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Archive for Wednesday, July 4, 2001

KU basketball notebook: Last summer ancient history for Williams

July 4, 2001

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Except for fireworks blasting in the sky, today figures to be a quiet Fourth of July for Kansas University men's basketball coach Roy Williams.

Nothing like last year's holiday, that's for sure.

Remember, one year ago today, Williams was on the campus of his alma mater the University of North Carolina listening to recruiting pitches of Carolina coaching legend Dean Smith and athletics director Dick Baddour, who offered Williams the opportunity to coach the Tar Heel basketball team.

Williams ultimately decided to decline UNC's offer on July 6 and remain KU's coach.

"I will not look back on it," Williams said of last year's week of personal torment and decision. "It's not something I enjoyed. There were not many funny things that went on during that time period."

Williams was chased by media members from June 29 the day Bill Guthridge resigned as Tar Heel coach until July 6, when KU's coach held his "I'm Staying" press conference at KU's Memorial Stadium.

"It was the most bizarre thing I've been involved with the way the media ran with some stories that were not true," said Williams. "It was almost a frenzy. I thought from a media standpoint it got way over the edge.

"I just asked for some patience and to give me some time. I would come up with a decision and there would not be wild sources of information. It was the most stressful time I've ever endured in my life. I don't ever want to go through that again."

By staying at KU, Williams once and for all shot down the rumor that years ago he purchased a plot of land on the Governor's Club Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C. Ironically, he now does live on a golf course Lawrence's own Alvamar CC. Williams and his wife, Wanda, recently moved into a house on the course where he's a member.

"I made the right decision," Williams said. "I love KU. The players meant so much to me throughout the years and still do. I walked in (to press conference last July 6) and one of the first people I saw was Jeff Gueldner (from his first KU team). It brought a smile to my face.

"The most important thing to me is the relationships I've had and still have with those guys."

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Langford makes grade: Kansas University freshman guard Keith Langford has survived tryouts and made the roster of the Team USA/Texas high school all-star team that will represent the U.S. in this year's Global Games (July 22-28 in Dallas).

Langford, 6-foot-4 from Crowley, Texas, will be part of the 15-player U.S. team that will meet Lithuania, Yugoslavia, Senegal, Puerto Rico and Germany in the 22-and-under age group tourney.

Langford will join players such as Arizona's Will Bynum, Clemson's Sharrod Ford and Villanova's Marcus Austin. Langford made the team despite the fact he's been hobbled by a severe left ankle sprain. He was able to compete at last weekend's tryouts despite his swollen ankle.

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Bohl speaks: New Kansas athletics director Al Bohl on Williams: "I think we'll have an outstanding relationship. I really enjoyed during the interview process meeting with Roy. I had a great meeting with him. There's no question, Roy is one of the most highly respected coaches in the business. It'll be a pleasure for myself to have the opportunity to work with Roy.

"As the AD I'm responsible for all the athletics teams including basketball. What I try to do is I want to make sure every head coach including Roy feels really good. Part of my job is to be the leader of the program and make sure everyone tries to get the resources to be successful. We don't have a coach there I feel won't be happy when they find out they are meeting with Al Bohl. I think they will say, 'This will be a great guy to work with.'"

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Vaughn likely to leave Jazz: It'll be a major surprise if free agent point guard Jacque Vaughn is in Allen Fieldhouse for the Utah Jazz-Philadelphia 76ers NBA exhibition game this October.

The Salt Lake Tribune says the Chicago Bulls, coached by former Iowa State coach Tim Floyd, are in the market for a point guard and Vaughn could be their man. Former Kansas State coach Lon Kruger of the Atlanta Hawks is reportedly high on Vaughn and might persuade Atlanta management to sign the former Jayhawk.

"We're just getting started with this whole process. Really, it's too early to tell much of anything at this point," Vaughn's agent, Jeff Austin, told the Salt Lake paper.

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