… Basketball Euphoria has a life span of 24-72 hours at this time of the season. Chapel Hill sanitation workers remove the charred remains of last nights Franklin Street victory fires and area fans ratchet up their March intensity. The six hours from 4 PM until 10 PM Sunday may have been as thrill-packed as “Big Four” basketball fans have ever experienced. The primo story is the evolution of “the pissed-off posse” of April 2003 into arguably the #1 team in America and the architect that wrought this remarkable transition.
Setting the stage … Sunday, March 6 was a typical day for yours truly. Waking up in Columbus, Ohio in town for The 2005 Arnold Classic – the premier annual event for the Bodybuilding/Fitness industry. It’s been my privilege to be a special guest at this event for the past seven years. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his partner Jim Lorimer have become special BobLee Buddies and the weekend always has its rare treats. Of the many opportunities associated with being “me” this one is “unique”. … A UNC alum with close ties to NASCAR, BodyBuilding, and The Bush Administration … and I wonder why I’m not asked to be a UNC commencement speaker … bwahahahaha!
This year’s “new meets” included “Willie Mays Hayes”/”Blade” hisownself Wesley Snipes (low key “good guy”), Olympic gymnasts Carly Patterson (a cutie), the Hahn Brothers as well as “an original Power Ranger” and Jenny Hindershott the current Miss Fitness International uber-Hottie. Maria looks better than she has in past years.
Going thru airport security I had to remove my belt and almost dropped trou due to the diminishing effects of 6 weeks on the South Beach diet. Flying home from 4-6 I knew that Kid was TiVoing UNC-Duke so my evening was set. Mizzus had ordered me a rack of my favorite ribs and I carefully avoided any post-game results mention. Best laid plans of mice, men and TiVo … TiVo “record” was set from 4-6PM … Tar Heels down by 9 with 1:30 to play and “click” it goes off. Do any of you happen to know how the game ended? Did I miss anything important?
Kid felt awful but I assured her, as I do you loyal readers, it’s “just a game” and nothing to get upset about … %$#@&* … I did catch the 2nd half of Wake-State but missed Chris Paul’s controversial low blow to Julius Hodge in the first half. That notwithstanding, the ending was an ACC classic. As noted above, at this point in the season, savoring any victory is short-lived as “the next game” quickly becomes the focus but yesterday’s action does merit its proper reflection.
Roy Williams is the one UNC sports figure I have yet to meet. Dickie, John, Dawn, The Meez, Norwood, Anson, Woody, Mack, The Old Trenchfighter, The Legend in The Basement, Uncle Gut, even Coach K, “Herb”, Little Johnny Swofford, et al I have had some degree of personal interaction with … but not Ol’ Roy. My opinion of Ol’ Roy is totally based on what any interested fan can observe in his public persona as well as some discussion with some who do know him well.
As the archives of this website attest, I have been a major Ol’ Roy fan from well before his Lawrence “I’m staying” moment and my respect for the man never wavered during his “even more hated than Dickie” days as gloom, doom, and despair settled over the Tar Heel Nation from 2000 to April 2003. From “I’m staying” until “the pissed off posse” at Mad Matt’s public execution in April 2003, Tar Heel basketball fans had a rare opportunity to learn the character-building benefits of humility. Many chose to skip that lesson however and that three year period joins “Bobby Ewing takes a shower” in the “it never really happened” revisionist history books. Oh well …
In just 23 months the “pissed off posse” has evolved from “slouchy mall rats with attitudes” into as fine a team of Tar Heel athletes as any in history. Certainly their final destiny has yet to be written but this cyber scribe is ready to carve this achievement in stone and hand out the golden Choo Choos to everyone involved … especially to Ol’ Roy Williams – The Blue Messiah.
This team has nothing to prove this week at “The Phone Booth” in Washington – The MCI Center. I am predicting that among the 3 “favorites” of UNC, Duke, Wake … only one of those three will be playing next Sunday. It’s a week to avoid injuries and spend more bandwidth discussing “the Asheville enigma” and “how good can this team be?” The “real tournament” starts next week.
“Down by 9 with 2:00 to go” is not quite “down by 8 with 17 seconds” but it goes into the growing legend of The Blue Messiah. There will be countless chapters to this growing legend in the dozen or so years to come.
Ranking Ol’ Roy with the Woodens, Rupps, Smiths is unnecessary and best left to the pig-eyed loonies of the fan boards. He has never won “THE Big One” and ultimately “THE Big Ones” are how all “Greats” are measured. “Ye Olde Legend” won two and both were nailbiters that could have gone the other way in the waning seconds. Dean could have 877 Ws and no rings and still been “Ye Olde Legend”. Coach K has “three and counting” with the best recruiting class in the country coming in next Fall. Ol’ Roy v Coach K will be thrilling us for many years to come.
