Roy Williams

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 30:  Roy Williams the head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels gives instructions to his team during the game against the  Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on November 30, 2016 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Roy Williams takes shot at UNC crowds, wishes they were more like Indiana

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Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, was the place to be in the American sports world last night, as the No. 13 Hoosiers put together a dominating performance – they never trailed and UNC only got within four points once in the second half – to pick off the No. 3 Tar Heels.

The win came just eight days after Indiana went into Fort Wayne and lost to the Mastadons in overtime, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the crowd played a role in that result. Indiana students had been lined up, and likely lubricating, to get into the game since early that morning, and it showed. That building was deafening, and the energy spurred the Hoosiers to a 26-9 lead before UNC had realized what was going on.

UNC head coach Roy Williams said as much after the game, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

“It was a great college basketball atmosphere, and one team really played right from the get-go, the second one did not and that was us,” Williams said. “We were not ready for the intensity, the enthusiasm, anything that you want to talk about in the first half. But it was a wonderful crowd.”

(This is where his comment gets interesting.)

“Gosh. I’d like to play in front of a crowd like that in the Smith Center every night other than the frickin’ Duke game. And that was just – congratulations to them, their fans, their students. It was a big-time crowd.”

Yup, that Williams throwing shade at the wine and cheese crowd that attends North Carolina games, and he’s not wrong. The atmosphere at the Dean Dome, one of the historic buildings in the sport, isn’t what it is at some other college basketball venues because the good seats don’t go to the students, they go to the people with the money. They may love their Tar Heels, but they’re not yelling and screaming for 40 minutes the way a drunk 20-year old will be.

It’s something players notice.

North Carolina isn’t alone with this issue – Kentucky’s Rupp Arena has a similar reputation – and I’m not sure if it’s something that can change anytime soon. Those big-money donors aren’t going to want to give up their good seats. I know I wouldn’t.

But it is something that matters.

There’s a reason we always talk about how difficult it is to win on the road in college basketball. Indiana showed us why last night.

Four-star 2018 guard Coby White commits to North Carolina

North Carolina coach Roy Williams, center, reacts with his team behind him after a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament against Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Washington. North Carolina won 88-71. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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With guards Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek having committed in their 2017 recruiting class, North Carolina received a commitment from one of the better guards in the Class of 2018 Thursday night. Four-star guard Coby White, who’s ranked 61st in his class by Rivals.com, made his pledge to Roy Williams’ program. News of White’s commitment was first reported by Scout.com.

The 6-foot-4 White is a native of Wilson, North Carolina, where he attends Greenfield HS, and he played his grassroots basketball for the CP3 16U basketball program this summer. His commitment to UNC comes just a couple days after the ACC school offered him a scholarship.

White took an unofficial visit to UNC in June, and his play in July ultimately led to the program making the aforementioned scholarship offer. By the time White enrolls in Chapel Hill, current veterans such as Joel Berry II and Nate Britt will be out of eligibility. Among the perimeter would could potentially be on campus in 2018 are freshmen Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson, and sophomore Kenny Williams.

White is the second commit in the 2018 class for the Tar Heels, with 6-foot-7 guard Rechon Black being the first.

Guard Platek becomes North Carolina’s second 2017 commit

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams reacts after cutting the net after a regional final men's college basketball game against Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 27, 2016, in Philadelphia. North Carolina won 88-74 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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Monday afternoon North Carolina picked up a second verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as shooting guard Andrew Platek announced via his Twitter account that he will play his college basketball for Roy Williams. One of the top perimeter shooters in the class, the 6-foot-4 Platek joins fellow guard Jalek Felton in North Carolina’s 2017 crop thus far.

A native of Guilderland, New York, Platek plays for the Albany City Rocks grassroots program and attends Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. The recipient of many offers from high- and mid-major programs, Platek was offered a scholarship by North Carolina in late-April, with Williams making the phone call himself to deliver the news.

Outside of the now-graduated Marcus Paige perimeter shooting was an issue for North Carolina in recent years, but that’s been addressed on the recruiting front. Among the three signees in the 2016 class is shooting guard Brandon Robinson, who was one of the top shooters in that class, and Platek can also help in that regard when he arrives in Chapel Hill.

Among the other programs to offer Platek were Miami, Penn State and Stanford with Indiana showing some interest in the spring.

North Carolina’s Jackson to return for junior season

North Carolina's Justin Jackson (44) reacts following a basket against UNC Greensboro during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. North Carolina won 96-63. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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With the NBA Draft Combine wrapping up Friday evening, players with college eligibility remaining who declared without hiring an agent had until May 25 to make a final decision. One of those players was North Carolina wing Justin Jackson, whose decision was expected to have a significant impact on the Tar Heels’ national title chances in 2016-17.

Monday evening the school announced that Jackson has decided to withdraw from the draft, and he’ll return for his junior¬†season at North Carolina.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm glad I had the chance to enter the Draft and attend the Combine where I was able to meet with a number of NBA executives and test my game against some of the top players in the country, but after discussing it with my parents and coaches and praying over this decision, the best choice for my basketball future is to return to school and play for the Tar Heels next season,‚ÄĚ Jackson said in the release.

