In true celebration of the upcoming college basketball season, media days have started, and reporters are closing in on questions that have been rambling their brains for the last 6 months.
If you haven’t noticed, UNC has been a bit more… active within the last year. Not only have we seen their social media team stepping up their game but also their players. In years past, social media wasn’t heavy within Williams’ teams; practices weren’t revealed as much and recruitment was kept a secret unless major news outlets made a report. Even with ‘Late Night With Roy’, you could see a sprout of youthfulness that you never really seen before. Could it be that Coach Williams has finally made it into the 21stcentury?
Coach Roy Williams has always prided himself on keeping the true tradition of basketball; that was the allure of Carolina, stick to the basics, play like a team and remember your roots. Change isn’t something that happens too often within the walls of the Dean Dome and it’s been prevalent with keeping the coaching staff close to home and within family. But with the world changing and recruiting becoming transparent, colleges had no choice but to adapt to the world of social media.
In comes UNC.
College basketball season is only a month away and media days are coming in hot. UNC hosted media in the Dean Dome Wednesday afternoon and gave few insights on the happenings over the course of the summer. Team bonding has been prevalent with Coach Williams as he’s ushering in a host of new players into the Carolina fold, but of course everyone wanted to know about Cole Anthony and his adjustment into leadership role and the coveted role of point. Williams mentioned that Cole has done more than prove leadership on the court, he’s also making efforts in the physical conditioning department to gain the respect of his teammates,
“Cole won the 12-minute run and he did the best job in the 33 conditioning programs,” Williams said. “He did a great job another fay. He’s gathered their respect but working and that’s been something that’s pretty neat”
But there’s another element Cole introduced to the often quiet team, social media. When asked about social media and it’s need for recruitment, Williams responded,
“I have no idea if its tweet or twit. I’m not on social media or have anything on any of the platforms. If there’s something that they think I need to see then they show it to me, but other than that, I have no idea. Now Armando, he’s another; he doesn’t have a filter (chuckles). There’s no telling what he’ll say. I think there is a place for certain things in social media because were trying to impress people. Recruiting is like begging and which you’re doing is giving them so much information and begging people to come play for you, so I think there is a spot for it.”
And it seems that the ‘older’ players are in conjunction with Williams; they don’t really engage much when it comes to sharing the inside scoop but they understand the younger players and the social media bug. During player interviews, Garrison Brooks and Leaky Black both stated they like to stay away but understand that Cole and Armando are bringing fans something they’ve never seen before and sometimes themselves,
“Social media gives everyone an in-depth look into the things we do every day.” Brooks says, “Cole and Armando uses it every day but I don’t really like but I like the youthfulness it brings and doesn’t make me feel as old”
“Honestly, that’s all Cole” Leaky Black states, “He loves the spotlight. Everything we do they (Armando and Cole) put it up there. They’re just living their best life.”
When asked about Armando eluding to players coming to Carolina, Black stated he was just as shocked as fans,
“I was like ‘dang we got more coming?’ I was tuning in too to see who was coming. He did a really good job with that”
Social Media is something that will continue to grow no matter how much we fight against it. We are now entering into an era of kids who have never seen a day without it and that’s something coaches and colleges now have to take into account. Kids are no longer using newspapers or even tv to announce their big plans after high school, its IGTV, Facebook Live or a tweet; it’s amazing. Journalist themselves are having to adapt to a social driven world where the players now control their narrative and aren’t looking for writers to give them their voice.
And you have to respect it. UNC is now realizing that. And while I’m sure somethings are kept under wraps, you have to admit, staying tuned to Armando’s twitter to see who’s coming to UNC has been exciting and he just yesterday he said they weren’t done. With the addition of Caleb Love, he’s even gotten into the mix of eluding to new players. No other school has this type of budding engagement within prospects, players, and fans (that I’ve personally seen) that adds a fun element to the school, recruitment, and allowing kids to be well… kids.
I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
But despite coming to grips with the realization, the question remains, has social media ruined the recruitment process or enhanced the fan experience? What do you think?
Liar. Cheater. Manipulator. Loser. Selfish. Waste of talent. Hothead. Unpredictable. What …