Tag Archives: Isaiah Hicks

Williams wraps up the season

CHAPEL HILL — When Roy Williams called a press conference Tuesday afternoon, he wanted to wrap up a few loose ends, and he wanted to set the record straight.

“Steve (Kirschner) thinks I’m wacko for agreeing to do this,” Williams said. “One of the reasons I wanted to do it was to bring closure to it. The other reason is we had a team meeting on Wednesday of last week, and I didn’t jump on him, but I disagreed with Isaiah. He took way too much responsibility for that shot. That shot was against North Carolina’s team.”

On April 4, a buzzer-beating shot by Kris Jenkins handed North Carolina a 3-point loss in the national championship, and on April 6, Williams wanted to talk about it with his team.

In the aftermath of the loss, Isaiah Hicks told reporters in the locker room that it was his fault Jenkins hit the shot, that he didn’t close out fast enough or defend the shot effectively.

But, Williams said, that wasn’t the case, and he called the team meeting the day after arriving back from Houston to make sure Hicks knew that he wasn’t to blame for the loss.

“He took way too much responsibility for that shot,” Williams said. “That shot was against North Carolina’s team. I was grading the film, and I gave Isaiah two good defenses during that one possession. Then I read these comments like, ‘I should’ve gotten up there’ and ‘he was my guy.’ It was North Carolina as a team.

“But Isaiah, it was not his man. But he was willing to take that responsibility. He did. If you watch it on tape, he challenged it a lot better than I thought he did. If you look at it in still pictures, it’s not as good a challenge. If you watch it on tape, he did challenge it.”

And, Williams acknowledged, even with a defender in Jenkins’ grill, he still could’ve hit that shot to win the game.

“We just didn’t get to Kris as closely as I would’ve wanted,” Williams said. “And you know what? We may have played great defense and he still would’ve made the shot. It was, As soon as he went up to shoot it, I knew it was going in. I didn’t even follow it, I knew it was going in.

“It was a great moment for him. But I don’t anybody thinking Isaiah screwed it up because he didn’t.”

ICYMI: Williams isn’t retiring this summer

To squelch any shred of lingering doubt, Williams confirmed again that the outcome of last week’s national championship game had zero influence over his retirement timeline.

“If I were going to quit,” Williams said, “I sure as the dickens wouldn’t have seen four (recruits) in an 18-hour period last Thursday and Friday.”

Williams frequently answered questions about his retirement throughout the season and the NCAA Tournament, with his frustration on the topic coming to a head at the Final Four when he got the question a couple times.

When asked to revisit those questions and the impact of the national title game on his longevity at UNC, Williams refrained that he wasn’t retiring any time soon.

“I don’t know what else I can say,” Williams said. “I mean, that (Villanova) game will have nothing do to with what Roy Williams does with the rest of his life.

“I’ve changed: I guess for four years I said I wanted to coach six to 10 more years. And I thought it was silly to say that four years ago and still say it, so I went down one. I’ve said I hope I can coach five to nine more years. That’s what I said in a home (recruiting visit) last week. And so that’s all I can say.”

NBA decisions coming next week

Williams said he expects a decision from his players on testing NBA draft waters next week.
He’s meeting with his team individually over the next couple of days and will continue to advise them before getting a concrete answer on their futures next week.

“I’ve met yesterday, today and tomorrow with our players,” Williams said. “There will be some of those players, where I’m not asking them to give me a definitive answer now, I want a definitive answer next week, but I think that some of our guys will try to go to the combine, will declare and not hire an agent, and see how they play in the combine, and I have no problem with that.

“If I were the father of some of our players, I’d get them to do the same thing. We’re not going to have a release today that says ‘Joe Blow’s going,’ and then tomorrow, [another player], and then the next day Henry’s going and anything like that. When we get through with all the interviews, we’ll make one announcement.”

Under new rules, college players can declare for the draft and go through the NBA combine, but retain collegiate eligibility if they don’t hire an agent and remove their names within 10 days after the combine, which falls on May 25 this year.
“I don’t see any reason, unless you play two minutes a game, I don’t think it’s necessary to do that,” Williams said, “but if you’re a good college player, why would you not?

Williams believes, if conducted honestly, the new process will allow players to get better information before deciding their futures.

“I think this should be better especially if the NBA does what they say they’re going to do,” he said. “If they’ll really be straightforward and honest with the kids, you’ll be top-30, you’ll be top-60 or whatever. In the past, I’ve had some players and, ‘I’ll say this is not a good decision. You’re last of the second round or won’t be drafted.’ But agents got to the parents and said, ‘oh we can move him up to the first round.’

“If the NBA says, and if they’ll be truthful, I think it’ll be great. I don’t see any problems with it whatsoever. I’ve never been against it. I just want guys to go that will be first round pick, where they’ve got guaranteed money.”