Archive for Thursday, April 7, 2005

Opinion: Ol’ Roy gets it done

April 7, 2005

Like him or hate him, loathe it or love it, Monday night Roy Williams officially became the head basketball coach at North Carolina. Finally.

No longer will Roy be referred to as "the former Kansas coach." The 15 years he spent in Lawrence simply do not matter anymore.

From this point on, Roy will be known as the most recent Tarheel to lead his squad to a national championship. And maybe, just maybe, this will help forge the much-needed wedge between two programs so closely related for so long.

Call it the final settlement in a bitter divorce.

Call it time healing all wounds.

Just don't call it Kansas and Carolina being college basketball brethren.

That chapter is over. Or at least it should be.

Sure there will always be the connections. From Dean Smith to Larry Brown to Roy Williams and Matt Doherty. Those cannot be erased. But comparing the two, or worse yet, linking the two with every breath every season hopefully will stop.

Kansas is no longer a Carolina clone. Bill Self has no ties to North Carolina and he does not live and die by the rules set forth by the Carolina way.

If anything, Carolina has now become a Kansas clone. I realize the Tarheel faithful would probably faint if they were to read that, but they must face it.

Roy took his brand of basketball to North Carolina and turned the 'Heels into a winner again. Before he arrived, Carolina had suffered several serious setbacks. The team notched an 8-20 record four years ago and missed the tournament twice during that span. That's not exactly what MJ and the rest of the boys in blue were used to.

So they begged and pleaded, groveled and did who knows what else to get their guy --ansas coach Roy Williams.

Sure Roy shaped KU in the Carolina mold. But after 15 years --5 extremely successful years --t became awfully hard to say KU was just another Carolina.

Kansas was Kansas, and the Jayhawks had passed the Tarheels --omentarily, at least --n the hierarchy that rules college basketball.

As has been the case for the past several decades, the two will probably flip-flop time and time again for the next several years.

Right now, Carolina has the edge.

But as time passes, and class after class graduates from the Lawrence institution, the ties that bind the school to Williams will loosen.

Williams himself has said he's looking forward to those days. He still loves KU and he always will, but he still aches when he hears people in Lawrence say anything negative about him.

For the current KU regime, it's only fair that the school, the town and the Jayhawk faithful let Williams go.

Whether they're hanging on because they loved him so much or they can't get over it because he hurt them so much, it's time for those who support Kansas basketball to get back to rooting for Kansas and not against Carolina.

Roy has won his national title. We all knew that someday he would. And now that he has, it's time for Self and the Jayhawks to win theirs.

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