Column: Missouri fans best beware of Roy's Boys
Dec. 08, 2000
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
Roy Williams is not an idiot.
When he spurned his first love, North Carolina, to remain the basketball coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, those "ACC-basketball-is-the-center-of-the-world" types thought he was crazy. North Carolina, after all, was where he played and served as an assistant before being lured away to Lawrence in 1987. The North Carolina job is, with the possible exception of Kentucky, UCLA and Duke, the most prestigious coaching post in the country.
And now, after achieving great success at Kansas despite never winning a national title, he was being called home. Home to take over for Bill Guthridge, who quit after reaching last season's Final Four (remember them, Tiger fans?) with Joseph Forte, the best freshman in all the land. Roy could sign a long-term deal, get a summer home near the beach and then retire.
It was perfect.
It would be like your first ex-girlfriend calling you and promising she'd never nag you again, move you into her brand-new mansion and show you the outcome of her breast augmentation.
"And remember how we always fought about things?" she'd say. "Well, you win every argument. And I think we should have sex more than we used to, and then I can make you a sandwich."
Pretty hard to resist.
But Roy did. Like the first time you and the ex-girlfriend climbed into the backseat of your first car, the Carolina brass was excited and couldn't wait for Roy to pack his bags for Chapel Hill. And like that first time you two hopped in the back seat, everything ended way too soon, and Carolina walked away embarrassed.
Tar Heel faithful thought Williams was crazy, that he had fallen in love with a sheep or become addicted to corn squeezin's, or something. Why else would he choose to stay at Kansas?
Here's why — Roy has the best young players in America who could win a few national championships before they get done. They're so good it's scary.
How about Drew Gooden? The 6-foot-11 sophomore forward/center averaged 10.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season. He ran circles around Tajudeen Soyoye, a great athletic specimen in his own right, for 20 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in the Kansas-Missouri game. He can make up for the stiffness of center Eric Chenowith — who is only slightly quicker and less dense than Michaelangelo's David — or combine with the big man for one of the tallest front lines in the nation.
Forward Nick Collision and guard Kirk Hinrich round out the group of explosive Jayhawk sophomores. Collison, at 6-foot-9, is the team's best defender, a coach's son and was third on the team in points per game last season. Hinrich gives the Jayhawks another shooter to compliment guard Jeff Boschee.
The Jayhawk sophomores, combined with seniors Boschee, Chenowith and guard Luke Axtell, have the firepower to win the Big 12 title, if not a national championship. And as far as the NCAA Tournament goes, they've all been there before.
Roy's second love may not be so bad after all.