Top 5 Point Guards of Roy Williams Head Coach Era

Coach Roy Williams is in his 18th season as the Head Coach of the Tar Heels and just recorded his 900th career win (the fastest coach to 900 wins). During that time Coach Williams has been spoilt with guards, and if you know North Carolina Basketball, it is well known as the Point Guard University.

Acknowledging Coach Williams milestone record, I would like to highlight some of the best guards to have worn Carolina Blue since 2003. I’ll admit it was hard to decide the order of the Top 5, so if you think someone should be higher or lower on the list, or even someone that should have made the list, tweet me at @britishtarheel and I want to hear what you have to say!



Honourable Mentions:

There have been some amazing point guards who have played in Chapel Hill and some who have astounded everyone in their Freshmen Seasons. Cole Anthony and Coby White are two of those guards.

Coby came in the 2018/19 season out of Goldsboro, NC and amazed everyone during his one and only season at UNC. Coby scoring a high of 34 points against Syracuse was one of many of his highlight games. Cole Anthony was the star of a poor 2019/20 season, although spending a lot of his time the sidelines due to injury. Cole had the reputation of not giving up and ended the season averaging 18.5 points a game and made the All-ACC Freshmen Team during his one season. Cole and Coby both tied the most 3 point field goals in a game for UNC with 7 during their time in Chapel Hill.

5. Raymond Felton (2002-2005)

Raymond Felton was one of the fastest point guards to grace the floors at UNC. Felton’s pace fitted perfectly into Roy Williams Carolina offence and was his first starting point guard when Coach Williams came back in 2003.

Felton has the fourth most assists for University of North Carolina with 698 throughout his three seasons. He also is the leader of steals per game over a UNC career with 1.9 SPG. Obviously the highlight of his time at UNC was teaming up with Sean May and Marvin Williams in 2005, winning the National Championship and this being Coach Williams first title at UNC. Felton was awarded the Bob Cousy Award that same season.

Raymond went on to declare for the NBA Draft in 2005 foregoing his final season at UNC. He went on to play over 1,000 NBA games over his career with Charlotte Bobcats, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

SEASONMPGPPGAPGSPG
2002-0335.412.866.711.6
2003-0434.611.537.072.13
2004-0531.712.896.922.0
Raymond Felton’s UNC Basketball Career Statistics

4. Kendall Marshall (2010-2012)

I will admit this was very hard to not put Kendall higher than this, but that is because he is my all-time favourite Tar Heel (if he stayed an extra year or didn’t break his wrist, I’m still not over it!). Kendall Marshall lit up College Basketball during his two seasons with his pass first style that broke record after record.

Marshall recorded 351 assists in his Sophomore Season with an average of 9.8 APG (both records for a UNC player in a season). His 311 assists in the ACC is also an ACC record. Marshall played with the likes of Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson and many believe if the injury didn’t happen in the game against Creighton, then that team could have gone all the way.. oh what if!! The PassFir5t movement was loud in 2012 and trending all over Twitter with the number 5 wrote on our wrists. Who remembers?

Kendall Marshall was another Tar Heel (and last Tar Heel) to receive the Bob Cousy Award in his final season before declaring for the NBA Draft. The game away at Dook with 20 and 10 has to be one of his greatest UNC moments, you can read more about that game by clicking here.

Kendall’s NBA career took him to Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and more teams in the NBA G-League. Marshall retired at 25 years old and is currently the Assistant Director of Operations for UNC Basketball after being hired by Coach Williams.

SEASONMPGPPGAPGSPG
2010-1124.66.226.221.08
2011-1233.08.149.751.19
Kendall Marshall’s UNC Basketball Career Statistics

3. Joel Berry II (2014-2018)

Joel Berry II was the Most Outstanding Player in the National Championship 2017 and his career at UNC was no different. Joel played for four years under Coach Williams at Chapel Hill and finding himself in the Top 10 for minutes and games played for UNC. Berry was also a great scorer from distance and ranks second in career three point field goals made with 266.

Joel was the leader of the team in 2017 that cut down the nets after their game against Gonzaga and his award of MOP was totally deserved. The 2017 Championship was Coach Williams third title at UNC. You also have to acknowledge that Joel was also a part of the team that reached back-to-back National Championship Games in 2016 and 2017.

I’ve been following UNC since Summer 2010, so Joel helped bring the first national title that I saw for Carolina and I will forever be thankful for that life long memory of screaming for joy at 4am. Joel is now playing professional basketball overseas in Turkey after some time in the NBA G-League. Joel has a big career ahead of him in professional basketball.

