GLENDALE, ARIZ. – When the NCAA is done investigating the academic scandal in his athletic department, North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams said Sunday he isn’t concerned that the accomplishments of his basketball team this season will be in jeopardy.
“The reason I say that is because my firm belief is that we did nothing wrong,” Williams said at a news conference for Monday’s NCAA championship game against Gonzaga.
Over the past two years, the NCAA has sent three versions of the Notice of Allegations report that outlines lack of institutional control. It alleges that athletes from several sports at North Carolina have taken irregular courses during an 18-year period that started in the early 1990s until 2011.
No coaches or staff members have been charged with wrongdoing. Williams said mistakes were made, but he just isn’t worried about potential penalties hurting his current players or coaches.
“Were there some things I wish hadn’t happened? You’re darned right,” he said. “But there were no allegations against men’s basketball. So I’ve sort of hung my hat on that part, and I know we did nothing wrong. And I find it hard to believe it could go that far. Do I believe again that our institution, there were some mistakes, you’re darned right I do. I’m very mad, sad, ticked off, any way you want to put all that.”
Recruiting hasn’t been the same for the Tar Heels, who have lost many top prospects to other programs.
“We recruited 26 McDonald’s All-Americans in our first 10 years,” Williams said. “And the last three, I think we got one. I don’t think I got dumb that quickly.”
North Carolina point guard Joel Berry II has been dealing with ankle soreness ever since he hurt his right ankle in the first-round NCAA tournament victory over Texas Southern.
Berry was fine when he scored 26 points in a Sweet 16 win over Butler. But then he hurt his left ankle in the Elite Eight against Kentucky. He would have been sidelined if he had to play after that game because he was in so much pain.
The 6-2 junior has shot 6-for-22 with 22 points over the past two games, including 11 points on 2-for-14 shooting Saturday against Oregon.
“I’ve been in pain ever since I twisted my right ankle,” Berry said. “At this point, I can’t think about it. I just have to continue to play. Sometimes, it limits me and my movement. But other times, I get lost in the game to where I don’t even realize the pain.”
Poked in the eye
It’s not easy to bring down Gonzaga’s giant of a man in 7-1, 300-pound Przemek Karnowski, but he had to leave in the first half of Saturday’s win against South Carolina after getting poked in the eye.
Karnowski returned to the game and finished with 13 points and five rebounds, but he has another eye doctor checkup Sunday.
“I just got a scratch on my eyeball,” he said Sunday. “But I don’t have any problems with my vision or anything like that. I have a follow-up today with a doctor, and I hope everything is going to be good.”
Gonzaga coach Mark Few had several former Bulldogs coaches and assistants with his team this weekend, including at Sunday’s practice at the University of Phoenix Stadium. But Few gives former Gophers coach Dan Monson, his former boss, the most credit.
“I never would have been coaching without Dan Monson giving me a job and believing in me and letting me grow,” he said.