Roy Williams has been the head coach at North Carolina for 17 years. Starting in 2003, Williams has coached greats like Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams, Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green — just to name a few.
Williams has won 467 games at UNC and is this week’s guest on the March Madness 365 podcast. He and Andy Katz break down his past players in 10 categories, looking at each player’s best attribute.
Williams also talks about how he and his family are dealing with the current shutdown, his relationship with Michael Jordan and even breaks down who would be part of Kansas’ top players in different categories during his time as head coach there.
Here are the 10 players that make up Roy Williams’ list:
The Quarterback — Kendall Marshall (Guard, 2010-2012)
Kendall Marshall lands here as Williams’ ultimate quarterback, or the player who had the best passing ability and court vision. Marshall averaged 7.2 points and eight assists per game during his time at North Carolina and helped lead the Tar Heels to a 2012 ACC regular season title before injuring his wrist in the NCAA tournament.
“He was definitely a pass-first point guard with just tremendous savvy and got the ball to the best shooters, had good players around him and he made them look really good,” Williams told Katz.
The Clutch Gene — Marcus Paige (Guard, 2012-2016)
Marcus Paige was just seconds away from having one of the most iconic shots in college basketball history. In the 2016 national championship versus Villanova, Paige hit a circus 3-pointer to tie the game up with 4.7 seconds left only to be dwarfed by Kris Jenkins’ famous buzzer-beater moments later to give the Wildcats the victory.
“I’ve even told Michael Jordan, I think Marcus’ shot would have erased Michael’s as the most famous shot in North Carolina basketball history,” Williams said.
Paige had other memorable clutch moments throughout his four-year career as a Tar Heel including two identical game-winning layups in back-to-back seasons against NC State and Louisville. The four-year UNC guard left Chapel Hill averaging 13.1 points and 4.3 assists per game.
The Coach — Sean May (Center, 2002-2005)
Sean May, who is now on Williams’ staff at North Carolina, finds himself as his former coach’s favorite coach on the floor. May was part of Williams’ first national title team at North Carolina when the Heels took home the 2005 national title.
“He could have played all five spots,” Williams said of May. “He knew everybody’s assignment. He’s one of the five smartest basketball players I’ve ever coached.”
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Outside of being Williams’ best player when it comes to basketball IQ, May also put up some impressive numbers. The former UNC big man averaged a double-double during his time at North Carolina with 15.8 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The Athletic Wonder — Ty Lawson (Guard, 2006-2009)
Ty Lawson was known for his unbelievable quickness as he was the initiator of many of North Carolina’s famous fast-break plays in the late 2000s. Lawson put up 13.1 points, 5.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
“Such tremendous feet, anticipation and athleticism,” Williams said remembering Lawson’s performance in the 2009 national championship.
Lawson set an NCAA record with eight steals in that national title game against Michigan State. He also racked up 21 points and six assists to lead the team in both categories as UNC knocked off the Spartans to take home the trophy.
The Shooter — Wayne Ellington (Guard, 2006-2009)
Also on that 2009 National Championship team was Wayne Ellington. Ellington was the go-to shooter on that squad as he averaged over 40% from beyond the arc that year and averaged 14.7 points per game during his career in Chapel Hill.
Ellington landed this spot on Williams’ list because of his ability to hit shots down the stretch, specifically in the 2009 NCAA tournament as he was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
The Bucket Getter — Tyler Hansbrough (Forward, 2005-2009)
There’s a reason Roy Williams tapped Tyler Hansbrough for the “bucket getter” position — he’s North Carolina’s all-time leading scorer with 2,872 points.
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“It was a pretty comfortable feeling to know that we had him that we could throw the ball into him at any time,” Williams said.
Hansbrough averaged over 20 points per game for the Tar Heels. He also had a field goal percentage of 54% and knocked down about 80% of his free-throws during his time at UNC.
The Lockdown Defender — Jackie Manuel (Guard, 2001-2005)
Jackie Manuel was a senior on Roy Williams’ first national championship team as North Carolina’s head coach in 2005. With Raymond Felton, Sean May and Marvin Williams as the scorers on that title team Manuel held it down on the defensive end.
“Jackie Manuel could chase a guy around screens, could stay in front of the ball, was just a guy you could depend on to make it difficult for the other team,” Williams told Katz. “He took everybody’s best player.”
The Glue Guy — Marvin Williams (Guard, 2004-2005)
Although Marvin Williams left college after one year, without even starting a game for North Carolina during 2004-05 he managed to be the second overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Williams said his sixth-man that year had a positive influence on everybody.
“He could do so many things on the court but was so special off the court, so special in the locker room,” Williams said. “He was just that guy that made everybody better.”
Marvin Williams left North Carolina after the 2004-2005 season averaging 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
The Dirty Worker — John Henson (Forward, 2009-2012)
When it comes to scooping up rebounds and protecting the rim Roy Williams went with John Henson. Henson averaged 8.1 boards and 2.5 blocks per game during his three-year stint in Chapel Hill.
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“John could even block the shot of the guy he was guarding, and that was really really hard to do,” Williams said.
Henson won ACC Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons his sophomore and junior seasons and has now played in the NBA for eight seasons.
The Captain — David Noel (Guard 2002-2006)
David Noel comes in as the player Williams coached that epitomizes leadership on and off the court. Noel came off the bench on UNC’s national championship team in 2005 and came back for another year the next season.
According to Williams, Noel helped push a young UNC team that included then-freshman Tyler Hansbrough from unranked to a No. 3 seed in the 2006 NCAA tournament.
“I got a lot of credit as a coach of that group, and every time I get that I told David, ‘thank you,’ because it was him that was such a great leader on and off the court,” Williams said.