Tuesday, June 17, 2008

THE GENIUS OF OL’ ROY

Believe it or not, there are folks in Tar Heel Nation that doubt Roy Williams. This usually surfaces during conversations about “in game” coaching. You see, some of the loyalist don’t like how he manages a game – Roy is from the Phil Jackson school of Let ‘Em Play vs. Call A Time Out Every Time They Miss Two Shots In A Row.

That aside, how Roy manages the program is sheer magic. Case in point being the return of Ty Lawson who will, no doubt, be facing some punishment for his off court indiscretions.

Nobody was terribly surprised that Wayne Ellington and Danny Green will return to Chapel Hill for next season after removing their names from the NBA draft Monday. Lawson was another story.

However, the return of all three demonstrates the upside of Williams strategy to embrace the NBA draft and the pre-draft camp tryout process. By getting directly involved with the various NBA teams, Williams keeps each player's ear during a time when quality input from his basketball mentor was most important.

While various family members and potential agents are telling these kids how great they are, Ol’ Roy is saying “let’s talk to the NBA teams and find out what THEY THINK?’ It’s brilliant.

Here’s what he said about the return of Ellington, Lawson and Green:

"After a long and exhaustive process of gathering information and sharing it with these youngsters, I stepped back and asked them to make their own decisions. I'm very pleased with their decisions because I get to coach them for another year. I'm also pleased that they went through the process and gained valuable information. It was reassuring that the feedback they got from the NBA teams is the same type of feedback our coaching staff has been giving them.

"It was a lengthy process, but one that is fair for these youngsters. Everyone should have the right to be evaluated in terms of possibly reaching his dreams. I feel strongly that all of these young men will eventually be NBA players. The timing was just not exactly right at this point. They had my 100 percent support throughout the process, regardless of which decision they might have made."

Add to that the simple fact that UNC will now return its entire starting lineup and thus save Williams the pain of on-the-job training of three McDonalds All Americans now winging thier way toward Chapel Hill. Now Ol' Roy can cultivate freshmen Ed Davis (who will fill the defensive/rebounder role that Stepheson left), Tyler Zeller (a 7-foot guy who loves to run) and Larry Drew (a solid point guard that won't be required to do much but learn) at a sensible pace.

Brilliantly done.

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