UNC Basketball: Roy Williams Deserves Credit for Seasons Turnaround

Despite a loss in the third round of the NCAA Tournament I will look back at this season fondly.  North Carolina was extremely overrated to start the season with a top 15 ranking.  They struggled at the beginning of the season and looked like a team that could miss the NCAA Tournament all together.  But maybe the best thing about this season was seeing head coach Roy Williams buck his philosophy and everything he is comfortable with and go with a small lineup.

Mar 22, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams looks down the court against the Villanova Wildcats in the first half during the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Sprint Center. North Carolina defeated Villanova 78-71. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Roy wasn’t comfortable with the move when he made it and he never did get anymore comfortable but he stuck with it and the Tar Heels were better, much better in fact for it.  I raised the question recently if Andrew Wiggins joins this team will Roy go with small ball yet again?  Something tells me we won’t see a small starting lineup next season either Wiggins goes somewhere else or the Heels  losing another perimeter player.

Did Roy Williams wait too long to insert P.J. Hairston into the starting lineup over Desmond Hubert?  Maybe, but that’s not his only big time adjustment.  After making the switch Roy went to a tighter rotation only Leslie McDonald played significant minutes off the bench.  He went against everything he’s done his entire career, changed course and stuck with it the rest of the season.

One of the biggest criticisms I hear is that Roy is stubborn and stuck in his ways and to some degree I can agree with that at times (take the sometimes frustrating timeout strategy for instance).  I like to think that even the fans that get irate at Roy’s ways throughout the season appreciate him deep down and love what he has done for this University and respect his greatness within the sport.  As one of those people I can’t help but look back at this season and smile, good job Roy.

Topics: North Carolina Tar Heels

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  • jayhawkfan

    loved roy at kansas but the no timeout calling frustrated all of us as fans. bill self is exactly the opposite, as the result we haven’t seen big leads blown or been blown out by a large margin near as much as with roy. this is also the reason that we never got a championship with roy, despite being ranked #1 for like three years in a row. Self finds the best combination, isn’t afraid to make changes (like sitting McLemore Sunday), and coaches to win. i think roy would will have even more success (though he’s already been very successful at unc) when he amends his in-game coaching strategies a little.

    • coachj

      not sure what point you are trying to make. Roy’s in-game coaching is fine. UNC did not lose because Self coached better or Roy coached worse. They lost because they have no legitimate interior presence on either end of the floor. You cannot win against the top level teams consistently with five perimeter players on the court trying to create three point shots for themselves.

      • jayhawkfan

        I realize you are not sure what point i’m trying to make. All i’m saying is that self won a game he was supposed to win because of his in-game coaching. I’m not saying Sunday Roy had much of a chance with KU playing the way they did in the 2nd half. But in general, Roy sometimes loses games he’s supposed to win because of his hesitance to make changes during the game. If it’s a big game and they’re not running an offense that creates easy shots for themselves, you need to make an adjustment to the offense. I did not see Roy even attempt to make a change on Sunday.

        • coachj

          What would you have changed? Would you have told McAdoo to post up? PJ? Would you have all of a sudden changed to a flex offense? There are adjustments you make within your system that fans like you do not see. But making a change to do something that the players don’t know and can’t do is expecting something that just isn’t going to happen. Roy got the most out of his team and coaching didn’t lose the game. Lack of post players lost the game.

  • Jerry

    ‘Ol Roy most always gets outcoached at halftime for some reason. Also, I don’t believe that he would ever have gone small if the media and fans hadn’t been raising such a stink. If he had made the change a month earlier, we would have won more games and had more time to adjust before the tournament.