North Carolina holds the record for first round picks in the NBA draft with Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley taking the total up to 48. Roy Williams has coached 18 of them. Not bad for a guy with a national reputation for wanting his players to stay in college and failing to attract one-and-done talent, right? Roy’s success has been pretty impressive despite the lack of talent that uses the NCAA as a launching pad to the NBA. So what makes Roy successful at getting players drafted without really playing the one-and-done game?
The talent has been there. Williams has had three one-and-dones in his tenure at UNC. Marvin Williams, Brandan Wright, and Tony Bradley all spent one season at North Carolina and all went in the NBA Draft in the first round. Even with these three taking the opportunity to go pro after one season, Roy has really only had a few other players who could have made the jump before deciding to return for another season.
Harrison Barnes came in as the #1 player in the country and was a Preseason All American. He had a solid freshman campaign and could have been a lottery pick after his freshman year, but the 2012 team had a real chance at a championship and Barnes decided to stay and chase the trophy.
Roy has been able to get players drafted because the system he has built at UNC allows players to develop. One of the best examples of this is Brice Johnson. There always seemed to be tension between Brice and Roy, but Brice struggled to stay on the court his first three years. He was considered a nice player but no one expected him to turn into a consensus first team All American in his senior year. He was one of the several players that stayed in Roy's system and saw his draft stock blossom.
Another way Roy has success getting his players drafted is how he approaches the NBA draft. Contrary to the media’s portrayals of him, Roy will tell his players the truth because he wants his players to be drafted and will support whatever decision they make. This was evident when JP Tokoto, one of the more shocking draft enrollees, put his name in the NBA Draft. When asked about this decision, Williams said he had told his player that it may not be the smartest thing to do. Either way, he supported him through it.
Williams is a coach that will shoot you straight and support whatever decision you make. The system Roy has built at UNC, along with his honesty and the support he shows his players help get his guys to the next level.