Roy Williams Afterglow

The morning after, Roy Williams contemplated his first NCAA national championship and, even, North Carolina's prospects for next year.

ST. LOUIS – Roy Williams' horizontal time wasn't lengthy Tuesday morning, a little more than five hours after the University of North Carolina Tar Heels earned rights on all of the NCAA men's basketball national championship hardware with a 75-70 victory over the University of Illinois in the Edward Jones Dome.

There were a lot of players – current and former, with UNC or KU (as in Kansas University, Williams' place of employment until a couple of seasons ago) – and friends to hug, boosters and administrators to greet and family, immediate and extended, members to embrace.

More of the same was in store when the players and coaches returned to Chapel Hill Tuesday, to a rousing gathering of students and residents in the Dean Smith Center.

It was a little past 8:30 Tuesday morning, though, and Williams might have been able to wipe the sleep out of his eyes but the ear-to-ear grin was still firmly affixed as he accepted the Siemen's Trophy that goes to teams that finish atop the final USA/ESPN Coaches' poll.

"We cut the light (in his and wife Wanda's hotel suite) at about 4:38,'' he said, smiling as he realized the significance of the "about".

"What can I say? I'm a ‘Type A' personality,'' he said, laughing. "It was a digital clock."

The telephone in his room began ringing two hours and 12 minutes later. So much for sleeping in.

"It was a radio (sports) show, wondering if I could go on the air for a few words,'' he said, the smile not budging a second. "I said ‘No.' " I got four of those."

The adrenalin was, naturally, still flowing freely after coaching his first national championship team. Four of his Kansas teams were blanked in Final Fours (twice in title games).

"Needless to say, this is exciting,'' he said. "In 1991, I congratulated Mike Krzyzewski after he got his first one (after Duke beat Williams' Jayhawks in the final) and two years ago I congratulated Jimmy Boeheim (after his Syracuse team beat Kansas in the final) after his first.

"It was an extremely satisfying night and satisfying season. It's one of the high points of my life."

The grin got a little wider.

"The greatest part is that you guys (the media) don't have to ask me ‘How important is it to you to win one (national championship) anymore,'' he said.

"But if you don't ask me (before next season) how many hole-in-ones I shot, I'm gonna be ticked."

Williams was looking forward to the celebration continuing when he and his Tar Heels' crew return home a few hours later – and then to lace up the golf shoes and hit some balls.

"It's Daylight Savings Time,'' the grin getting a bit impish. "I'll tee it up (on a course) tonight."

Wednesday, the reality of the sport that every college basketball coach – even those still basking in the glow of the national championship spotlight – has long since come to grips with will be addressed by Williams and lieutenants Joe Holladay and Steve Robinson.

"We start recruiting tomorrow,'' he said. "And we're going to be out (evaluating prospects) for four or five days. We've got a three-hour drive (to the first stop) and I don't trust driving with as little sleep as I've had. And I don't trust Joe Holladay (also, no doubt, among the seriously sleep-deprived after more than three weeks of non-stop tournament preparation, practices and games. Maybe we'll hire a limo. Maybe get a (student) manager to drive us."

What kind of team will the "defending national champion" be beginning next November?

Stay tuned.

Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Sean May, and fellow all-tournament selections Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants are juniors.

But visions of being in the Green Room on Draft Night (June 28) could ultimately hasten their exit from Carolina Blue for NBA Green – as in hefty bonuses and paychecks. And no one yet is certain that freshman Marvin Williams wasn't playing his final game for UNC. There are some NBA talent evaluators who believe he'd be no worse than a top three choice if he were available in the coming draft.

McCant's announcement that he is entering the draft pool is a foregone conclusion.

"I've known since mid-January (that McCants was all but certainly NBA-bound),'' Roy Williams said.

"And we'll sit down and talk with Felton, and Marvin Williams and Sean May, too."

If May, Felton and Marvin Williams return, coupled with reserves such as David Noel, Quentin Thomas and Rayshawn Terry and a high-caliber class of four freshmen, the Tar Heels will be a consensus choice to repeat as national champions.

If just two from among May, Felton and Williams are in UNC uniforms in the fall, the Tar Heels will picked to return to the Final Four.

If May, Felton and Williams (along with McCants) are all NBA rookies in November?

Well, guess what: The Tar Heels are still going to be pretty good. Like just a handful of the elite programs in the country, it's just a matter of degrees of "good" from season to season.

On second thought, make that "very, very good".

Recently elected to the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is's National Basketball Expert and also covers college basketball for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at Read more of Burlison's pieces at

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