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Archive for Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Fan mail wasted on Williams

Kansas coach weary of critical correspondence

December 10, 2002

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All mail sent to Roy Williams' office will be treated as junk the rest of this season.

Cards and letters will either pile up on the Kansas University basketball coach's couch or be tossed into the circular file - the waste basket.

"I hope nobody writes me a letter and says, 'If you answer this I'll give you a million dollars,' because I'll be out a million. I'm never reading another piece of mail," Williams said calmly Monday at his weekly news conference.

Last week he made the "mistake" of reading some unsigned, anonymous mail sent to him by KU fans who are livid at the Jayhawks' 3-3 start.

"Last week was ridiculous," Williams said of the correspondence. "Last year we didn't give the idiots out there enough chance to write because we lost to Ball State and won two straight games immediately after that, so they didn't have enough time to put it in writing.

"We lost at UCLA and 48 hours later played one of our better games of the year at Stillwater. We lost in the (Big 12) Tournament, then in the NCAAs won four straight games to go to the Final Four.

"The idiots came out of the woodwork last week."

Williams, whose Jayhawks will try to bounce back from Saturday's 84-78 loss to Oregon at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Tulsa, said he has no problem with criticism per se.

"People are going to say things. I understand that," Williams said. "I did have a letter where I wrote the guy back. He signed it. It was a good letter. I wrote back and talked about some things.

"If it is justifiable and it's constructive there's nothing wrong with somebody giving you an opinion. For me as a coach, nobody is more critical than I am. Last night we had less than 13 minutes of clips to show the team. It took almost an hour to do it. I've seen every play in the game 10 times. Nobody will be more critical than I am."

The coach has grown weary of critical letters that are unsigned with no return address. He's not a user of the Internet so online criticism - which also is all anonymous - never reaches him.

"I haven't gotten that dumb that quickly," said Williams, whose team reached the Final Four last season. "If I had been dumb I'd have been dumb for 15 years. As far as how to insulate the guys (Jayhawks) from it, I don't know, but that's what I'll do myself. I'm not going to read.

"The team ... they have to understand all that stuff is on the periphery. Adversity sometimes is good for you, to see how you react to that. Are we going to work harder or start pointing fingers, blaming somebody else?"

Mailcarriers will probably like Williams' new no-read policy. The basketball office gets a lot of snail mail.

"If for some reason you decide to write me a nice letter, do it in the summer 'cause I ain't reading it now," the coach said with a grin.

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Stall ball coming?: Williams, who is furious his players committed 22 turnovers against nine assists in Saturday's loss, said he may be forced to put the brakes on the team's vaunted fastbreak.

"We have to make better decisions," Williams said. "If we have to, if this team needs to slow the ball down and walk it up and play a 35-point game, I can coach that.

"You're not going to enjoy it and I'm probably not going to enjoy watching it. We're not going to turn the ball over like that any more."

Williams made his players run penalty sprints at practice Monday if they lost possession of the ball a second time.

"We could have played with a 13-second clock Saturday," Williams said disgustedly. "Nobody is trying to go solo because of selfishness or anything like that. They are impatient, trying to make things happen too quickly."

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Coach, player chat: Williams and slumping point guard Aaron Miles had a meeting Monday afternoon.

"Aaron is concerned about his own game. We had a nice conversation, met for a little while. It's something I think his play will improve," Williams said on his "Hawk Talk" radio show.

Miles is hitting just 26.5 percent of his shots with 35 assists against 25 turnovers. He had four assists and seven turnovers while missing 10 of 11 shots at Oregon.

"He had such a good freshman year, maybe I bothered him. I kept saying, Between your freshman and sophomore year you have your best improvement,''' Williams said. "His numbers were absolutely sensational as a freshman. He's a tough kid. If I had to put a finger on it I'd say he's probably expecting too much, pressing himself too much, trying to do too much, all those things."

Senior Kirk Hinrich thinks Miles will be fine.

"With Aaron, he rushed a few shots. Once he gets the shot selection ... really it's the whole team's shot selection," Hinrich said. "Turnovers ... point guards will turn the ball over a lot more than others. I'm not worried about that, Aaron usually makes good decisions. He had one game he didn't play well. I'm not worried about him."

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