Roy Williams is a North Carolina man through his core. He was born and raised there. When it was time to pick what college was right for him, the only option was the University of North Carolina.
He wasn’t good enough to make the varsity team after his freshman year, but still had a love for the men’s team. Eventually, this landed him an assistant job under Dean Smith. For several years, he studied under the legendary coach until it was time to be a head coach of his own.
He went to Kansas and found success, but he always wanted to go back home. Then in 2003 his opportunity finally came and he took the UNC job.
Fast forward to 2021, and he has built a legacy that shadows his mentor, Dean Smith. Multiple Final Four appearances and multiple National Championships were achieved during his 18 years at North Carolina. Those 18 seasons were great, but it was time for Roy to retire.
Now it is time to reflect on all of the good. Here are his three best teams at UNC.
3. 2015-16 UNC
This might be a controversial take, but the 2016 UNC team was better than the eventual title team the following season. The 2016 team had two key players that graduated before the 2017 team, and those two players were studs.
One was Brice Johnson, who was their leading scorer, while playing one of the big man spots. He averaged a double-double in his final year at UNC. The man was an under the radar dominant force in college basketball.
Then there was the leader at guard, Marcus Paige. Paige was the prototypical floor general for college basketball. His clutchness almost propelled this team to the title this season.
However, a clutch shot at the buzzer by Villanova won them the National Title. North Carolina bounced back the following season to avenge that heartbreaking loss.
2. 2004-05 UNC
The 2004-05 team was the first of Roy’s three National Championships with the Tar Heels. After finding so much success with Kansas, the only thing missing from his resume was the title. This team led him to that goal.
They were made up of five standout players. Each of them scored double digit points per game. The top players were Sean May commanding the paint, while Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants were lethal in the backcourt.
Each player on this team filled in a role that led them all the way to the title game. That is where they were matched up against the number one team in the country in Illinois.
However, the depth of UNC was too much. Coach Williams won his first title off the backs of a perfectly balanced squad.
1. 2008-09 UNC
2008-09 UNC had the best collection of talent for any of the Roy Williams squads. They had three freshmen that were not ready to garner big minutes, but were helpful in their short stints. Those three were Tyler Zeller, Larry Drew, and Ed Davis.
Each of those players were extremely talented, but not enough to carve out significant minutes. The reasoning behind that was the talent that was in the starting lineup. Danny Green and Wayne Ellington were sharpshooters in college; just like how they were in the pros.
Ty Lawson was an electric point guard that can take over games. Lastly, there was the previous year’s Wooden Award winner in Tyler Hansbrough. He was the leader and heart of this title team.
There was no way any team could stop them from winning the National Title that season. And that is exactly what they accomplished. This was definitely the best team Roy Williams ever assembled at North Carolina.