SPRING VALLEY — At times, University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams can be a fiery individual on the sideline for the Tar Heels.
Wednesday night was not one of those times.
As he took in the talent showcase in Huntington Prep Academy’s 99-53 boys basketball win over the University of Charleston JV, he smiled and enjoyed every minute of his surroundings — right down to his dinner, provided by the concession stand at Spring Valley High School.
“I love getting out and seeing good teams and good players,” Williams said. “The hospitality here was fantastic and the hot dogs were good so it was a good night.”
On a normal night, Huntington Prep’s Andrew Wiggins — the nation’s top-rated prospect for the Class of 2013 — would be the main attraction.
This was no normal night, however.
Williams took much of the spotlight as fans clad in North Carolina gear — and even those in Duke and Kentucky gear — clamored for autographs and pictures with the legendary coach.
He said he welcomes the attention, and it certainly beats the alternative.
“That’s not a bad deal,” Williams said. “The real bad thing is if they saw you coming in one door and they went out the other door. That’d be a bad deal.”
Williams was on hand to get a glimpse of some of the talent on Huntington Prep’s roster.
While the main emphasis is on Wiggins, who is reportedly interested in Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas, there are also several other young players on the Huntington Prep roster who were looking to catch the attention of Williams.
One such player was Montaque Gill-Caesar, who finished the contest with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Gill-Caesar is in the Class of 2015.
Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said he reminded “Tekhi” of Williams’ presence prior to the game.
“Roy Williams is not only here for Andrew. He’s here for Tekhi (Gill-Caesar), too,” Fulford said. “Tekhi is top 15 in the country in his class and those schools are obviously going to recruit him. I challenged him a little bit and he competed a little bit more and got out in transition.”
University of Arkansas assistant coach Matt Zimmerman was also in the gym, along with a Morehead State University assistant.
Williams said this is a crucial week for staffs across the country to be able to get out and look at players while many colleges are taking part in final exams.
“We’re in exam period right now, so we didn’t practice today at all and Monday and Tuesday, we had very little workout, so I’m trying to get out and see quite a bit this week,” Williams said.
Expect the trend to continue into this weekend as Huntington Prep takes part in a pair of local contests with NCAA Division I-caliber competition in the Boyd County Roundball Classic at Boyd County Middle School in Summit, Ky.
The Express take on Walnut Hills out of the Cincinnati area at 9 p.m., Friday, before matching up with Arlington Country Day (Fla.) at 7 p.m., Saturday, in a televised contest on My Z.
University of Kentucky coach John Calipari and staff are expected to scout Saturday’s game.
In addition to Wiggins, Gill-Caesar and the other talented prospects on the Express roster, Arlington Country Day features four prospects for the Class of 2014 who are considered high-major talents.