WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Believe it or not, college basketball season starts this weekend with the first practice of the year.
That’s welcome news for UNC coach Roy Williams. He’s spent the last month dealing with a cancer scare.
But as the season nears, he visited Wilmington today, headlining the Power Lunch series at the Wilmington Convention Center.
“Somebody said, ‘well, why are you doing this?’ First of all, I love North Carolinians. I love great North Carolinians, and John Bunting asked me to, and that’s the reason I’m here,” Williams said.
Coach Williams addressed many topics, including utilizing strengths in both business and sports.
“If they’re weak in other areas, they should try to improve that,” Williams said. “I’ll give you an example. If we are a poor three-point shooting team, then why should we allow the other team to make us shoot three-point shots?”
The question for Williams is who is going to make three point shots on this year’s team. The Tar Heels lost four players to the first round of the NBA Draft.
“The favorite time of the year for me: the first three or four weeks that we have to determine what our team is,” Williams said.
Former Hoggard guard Stilman White wound up starting for the Heels in last year’s NCAA tournament. He is about to serve a two-year Mormon mission.
“The assumption is he’s coming back,” Williams said. “I love the little rascal. I mean, he did some nice things for us. A wonderful kid. A wonderful family. I hope that he’s back with us, because he’s already part of the family, and I would like him to come back.”
And while figuring out where the scoring will come from is concerning, the coach’s health issues have been far more serious.
“Luckily they cut out the tumor on the right kidney, and it was benign,” Williams said. “Tumor on the left kidney is benign as well, so we’re going to check it every six months and decide if we have to do anything else, so I feel as lucky as could be but you know what, that’s ok, somebody’s got to be lucky. I just as soon be one of those guys.”
Williams said that he is feeling well and, if healthy, he hopes to coach another six to ten years.
The luncheon benefited the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame’s latest initiative: The Greater Wilmington Sports Club.