ACC Hoops: Tar Heels enjoy calmer title offseason
By Aaron Beard
CHAPEL HILL ó This time, Roy Williams is savoring North Carolina’s national championship.
The Hall of Fame coach barely had a chance to enjoy his first title in 2005 before four underclassmen decided to head for the NBA, leaving the staff in a last-minute recruiting push to help a depleted roster for the next season. But now, Williams is taking more time to play golf and relax considering there’s less reason to fret about what awaits as the Tar Heels try to defend their crown.
“I’ve tried to make myself sit back and say, ‘Dadgum, this is pretty good,”‘ Williams said Tuesday.
That’s not to say Williams doesn’t have plenty going on right now. He plans to join Tyler Hansbrough ó the all-time scoring leader in Atlantic Coast Conference history and the program’s career leading rebounder ó in New York at Thursday’s NBA draft, where Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green also figured to be picked. Those four were the top scorers on a team that made good on all the preseason expectations to win the NCAA title, ending with a romp over Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit.
Still, Williams has more experienced talent to work with hanging around Chapel Hill this summer, from Deon Thompson ó who averaged almost 11 points per game ó to Ed Davis, a big man many projected could have been a lottery pick had he left school after just one season. So instead of scrambling to find help for next year, Williams is busy focusing on improving the group he already has and planning a season-long celebration of the program’s 100th season.
It includes an alumni game in September among current NBA players. The Tar Heels will also wear throwback uniforms in several games to honor past NCAA championship squads, though Williams said with a chuckle they won’t include the short shorts of yesteryear.
“This is a unique place,” Williams said. “There’s not many schools on that level that can have the tradition, the history, that we have and have the family atmosphere and have people that care desperately about what happens.”
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