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UNC Coach Roy Williams hosts Special Olympians on a day of 'smiles and cheers.'

Colin Warren-Hicks, The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- UNC men's basketball coach Roy Williams called it a day full of smiles and cheers.

"Roy's Boys" dribbled, passed and shot jumpers, layups and floaters on the Smith Center court with N.C. Special Olympians for the 15th straight year Sunday.

"I did the Special Olympics in Kansas for 15 years," Williams said, referring to his previous head coaching post at the University of Kansas. "Now, this is 15 years here."

The clinic's Tar Heel player hosts instructed the Special Olympians, helping them hone fundamental skills.

"We really enjoy doing it. Our players enjoy doing it. I think the Special Olympians really enjoy themselves. So, it's a day full of smiles and cheers," Williams said. "So, it's pretty good."

Close to 40,000 athletes participate in Special Olympics events in North Carolina, and a few more than 100 Special Olympians traveled to Chapel Hill from across the state for Sunday's clinic.

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The Special Olympians athletes, split into groups based on county affiliation, rotated between a half dozen "skill stations" run by UNC basketball players.

Jacob Ross, a middle school student at Durham's Voyager Academy, dribbled, ran toward a lowered hoop and slammed a ball through at the dunk station run by UNC's high-flying Theo Pinson.

Sunday was Ross's second time at the clinic in the Smith Center.

"I love coming here because of meeting the players and also just having fun," he said. "And also, just getting to learn new stuff."

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