Vertigo Slows UNC's Roy Williams
Posted July 18, 2007
Chapel Hill, N.C. — North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams has battled sand bunkers, text-message bans and airport delays in his recruiting-filled summer with vacation on the side. On Wednesday at his annual summer press conference, he battled something much different – a case of vertigo.
The coach was hoarse and droopy-eyed in his chat with reporters, but he still had gave his typical mix of serious lecture combined with jokes and wisecracks.
Most of the questions centered on recruiting – which has taken up most of Williams’ summer. He just finished up a whirlwind recruiting trip during the NCAA’s 10-day July recruiting period. While he couldn’t talk about individual recruits because of NCAA rules, he had plenty to say about the current state of college basketball recruiting.
“Recruiting is like farming,” Williams said. “All you do every day is you pull the weeds and water the soil. …You don’t have any idea until the crops come in whether you did good or not.”
Williams said he loathes the impersonal, information overload, sales-pitch style of modern recruiting.
“Recruiting, it stinks, it’s demeaning,” Williams said. “But I really try to get involved and get past that.”
Williams said he loves when he gets the chance to sit down with a recruit one-on-one.
As for his take on the NCAA’s recent text-message ban, an effort to curb the latest recruiting craze, Williams said he regrets the ban though it affects him little.
“I probably text fewer prospects than any coach in the country,” Williams said. “I think it’s really bad that we don’t have that option. I did text two or three kids and that’s it. Everything is better in moderation and some coaches are not doing it in moderation.”
While he said he doesn’t text often,Williams supports text messages as a recruiting tool.
“It just got out of hand,” he said. “I wish we could get it back, I wish we could put some moderation on it. I think that’s what we’re trying to revisit. Cause there’s no question it’s helpful. If a kid doesn’t want to answer you back he doesn’t have to.”
Carolina does not have a freshman coming in this fall, although the Heels do have redshirt freshman William Graves. Carolina has two commitments, from guard Larry Drew Jr. and forward Ed Davis, from rising high school seniors.
Many other questions focused on the coach’s lingering impressions from last year’s season-ending loss to Georgetown in the round of eight..
“The Georgetown game was the first game I felt like our freshmen and sophomores for the last eight minutes of the game acted like freshmen and sophomores,” Williams said.
Williams said it was one of three losses in his career that would stick with him the longest – the other two were many years ago at Kansas. But he also said that people who classify the season as a disappointment because of the Georgetown loss are mistaken.
“I thought [last season] was very successful,” Williams said. “It didn’t get where it wants to be but that’s the crutch of the problem cause that’s where everyone wants to be.”
He then said that last year’s UNC success – a tie for regular-season league championship, a conference tournament championship, a trip to the final eight and a shot at the end of the game to win – is too much to be overshadowed by the last game.
“You ask every coach in America if they would take that, and the answer would be yes from every one of them,” he said.
As for the vertigo, Williams said it’s something he’s battled before – his last bout with it came two years ago in July. He joked that his wife had caused it to reappear after she’d been on the beach for a few weeks while he was on the road.
When a reporter asked if he’d seen a doctor, Williams deadpanned, “I even went to the Mayo clinic one time and they checked out my brain, and they thought it was one of the largest brains they have every seen.”
As for his current players and their summer plans, Williams said he hadn’t been in touch with many of them lately because of the recruiting period, but that they’re spread out across the globe, staying on their game in various ways.
Wayne Ellington made the final cut for the USA Pan Am team and Williams said he planned to see Ellington on Thursday if he felt well enough. Deon Thompson has been in Serbia with the U-19 USA World Championship team, which was 5-0 through Wednesday.
Williams said Tyler Hansbrough has spent most of his summer in Chapel Hill, working out with strength coach Jonas Sahratian. He said that both Hansbrough and Ty Lawson were invited to tryout for the Pan Am team, but that neither wanted to, which was fine with him.
Williams said Hansbrough craves the six-to-eight hour per day workouts, while Lawson had been at LeBron James’ summer basketball camp working as a counselor.
And as for having a much more experienced team than Williams is used to, the coach was just excited to get them back on the floor.
“There’s no question you can move faster, you can make little changes with what you’ve done in the past and it’s easier for them to grasp,” he said. “It’ll be more fun for me because I can push them harder. It makes it sound like I kill them, but I don’t.”
NOTES: Williams said he attended LeBron James’ camp and got to see Lawson and that he came away impressed with LeBron, who often participated in pickup games with the campers. … Williams didn’t have much to report on Bobby Frasor’s foot injury, other than to say it seemed to be fine and that he was much more concerned about it earlier in the summer than he is now. …
The coach wouldn’t speculate on this year’s starting lineup. He did say that two years ago, he knew Hansbrough and David Noel would start, and that last year, he knew that Hansbrough and Reyshawn Terry would start. This year, all he said was, “I’m pretty sure the big fella will be out there.”