When North Carolina’s Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants were all chosen in the NBA draft lottery in 2005, coach Roy Williams was in the Green Room with them. He made the same trip in 2009, when Tyler Hansbrough was the first of another Tar Heels quartet to be drafted over two rounds.
But Roy Williams doesn’t know yet whether he’ll be making the trip to Newark, N.J., on June 28, when Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall are all expected to be chosen in the first round of this year's draft.
“I’ve always thought it was family time," Roy Williams said earlier this week. “Marvin was just insistent, and felt very strongly that I should go. And then with having Sean and Raymond and Rashad, I thought they would all go in the lottery, and that was important at that time. And Tyler Hansbrough was pretty insistent that I go [in ‘09], and I enjoyed that time.
“But most of the time, I try to leave it to them. And the NBA limits how many seats they have at the table in the so-called Green Room -- which isn’t really green at all. But we are going to wait and see, and talk about it, and we’ll make a decision as we get a little closer.”
How high will this foursome go in the draft compared to the previous quartets (who entered the draft after winning NCAA titles)?
In 2005, the UNC players were all chosen in the top 14 (Marvin Williams second, Felton fifth, May 13th and McCants 14th). In 2009, Hansbrough went 13th, Ty Lawson went 18th, Wayne Ellington went 28th, and Danny Green was taken in the second round at 46th overall.
ESPN.com's Chad Ford predicts Barnes, Henson, Zeller and Marshall will go in the top 17 in his latest mock draft.
MORE ON MARSHALL’S ELBOW: When Roy Williams was asked if he knew that Marshall had also fractured his elbow when the point guard broke his wrist during UNC’s NCAA tournament victory over Creighton in March, the coach said no.
“That’s something that came up later,’’ said Williams, who had held out some hope that the sophomore might be able to play in the days after he had surgery on the wrist.
Marshall revealed in a recent interview with the IMG Basketball Academy blog that the wrist isn’t the only injury he has been dealing with.
“My wrist is almost 100 percent,’’ he told the blog. “What people didn’t know is that I also fractured my elbow. That’s been the toughest thing for me to deal with, still not being able to go full contact. Hopefully, I’ll be ready to go by the combine.”
Marshall's injuries -- and the "what if?" scenario had he been healthy -- remain a lingering bruise for Williams and the team.
"As somebody said on the Ram's Club circuit: It was a great, great year with a very sad ending,'' Williams said. "You would like to have been healthy and seen what you could do when you were healthy, because down the stretch in the regular season, we played pretty doggone well."
Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.