commemorative shirts over their jerseys after the final buzzer. The team gathered to watch a video tribute that included congratulatory remarks from former Kansas stars Paul Pierce and Nick Collison, former UNC stars Marvin Williams and Rashad McCants, mentors Buddy Baldwin and Dean Smith, television commentator Dick Vitale (who drew boos from the crowd) and UNC exercise and sport science professor Ron Hyatt.
“As long as I can get a copy, I’ll keep that one for a long time,” Roy Williams said.
He reached the milestone in the fewest number of seasons (19) and third-fewest number of games (625).
Jerry Tarkanian needed 20 seasons and 604 games to earn his 500th coaching victory. Adolph Rupp required only 583 games.
Smith reached the same win total in 653 games. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who coached Army for five seasons, picked up his 500th win in his 710th game. The Blue Devils rallied from a 17-point deficit in a 77-75 home victory against UNC on that day in 1998.
The Tar Heels claimed an early lead against High Point and held onto it even though the Panthers (6-4) pulled within 68-55 with 9:24 remaining.
The only drama in the closing minutes centered around the number 55, not 500.
Williams threatened the team with his “55” running drill during a timeout with 3:49 left. The Tar Heels made a defensive stop on High Point’s next possession, so they avoided having to complete 10 length-of-the-court sprints in 55 seconds at the next practice.
“You guys don’t understand how hard that is,” Hansbrough said. “It takes all the legs out of you.”
The players were able to finish the game with smiles on their faces, and laughter ensued when Wes Miller’s imitation of Williams kicked off the video tribute.
Williams was an under-the-radar North Carolina assistant when Larry Brown’s departure to the San Antonio Spurs created an opening at Kansas.
Former Kansas head coach and UNC assistant Dick Harp had already filled Frederick’s head with kind words about Williams during an induction ceremony at the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Frederick later made a call to Smith.
“He said he didn’t think he could consider the job when they had just named a building after him,” Frederick said. “He started talking about Roy Williams.”
NOTES: UNC’s Bobby Frasor (injured foot, tailbone) joined fellow point guard Quentin Thomas (stress fracture in his left foot) on the bench and didn’t play. Ty Lawson had 11 points and six assists in 27 minutes, and Miller played the point for 12 minutes. … Reid, who had a 29-point, 16-rebound game against Kentucky last year, didn’t score in the final nine minutes. … UNC shot 64 percent for the game.
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.