WE KNOW WHAT TO get Roy Williams for Christmas: a thicker skin.
The North Carolina basketball coach had security eject a fan Saturday during a rout over Presbyterian College at the Smith Center because the guy had the audacity to heckle a Tar Heels player.
North Carolina was well on its way to a 103-64 win when Tar Heels forward Deon Thompson stepped to the line to shoot some free throws in the second half.
"Hey Deon, don't miss it," yelled a Presbyterian fan.
Two things happened next:
Deon made both free throws and Williams made a scene.
Dan Wiederer of the Fayetteville Observer was at the game and wrote that Williams scanned the crowd until he spotted the offending fan. Williams then spoke with John Dubis of the arena staff, who summoned security and had the fan escorted from the building.
This was all during the game.
Wiederer wrote that no one had heard the fan use profanity or say anything else during the game.
But it was enough to set off Williams.
"I don't think anybody should yell anything negative at our players. Period," said Williams. "Let's don't make it a bigger thing than it is. But I just don't think anybody should yell negative things toward our players [when] you come in on our tickets to watch our game."
Seems as if Williams was the one who made the biggest issue out of it.
After the game, a North Carolina spokesman said security officers believed the fan was intoxicated and that he was not in his proper seat.
That may or may not be true. But as Wiederer pointed out in his "Fast Break" blog, "How in the world would Williams know that from 20 rows away while coaching a game?"
The bottom line is that Williams' overreaction will most likely come back to haunt him.
The Tar Heels have 21 regular-season games left, 12 of which are at the Smith Center.
Now that they know what irks Williams, opposing fans are sure to be more vocal than ever.
- Tom Mahon