Posts Tagged ‘recruits

01
May
09

Edwin Williams signs, other hot stove-y stuff

What very special NFL team gets a cookie for signing Edwin Williams?

What very special NFL team gets a cookie for signing Edwin Williams?

Damn…I go to a work conference and everything goes nuts.  Well, kind of nuts. So it’s a little late, but here’s some stuff about some stuff that went down this week:

  • Everyone’s favorite center, Edwin Williams, signs with the Redskins. He got a signing bonus and everything. Who did something smart today? Who was it? Was it you, Redskins? Why, yes it was! Great job, you guys!  Yaaaay!  This could eventually propel them into 9-7 territory. In all seriousness, he’ll be a player for the Skins…all he has to do is beat out Casey “Low-Grade NFL Center” Rabach. Plus, he’s reunited with former Terp teammate Stephon Heyer.  Reunited, and it feels so good.
  • Steve Goins decides to transfer. I resist a “Where You Goin'” pun. Goins was gonna suck for us anyway. He was. (Thanks to Mike for the tip.)
  • I don’t care where Lance Stephenson is going to college. I don’t. He’s not going to Maryland. He’s going to Kansas. I’m not gonna be his little footsie partner on this. This what-will-I-do stuff is just a way of milking it for headlines. He should take his five tools and go off with Terrelle Pryor and Brett Favre and start a teasy little circle jerk somewhere so I don’t have to hear about it anymore. Sorry, but that’s how I feel.
02
Apr
09

Lance, I want you to let down your defenses

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Gary Williams: Hi, Lance. Hey, thanks again for agreeing to meet me here.

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Lance Stephenson:  Sure. Hey, coach, I just want to say I’m sorry…you know, for putting you through all this. It’s just that…I’m just very confused right now.

Gary: I know you are, Lance. And that’s okay. I’m not mad. You know I would never pressure you.  That’s the last thing I would ever do.

Lance: You have no idea what it means to me to hear you say that.  Because, you know, one day, you feel so sure of yourself.  Everything was, you know, set up. Life was finally — finally! — coming together for me. And then I saw you in the stands the other night, and, well, all the old feelings just came rushing back.

Gary: When you say it was all coming together — you mean Kansas, right? You were going to go to Kansas?

Lance (looks down demurely): Yes. Yes, Gary. I won’t lie to you. I was going to go to Kansas. But then you were there! In the stands! I…everything just unraveled.

Gary: And that’s okay, Lance. It’s okay to have these feelings. Hey, I know a lot of schools are interested in you. Who wouldn’t be? You’re an amazing guy, Lance. You’re a 6’5″ guard with huge ups and a perimeter game to boot. You can get into the lane whenever you want. Does it hurt me to see these other schools wooing you? Sure, it hurts. Of course it hurts. I’m a human being, after all. Never forget that. But even so, despite all that, I want you to know, Lance…that I’m here for you. I’ll always wait. You know what’s been going on with me lately. I just haven’t been right. Don’t you see that you’re my big chance to turn it all around? You could be the one who saves me, Lance. I see myself complete in your eyes.

Lance: Wow, coach. I mean…wow. Hearing you talk like that, well, it makes me want to sign a letter of intent right here, on this table. But then I look at your team, and I see…I see…

Gary: What is it, Lance. You can tell me anything.

Lance: I just can’t stop myself from thinking about Greivis.

Gary: What? Greivis Vasquez?

Lance: Yes, coach. You know what Greivis I’m talkin about. Don’t insult my intelligence. Don’t you do that to me, Gary!

Gary: Okay, no, you’re right. I’m sorry. Yes, he does play the same position as you. And he’s a senior next year. So maybe playing time will be limited for you. At least the first season.

Lance: But what if I’m only there for one season? I have my future to think about, too. Everyone keeps telling me I’m a lottery pick, that I could be a lottery pick right now if the rules allowed it. So I can’t make you any promises beyond one season.

