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No longer caretaker, Williams is Carolina basketball

DETROIT – It’s his program now, the one that Roy Williams loved since he was little, played his heart out for as a young man, but could only admire from a distance for most of his career.

Even after he was handed the keys, Williams still didn’t dare believe it would ever belong to anyone but Dean Smith.

A second national championship in four years changed all that. Williams is not just the caretaker anymore. He IS Carolina basketball – no matter how many times he says otherwise.

“Coach,” Williams said, setting down the trophy, and looking straight into the camera to address his mentor, “I hope you’re watching. I hope you’re enjoying it at home.”

And really, what was there not to love?

When the final buzzer went off Monday night to seal North Carolina’s 89-72 win over Michigan State, there were a few flaws you could point to.

The Tar Heels shot just 37 percent in the second half. They surrendered the slim rebounding edge they held at halftime, even took their foot off the gas for a stretch late in the game to let the Spartans climb back to within 13 points with just under five minutes left.

But if being the man at Carolina means collecting the most talented players from every corner of the country, bringing them to Chapel Hill, and then grooming them to be at their best in the biggest games, Williams is all that – and more. Plus, he’s getting better at keeping them there.

The team that got clobbered by Kansas in the Final Four only a year ago, like the one that nabbed Williams his first championship in 2005, could have been busted up by NBA dreams.

But senior Tyler Hansbrough never wavered in his decision to return, and Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green followed suit, convinced their chances of giving themselves a title and Williams his second was a better bet than their prospects as pros. Now, they can have both.

“Hard work pays off,” said Ellington, who scored 17 of his 19 points in the opening period as Carolina effectively put the game out of reach.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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