UNC Basketball: Is Roy Williams to Blame for Tar Heels' Struggles in the NBA?

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UNC Basketball: Is Roy Williams to Blame for Tar Heels' Struggles in the NBA?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It's tough to argue with Roy Williams' track record as head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Since 2003, he has helped bring UNC two NCAA titles, along with five Elite Eight appearances, three Final Fours and a winning percentage near 80 percent.

But that isn't enough, is it?

Not only do we expect Roy Williams to produce title after title, we also expect every “star” player that steps foot onto the Chapel Hill campus to become an NBA great. Otherwise ol' Roy just isn't cutting it.

That is ridiculously unfair.

Sure, there are some coaches out there you can probably blame for the lack of their players' development. No names come to the top of my head, but I'm sure they are out there. Why is Roy Williams getting such a bad rap?

Honestly, I couldn't tell you.

As Tar Heels fans, I think I can safely say that we all love Dean Smith. If you don't, you're either too young or you shouldn't be commenting on the game of basketball—seriously. Smith produced 71 NBA players over the course of 36 years—the most of any college coach in history.

That is an incredible number, but how many of those players ended up as all-time greats? That is a matter of opinion, so I can't answer that myself. Make yourself a list and divide that number by 71.

That's a pretty small percentage, isn't it?

Would we ever even consider blaming Coach Smith for the failure of many of his star players at the next level? I'm pretty sure that thought never crossed anyone's mind.

Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace were the last players Dean Smith put out that had a big impact on the NBA—at least they did for a while. Well, there is also Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison. But they only had Smith for one year and Bill Guthridge for two.

Who gets the credit for those guys?

Still, they were not Michael Jordan or James Worthy, the two Smith-coached players on the NBA's list of 50 greatest players in NBA history.

Another knock I have heard on Roy Williams of late is that he doesn't produce NBA wings. There is merit to that, as not one North Carolina wing player has been successful thus far. I've heard Paul Pierce, whom he coached at Kansas, is pretty good though.

Dean Smith didn't produce NBA point guards either. That was always a knock on North Carolina, but I don't remember it ever being directed at Smith's coaching ability—as it shouldn't be.

Why should it be any different for Roy Williams?

The only answer I can come up with is that he hasn't produced a Michael Jordan yet. But really, who has? The closest players to Michael Jordan's caliber are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James—both of whom didn't play a single game of collegiate basketball.

I guess we should credit their high school coaches for making them great.

That said, let's move on to the slide portion of this article, where I will do my best to debunk the myth of Roy Williams' inability to produce NBA stars.

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