Roy Williams not excited to be No. 1

Monday, January 7th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Being ranked No. 1 never has impressed Roy Williams and probably never will.

Even as his Kansas Jayhawks slipped past Duke on Monday for the top spot in The Associated Press poll, Williams was busily downplaying the significance.

``I really do not pay any attention to it whatsoever,'' Williams said during the Big 12 coaches call.

``I didn't even know AP waited until this afternoon to come out (with its poll). It really makes no difference to me.''

The Jayhawks, who are 12-0 since losing to Ball State in the season opener, moved ahead of Duke after the Blue Devils were upset on Sunday by Florida State.

``If I were voting, I'd still vote Duke,'' Williams said. ``Duke lost on a last-second shot on the opponent's court of a conference team. Whatever it comes out, that'll be fine. We still have to play in college basketball. There's no BCS to worry about.''

Kansas' Drew Gooden was chosen Big 12 player of the week after two monster games against Valparaiso and Colorado. His feeling about being No. 1 may not be exactly the same as his coach's.

``Winning 12 games in a row is a big-time thing,'' said the junior forward. ``Yeah, we deserve to be No. 1. Kansas is a program that can always sneak up there and be No. 1.''

While the Jayhawks were moved up to No. 1, officials at Texas and Oklahoma State were still trying to sort out what happened in the melee at the end of their game in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday.

A Texas player, T.J. Ford, was choked by a young man in the crowd after Ford had accidentally crashed into his pregnant wife and knocked her down. But Texas coach Rick Barnes said he did not expect any suspensions to come out of the incident.

``I don't think there'll be any suspensions. I talked to our team about it (that) when something like that happens ... you can't be throwing punches. I don't think there'll be any suspensions.''

Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton called Barnes to apologize for the behavior of the fan. But Barnes says there are no hard feelings.

``I think Gallagher-Iba is one of the great arenas to play in,'' Barnes said. ``And they have great fans and they do a great job with crowd control. It was just an unfortunate thing that happened. I don't think it's a reflection at all on how they do things.''

Just barely coming short of cracking the national rankings are the surprising Red Raiders of Texas Tech. In Bob Knight's first season, the Red Raiders, who were 9-19 last year, are 12-1.

``It really hasn't surprised me,'' said Knight. ``I've been very pleased with the effort our players have given and the way they've worked. There's a lot of improvement our team needs to make to be competitive in this conference. They understand that. We'll just have to see what we can accomplish by working to improve.''

Buying into Knight's system means the Red Raiders are thinking team, not individual.

``The players have worked hard at trying to do what we want to do,'' Knight said. ``Players have been unselfish in their approach and they've worked to get to know one another as players.

``We have a long way to go in terms of being where we would want to be as a basketball team throughout the course of the conference season.''

How hard the Red Raiders are playing for Knight has not gone unnoticed by his fellow coaches.

``Teams that really, really play hard have great respect for their coach,'' said Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson. ``Those kids understand who coach Knight is. They have great respect for him and they're playing their tails off for him.''