Jackson joins power forward Kennedy Meeks as North Carolina players who decided to return to school, giving Roy Williams two experienced players to call upon next season. North Carolina did lose three seniors, guard Marcus Paige and forwards Brice Johnson and Joel James, but they have enough coming back to make a run at another ACC title (with Duke being viewed by many as the early favorite) and deep NCAA tournament run.

Jackson, Meeks and Joel Berry II are all returning starters, and reserves such and Nate Britt, Theo Pinson and Isaiah Hicks return as well. North Carolina also adds a three-member recruiting class in guards Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson, and power forward Tony Bradley.

College names surface in reports regarding Lakers coaching vacancy

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has a word with guard Rodney Purvis (44) during an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Paradise Island, Bahamas. (Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
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With some NBA head coaching jobs opening up, it’s that time of year when the names of prominent college basketball head coaches get mentioned for such opportunities. Of course we’ve all become used to the annual rumors involving Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who has yet to move away from one of the top jobs in the sport.

His name is one that has come up in recent reports surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers’ opening, with Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie and Villanova’s Jay Wright among those being mentioned by various outlets as well.

Ollie, who led his alma mater to a national title in his second season at the helm, was mentioned in reports by both Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

Ollie told ESPN’s Andy Katz on Monday that he has had no contact with the Lakers. He said he will always listen if called but it would take “something very special” to pull him away from UConn.

Ollie’s contract, which was signed after he led the Huskies to the national title in 2014, has a clause that would allow him to terminate his contract without penalty “on or after the one-year anniversary” of the departure of either athletic director Warde Manuel or UConn president Susan Herbst. Manuel left UConn in January to take over as athletic director at Michigan (his first official day was March 14),¬†so a departure now would not meet the one-year requirement.

The buyout to leave for an NBA job would be $4 million until May 31, with the buyout amount dropping to $1 million after that date.

The latter report also named Wright, Calipari, Tom Izzo and Roy Williams as names the Lakers could consider for their opening. Wright led Villanova to its second national title earlier this month, and his Wildcats have won the last three Big East regular season titles.

NBA franchises have been more willing to look at successful college coaches in recent years, with Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan making the jump to the pros last season. Hoiberg took over in Chicago, but things didn’t go as planned for the Bulls as they missed out on the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season. As for Donovan, he’s running the show in Oklahoma City where the Thunder are up three games to one on the Mavericks.

Both coaches took jobs with (at first glance) the talent needed to be successful, which is a far cry from the jobs Calipari and Rick Pitino took with the Nets and Celtics respectively during the mid-1990’s. Does the Lakers job fit that mold? Having won a total of 38 games in their last two seasons, not to mention needing to fill the hole left by the retirement of Kobe Bryant, one can argue that this would not be an optimal job for a college coach to take.

But with the Lakers being a franchise that’s won 16 titles, the appeal of leading such a storied franchise can’t be denied even with the recent struggles.

North Carolina men’s basketball not included in amended Notice of Allegations

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams reacts after cutting the net after a regional final men's college basketball game against Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 27, 2016, in Philadelphia. North Carolina won 88-74 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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Eight months ago the NCAA investigation into allegations of academic fraud within the North Carolina athletic department was pushed back, leaving many to wonder when there would be any kind of decision regarding the fate of the men’s basketball program.¬†Finally on Monday the school released an amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA¬†that replaces the original Notice, and Roy Williams’ program was not mentioned at all in the new report with the same being the case¬†for the football program.

The program mentioned prominently in the new Notice is¬†women’s basketball, which in all likelihood means that Williams doesn’t have much to worry about moving forward.

The Notice cites former women’s basketball academic support counselor Jan Boxill for her knowingly¬†providing those athletes with extra benefits “in the form of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball student-athletes.” The use of fraudulent courses within the African and Afro-American Studies department, which at the time of the violations was led¬†by Julius Nyang’oro and included former employee Debbie Crowder (who were both named in the reports), also appeared in the amended Notice but as noted above the men’s basketball program was not cited.

One¬†big change in the report was the NCAA using¬†a more specific “failure to monitor” charge in relation to the academic fraud that occurred within the African and Afro-American Studies department. Another is¬†the start date of the offenses, with those being changed from the fall of 2002 in the original report to the fall of 2005. The end date (summer 2011) remains the same.

North Carolina will also have to deal¬†with the “lack of institutional control” charge, that’s in regards to specific programs as opposed to the athletic department as a whole. But the “impermissible benefits” charge that appeared in the original Notice in relation to the men’s basketball program (among others) is gone.

Obviously this all good news for Williams and his staff, as on the recruiting trail they’ll now have some concrete answers for prospects, their coaches and their families. With recruiting being what it is, other programs could use the lack of concrete information on the investigation to recruit negatively against North Carolina. But with the amended report that’s no longer the case.

North Carolina now has 90 days to respond to the charges in the NCAA’s amended Notice of Infractions.