Archive for Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Younger Williams makes exception

November 27, 2002

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— A proud University of North Carolina basketball alum, Scott Williams never roots against his beloved Tar Heels.

Except, of course, when the opponent is Kansas.

âÂÂI want it to be a close game. I guess you could say I want Kansas to win by one in triple overtime,â chuckled Williams, the 25-year-old son of KU coach Roy Williams, who played for Dean Smith two years and Bill Guthridge two years at UNC.

Triple overtime?

WouldnâÂÂt that put some undue stress on the man Scott affectionately refers to as âÂÂPops?âÂÂ

âÂÂThatâÂÂs definitely true,â Scott Williams said, commenting on tonightâÂÂs Preseason NIT semifinal between KU and UNC (approximately 8:30 p.m., Madison Square Garden).

âÂÂThose kind of games get everybody nervous, but they show you what people are made of and can help a team later in the season.âÂÂ

Williams, a bond trader for Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, N.C, who wonâÂÂt be able to attend tonightâÂÂs game in person - his girlfriend long ago set other Thanksgiving week plans - longs for a postseason in which KU wins six straight games and a national title.

He wants the title for his pops - a man driven to win his first national championship.

âÂÂYes IâÂÂm worried about him. He is so passionate about it. ItâÂÂs to his physical detriment,â Scott Williams said of his 52-year-old dad.

âÂÂDefinitely IâÂÂm worried about him from that perspective.âÂÂ

HeâÂÂs not the only one.

âÂÂMy mom is trying to get him to retire now,â Scott said, matter-of-faculty. âÂÂIf he is fortunate enough to win the title, I think heâÂÂd hang it up. MomâÂÂs bickering ... I think heâÂÂd be forced to fold at that point.âÂÂ

While Roy Williams is wildly popular in the state of Kansas - itâÂÂs believed both he and Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder could run for political office and win election - there are always some outspoken critics who wonâÂÂt consider ScottâÂÂs dad a success until he wins it all.

âÂÂI donâÂÂt think thatâÂÂs a big driving force for him, but it bothers both of them (parents) - Pops because he wants to please everybody. You canâÂÂt do that. Too many people have differing opinions,â Scott Williams said.

âÂÂI think MomâÂÂs biggest deal is she wants to have him be able to sleep a whole night (without waking up).

âÂÂShe wants to hang out at the beach together (at beach home in South Carolina). She, for selfish reasons, doesnâÂÂt want to share him and thatâÂÂs understandable. In the season thereâÂÂs so little time for them to spend together. She understands itâÂÂs the demands of that business. She knew what she was signing up for.âÂÂ

Scott, a 1995 Lawrence High graduate who was a reserve guard on the Lionsâ âÂÂ95 Class 6A state championship team, recognizes his dadâÂÂs passion of basketball as deep.

âÂÂHe is so passionate because he cares so deeply for kids in his program,â Scott Williams said. âÂÂWhen he goes in homes for visits he tells parents, âÂÂ'I will take care of your son if he comes to Kansas.â It means so much to him. People ask me, âÂÂ'Do you have other brothers and sisters?â I say I have one sister and 13 or 14 brothers depending on how many guys are on Popsâ team that year.âÂÂ

While Scott wasnâÂÂt surprised his dad chose to stay at Kansas during the wild summer of 2000 when Carolina grad Roy Williams was offered the UNC job, Scott said a move home might have helped his mom and dad in one way.

The Williamses have no relatives in Kansas; hordes in Carolina.

âÂÂThe pressure would be outrageous at North Carolina, just like Kansas,â Scott said. âÂÂHaving family support nonstop might make it easier for them, especially my mom. Pops loves golf. In North Carolina you can play year round.

âÂÂHe says he wants to coach Little League baseball and they have teams in both Kansas and North Carolina.âÂÂ

Indeed, Roy Williams says his major goal in life now is not to win a national title in basketball, but coach his grandson or granddaughterâÂÂs Little League team. Of course, he has no grandchildren yet.

âÂÂAt this point,â Scott Williams said, âÂÂI think the next time talk will come about Pops leaving is when heâÂÂs retiring, not taking another job.âÂÂ

Yet the topic of the North Carolina job never seems to die down.

Scott chuckles when asked about the Summer of 2000 when his dad rejected SmithâÂÂs offer to come home.

âÂÂReally until the day Pops announced, he didnâÂÂt know what he wanted to do,â Scott said. âÂÂHe called me that morning (July 7, 2000) and said, âÂÂ'IâÂÂve made a decision and have a press conference tonight.â I said, âÂÂ'I know itâÂÂs a good decision, but donâÂÂt tell me.â He said, âÂÂ'I want to tell you.âÂÂ

âÂÂBut I said, âÂÂ'So many people are asking me about it at work and I donâÂÂt want to have to lie to people. If I donâÂÂt know the decision I donâÂÂt have to lie.âÂÂ

âÂÂIt was not a tough time for me. It was actually easy. IâÂÂd get an occasional phone call from the Greensboro paper. A guy from the Greensboro paper asked me for comments about Pops accepting the North Carolina job. I said, âÂÂ'IâÂÂm happy for him but I donâÂÂt think heâÂÂs accepted.â The reporter said, âÂÂ'Oh yes, he did.â That was a week before he announced his decision and everybody was positive.

âÂÂAs far as the way people have treated me, itâÂÂs not changed. ItâÂÂs still probably tough on Pops. He feels he let some people down. But my perspective is itâÂÂs two gracious groups of people, Carolina people and KU people.

âÂÂEven now people come up to me and say, âÂÂ'WeâÂÂd rather have your dad, but weâÂÂre happy to have coach (Matt) Doherty and we think heâÂÂs going to do a great job.âÂÂâÂÂâÂÂ

Indeed, Matt Doherty is beginning his third year at UNC and has his young team off to a 3-0 start.

âÂÂCoach Doherty has been as gracious as he can be to former players,â Williams said. âÂÂThe basketball office sends out a mailing every year helping us get tickets. I think he has learned a lot in a couple years and he has brought in some outstanding players who are going to be great. You have to remember except for coach (John) Wooden at UCLA, perhaps nobody has had bigger shoes to fill.âÂÂ

Doherty replaced Guthridge, who replaced Smith.

âÂÂCoach Doherty is going to be fantastic,â Williams said. âÂÂItâÂÂs 100 percent positive around here again.âÂÂ

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