Thad Williamson 
Member since Jun 7, 2010

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Associate Professor of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond Author, More than a Game: Why North Carolina Basketball Means So Much to So Many

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Re: “Roy Williams: Stubborn like a fox?

Some interesting points here. A couple of further notes:

1) even prior to recent changes, Carolina was feeding post less than last season.
2) agree that McAdoo is better receiving ball facing basket at high post area with opportunity to drive; however he is comfortable on the left baseline with the short turnaround jumper. His other back-to-basket moves as well as turnaround from other spots on the court are not consistently effective, but his ability to drive should be maximized.
3) It makes more sense to work the ball into the post when Johnson or James are in there, esp. Johnson. Johnson played fairly little against Maryland probably for defensive reasons (as you note). In other games he'll play more and probably there will be more post-feeding going on.
4) The screens really are making life better for Bullock and Hairston.
5) It seems like Roy is also employing more half court trap pressure, to good effect....

Posted by Thad Williamson on 01/22/2013 at 11:25 AM

Re: “A brief history of the UNC-ECU basketball "rivalry"

The original version of the article incorrectly stated that East Carolina and UNC had never played in the regular season. They did play once in 1953 when ECU was East Carolina College, in Greenville. This is the first regular season game between the teams in Chapel Hill.

Posted by Thad Williamson on 12/14/2012 at 3:50 PM

Re: “Point guard confusion escalates for Tar Heels

That article commits a classical logical fallacy. Felton and Lawson weren't great, great PGs because they started their freshman year. They started their freshman year because they were great, great PGs.

Paige is not a great PG. He is definitely much better than Drew and Thomas, but not at Felton or Lawson's level. Whether he should start or not is a judgment call. Rob is correct that so far the team as a whole has performed better with Dex and McDonald/Hairston in there.

Further, I'm not a big believer in the "you play this year to get to next year concept." For one thing, there is no next year for Dex. For another, McAdoo is likely gone after this year. And finally, you don't get better and build confidence or send the right message to the players by losing .

It's not going to destroy Paige if he is brought off the bench or sees his minutes go down a bit. If he plays well enough and grows into the ACC, he'll win back his spot. What would destroy his confidence is to ride him when he's not ready, have Carolina get 3 or 4 early losses in the ACC, then try to change things. Rob has a good case that Roy should proactively make an adjustment now before there's a crisis.

Posted by Thad Williamson on 12/14/2012 at 10:42 AM

Re: “Point guard confusion escalates for Tar Heels

Good analysis. I think McDonald needs to be starting alongside Dex. More experience and more shooting ability to help Carolina get off to better starts. Paige can play 20-25 mins a game off the bench. Not sure you can afford to be young at PG and C at the same time. No choice at C, but there is a choice for Roy at the point. Also, McDonald could possibly blossom into close to an all-conference performer if given a chance at starter role and minutes. Hairston has even bigger upside but is still too erratic.

Posted by Thad Williamson on 12/14/2012 at 9:25 AM

Re: “A kick in the teeth to the UNC fan: Why vacating wins matters

Regarding the Chansky link:

1) The blog editor David F put that in there (he has authorized me to assign all credit/blame for links to him, and to write a post clarifying my view on this.) Because of the way its presence might be interpreted (as the authoritative basis for my article's claim), it would have been better in my view if the link had not been there in that form.
2) But to clarify, the Chansky story is not the basis for my writing that the document points to a culture of noncompliance at UNC. Rather, my basis is the document itself and most of the the things it deals with, plus additional info that has come to light (i.e. widespread major parking ticket violations); plus the repeated references to "former head coach" Butch Davis. In my reading, UNC subtly but deliberately makes a break with the past coaching regime while at the same time arguing it's core institutional policies were basically sound and well-intended all along. That UNC would, having taken the step of firing Davis, pursue that rhetorical/argumentative strategy should surprise no one , on any side of this question. Of course they don't come out and bluntly say "we fired the coach so we're all good now," but I do think the document relies on and subtly refers to the reader's knowledge that a head coaching change has been made, in support of the case that the university is and has been making a good faith effort to respond to the violations.
3. As to the Chansky story itself, I do think it was one of the more interesting and provcative commentaries to appear in the first 24 hrs after UNC's response, and just because Art is extremely unpopular right now among many UNC football fans doesn't mean I'm going to dismiss his articles out of hand. And he makes a valid point--that UNC's response to the NCAA confirms as fact that one member of the UNC staff, former assistant Tommy Thigpen, was informed by another institution's staff of Blake's questionable if not unethical actions in calling the Nebraska player Suh at a time he was considering jumping to the NFL. That fact in turn raises a valid question--did Thigpen inform Davis?

Chansky goes on to argue/surmise that he did, but as far as I can tell the basis for that conclusion is speculation and/or connecting the fact in UNC's response with rumors and stories concerning why Thigpen left Chapel Hill. So the conclusion that Thigpen told Davis about the Nebraska/Blake issue is certainly unproven. (Of course if he didn't tell Davis, we might ask--why not?)

In this regard it might be useful to recall Holden Thorp's comment at the press conference to discuss Davis's firing in July. Thorp said he did not think Davis personally knew about all the problems. But he also strongly implied that Davis should have known, or known more, about what was going on. From that point of view--and the point of view of maintaining a vigilant culture of compliance--both Chansky's envisioned scenario (Thigpen tells Davis what he learned from Nebraska, and Davis does nothing or sees no big problem) and the alternative--a member of UNC's coaching staff is aware that a colleague is engaged in improper conduct, yet the head coach is not--are equally troubling. The only alternative view I see is an argument that Blake's contacts with Suh during this time period were completely innocent in motive (which is not what the NCAA seems to think).

Posted by Thad Williamson on 09/23/2011 at 8:23 AM

Re: “A kick in the teeth to the UNC fan: Why vacating wins matters

I'm all for reforming the NCAA, but the fact it is not the government is essentially irrelevant to the question here. It is a voluntary association that makes and enforces its own rules as it sees fit. UNC doesn't have to follow its rules, but chooses to (try...most of the time...) do so because it values the benefits of being a member.

My view is that the NCAA is too strong in some areas (too much time spent on small-scale violations) and too weak in others (totally failing to govern football, the bowl and BCS system, conference expansion). So yes I'm for overhauling it (see reforms outlined in previous entries posted last week). But UNC does have an obligation to follow rules the association establishes, even when the rules are not optimal.

Posted by Thad Williamson on 09/22/2011 at 2:52 PM

Re: “Forget the radical reforms, here are realistic proposals for cleaning up college football (Part 1)

Hawkfan, the FCS (I-AA) schools all get by with 63 scholarships. And are usually able to redshirt most freshmen too. There will always be ready and willing walk-ons to add numbers if deemed necessary to have in effect a third or fourth string.

Posted by Thad Williamson on 09/18/2011 at 11:43 PM

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