Roy Williams Criticizes ESPN's College Basketball Coverage

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2016

North Carolina coach Roy Williams yells during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against  North Carolina State in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams is not holding back in his criticism of ESPN and how the network portrays college basketball players. 

Speaking to reporters Friday, per Andrew Carter of the News & Observer, Williams unloaded on ESPN for using terms like "green room potential" when talking about college players' NBA upside:

I think ESPN is (an ACC) partner, and I’ve got to watch on TV where somebody’s college basketball game and they’re talking about the freaking green room? That’s the most ridiculous thing. And that’s one of my partners? That’s half the damn broadcast: "Well, so-and-so’s in the green room."

And this is a great time for me to be saying something about it. Because they ain’t mentioning any of my guys, OK. But God almighty, you’re sitting there, you’re trying to win championships, and here it is, January, and ESPN’s talking about some green room and some Chad Ford or who it is and his (draft projections) – that’s the most ridiculous thing we’re having to put up with in college basketball.

Carter noted that Williams launched into his rant after a question about scheduling, which "devolved into his long take on the green room."

Williams is a Hall of Fame coach who has earned the right to say whatever he wants on any subject relating to the sport. He is also fighting for his team to get more national attention, which isn't unreasonable since the Tar Heels are 18-2 and ranked second in the nation. 

Yet it's also easy for ESPN to market games around marquee talents who will presumably be high draft picks—like Buddy Hield and Ben Simmons when Oklahoma and LSU meet Saturday evening—because those are names every basketball fan recognizes.