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Heel Tough Blog: Unique Correlations of the Three Roy Williams’ National Championship Teams

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Every new basketball season brings excitement, expectation, and hope. In Chapel Hill, the excitement is another successful, fun filled basketball season. The expectation is to sweep State and to earn a favorable tournament seed for March. The hope is to be the last team standing on that Monday night in April. To the delight of many fans, on three occasions in the Roy Williams era, the Tar Heels have indeed been the last team standing. 

As fans, we soak it in as it is unfolding. The joy runs deep. We become unhinged with the excitement of the moment. The most recent usually becomes our favorite. Multiple years removed, I take a look back at some correlations of the Roy Williams led title teams; everything from injuries to specific championship night plays. 

Because we are Carolina, we have to include the injury bug:

2009-Ty Lawson and Tyler Zeller 

2017-Joel Berry and Kenny Williams

The foundational recruiting classes:

2005-the 2002 class led by Raymond Felton, Sean May, and Rashad McCants

2009-the 2005 and 2006 classes led by Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Ty Lawson, and Wayne Ellington 

2017-the 2014 class led by Joel Berry, Justin Jackson, and Theo Pinson

Maui Invitational Champions:

2005-beat Iowa

2009-beat Notre Dame

2017-beat Wisconsin

Photo credit: Rush The Court

 ACC tournament champions:




Productive play from a freshman, sixth man, big man:

2005-Marvin Williams 

2009-Ed Davis

2017-Tony Bradley 

Facilitate and pass first point guards who could score when needed:

2005-Raymond Felton

2009-Ty Lawson

2017-Joel Berry 

Photo credit:

Four 1,000 point scorers:

2005-Felton, McCants, May, J. Williams

2009-Lawson, Ellington, Green, Hansbrough

2017-Berry, Jackson, Maye, Meeks

The almost stub your toe game:




Motivation from falling short the prior year:

2005-lost to Texas in the second round

2009-got blown out by Kansas in the Final Four 

2017-the Kris Jenkins shot 

Photo credit: SB Nation

Championship night game sealing plays:

2005-Felton’s steal with 30 seconds left

2009-in all honesty, it was over at the tip 

2017-Kennedy Meeks block and steal 

No matter how the team makes it happen, when it happens, Tar Heel fans flood Franklin Street, living in the moment and reflecting later. 

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