Prior to UNC's game versus Ohio State, Roy Williams revealed that he had started taking a tougher approach which the team. In short, Williams was decided to use fear to keep the Tar Heels in line, something he apparently hadn't done in several years but C.B. McGrath noted he was "closer" to a couple of weeks ago. That approach apparently hasn't lightened up any with Williams walking out of Thursday's 11 AM practice after 45 minutes and telling the players to return at 11 PM.
According to Brice Johnson, Williams ended the practice after about 45 minutes because the team failed to execute as he instructed.
"We go to the 'recognition drill' and we messed up one last time...did the exact same thing he told us not to do and he lost it and told us to come back at 11." Johnson said.
Johnson said this was the first time Williams has walked out and not returned. Marcus Paige went and asked if they should finish the practice or not. Paige was told one of the assistant coaches they would do it again anyway so he came back and led to team in 15-20 minutes of "dummy" offense to finish the session.
The team returned at 11 PM and according to Johnson left the court at 1:05 AM who also said the practice "wasn't fun."
With a mostly veteran team and three freshman who have been called "advanced" in their fit with the team, Williams has decided to apply tougher measures to get the results he wants. UNC has faced questions so far this season about toughness, consistency of effort and overall execution. While the tightening of the screws prior to the Ohio State game dealt with the first two, this recent outburst is clearly aimed at the execution aspect of the team's performance.
Heading into ACC play toughness, effort and execution are critical. There are no easy games left regardless of what the KenPom ranking might say about an upcoming opponent. There are also games that require a team to win outside its comfort zone. Since UNC is on semester break, Williams utilized the free time to make a point even if it may have violated the NCAA's restriction on practice between midnight and 5 AM.
One note: Kennedy Meeks has been suffering from a stomach bug which limited his playing time on Tuesday versus William & Mary. He is expected to play this weekend though that is not certain. Stilman White will not travel to Clemson due to a similar illness.