RALEIGH — Coach Roy Williams and the UNC men’s basketball team were honored Wednesday by state government for their triumphant win this March in the NCAA Championship tournament. Williams was joined by team members including Most Outstanding Player Joel Berry and North Carolina natives Isaiah Hicks (Oxford), Kennedy Meeks (Charlotte), Luke Maye (Huntersville) and Theo Pinson (Greensboro). The group met with Republican leadership privately for photos before being ushered into a standing-room only crowd in the House chamber.Members from the state House and Senate spoke in appreciation for the team that brought another championship title back to the Old North State it was the second NCAA win in just three years for an N.C. school, with Duke University winning in 2015.
It was a light-hearted ceremony with no shortage of witty digs at the other two major basketball programs in the Triangle, “the program 8 miles down the road” (Duke) and NC State. “It was so satisfying to coach this team. It is also satisfying to see a lot of people wearing red, because I know you really don’t want to be here today,” Williams said looking out over the crowd of legislators that quickly burst into laughter, “and that satisfies me down to the core!”Williams credited his team for focusing on a common goal and making sacrifices along the way in order to reach the big win something he asked the General Assembly to also keep in mind, especially in the name of education policy and funding.”Please continue to be a team for our great state,” said Williams. “But that’s all I’ll say about politics. … I’m impressed by what you do, but I don’t want any part of it.”
Williams did, however, joke that one of his star players might have more of an interest in politics. “He plays a good game, but he also talks a big game Theo Pinson,” Williams said of the 6-foot-6 junior from Greensboro. “He’ll be sitting right next to you someday.”