Todd Sommerfeldt: Tar Heels’ Williams in town to see Koenig

2010-10-04T23:35:00Z 2010-10-05T06:35:24Z Todd Sommerfeldt: Tar Heels’ Williams in town to see KoenigBy TODD SOMMERFELDT / La Crosse Tribune
October 04, 2010 11:35 pm  • 

Roy Williams wasn't seated in the Reinhart Athletic Complex at Aquinas High School on Monday with an expectation to see anything dynamic from Bronson Koenig. The University of North Carolina men's basketball coach was probably in La Crosse more to emphasize his interest in the 6-foot-2 point guard than to see how many 3-pointers or no-look passes the Aquinas sophomore could make.

Koenig doesn't yet have a scholarship offer - seven other Division I programs already have offered them - from Williams, but a coach doesn't travel more than 1,100 miles just to watch a high school sophomore scrimmage against teammates and program alumni if he isn't seriously considering making an offer.

The reinforced interest follows a viewing Williams had of Koenig at an AAU tournament in Wisconsin Dells this summer. The coach decided to schedule another personal showing on a recruiting swing through the Midwest.

Aquinas coach Rick Schneider said Williams told him that Koenig was the only player in the current sophomore class that he was traveling to see in person this offseason. A few dozen students and others connected to Aquinas also took in the special practice.

"It's exciting," Schneider said of the visit from Williams, who has coached the Tar Heels to two national championships. "It was easy to find people to help because everyone wanted to be here for this."

Koenig's workout on Monday didn't involve shooting, running or rebounding drills. He wasn't timed as he raced up and down the court. Williams didn't take notes, but he signed autographs and posed for plenty of pictures.

He watched Koenig and a large group of current and former Aquinas players play pickup games for almost an hour. Every so often, he'd lean to his left and make a comment to Schneider. Other times, he'd lean to his right and say something to UNC assistant coach Steve Robinson.

He didn't realize it, but Williams was introduced to a nice cross section of players who have made Aquinas the basketball program it is.

Colin Walsh helped the Blugolds win the Division 2 state title in 2003, and he was there. Lucas Morrissey was on the Blugolds' Division 3 championship team in 2008, and he played as hard as anyone on the floor.

Koenig calmly made shots and overcame a mild asthma attack early in the hour before coming back strong and making at least one 3-pointer in all six of the mini-games he played.

"This is as big as it's been," Koenig said of the recruiting process that brought a coach with 609 career victories to his home court. "I was a little nervous, and I was having some trouble with my asthma, but I got my second wind."

He swished jump shots and picked his way through defenders to get to the hoop. He connected on no-look passes that led to easy baskets.

"People told me this was coming," Koenig said of the high-level college interest. "I guess it's happening."

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