Sunday, March 25, 2012
Kansas moves past Roy Williams
By Jason King
ST. LOUIS -- Four years ago, before he faced his former team in the 2008 Final Four, North Carolina coach Roy Williams received word that a barbershop in Kansas had removed his picture from its display wall and hung it in the bathroom.
Right above the toilet.
Thousands of fans -- many of them sporting "Benedict Roy" T-shirts -- flooded Massachusetts Street in Lawrence when the Jayhawks defeated the Tar Heels a few nights later. The victory came in the NCAA semifinals -- not the championship game.
Still, beating ol' Roy was more gratifying to some than the win over Memphis two days later. Williams said the game was the worst experience of his life.
"A lot of emotion," Williams said. "A lot of pain."
Four years later, Williams is again preparing to play the school he coached for 15 years, the school he led to four Final Fours while winning 80.5 percent of his games.
Only now, things are different.
This year, Roy and Kansas aren't the story.
The teams are.
Twenty-four hours before Sunday's tipoff between the Jayhawks and Tar Heels in the Elite Eight, the buzz was less about Williams and more about Kansas' recent shooting woes. A few reporters asked Williams the obligatory questions about his time at Kansas, but most posters on KU message boards and chat rooms seemed more curious about the status of injured UNC point guard Kendall Marshall and how his absence could affect the game.
Finally -- thankfully -- the Roy Williams hate seems to have subsided among Jayhawk Nation.