“‘I’m telling you guys, I watched tape,’” freshman guard Theo Pinson remembers Williams telling the North Carolina men’s basketball team earlier this week. “‘The dude can play.’”
Williams had his eye on Wesley Saunders, the Harvard guard who was the Crimson’s only player this season to boast a double-digit scoring average. The one who, before UNC’s eventual 67-65 win over the Crimson Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, accounted for 40 percent of Harvard’s total offense. The one who became just the second player in Harvard history and the first since 1982 to earn unanimous All-Ivy League first-team honors three years in a row.
That’s who Williams was concerned about. And on Thursday night, when Saunders launched what could have been Harvard’s game-winning 3-pointer, the Harvard sophomore had validated the Hall of Fame coach’s urgent message to the Tar Heels.
“He was a load, and we knew that,” said Williams of Saunders, who scored a game-high 26 of Harvard’s 65 points. “J.P. (Tokoto) did a pretty doggone good job, but he was really, really hard to guard.”