SEASONMPGPPGAPGSPG
2014-1513.24.171.530.4
2015-1630.712.783.751.45
2016-1730.414.683.631.39
2017-1833.117.143.221.17
Joel Berry II’s UNC Basketball Career Statistics

2. Marcus Paige (2012-2016)

Marcus Paige came to University of North Carolina with the probable expectation to be the back up Point Guard to Kendall Marshall. Then Kendall declared for the NBA Draft early and Paige had to step up.. boy did he step up!

Paige was known for his second half performances with ‘Second Half Paige’ trending all over Twitter regularly when Paige would heat up from distance. Paige broke the UNC record for three point field goals made with 299. Marcus wasn’t surrounded by All-Stars during his time at UNC to the same levels of the 2005 and 2009 teams, so he was the go to option and he didn’t disappoint (plus he always loved it against NC State). He is one the greatest leaders to wear the Carolina Blue over recent years and a big reason to why he is so high up on my list.

Marcus made the greatest ever ‘What If’ shot with his game-tying adjusting in mid air three pointer against Villanova in 2016’s National Championship Game.. sadly there was a few more seconds left in the game. Paige’s four years at Chapel Hill were personally some of my favourite years as a UNC fan and that is always going to help with my opinion to have Marcus as one of the best Point Guards of the Roy Williams era.

SEASONMPGPPGAPGSPG
2012-1329.18.174.61.34
2013-1435.517.534.211.5
2014-1533.214.054.471.71
2015-1631.612.593.761.15
Marcus Paige’s UNC Basketball Career Statistics

1. Ty Lawson (2006-2009)

ACC Player of the Year, Bob Cousy Award winner and NCAA Champion. There’s no denying that Ty Lawson’s three years in Chapel Hill were legendary. Lawson winning ACC’s highest individual award was the first time a Point Guard won the award since Phil Ford in 1978.

Ty broke the record for steals in a Championship Game with 8 steals with 22 points to go along with it. Lawson teaming up with Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington brought Coach Roy Williams his second National Championship. Lawson is probably the most talented Point Guard to run the floor for Coach Williams.

Ty then went on to a very strong NBA Career with a lot of his time spent at the Denver Nuggets before playing in Houston, Indiana, Sacramento and Washington.

I’m assuming a lot would consider Ty Lawson as the best Point Guard since 2003 for the Tar Heels, and not many can dispute it.

SEASONMPGPPGAPGSPG
2006-0725.710.215.611.53
2007-0825.312.695.161.59
2008-0929.916.866.572.17
Ty Lawson’s UNC Basketball Career Statistics

I hope you enjoyed reading this countdown of the best point guards over the past 18 seasons during the Coach Roy Williams era at the Point Guard University.

Now I’m sure you have your own personal opinion on who should be on this list and that is why I love these type of discussions. Who would be in your Top 5 Point Guards since 2003? Follow and tweet me at @britishtarheel and I would love to hear your Top 5’s.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Point Guards of Roy Williams Head Coach Era

  1. 1. Ty Lawson
    2. Raymond Felton
    3. Kendall Marshall
    4. Coby White
    5. Joel Berry
    Reasons-No debating Ty’s impact on the program for three years. Even though Raymond had just as successful a career. I rank him just behind Ty. Kendall was the best pure PG, his vision was, and still is, unmatched. Coby, Although he only played one season, no one on this list had a freshman season like Coby. This is even more impressive when you consider if he stayed for his sophomore season he more than likely would have been a shooting guard and probably wouldn’t be considered on this list. It’s really a toss up between Joel and Marcus because they both were great competitors and great floor generals. And were great extensions of the coach on the court. I give the nod to Joel because he went to back to back National Championship games and completed the job.

    Like

  2. I like the list but…. here’s where I disagree:

    Honorable Mention:
    #3 Joseph Forte (not a Roy Williams era PG, the only one on this list not under ol Roy, but he was great at UNC. and I loved watching that 2001 season before it went to crap)
    #2 Cole Anthony
    #1 Coby White (I loved that kid, and he’s from NC too!)

    I hate the 1 and Done era!

    So here’s my Top 5!

    #5) Kendall Marshall, 2012 with Barnes, Zeller, Henson, Marshall, Paiges/Johnson’s freshman year, was the 2nd best UNC team to never win a NCAA Title. (#1 Antawn Jamison/Vince Carter, Shammand Williams, Ed Cota, under Bill Guthridge’s first year. *Fun fact I put out the mulch and do a lot of the annual landscaping for Mr. Jamison.)

