Here’s what the Maryland Terrapins basketball program will look like without Gary Williams: Every other big-time basketball program.
New coach Mark Turgeon has just hired Dalonte Hill — also known as one of those AAU guys you hear college basketball purists lament. Terps point guard Pe’shon Howard knows one of these characters: He was coached by Bill Keller in California, who started telling troubled basketball star Demetrius Walker that he would make the NBA before Walker was even a teenager. I suppose it doesn’t need saying that Walker is not in the NBA.
Gary Williams didn’t touch these guys — not the AAU-connected coaches/handlers/amateur agents and not the players they represented. It’s why Lance Stephenson chose Cincinnati over Maryland two years ago. Now that player, nicknamed “Born Ready,” is on the Indiana Pacers. He had an injury-plagued year that resulted in about 100 total minutes on the floor and averaged 12 points a game at Cincinnati. Players like that are not worth the baggage they bring. LeBron James was born ready, Lance Stephenson was born talented. There’s a difference.
But here comes Dalonte Hill, who is an area native and was one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in country at Kansas State. Hill should be best-known for guiding Michael Beasley into Kansas State. Oh, and did I mention this was BEFORE Hill was employed at Kansas State. He magically got a job at Kansas State after delivering Beasley to KSU. Beasley stayed at Kansas State for a year and has been a disappointment in the NBA, currently playing for the Siberian WolfDogs. Michael Beasley is from Prince George’s: This is exactly the caliber of player the bloggers and message-board addicts want to come to Maryland, and under Hill and Turgeon, they won’t be disappointed.
So what does this mean for Maryland as a team and basketball institution? Probably more one-and-done players and more dealings with shady AAU handlers who sink their claws into 10-year-olds players who display outsized talent. Gary Williams coached players with putrid graduation rates but also no hint of ethical scandal, simply because he didn’t want to coach the Beasleys of the world who came to college with strings attached — sure, I’ll come to your school, as long as you give my AAU buddy a look for a coaching job. Oh, and I’m only staying for one year.
But Hill will bring in more talent from the D.C. area. A popular critique of Gary is that he couldn’t get players who rooted for Maryland all their lives to come to the school. This only pertained to upper-echelon players like Beasley, Jeff Green and Kevin Durant (Greenbelt’s Adrian Bowie had no problem coming to Maryland), but the reality is the Terps were getting hammered by other schools in the talent-rich D.C. area.
Hill’s job is to change that perception, and he was kind enough to accept a salary cut to do so, the Post reports. He made well over $400,000 last year. But just like the kind of players the D.C. Assault-connected coach will bring to the Maryland Terrapins, that pay cut doesn’t come without a cost. Hill is reportedly moving to this area in attempt to position himself for a head-coaching job. I wonder what will happen to his blue-chip Maryland recruits the day he jumps ship for yet another greener pasture? Because even though the Terps just hired the guy, that day can’t be too far in the future.