UNC's Williams ready to move on after cancer scare


UNC's Williams ready to move on after cancer scare

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina coach Roy Williams can't wait to start practice this weekend - and for years to come - after his recent cancer scare.

``You always have people say when you hear that word that it knocks you for a loop,'' Williams said Thursday. ``And it does. You're off the charts in every different direction. But I told my team that I was going to coach this team. And I felt that way.''

Speaking at the team's preseason media day, the Hall of Famer described a ``whirlwind 24 days'' between the time doctors discovered tumors on both his kidneys and when they determined the growths were benign.

The 62-year-old said that while he plans to ``smell the roses a heck of a lot more,'' his recent health issues haven't changed his plan to coach another six to 10 years at UNC.

``It does change you,'' Williams said. ``Anybody that says it doesn't, they're a lot stronger or more wacko than I am. I really want to coach this team. And you know what's going to happen next year? I'm really going to want to coach that team again, too.''

When Williams had surgery to remove the tumor on his right kidney on Sept. 19, doctors had told him it was likely cancerous. But tests soon determined it was an oncocytoma, a benign growth often indistinguishable from kidney cancer on X-rays that doesn't spread like a cancerous tumor would.

Doctors later performed a biopsy on the left-kidney tumor and determined last week that it was also benign. They didn't surgically remove it. Williams said doctors will monitor that growth every six months for the immediate future.

UNC opens preseason practice Saturday with the challenge of replacing NBA first-round draft picks Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Zeller from last year's team that reached an NCAA regional final for the second straight year.

``When he told us the other kidney (tumor) was benign, it was just like a big relief,'' sophomore guard P.J. Hairston said. ``We wanted him to get better. We want him to be on the court to practice. Now it's just a great feeling to have him around now. He can move around more. He's doing a lot more now.''

Reserve sophomore Jackson Simmons said the team tried to keep Williams' spirits up as he recovered. That included sending a video the day of his surgery with all the players mimicking Williams' fists-clinched, squatting pose he often strikes while motivating his players during games from the sideline.

``We were told it was going to be a positive outcome, but you just worry about that,'' Simmons said. ``Those couple of weeks were really tough, but at the same time, there was a different focus around here that we sort of had the sense that we needed to work a little bit harder because Coach was working hard to get through that.''

Williams has had minor health issues in recent years, including occasional bouts with vertigo and back problems. He had shoulder surgery three years ago to repair a torn labrum, which left him to coach several weeks with his left arm in a sling.

The coach said he's been working about five hours a day leading up to the start of preseason practice and would work a reduce schedule until about six weeks after surgery. He said he feels good and is not in any pain, but added he might've worn out his wife, Wanda, by spending all the extra time recovering at home.

``She's been after me to retire for 10 years,'' Williams said. ``And after she's had all that time with me, she thinks she may want me to coach a little bit longer to get away from me.''

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

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No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Senior guard Jairus Lyles scored 28 points, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off the most shocking upset in NCAA Tournament history, defeating Virginia 75-54 on Friday night to become the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed.

Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after going 31-2 this season, including 20-1 in ACC competition.

But the Cavaliers couldn't get anything generated on offense and the nation's top-ranked defense couldn't contain American East Conference champions.

The 74 points were the most Virginia had allowed this year.

Lyles was the catalyst.

He diced up Virginia's defense in the second half, getting the hole easily on six different occasions and making easy layups. He also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as UMBC built a 16-point lead.

Lyles finished with 23 of his points in the second half and Joe Sherburne finished with 14 points.

The game was tied at halftime, but the Retrievers came out confident and motivated in the second half and built a double-digit lead that Virginia could never erase.

Sherburne scored on an and-one drive and then knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a behind-the-back pass from KJ Maura. After Virginia made a foul shot, the shifty 5-foot-8, 140-pound Maura drove the lane for uncontested layup.

A Tony Bennett timeout couldn't stop the bleeding, as Lyles hit two more 3's and Sherburne hit one to extend UMBC's lead to 14 with 14:57 left in the game. Lyles was fouled on a 3-point shot and suddenly the Retrievers led by 16.

A corner 3-pointer and a layups off a fastbreak by Arkel Lamer gave UMBC its biggest lead at 67-48. From there, the party was on as chants of "UMBC" rang through the arena.

It was yet another early exit for the Cavaliers in a season that seemed to hold so much promise.


UMBC: Despite being undersized and unknown, they shocked the world and made history with an epic game.

Virginia: This isn't the first time Virginia has struggled as the No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers trailed by five at halftime in 2014 to Coastal Carolina but went on to win 70-59.


UMBC: Will face No. 9 seed Kansas State on Sunday in the second round.