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Interesting Excerpt On Roy Williams

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Former Kansas player Keith Langford has written a book title Beyond the Phog. In the book, Langford offers some interesting nuggets about Roy Williams in an excerpt from the book posted on KU Sports.


Most people don’t know this, but we had a lot of recruits take visits here, guys that are in the NBA right now, that Roy turned down. He would talk to us after their visit and ask us if we thought the guy would be a good fit. That was Roy's thing: It wasn’t always about getting the highest-rated recruits. It was about getting guys who were the best fit for what was going on.

Kris Humphries came on a visit and tried to commit. He really wanted to come here. But no one on the team liked Kris Humphries. He was arrogant. He told everyone he was going to come in and be the leading scorer as a freshman and that we’d all have to take a backseat to him. We were trying to be respectful and not say anything. But he was an absolute jerk. It was tough, because Roy was really excited about him. Kris Humphries was a big deal. He was a one-and-done or a two-and-done kind of player. Roy wanted him to commit on his visit. But we told him, "Coach, you can't bring this guy in. You can't do it." You'd figure Roy would say something like, “Let’s work on him,” or “Let’s give him another chance.” Instead he told Humphries, “Sorry, but you can’t come.” Bill Self did the same thing years later with Terrence Williams.

For all the respect we showed Roy, he always made it a point to show respect back. He treated everyone in his program really well. The coaches would never eat before the players. And when it came to getting in line for food, the seniors would always go first — then junior, sophomores, freshmen, managers and then coaches at the very end. They treated everyone from top to bottom the absolute same. Drew would get the same amount of attention that Chris Zerbe would get. It was incredible. His morals and his ethics and the way he conducted himself ... we would never catch him being a hypocrite. That was big with us.

Another thing was that, with us, you never had to worry about any sort of NCAA violations or rule-breaking. Roy always emphasized that he was going to do everything he could to help get us money. He was going to squeeze every dollar he could out of our scholarship checks. He was going to help us get our Pell grants and find camps for us to work at during the summer. He'd always say, “Don’t do anything to break NCAA rules, because we’re going to make sure you have a way to make money.” He was great about that. The fact that we stayed out of trouble also goes back to the character of guys he brought in. Like I said, it wasn't always the top 10 guys. It was the guys who were the best fit.

This probably sheds some light on why certain players do not end up at UNC that probably could have. As recently as this year, there is some mystery surrounding why the recruiting relationship between 2012 #1 ranked player Shabazz Muhammed and UNC went cold. The fact Roy gives such attention to how a player fits with the team could be part of the reason why Muhammed is no longer on the radar(though there are many other factors as well.) This probably explains why, up until the past two years, Roy rarely saw players transfer from his program. Obviously the Wears and Some Other Kid ended up being bad fits for whatever reason and that is bound to happen from time to time. Generally speaking, Roy relies on his current players to paint the whole picture of whether a recruit will be good for the team or not. This is extremely important in terms of maintaining good team chemistry. I also think most of your perennially established programs like UNC, Duke, etc operate with an eye of these types of specifics. When you are a destination for elite players you can afford to be picky and look for closer-to-perfect fits.

The rest of it is what we have heard before and a reflection of the Carolina Family values Dean Smith preached. Respect for others and taking care of "the family" but doing it within the rules has defined UNC basketball for 50 years. Roy did it that way at Kansas and he does it that way now.