North Carolina's Kenny Williams (24) and Monmouth's Josh James (0) reach for a rebound during the first half of a December game. Williams hasn't played since February due to a knee injury. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

North Carolina sophomore Kenny Williams III knows he can’t play in the Final Four due to knee surgery. He’s still trying to make sure he soaks in the experience.

“I’ve just been doing what I’ve been doing the past trips: doing rehab, trying to get my knee better,” Williams said as he hung out with teammates during locker-room interviews. “Outside of that, it’s just trying to have fun with my teammates. This is a special group.”

The guard suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee in a February practice before the team’s win at North Carolina State and hasn’t played since. He had started 22 games in a supporting role to lead threats Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II, providing a third 3-point shooter while also earning the praise of always-demanding-more coach Roy Williams on the defensive end.

Williams was a freshman who didn’t play in last year’s Final Four run on a veteran roster. He would’ve played a key role in this run, both against Kentucky's backcourt of star freshmen in the Elite Eight and against Oregon in the national semifinals.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it is awkward,” Williams said. “I feel great. I’m just trying to enjoy it all, have as much fun as I can before we get down to business.”