Roy Williams called a North Carolina team meeting for 10 on Tuesday night. He needed to tell his players something important.
“I was in my bed,” Dexter Strickland, the Tar Heels’ senior guard, said Wednesday. “Got up and went to the gym, and he revealed it.”
Williams, 62, revealed that he needed surgery to remove a tumor from his right kidney. He had the procedure Wednesday morning at UNC Hospitals, where Dr. Eric Wallen led a team of surgeons that conducted a robotic partial nephrectomy.
The surgery “went well and according to plan,” Wallen said in a statement the school released. But now a precarious waiting game begins. Steve Kirschner, as athletic department spokesman, said it was unknown whether Williams’ tumor was malignant.
Doctors might need a week or more to determine that, Kirschner said. Williams might need another surgery, on his left kidney, next month. But Wallen expects him to coach this season.
“I fully expect him to coach this season and for years to come,” Wallen said. “He could miss some practice time if we perform another procedure sometime in October, but he would be able to resume his coaching duties prior to the start of the regular season.”
…If Williams does have to miss practices – or games – it’s unclear who will assume his leadership role over the basketball program. Robinson, a former Florida State head coach who has spent 18 seasons with him at Kansas and North Carolina, said Williams’ assistants would likely work together, if necessary, to fill the void.
“I don’t think we have just one single person to say, ‘OK, this guy – you’re in charge of everything,’ ” Robinson said. “You know who’s in charge? Roy Williams. That’s who’s in charge.”
Members of the local and national college basketball community expressed support for Williams on Twitter. Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard and current Blue Devils assistant coach, wrote, “Duke basketball family wishing UNC Coach Roy Williams a speedy and complete recovery from his surgery.”
“Obviously, health is more important than basketball. We all wish him a speedy recovery to get himself back to 100 percent real soon,” KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World. “Roy obviously did a remarkable job at the University of Kansas. Remarkable. He’s a great ambassador for our sport, and certainly everybody in the athletics community I’m sure sends their well-wishes with us.”
Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro has named Terry Mojahir its new Athletic Director.
Mohajir is an ASU grad (1993) and former athlete (football).
He comes back to campus from Kansas, where he has been on the athletics staff of the University of Kansas since last year.
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
The first Top 25 commitment from the Class of 2014 belongs to the Baylor Bears as forward Leron Black (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) committed to Scott Drew at his high school on Monday.
Black, a five-star recruit and No. 13 in the ESPN 60, had interest from Florida, Memphis, Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio State. However, Baylor had one thing that set it apart from the rest of the field.
"At first it was the religion," Black said. "Then, second of all it was the basketball. They've been to the Elite Eight the past two years and this year they sent three players to the NBA. When I was on campus the academics were real good."
Black took an unofficial visit to Waco in early September and sat on his decision. He knew Baylor was the choice for him but it took some convincing with his mother.
"When I went on the unofficial, it was great," Black said. "It looked good and it's the biggest Baptist school in the country and I'm a big Christian.
"I wanted to do it when I was there but my momma said she wanted to wait. I prayed about it. Sunday at church, the preacher said that if God tells you to do something you should listen. People were talking me out of it, but today they came up to the school for open gym and my mom said I could commit so I did."
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