Will North Carolina basketball take a championship visit to President Donald Trump's White House? Roy Williams didn't commit to an answer Monday night.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — North Carolina coach Roy Williams doesn’t sound excited about the prospect about meeting President Donald Trump in the traditional White House visit for NCAA champions. After Williams’s Tar Heels held off Gonzaga for a 71–65 victory in the national title game Monday night, the coach gave a non-committal answer about going to meet Trump. He declined to give his thoughts after he said Friday he’d give an “honest answer” to the question. “Let me think on it,” Williams said. “Again, I don’t know if we’re going to get invited. I really don’t.”
Williams said that his 2005 North Carolina team didn’t end up visiting the White House because they weren’t asked until September. By then, a majority of the team had scattered to NBA camps and Europe to pursue professional careers. The Tar Heels did visit after their 2009 title, and President Barack Obama addressed the team in October 2016 when he was in Chapel Hill campaigning for Hillary Clinton. (Former Obama aide Reggie Love was quoted earlier this year saying that the former president "loves Roy Williams.")
“I probably screwed it up,” Williams said when asked for his thoughts on the White House. “I should have told you I would think about it afterwards because I didn’t want to jinx myself.”
Williams made waves at the ACC tournament in Brooklyn with a comment about Trump’s volatile habits on Twitter. “You know, our president tweets out more bull---- than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Williams said. His quote became the buzz of the day in New York and gave a window into Williams’s views on Trump. Those views appear to align with his team’s, as North Carolina forward Aaron Rohlman told Sports Illustrated that only about three of the 15 Tar Heels voted for Trump.
When asked about potentially going to the White House prior to the Final Four, Williams ducked the question. He chalked it up to superstition, saying he didn’t want to look that far ahead. “But after the game, if we're still standing here, you can ask me and I'll give you an honest answer. I've tried to make sure I never jinx my dadgum self.”
Williams didn’t mention Trump by name on Monday night but alluded to the honor of being in the White House. “The office of the presidency of the United States is the most fantastic place you can be.”
He then added with much more certainty: “I know one thing. We’re putting up a nice banner in the Smith Center that’s hard to get.”