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Poll: If Roy Williams stayed at Kansas in 2003, who wins the 2005 Men's National Championship?
Illinois with Bill Self
Kansas with Roy Williams
North Carolina with Unknown Head Coach
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NCAA What If: Roy Williams Never Left Kansas?
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schmolik Online
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MyBB NCAA What If: Roy Williams Never Left Kansas?
As you know, Roy Williams retired this past week as the head coach of his alma mater North Carolina after 18 seasons, leading them to three national championships (2005, 2009, and 2017). Before then, Roy was the head coach at Kansas for 15 seasons (1989-2003). It's unheard of for a coach to leave a top ten (probably top five) program at their peak (Roy made the Final Four in 2002 and the championship game in 2003) for another school, even if the school is another top ten/five program.

The result caused a domino effect that affected not only Kansas but my Illinois as well as Bill Self left Illinois for Kansas. I didn't blame Bill and still don't today. Kansas has been pretty successful under Self and won a national championship but they don't have three so they have to look back and say they got screwed when Roy left. And Illinois really got screwed. Can you imagine if Bill Self had been Illinois's coach the last 18 years (assuming he didn't have the Adidas issues)?

Or even worse, imagine if Bill Self were the head coach of Illinois in 2005 coaching Deron Williams, Dee Brown, and the team he recruited? Bruce Weber did a great job coaching that team to the championship game but he's not Bill Self and Self would've been with them since for 3-4 years rather than Weber's 2. Also, when North Carolina's in the championship game, Roy Williams's not coaching them. Maybe they don't even get there. But then again, Roy's coaching Kansas. They're probably better than they are with continuity. They probably don't lose in the first round of the NCAA's. Also, Sean May, Rashard McCants, and Raymond Felton weren't recruited by Roy, they were recruited by Matt Doherty. As long as Carolina got a top coach to replace Doherty, if they were as talented as they were they might have still won. If you believe players win national championships and not coaches, North Carolina still wins. If you think it's coaches, you have to go with Kansas and Roy Williams. But if it's a combination and you don't think North Carolina could have gotten someone good to replace Doherty and Kansas's 05 team wasn't that much better than the team that lost to Bucknell even with Doherty, than Illinois would have won having that team and Bill Self. Then even if Self never did anything else at Illinois after that he's still a hero forever.
04-04-2021 07:31 AM
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RE: NCAA What If: Roy Williams Never Left Kansas?
Whether the 2005 UNC team would have been different is a “Lost”-type rabbit hole, but I don’t think Bill Self’s presence or not would have impacted the 2005 Illini for that *particular* year. Bruce Weber is arguably as good of an Xs-and-Os coach as anyone. Whatever the outcome for that specific Illini team would have occurred with or without Self (with Weber arguably being better at maximizing that team’s talent).

What would have been vastly different was how the Illinois program looked *after* 2005. Bill Self is one of the greatest recruiters in modern basketball history and he had reestablished a pipeline of talent from the Chicago area to the Illinois program. That essentially evaporated when Self left as Weber simply couldn’t ever be the type of recruiter that Self is. We would have seen Illinois consistently reload every year with talent under Self in a way that hasn’t happened since he left. Hopefully, Brad Underwood can carry the success of this year’s team forward as opposed to it being a one-off situation.
04-04-2021 10:27 AM
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schmolik Online
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RE: NCAA What If: Roy Williams Never Left Kansas?
Without a doubt Bruce Weber's biggest flaw is his inability to recruit. Kansas State's even harder to recruit to than U of I. I always say little brother or second choice but in men's basketball KSU definitely is to Kansas and recently they've fallen behind Wichita State as they made the Final Four in 2013 and had the undefeated season in 2014.

As to Illinois's future, I worry this year was the once in a generation season like 1989 and 2005. Ayo Dosumnu and Koki Cockburn are once in a generation players and it's one thing to get one of them to Champaign/Urbana but two at the same time is insane. One positive sign is Brad Underwood was able to get Koki and Ayo to come to Illinois when the Illini were crap. Now Illinois, although they choked, at least has a pulse. I'd rather choke in the NCAA Tournament than not make it at all. I think overall the talent level at Illinois should be better in coming years but will we get any Dosumnu's or Cockburn's in the next 10 years is the question (and can we have two at the same time)? I would be surprised if Illinois has as good a regular season as they did this year but you get a 4 or 5 seed with the right draw and you can make the Sweet 16. Villanova this year lost Collin Gillespie and still made the Sweet 16. UCLA was an 11 seed and made the Final Four. Just because Illinois isn't a 1 seed doesn't mean they can't make a deeper tournament run than this year.
04-04-2021 11:16 AM
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