Roy Williams spoke with emotion on Friday when he described what it meant to him that both North Carolina and Duke came together for a moment of silence honoring Dean Smith on Feb. 18 before the Tar Heels and Blue Devils played at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“That was a neat deal to me,” Williams said of the pregame moment when players and coaches from both teams gathered at midcourt. “That was one of the neatest moments I've ever had.”
It also apparently helped to inspire Williams to want to recognize Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for winning 1,000 games. UNC will honor Krzyzewski before the regular-season finale against Duke on Saturday night, Williams said.
He said, joking, that “we're also going to try to jinx Mike.”
“We're going to give him a little presentation and something for winning 1,000 games,” Williams said. “I mean, that's an unbelievable accomplishment. This is a big-time rivalry. But I loved it over at their place when both teams got together at the center line at the start of the game in honor of coach Smith.”
Krzyzewski became the first Division I men's college basketball coach to 1,000 games when Duke defeated St. John's on Jan. 25. The Blue Devils lost their next game, against Notre Dame, but have since won 10 consecutive.
“If he has one-thousand and twelve or whatever,” Williams said, “I hope like crap he doesn't add one more (on Saturday).”
Williams said he thought the crowd at the Smith Center would handle honoring Krzyzewski “really, really well.”
“Because over there at their place, their crowd was sensational in trying to honor coach Smith,” Williams said. “And there's nothing wrong with cheering as enthusiastically as you can be and being a fanatic for your team.
“And I thought that's what their people did over there during the course of the game but they still honored coach Smith before the game and I'm hoping that our crowd will do the same thing here.”
Andrew Carter is the UNC athletics beat reporter for The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewcarter.com.