UNC Basketball: Former Tar Heel star calls out Roy Williams

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Over the weekend, former UNC basketball star point guard Ty Lawson attacked head coach Roy Williams on Instagram.

Former UNC basketball star Ty Lawson took to Instagram on Monday saying that, “Roy Williams knows why,” he does not, “show love to North Carolina.” Lawson also said, “your weird…,” towards the legendary coach. That is no typo. Lawson failed to put the apostrophe, showing he might have made a mistake in forgoing his senior season and missing out on the classes that would’ve improved his grammar at UNC.

Ty Lawson criticized Roy Williams for what Williams supposedly said to NBA Draft scouts. In the posts on Instagram, Lawson said he had documentation from 10 NBA GMs that showed Williams criticizing Lawson. Lawson last posted an image supporting UNC on Instagram in April of 2017, so it is possible that is when the feud started. That also is around the same time of Lawson’s last NBA season, suggesting that Lawson might be upset with Williams for not vouching for his character to other NBA teams.

Lawson was a star for the Tar Heels while with the team from 2006-2009, and led them to a National Championship in 2009, but his off-court troubles date back to 2008 when he was arrested for underage drinking (while driving at that) in Chapel Hill. Lawson was arrested another time in Colorado for a domestic violence issue with his girlfriend, but the case was dropped. He received his fourth DUI after being arrested in Los Angeles in 2015, his second DUI that year. Things got so bad for Lawson that he announced that he would be entering rehab to deal with his issues.

The good news for Lawson though is that he appears to be in a much better place now. He hasn’t been arrested since 2015, showing real improvements that should be recognized. He currently plays in the Chinese Basketball Association for the Fujian Sturgeons, where he has played extremely well. While with the Sturgeons, Lawson is averaging 27 points per game along with seven assists, two steals, and four rebounds per game.

It is not hard to see both sides of this scenario. Ty Lawson is mad at his former coach for not vouching for him to continue his NBA career. Lawson appears to value loyalty here; however, at the same time, it seems as though Williams was honest with his assessment of Lawson’s immaturity. If Williams lied to cover up Lawson’s immaturity, it would have jeopardized his integrity, which could hurt the next wave of Tar Heel prospects to receive NBA interest. Williams was also probably upset to see one of his former players feel this way about him and he may or may not have used the phrase, “daggum it,” when he saw this news.

Roy’s other issues with Tarheels

Unfortunately for UNC fans, the issue with Lawson is not the first time Roy Williams has had issues with his players. Former Tar Heel Rashad McCants attacked Williams, saying his coach was a little old and might have memory issues. McCants said this after Williams pushed back on McCants’ allegations that he had tutors write his papers and that he took abnormal classes to keep his eligibility. Williams denied knowing about his player’s academic performances and McCants criticized him for that as well. McCants is just one of five players from the 2005 team who took classes that never required an in-person meeting and sparked an NCAA investigation.

Larry Drew II also had an interesting relationship with Williams after he decided to transfer away from the Tar Heels in the middle of the season, without even telling Williams. Drew appeared unhappy with Williams’ recent decision to move him to the bench and the recruitment of other players at his position. Drew’s mother even took to social media to attack Williams by calling him a liar and hinting at the future NCAA scandal the university would be involved in.

Family Divided

A look on any UNC basketball social media will see the use of #CarolinaFamily. Williams has worked hard to create an image of being a good guy, full of southern hospitality but in the end, that image could be destroyed if his relationships with players continue to weaken. Williams is the leader of the Carolina Family and if more and more family members start to dislike the leader, there could be trouble.

In 2012, Williams and his scholarship players walked off the Florida State basketball court with 14.2 seconds left on the clock in a loss to the Seminoles. He had to apologize to the reserves and walk-ons who were left on the court while Williams and the star players left. He said he was trying to avoid an incident that occurred earlier in the season, when a manager was knocked down by court storming fans, but in doing so he forgot about the five players on the court.

In 2020, Williams even called his current team, “the least gifted team I’ve ever coached,” and continued on to say his team was not very good. While the players on the team appeared to have no real reaction to these comments, there is no doubt that it was not a pleasant thing for them to hear. According to 247 Sports, the freshman class on that team consisted of two five-star players and one four-star, making it the ninth-best class in the country.  The rest of the team included three and four-stars with experience and high-level transfers; but sure Roy, they suck.