North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams has been ranked 16th in ESPN.com’s “Top 50 Coaches” series. Williams, who has coached at North Carolina since 2003, was ranked ahead of Mark Few of Gonzaga (17th) and Steve Fisher of San Diego State (18th). Here is a snippet of what Eamonn Brennan had to say about Coach Roy:
Because on the court, Williams has been excellent, and the 2013-14 team was some of his finest pure coaching work in years.
Losing Hairston wasn’t just an ugly bit of press. It was a genuine blow to a team built around Hairston’s unique blend of wing shooting and interior strength. Without him, Williams had to recalibrate a young team top to bottom. He put Marcus Paige into countless pick and rolls, discovered Paige’s unique off-dribble shot-making and got a brilliant sophomore campaign out of his point guard. He persuaded James Michael McAdoo, one of the nation’s most disappointing players a year ago, to be more direct and decisive on the offensive end. He oversaw the emergence of two young big men, and now Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks both project as stars in 2014-15. (Johnson needs more touches, but with McAdoo gone, that shouldn’t be a problem.)
Gradually, Williams turned what could have been a disastrous season into an impressive one. The Tar Heels recovered from their weird nonconference months — when they beat Michigan State, Kentucky and Louisville, and lost to Belmont and UAB — to rattle off 12 straight wins from Jan. 26 to March 3. They were a late DeAndre Kane bucket away from the Sweet 16.
Oh, and Williams is recruiting well, just as he always does. The 2014 class is especially impressive. It comprises three players, all of whom are at least top-three at their position nationally: No. 2-ranked small forward Justin Jackson, No. 3-ranked small forward Theo Pinson and No. 3-ranked point guard Joel Berry. The Tar Heels’ lone weakness last season — off-ball wing play — is now an embarrassment of riches.
The entire article can be found here. ESPN is ranking the Top 50 college basketball coaches, as decided by the ESPN Forecast Panel, as part of an ongoing series.
Roy Williams has won two National Championships at North Carolina, in 2005 and 2009. His overall head coaching record is 724-190 for a winning percentage of .792. He has led his teams to eight Final Fours, both at Kansas and at UNC.
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