Gary: And I know that, Lance, I really do. I swear on my mother’s grave.

Lance: Don’t swear on your mama’s grave, Gary.

Gary: Okay, sorry, you’re right again. You’re always right, Lance.

Lance: I don’t care for swearing…especially about nobody’s mama.

Gary: Right. So I know you could go after one season. I know it. And that’s okay. Did I ever say you had to commit to me for more than one season?

Lance: Well…

Gary: Come on. Did I?

Lance: No, Gary. You didn’t.

Gary: Right. And that’s the kind of guy I am. I don’t know what Bill Self told you, or what the St. John’s guy told you, but I do know what I told you. And what I can promise you. And I can promise you this: if you come to Maryland, we will make it work. We’re gonna make beautiful music together, Lance. Just you wait and see.

Lance: I want to believe you, Gary. It’s just…I just need….I just need a little more time.

Gary: Fine, Lance. Take all the time you need. Late signing period is April 15 to May 20. Take all the damn time you need.

Lance: Don’t swear at me!

Gary: Waiter! Double chivas on the rocks, please!

24
Mar
09

Beeramids and chicken salad: The Maryland basketball 2008-2009 year in review

Here’s a funny story. I was at a friend’s house in Baltimore County over the weekend, a few hours before the Memphis game, and there was another guy there who was wearing a Maryland sweatshirt. We had the following exchange:

– Guy: Terps playing today?
— Me: Yes.
— Guy: But wait a second. I thought you could only lose once.
— Me: Yeah, that’s right. Maryland won their first game.
— Guy: Naw, man. They lost to Duke, remember?
— Me: That was the ACC tournament.
— Guy: Huh.
(Guy pauses for a few seconds)
— Guy: The ACC tournament, though, is the big one.
— Me:  Well.  How do you mean?
— Guy: That one’s got Duke AND North Carolina in it. So that’s the biggest tournament.
— Me: Well, this one has both those teams in it, too. And it’s for the national championship. The ACC tournament is only for the ACC championship.
— Guy: So then, the ACC one is more important, right?
— Me: (Looking around for ejector seat button)

That’s really not appropos of anything, except maybe a reminder that some fans, probably including me, just take all this way too seriously. There’s always the guy out there who just likes to wear the sweatshirts. So good for you, Guy.  If you’re reading…..you’re not reading.

Anyway, so as you may be aware here a full four days after the fact, the Terps did lose to Memphis 89-70 in the second round of what is, in my humble opinion, the most important of the college basketball tournaments. So now, it is only natural to ponder the season that was. Allow me to stroke my chin ponderously while gazing at an indeterminant point on the wall of my office.

Here’s my bottom line on the season: the 2008-2009 Terps made chicken salad out of some serious chicken shit. Really, think about all the chicken shit that got shoveled their way this season — bad losses, more bad losses, one historically bad loss, one Washington Post expose on their coach, a steady torrent of recruiting questions, and a public catfight with the athletic department. Oh, and let’s not forget the walking triple-double-slash-smackdown-episode-slash-reporter’s-wet-dream that is Mister Greivis Vasquez.

When it’s all listed out like that, you can see how much chicken shit it really is. That’s enough chicken shit to warm your house for seven winters. But that’s what makes this season so great. Gary circled the wagons, dug the bunker, and whatever other cliche you want to use to get them into his patented underdog mentality. It wasn’t what I would call a magnificent stretch run, but they slew just enough giants to reach the tournament and the 20-win plateau, and even won a game in the postseason.

But at the same time, I feel like we weren’t far away from eating a bunch of chicken shit sandwiches. If we could go back in a time machine and redo this season 10 more times, they probably would miss the tournament seven or eight of the times. And that is discomfiting.  I am discomfitted by that.  It’s like back in college when you finally get that Beeramid to stand on its own in all its magnifience, but it’s two in the morning, and everyone’s all hammered and stumbly wumbly, and that is one shaky Beeramid, so everyone just snaps a quick cellphone picture and slowly backs away before it all comes tumbling down.

