The unsung two-way standout who has helped UNC get off to a fast start

Joe Giglio, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Kenny Williams had two knee surgeries in a five-month span earlier this year.

You could never tell by watching the North Carolina guard play basketball.

Healthy and happy, Williams has settled into his role as UNC's top defender and sharpshooter and has helped the Tar Heels get off to an 8-1 start. Wednesday's home game with Western Carolina (3-6) is just another one in the normal routine for Williams.

Normal is good for the 6-4, 185-pound junior from Midlothian, Va. He missed the final 14 games of UNC's championship season with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

He had surgery last February and then needed a second one in July. Four months later, Williams is back to 100 percent.

"It's great," Williams said of his knee. "I'm not even worried about it at this point. I'm doing a little extra rehab, when we have off days, but it feels great. I haven't had any problems with it."


Williams has been sharp in the first four weeks of the season. He leads the team in 3-point percentage (52.4) and is tied with Joel Berry for 3-pointers made (19).

His 13.4 scoring average is third-best on the team and he has been singled out by coach Roy Williams regularly as the team's top perimeter defender.

The junior guard has more than twice as many steals (13) as anyone else on the roster.

There is no doubt to the Tar Heels' Hall of Fame coach as to why Williams is such a strong defender.


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