Bobby Knight will likely surpass “Ye Olde” in Ws within the next 20 months as he is within 25 of him now. Coach K will likely get there within 5-6 years baring unforeseen career ending circumstances. Ol’ Roy got too late a start as a Head Coach to entertain such aspirations … but 3-4 “rings” are not inconceivable.
As for me, I refuse to let any “yes buts” spoil my total appreciation for the coaching genius of Roy Williams. Few if any other coach could have inherited the dysfunctional mess he walked into in April 2003 and within just 23 months turned such a sow’s ear into the silk purse we enjoy today. Yes, Matt Doherty had assembled “talent” but undisciplined “talent” flounders without leadership.
Roy could easily have written off this year’s seniors and embarked on a 3-4 year turn-around schedule and every Tar Heel fan of average intellect would have understood. That Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel, and Melvin Scott were indispensable cogs in this year’s team is “the coaching genius of Roy Williams”. He took “your’n and added “his’n” and made a championship team.
…The emergence of Sean May from a Pillsbury Doughboy into my personal choice for NPOY is a tribute to Roy Williams. May’s development thru the past 2 months has been simply remarkable.
The immediate contribution of Marvin Williams is simply a taste of what is to come in the Ol’ Roy Era. The term “a Carolina type of kid” has taken its rightful share of ridicule from some recent regrettable issues in another sport. I’ll refine the term to “a Roy Williams type of kid”. Roy has been right in the middle of the evolution of “recruiting” from kids grateful for an opportunity to “prima donna thugs” pitting college offers vs the NBA. He recruited “the right kind of kid” to KU and he will bring “the right kind of kids” to UNC. Frasier and Hansbrough (sp?) will fit right in.
Even his handling of “the Asheville enigma” has been incredible. That individual circumstance showed how versatile his leadership style can be when need be. Such a distraction will not be a part of future Roy Williams-led teams.
I will never measure Roy Williams by his March record although I expect long and enjoyable dances for sure. “One and Done” is too much Russian Roulette to measure a coach as both of Dean’s “dodged bullet” NCs attest.
Sports fans being the odd little beasts that they are will never allow Roy to escape the shadows of “Ye Olde Legend”. Three rings will help in that regard. But here is one to ponder …
Uncle Gut only coaches two years to fatten his pension and Roy is called in Spring 1999 rather than 2000 before he recruits Heinrich and Collison. Prodigal Son Roy comes home and brings his KU staff in tact INCLUDING his ace recruiter Matt Doherty. There are not “two lost recruiting classes” and Matt has by now moved on to his own head job somewhere likely wearing two rings … one as a UNC player and one as a UNC Asst Coach.
… but ya know Tar Heel fans, even though it didn’t happen quite “that way”
the way it did turn out is pretty good … don’tchathink?
I did not see Chris Paul’s “low blow” but even Deacon fans seem displeased about it. Wuffies, of course, get “displeased” if the sun rises in the East. Could this be “the incident” that defines Skip Prosser’s ACC image? … What say you Skip ???
At 3:30 PM Monday, WFU suspended Chris Paul from its next game, Here are Skip and Paul’s statements. I, for one, consider this “taking appropriate action”.
Statement From Head Coach Skip Prosser
“I have said for two years that I would not trade Chris Paul for any point guard in the country. This remains the case. The game of basketball is best played in a certain manner. Chris committed a grave error in judgement Sunday evening. He is contrite and aware that his actions did not reflect the best of Wake Forest and our basketball team. This disciplinary action speaks on our intention to hold our players to the highest standards of sportsmanship and proper conduct.
“At this time we turn our attention to improving our team and preparing for the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. I will have no future comment about this decision.”
Statement From Sophomore Guard Chris Paul
“I would like to apologize to Julius Hodge, the NC State team, Wake Forest fans and my teammates for an incident that I truly regret. Sunday night was emotional for me for many reasons and I let my emotions get the best of me. However, that is no excuse for my actions and I fully accept and agree with my suspension.”
Name all the movies you can think of that starred
TWO FUTURE GOVERNORS?
(Hint: Bedtime For Bonzo” is NOT one of them)
Yes, Clifton Clowers and his pretty young daughter did live “on Wolverton Mountain”.
Overheard on Sunday morning while breakfasting at a Bob Evans’ in Columbus Ohio … Five “middle-aged” ladies swooning about Clay Aikens. … Also … within 10 minutes of touring The Arnold Fitness Expo with 100,000 attendees I saw FIVE UNC ballcaps … They literally are EVERYWHERE!