    But you writing about Kendall Marshall’s broken wrist brought back so many painful memories. The “what-if’s” and lack of years on the roster, lack of championship hardware land him at #5 on my list. But man oh man, he could have easily been number one with his handles, unselfish play and court vision.

    #4 Marcus Paige, again lack of hardware puts him at number 4 on my list. Although he is probably the best one on this list. I still have nightmares from the 2016 NCAA Championship game. Marcus Paige hit (in my humble opinion) the best damn shot I have ever seen in an NCAA Final. I mean who gets caught in mid-air, on a final shot scenario, changes direction (in mid-air) like a pump fake, (in mid-frickin air) never taking his eye off of that basket, then drills it! The most AMAZING SHOT EVER!!!!! It hurt so bad when Villanova got the play drawn up and busted a three in Hicks’ face. Beautifully done! But UNC had to overcome 25+ foul calls in the second half, to Villanova having 12 total. That definitely effects a 77-74 outcome. I could be wrong. But as I remember, the referees refused to let our boys run the floor like they were supposed to do. 2016’s Final was a nightmare! I’ll never forget Paige’s tears at the press conference afterwards. The solemn feeling for that whole summer! Nor will I forget calling 610 AM The Fan (Charlotte, NC’s AM sports the next morning) and telling “The Mack Attack” that the officiating should be investigated or have them at least call a “problem help gambling hotline”. That game was a travesty!

    I digress…

    Marcus Paige was the best kid a coach could ask for, like every point guard on this list, he had his fair share of rough times. But buzzer beaters against Louisville and State were remarkable. But Marcus Paige was most inconsistent on this elite list. Lack of hardware, besides personal awards lands him at numero quatro.

    #3 Ty Lawson, #’s 3, 2, 1 are all interchangeable depending on my feelings for that day. Today, Lawson is at #3, because he had Hansbrough (Basically Player of the year) Ellington (Final 4 MOP) Green and Ginyard to shut down the other teams best scorer. Etc. Ty Lawson had speed just as fast if not faster than Raymond Felton. I compare those guys as one in the same. Berry is in this mix too. Ty Lawson was a gift from God to the Tar Heel program and I am putting him at #3 today, although I think his team won the most (season and tournament… *I think) in their years at UNC.

    #1.5 Joel Berry, he’s number one and a half (today) and flat out number one on others. Joel Berry was groomed by Marcus Paige and became the redeemer for UNC’s tragic finals loss to Villanova. So what does Berry do? He made the key plays down the stretch to finish off a very feisty and talented Oregon team in the Semifinal. He stuck the final Daggers in a 37-1 Gonzaga team. His match up against Goss from Gonzaga was a tough one, but Joel Berry II did what he had to do to get that 2017 NCAA title. I love Marcus Paige, but Joel Berry II did what he had to do, every time Gonzaga got close to reclaiming the lead, it was Berry or Justin Jackson that made the shots. Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks also were key against Gonzaga’s front court. Joel Berry II 2017’s final four Most Outstanding Player, National Champion, Top 10 Tar Heel in so many categories. I love those 2017 and 2016 teams.

    #1.0 Raymond Felton, Raymond Felton gets my flat out number one spot! Because I was a senior in high school, I watched him, May and McCants from the time they were under Daugherty and that fiasco back in 2002 even though they were (the best recruiting class of 2001) they were crap their freshman year, they had public beef with their coach. Then in steps Roy Williams. I remember the banner out in front of Carmichael Arena “Welcome Home Roy” little did I know what the future held. But by April 2005 there they were, with freshman Marvin Williams, in the Finals against a 37-1 Illinios Fighting Illioni! Led by Point Guard Dee Brown. Raymond Felton was leagues better than (at the time was considered the best player in the nation) Dee Brown. Raymond Felton was the reason we won our first title since 1993 (Sean May was Final 4 MOP, because the guy was unstoppable. Who remembers the 26 points 24 Rebound effort at Duke? Where Mike K said: “I have never seen such a dominant performance from a player in all my years.” Yeah! That was a big statement) Raymond was the the consistency all year though, Raymond had these burners and could make a coast to coast lay-up in under 3 seconds and 2/5’s of the defense wouldn’t make it past half court. It was Felton that stands out to me. 2005 was such a huge burden lifted off my shoulders and I’m sure other Heel fans around the world.

    I am so grateful for each of these players! I love the rich tradition! Especially at Point Guard!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: