Giddens: Have faith

Roy reflection from one recruit.

Roy Williams was one of the few head coaches that had been out to see Giddens, others sending assistants to court the relatively unknown player from Oklahoma. At the time, Dianna Giddens reported that personal visit had "meant a lot to J.R." That commitment and the "member of the family" charm was part of what won over the Giddens family. J.R. verbally committed to Kansas just over a year ago.

So when J.R. heard the news that Roy Williams was accepting the position at North Carolina, his reaction was similar to many others.

"I was shocked, just shocked," said Giddens. "I heard all the hype but I was blowing it off. I never, ever thought he would leave."

"All while he was recruiting me he kept saying how he loved Kansas and was not going anywhere. He told me that he wanted to coach me all four years. That kind of stuff."

J.R. paused, as if he was still trying to sort it out. He struggled to clarify his statements.

"I have nothing but respect for Coach Williams," he stated emphatically. "I think he is a good person and a good coach."

"People come up to me at school and ask me why he left. I don't really have an answer," explained Giddens reluctantly. "Maybe he thought they needed him. Maybe he wanted to play hero and save the day."

"I guess he is going home," he said softly.

"It is just that Roy means so much to KU."

Like so many, Giddens seemed to waver between regret, optimism, and resolve.

"I mean, this hurt me and it hurt my family. But things happen for a reason and you have to trust in the Lord," said Giddens. "You just have to have faith."

"The only thing now that really still makes me angry is that they are all gone. Coach Holladay...Coach Robinson...and Coach Miller may not stay. Even Coach Haase sent me a letter wishing me good luck and I guess he is leaving too. It is everyone. There is no one left."

Well, maybe not exactly no one.

"Kansas is Kansas," said Giddens. "We gotta play ball and we will, no matter what."

"Two final fours in two years. Wayne will be back, Aaron and Keith and the others are there. All four of us coming in. I plan on being there to take the title next year."

"And maybe even Charlie Villenueva," added Giddens as an afterthought. "I hope he comes. We would be vicious!"

And just like that, the enthusiasm returned to Giddens voice.

Giddens was meeting his new coach today. He's already had phone conversations with Bill Self and his assistants.

"Coach Self just told me he was looking forward to coaching me and eager to make things happen. I don't know that much about him, except what my dad has told me. I know he will work me and gets the best out of his players. That is what I want."

"But I know it will be a change," quipped Giddens. "It's from all grey hair to all black hair."

It is a change indeed. This evolution is one many basketball fans are eager to watch unfold.


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