After cancer scare, UNC’s Williams changes
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
He thought of how he should have paused to savor those national titles more. He thought of 2009, when barely 36 hours after the championship game, he was standing in a parking lot in Ames, Iowa, waiting to see a recruit.
The college basketball season is now full-blown. The September fears have faded, and the 5-1 North Carolina Tar Heels came here to play No. 1 Indiana. And yet, on this Tuesday afternoon, like every day, Williams took a moment to remember how lucky he is, and blessed, and alive. To remind himself to enjoy the journey, because it was only two months ago that he did not know long that journey might be.
“I’m hoping that I do change a little,” Williams told USA TODAY Sports while sitting in a hotel lobby. “A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions that last till January 3, so I’m hoping mine will last a heck of a lot longer than that.
“I’m trying to do a better job at that, but yet you do crazy things. I gritted my teeth so hard during the Butler game (a Tar Heel loss in Maui), that I cracked a filling. I’m over there picking parts of my tooth out of my mouth and putting them in the trash can beside the bench.”
Still, Williams’ cancer scare has had a happy ending. Surgery determined that tumors on both of his kidneys were benign, after doctors had warned Williams there was a 95 percent chance they were malignant.
“For 24 days, you think you have cancer,” Williams said. “I don’t … [For more on After cancer scare, UNC's Williams changes outlook, click here.]