New York 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.
Ã¢ÂÂI want it to be a close game. I guess you could say I want Kansas to win by one in triple overtime,Ã¢ÂÂ 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.
WouldnÃ¢ÂÂt that put some undue stress on the man Scott affectionately refers to as Ã¢ÂÂPops?Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂThatÃ¢ÂÂs definitely true,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott Williams said, commenting on tonightÃ¢ÂÂs Preseason NIT semifinal between KU and UNC (approximately 8:30 p.m., Madison Square Garden).
Ã¢ÂÂThose kind of games get everybody nervous, but they show you what people are made of and can help a team later in the season.Ã¢ÂÂ
Williams, a bond trader for Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, N.C, who wonÃ¢ÂÂt be able to attend tonightÃ¢ÂÂs 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.
Ã¢ÂÂYes IÃ¢ÂÂm worried about him. He is so passionate about it. ItÃ¢ÂÂs to his physical detriment,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott Williams said of his 52-year-old dad.
Ã¢ÂÂDefinitely IÃ¢ÂÂm worried about him from that perspective.Ã¢ÂÂ
HeÃ¢ÂÂs not the only one.
Ã¢ÂÂMy mom is trying to get him to retire now,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott said, matter-of-faculty. Ã¢ÂÂIf he is fortunate enough to win the title, I think heÃ¢ÂÂd hang it up. MomÃ¢ÂÂs bickering ... I think heÃ¢ÂÂd be forced to fold at that point.Ã¢ÂÂ
While Roy Williams is wildly popular in the state of Kansas - itÃ¢ÂÂs 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 wonÃ¢ÂÂt consider ScottÃ¢ÂÂs dad a success until he wins it all.
Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt think thatÃ¢ÂÂs a big driving force for him, but it bothers both of them (parents) - Pops because he wants to please everybody. You canÃ¢ÂÂt do that. Too many people have differing opinions,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott Williams said.
Ã¢ÂÂI think MomÃ¢ÂÂs biggest deal is she wants to have him be able to sleep a whole night (without waking up).
Ã¢ÂÂShe wants to hang out at the beach together (at beach home in South Carolina). She, for selfish reasons, doesnÃ¢ÂÂt want to share him and thatÃ¢ÂÂs understandable. In the season thereÃ¢ÂÂs so little time for them to spend together. She understands itÃ¢ÂÂs the demands of that business. She knew what she was signing up for.Ã¢ÂÂ
Scott, a 1995 Lawrence High graduate who was a reserve guard on the LionsÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ95 Class 6A state championship team, recognizes his dadÃ¢ÂÂs passion of basketball as deep.
Ã¢ÂÂHe is so passionate because he cares so deeply for kids in his program,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott Williams said. Ã¢ÂÂWhen he goes in homes for visits he tells parents, Ã¢ÂÂ'I will take care of your son if he comes to Kansas.Ã¢ÂÂ It means so much to him. People ask me, Ã¢ÂÂ'Do you have other brothers and sisters?Ã¢ÂÂ I say I have one sister and 13 or 14 brothers depending on how many guys are on PopsÃ¢ÂÂ team that year.Ã¢ÂÂ
While Scott wasnÃ¢ÂÂt 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.
Ã¢ÂÂThe pressure would be outrageous at North Carolina, just like Kansas,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott said. Ã¢ÂÂHaving family support nonstop might make it easier for them, especially my mom. Pops loves golf. In North Carolina you can play year round.
Ã¢ÂÂHe says he wants to coach Little League baseball and they have teams in both Kansas and North Carolina.Ã¢ÂÂ
Indeed, Roy Williams says his major goal in life now is not to win a national title in basketball, but coach his grandson or granddaughterÃ¢ÂÂs Little League team. Of course, he has no grandchildren yet.
Ã¢ÂÂAt this point,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott Williams said, Ã¢ÂÂI think the next time talk will come about Pops leaving is when heÃ¢ÂÂs retiring, not taking another job.Ã¢ÂÂ
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 SmithÃ¢ÂÂs offer to come home.
Ã¢ÂÂReally until the day Pops announced, he didnÃ¢ÂÂt know what he wanted to do,Ã¢ÂÂ Scott said. Ã¢ÂÂHe called me that morning (July 7, 2000) and said, Ã¢ÂÂ'IÃ¢ÂÂve made a decision and have a press conference tonight.Ã¢ÂÂ I said, Ã¢ÂÂ'I know itÃ¢ÂÂs a good decision, but donÃ¢ÂÂt tell me.Ã¢ÂÂ He said, Ã¢ÂÂ'I want to tell you.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂBut I said, Ã¢ÂÂ'So many people are asking me about it at work and I donÃ¢ÂÂt want to have to lie to people. If I donÃ¢ÂÂt know the decision I donÃ¢ÂÂt have to lie.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂIt was not a tough time for me. It was actually easy. IÃ¢ÂÂd 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, Ã¢ÂÂ'IÃ¢ÂÂm happy for him but I donÃ¢ÂÂt think heÃ¢ÂÂs accepted.Ã¢ÂÂ The reporter said, Ã¢ÂÂ'Oh yes, he did.Ã¢ÂÂ That was a week before he announced his decision and everybody was positive.
Ã¢ÂÂAs far as the way people have treated me, itÃ¢ÂÂs not changed. ItÃ¢ÂÂs still probably tough on Pops. He feels he let some people down. But my perspective is itÃ¢ÂÂs two gracious groups of people, Carolina people and KU people.
Ã¢ÂÂEven now people come up to me and say, Ã¢ÂÂ'WeÃ¢ÂÂd rather have your dad, but weÃ¢ÂÂre happy to have coach (Matt) Doherty and we think heÃ¢ÂÂs going to do a great job.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ
Indeed, Matt Doherty is beginning his third year at UNC and has his young team off to a 3-0 start.
Ã¢ÂÂCoach Doherty has been as gracious as he can be to former players,Ã¢ÂÂ Williams said. Ã¢ÂÂThe 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.Ã¢ÂÂ
Doherty replaced Guthridge, who replaced Smith.
Ã¢ÂÂCoach Doherty is going to be fantastic,Ã¢ÂÂ Williams said. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs 100 percent positive around here again.Ã¢ÂÂ