But you know what?  That’s okay, to a point.  Drama is part of the fun of sports.  But on the other hand, I think we can stand to take another look at the Beeramid in the sober light of the morning. I think that bad boy could use a little buttressing. Some fair questions need to be asked. One of those questions is about the questions themselves. When did being a fan and being a critic become mutually exclusive? I’m tired of anyone who questions or criticizes the Terps getting torn down for not being “a true fan,” or being “a Gary hater,” or having some kind of hidden agenda, as if there’s a bunch of archvillains out there who went through four years of journalism school just so they could finally have their chance at tearing down the University of Maryland basketball team. Come on. The Terps have to address their recruiting problems. If they get tired of hearing that, they should do something to address the issue…and the good news is, it seems like maybe they are, so that’s good. And sorry all you lockstep Gary jingoists, but his coaching has been uneven these past few years.  It just has.  Please consult the records.  Players have come and gone, but the roller coaster ride continues. Wild underachievement, followed by wild overachievement, lather, rinse, repeat. His teams often seem too high-strung, especially in crunch time. Lately, he hasn’t always gotten the most out of his players, especially the bigger guys (Caner-Medley, Garrison, Holden, Gist, Ibekwe, Osby, Bowers, Mardesich, Fofana, Dupree, Burney). He’s a great in-game coach, especially against the Carolinas of the world, but where is that great in-game coaching against the Morgan States and Clemsons of the world? How good is it in March if you can’t also bring it in January? How good are your motivational skills if your team’s back has to apparently be against the wall in order for your messages to be effective?

These are all fair questions. And just to be clear, I love Gary. He’s my coach. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. But you know what? It’s fair to ask these questions of a program and coach that want so badly to be considered among the sport’s perennial elite. With high achievement comes high expectations and high standards. I don’t think people should object to fair questions like these. That said, I really liked what East Coast Bias had to say about Gary recently. Gary is Maryland and Maryland is Gary. When he pumps his fist toward the student section, that is nothing but good, old-fashioned solidarity. It’s downright freaking inspiring. It’s the effortless leadership that shows through in the way he coaxed and prodded this group to a successful season. Imagine what can be done if the team is suddenly willing and able to apply his lessons consistently.

Next season could be big. It looks like vaunted recruit Lance Stephenson is leaning toward Kansas, but they’ve still got bigs Jordan Williams and James Padgett all saddled up and ready to (hopefully) ride to the rescue in the frontcourt. Vasquez is testing the NBA waters, but honestly my gut says he’ll be back. Hayes and Milbourne will be senior leaders. Bowie, Mosely, Tucker, Burney, Goins and, of course, the intriguing Jin Soon Kim will all be a year older. Suddenly, a fairly young and shallow squad could be fairly experienced and deep. If we can put it all together, we could go a long way.

It just sucks that I have to wait seven months to see. In the meantime, I’ll savor this basketball season for a while. Questions abound, as they always do, but in the end, it was actually a pretty special year. I’ll remember this group for being scrappy and for never doing things the easy way, always insisting on snatching something from the jaws of something else. But no matter. They got it done, and congrats to them.  Pass the chicken salad.

14
Feb
09

Two hard-boiled basketball coaches walk into a bar…

gary

Gary Williams: Bartender. Double Chivas on the rocks please.

A voice behind him: Make it two.

ACC Media Day Basketball

Seth Greenberg: Whaddya know, Gary? Looks like we got the same taste in Scotch.

Gary: I’ve been a Chivas man since I was 15. I used to mix mine with Maalox, but lately I’ve been taking it straight.

Seth: Sometimes I like to grind up some No Doz tablets in there. It’s great for long recruiting trips.

(Awkward pause)

Gary: Say, our drinks are here.

(They raise glasses)

Gary: No hard feelings about the game today, huh?

