Ryan Irelan

is building Mijingo and doing limited consulting.

What Didn’t Happen

Exchange between a reporter and UNC basketball coach Roy Williams about two end-of-game situations involving sophmore John Henson:

Coach, I’m curious, after the Washington game I’m curious what you said following some of the mental lapses in the final seconds. And also if you think it may help going forward in avoiding some similar situations?

“You know, I don’t really know what mental lapse you are talking about. John Henson dropped the ball.”

He could have let the ball go out of bounds in that situation and potential goaltending.

“If the ball is being thrown to you, if you look at the play, he starts to try to catch it and it is going through his process, his brain as well. And some don’t make decisions in one half of a second. That didn’t bother me. I said, why didn’t you just catch the ball? And somebody else said, why don’t you just let it go? There were three choices and hell, he chose the wrong one.” (emphasis mine)

“But he’s 18, 19—no, I think he just turned 20 recently. You have got to understand that part. But the mental lapse, he thought the ball would be completely short. If you look at it on tape, it could have easily, if a referee throughout of goaltending, they could say it had no chance to go in, which it didn’t.”

“But you also talk about mental lapses, he was also so sharp that he immediately, without the help of replay, said well, Coach, it was a two-pointer. I said, are you sure? He said, yeah, I saw where his feet were. So that is a guy that is thinking quite a bit. I said this before, you have a 20-year-old guy that acts like an 11-year-old and I love that part of him.”

On one level you have a coach defending his player. Then you have a coach teaching a lesson about choices: sometimes they’re made quickly and sometimes you choose the wrong one.

But it’s about what didn’t happen, not what could have.

Want to share your thoughts? @Reply to me on Twitter.

There’s more to read in the archive.