I respect Jay Williams, the former Duke star. The man was engaging as a player and is engaging as a basketball analyst for ESPN. He’s bright, and he has something to say.
But I disagree with his contention that North Carolina no longer can attract top-five and top-10 recruits. The Tar Heels haven’t, that’s true. Kentucky attempts to collect the whole set, Duke claims many and other schools apply a geographic imperative to swoop in and sign one of their own.
The Tar Heels and coach Roy Williams, meanwhile, win with players who often are as old as 20. They came within a basket of winning the NCAA tournament last season, and they are poised to make another deep run. That’s great advertising. They also play fast, which is how most high school stars want to play.
Middlemen often intercede in the recruiting process. Some AAU coaches watch out for players. Some watch out for players so they can watch out for themselves. And when that player finishes his single collegiate season, the AAU coach hovers, and a prospective agent has to go through him.
I’m not a Tar Heel forever fan. You know that if you’ve read my column. I silently pull for different teams in different seasons. I also pull for my school, which is all right since it is 1,200 miles from Charlotte and I rarely write about it.
When the NCAA slapped my school for transgressions in golf and women’s basketball, I stayed strong. The skiing and sledding teams were clean.