Roy Williams was asked if the nature of the Duke-North Carolina rivalry has changed because of the frequent turnover of the players. Read his response below or listen to it here.
It’s still the names of the front. You guys won’t believe this, but I think, strongly, we’ve had more guys leave early since I’ve been here than they have. Period. We just haven’t had the one-and-dones. We’ve had Marvin, Brandan, Tony. But we’ve had more guys leave early for the NBA.
And it’s what the kids should do, if an option is there. I don’t have anything against that. I’ve said it hundred times. I’ve tried to recruit Harry Giles, I tried to recruit Jayson Tatum, I tried to recruit Luke Kennard. You can go down the line. I tried to recruit Zion Williamson.
How can I say something bad about somebody that did something I did, they just did it a lot more successfully?
I don’t think it’s changed the rivalry in my viewpoint. I really don’t. Whoever they put out there in a Duke shirt, this is the team we’re going to try to beat. And I would assume whoever we put out there, they’re going to try to beat.
I mean one year I got so mad at my team over there, I took guys out that were just ticking me off. I put in the 5 toughest guys we could find, and we ended up winning the game. Because sometimes you just got to go by the seat of your pants.
- Roy Williams, pre-Duke press conference
Does North Carolina have more players that have left early than Duke since 2003-04?
Roy Williams mentioned Carolina might have more players that left early for the NBA than Duke since he's been head coach.— Dadgum Box Scores (@dadgumboxscores) February 6, 2018
Well, he's right.
Since '03-04 season:
Carolina: 18 early entries
Duke: 16 early entries
Thread with each list coming …
The problem? That tweet is actually not true for a couple reasons. Hand is up.
First, Danny Green didn’t leave early, he played all 4 years. The confusion here was a result that Green did test the waters in 2008 with teammates Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington.
And second, counting is sometimes hard. The first mistake threw off the numbers, and the amount is 16 early entries apiece for each team.
Twitter is a solid medium of communication. But if you make a mistake, it’s generally awful. Tons of people let me know that this was wrong, so let’s correct it.
Here is the full list with draft position and years of eligibility left:
This list does not include the following:
transfers that were drafted, but attended one of the schools (Semi Ojeleye, Elliot Williams)
players that left early because their eligibility was revoked by the NCAA (P.J. Hairston)
any players prior to the 2003-04 collegiate season
Numerous people pointed out that leaving early and one-and-dones aren’t the same thing. That’s absolutely right.
But for this exercise, we’re lumping them together.
If you’re curious, Duke has more one-and-dones and several more years of eligibility left amongst players that left early.
| Early Entries | Carolina | Duke | |--------------------------|----------|------| | One-and-dones | 3 | 11 | | Eligibility left (years) | 25 | 41 |
And if you’re curious about transfers, Joe Giglio wrote about that recently.
Not really a whole lot. This wasn’t intended to insinuate anything. Context is important. Roy Williams answered a question about how it changed the rivalry. And it really hasn’t.
It was a question about the rivalry, not which program is better or more successful.
If anything, you could make a strong case it makes the rivalry better.
Because you get to see incredible basketball talent compete against each other twice a year, at minimum.
And, of course, it would be great if you could see these players year and after year compete against each other. But if they can make a living playing basketball, they deserve to do that.
And if you spot an error in this post, please let me know!