CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Kenny Williams is a self-contained, respectful and professional basketball player whether he’s on the court or in the classroom at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He never gets too high or too low, however this weekend provided the junior shooting guard a chance to revel in the moment with more enthusiasm than usual.
A road game in Charlottesville where he would play an hour and a half away from his old stomping grounds in Chesterfield.
“I’ll be honest I have been looking forward to it,” says Williams with a smile in the visiting team’s locker room of John Paul Jones Arena.
The North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team always draws a large crowd wherever they play, Saturday was no different as the Virginia Cavaliers dominated defensively for a 61-49 win. UNC head coach Roy Williams didn’t have to mince words in the post-game press conference.
“It was a good old butt-kickin’,” Williams grumbles at the podium.
Even so, it didn’t prevent L.C. Bird High School’s Kenny Williams from showcasing his game in front of friends and family. He claimed eight were in the stands.
“They’ve been watching me since high school, middle school,” laughs Williams, “they know what I can do.”
Williams finished with 11 points in the loss, not his best game of the season but good considering where he was this time last season. In the second half of the 2016-2017 season he needed knee surgery and sat on the bench through the Tar Heels run to the National Championship over Gonzaga.
It wasn’t all bad. During the recovery period, Williams got to evaluate the game from a lens he previously didn’t think to look through, a coaches eye if you will.
“A lot of it didn’t effect me my first two years with how I play,” Williams explains, “but now it’s totally different.”
As one of the leaders of this year’s North Carolina squad, his new perspective on the court will be critical to the Tar Heels success. He’s counting on it, still keeping that goal of lending a hand on the court to winning another national title.