Seth: What can I say?  Your team wanted it more today. It was a must-win game for you and you got it.  Great job, coach.

Gary: Here’s to Gus Gilchrist developing a fungal infection on his scrotum.

Seth: Good Lord…I toast to the exact same thing! Every time.

(They clink glasses, drain their drinks, order another round)

Gary: Small world.

Seth: Indeed.  Great game today, though, seriously. Our man-to-man defense is usually pretty tough, but you shredded it.

Gary: For a second there I thought you had us with that half-court 1-3-1.

Seth: Well, I’ll tell ya, that Milbourne kid is something else. People don’t really talk about him, but he has quietly become the best player you’ve got. He always seems to make the right play.

Gary: I appreciate his steadiness. He’s always focused, always ready to play. Sometimes, my guys seem a little tightly wound.

Seth: (takes big swig) You don’t say.

Gary: No, it’s true. I don’t know what the problem is either. I talk about it in practice all the time. You have to focus, I tell them. Play for 40 minutes! A lot of the times I SCREAM it at them. YOU’VE GOTTA BE INTENSE THE WHOLE GAME, I say! INTENSITY!!!! YOU GOTTA BE INTENSE!

Seth: I actually don’t talk the entire offseason so I have extra screaming power come practice time.

Gary: I make Braxton Dupree cry periodically. We have to stop the whole goddamn practice so Big Dave Neal can rub his back until he calms down. HEY, ANOTHER DRINK OVER HERE!

Seth: Sometimes I try to read the mentality of my guys and tailor my approach to each individual player, but whatever, that’s just me.

Gary: Wuss.

Seth: DID YOU JUST CALL ME A WUSS?

Gary: I SURELY DID, WHAT, YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?

Seth: YOU DRUNK, I’M CUTTIN YOU OFF!

Gary: WHAT! WHAT! YOU CAN’T CUT ME OFF, THAT’S RIDICULOUS ARE YOU EVEN WATCHING WHAT’S GOING ON THIS IS ONLY MY NINTH DRINK OPEN YOUR EYES JERK-OFF! JESUS!

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Seth: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU’RE DOING WHY DON’T YOU. USE YOUR HEAD MORON, YOU’RE SLOSHING EVERYWHERE THIS TIE IS FROM SEARS GODDAMMIT, IT’S HOKIE ORANGE YOU GONNA REPLACE IT? ANSWER ME!  I OUGHTTA CHOKE YOU OUT RIGHT NOW!

greenberg

Gary: All right, all right, fine.  I’ll replace the tie.

Seth: Great, hey, thank you so much, man.

Gary: No problem, hey, so what were we talking about, oh right, the game.  We played well, but we got lucky, too; Malcolm Delaney was off today.

Seth: Yeah, he was jacked up for his homecoming and he just came out too tight. I bet it was interesting to see a player from the other team get rattled.

Gary: You kid, but it truly was. And hey, we closed out the game today.  It was a good thing to see.

Seth: For you.

Gary: Well, I needed it. The wolves are at my door, Seth. You know, you try to do things the right way, and you get shit for not recruiting blue chip players from the big cities. But then when you recruit blue chip players from the big cities, you get shit because their “character” isn’t meeting some artificial standard. Everyone wants me to find a kid with Kobe Bryant’s game and Mother Teresa’s disposition. Where are those kids, Seth?

Seth: You got me, Gary.

Gary: Well, you got me, too.

Seth: I’m just like you. I don’t get many blue chips either — I coach ‘em up the old-fashioned way.  But I have yet to get quite as much out of one of my teams as you’ve gotten from yours. You’re a damn good coach, Gary.

Gary: Can we get you on TV?  Where’s Dave Feldman when you need him.

Seth: Bottom line, Gary, you win four of your last six, and you’re probably in the tourney. It’ll be tough, but it could happen. Can you believe it?

Gary: Don’t even say that, Seth.  TAKE IT BACK THIS SECOND!

Seth: I love you, man.

