Thursday, March 29, 2007

Roy Shottenheimer

I certainly didn't mean to imply that Roy Williams is not a great coach in many areas. There may not be a coach in America with a better recruiting record than Williams. At North Carolina I think he has even raised his already impressive recruiting prowess with players like Hansbrough, Wright, Ellington, Marvin Williams, Lawson and the rest. His ability to draw elite high school talent is obvious.

His coaching has not been so stellar. When he came to UNC it was true that the program had endured a historically awful season but it was a team that had quit on coach Matt Doherty and was loaded with talented players who had not reached their potential. There were four first round draft picks on the 2005 Carolina squad that won Williams only national championship. I'm not suggesting that anyone could have won a national title but it wasn't as if the cupboard was bare in Chapel Hill either.

Last year Carolina lost to George Mason as the Colonials made their Cinderella run through the NCAA tournament. It was a huge upset that only looked slightly better after George Mason upset the underachieving Connecticut Huskies. This year Carolina lost another game, this time to Georgetown, that may not have been as big an upset but was a game that Carolina let slip away in the final moments when they had controlled the majority of the contest. There isn't a great deal of shame in the one seed losing in the regional finals but it has to be a disappointment for a team that had to end up sharing the regular season title in the ACC.

Williams' record at Kansas also seems to demonstrate that his teams don't play particularly well with high expectations. For example:

1990 Kansas as a 2 seed looses to 7 seed UCLA in the second round

1992 Kansas as a 1 seed looses to 9 seed UTEP in the second round

1995 Kansas as a 1 seed looses to 4 seed Virginia in the Sweet 16

1996 Kansas as a 2 seed looses to 4 seed Syracuse in Regional Final

1997 Kansas as a 1 seed looses to 4 seed Arizona in Sweet 16

1998 Kansas as a 1 seed looses to 8 seed Rhode Island in second round

Out of the four times that Kansas was awarded a 1 seed under Roy Williams they only made the Final Four once. Only twice did his teams reach the Sweet 16 or beyond as a 1 seed. The 1998 Kansas team went 35-4 with NBA lottery picks in Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce yet lost in the second round as you can see above. His team was loaded with talent in 2002 and 2003 yet seemed to come up short in the bigger games they played against Maryland and Syracuse. Williams does seem to have an amazing ability to lose to the eventual national champion when his team does get knocked out. I used to be convinced it was just bad luck, after the last two seasons I'm not sure that is true.

This season he did far too much tinkering with his rotations and as a result Carolina never evolved into a good enough defensive team. In the end that is what did his squad in when they lost to Georgetown. I'm not sure I can think of a game this year in which I thought his coaching made the difference in UNC pulling out a victory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

pretty apt comparison... except for the bottom line, schottheimer hasn't won it all and roy has.