LAHAINA, Hawaii — In front of a backdrop of the clear blue Pacific Ocean, Roy Williams and the other basketball coaches representing the field of eight teams in the EA Sports Maui Invitational kicked off tournament festivities Sunday by teaming up with local youth basketball players for a free-throw competition.
Williams, like his No. 11 Tar Heels (3-0) as of late, wasn’t too successful from the stripe, missing all three of his shots. It’s one competition this week he doesn’t mind losing.
“I’ve never won it,” Williams said with a wide grin. “It’s like the par-3 contest at Augusta — you don’t want to win the free throw contest. Nobody that’s ever won the free-throw contest has ever won the tournament.”
In both of UNC’s appearances in the tournament under Williams’ direction (2004 and 2008), the Tar Heels won it all. Each of those seasons also ended with a confetti shower and another NCAA title the following March.
Williams isn’t expecting an easy road. With his team scheduled to play games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Williams said he’ll have to spread out the playing time more than he usually would.