Gary: No way, man. I love YOU.

Seth: Right back atcha buddy.

Gary: Awesome. Now let’s destroy all the camera phones in here and go get some chicken wings.

13
Feb
09

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

You’ve probably already seen this video, which the D.C. Sports Bog had this morning. But just in case, and just for the record, here’s Stonington, Connecticut’s Jordan Williams, a.k.a. the 2009-2010 starting center for your Maryland Terrapins, laying waste to an innocent backboard.  

Could the anticipation be any higher for this guy? He’s going to vanquish all our enemies, and then he’s going to get all our cats out of the trees. My favorite part of the video is the kids jumping around afterwards. Nowadays, after a vicious dunk, everyone has a good time seeing who can overreact the most. Although in this case, no overreaction is possible.  OHHHHHH MYYYYY GOD, DUUUUUDE DID YOU SEE THAT?!!?!? YOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!   Meanwhile, the janitors are pushing their pushbrooms around like they’re sweeping up after a particularly vigorous day of wood shop class.  Guys, it’s okay to smile!   After all, you’re on YouTube.

13
Feb
09

Maryland basketball’s lost recruits: A reasonably comprehensive list

Reading the WaPo series on Terps recruiting inspired me to put together a list of every college player of consequence (sorry, no Tyree Evanses) from the past five years or so who are either from the D.C.-Baltimore area or expressed specific interest in playing for Maryland, and who Gary Williams was either unwilling or unable to successfully recruit.  Beside each name I’ve listed the college they attended and the years they played there, along with the high point of their college careers. Click on the names to find out where they are now.

Disclaimer:  No program signs every single prospect from their area.  I’m not saying Gary should have signed, or even should have wanted to sign, every one of these players.  This is just a list of names.  Make your own determinations.  Without further ado:

Players Currently Playing In College:

Ty Lawson (North Carolina, 2006-present:  Reached 2008 Final Four)
Jack McClinton (Miami, 2006-present:  2008 first-team All ACC, reached 2008 NCAA second round)
Jerome Dyson (Connecticut, 2006-present:  Now averaging 13 ppg/4 apg for #1 Huskies)
Scottie Reynolds (Villanova, 2006-present:  Reached 2008 Sweet 16, now averaging 15 ppg/4 apg)
Malcolm Delaney (Va. Tech, 2007-present:  Reached 2008 NIT q-finals, now averaging 19 ppg/4 apg)
Austin Freeman (Georgetown, 2007-present: Reached 2008 NCAA second round)
DaJuan Summers (Georgetown, 2006-present: Reached 2008 NCAA second round)
Jeff Allen (Va. Tech, 2007-present: Reached 2008 NIT q-finals, now averaging 15 ppg/9 rpg)

Players No Longer In College:

Kevin Durant (Texas, 2006-2007:  First freshman to win National Player of the Year)
Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse, 2002-2003:  Won 2003 national championship)
Deron Williams (Illinois, 2002-2005:  Reached 2005 national championship game)
Jarrett Jack (Georgia Tech, 2002-2005: Reached 2004 national championship game)
Michael Beasley (Kansas State, 2007-2008:  Reached 2008 NCAA 2nd round, first-team All-America)
Jeff Green (Georgetown, 2005-2008:  Reached 2007 Final Four, 2007 Big East Player of the Year)
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown, 2004-2008:  Reached 2007 Final Four)
Josh Boone (Connecticut, 2003-2006:  Won 2004 national championship)
Rudy Gay (Connecticut, 2004-2006:  Reached 2006 Elite Eight, 2006 second-team All-America)
Joey Dorsey (Memphis, 2005-2008: Reached 2008 national championship game)
Jai Lewis (George Mason, 2002-2006:  Reached 2006 Final Four)
Matt Walsh (Florida, 2002-2005:  Won 2005 SEC tournament, made tourney all four years)
Joe Alexander (West Virginia, 2005-2008:  Reached 2008 Sweet 16, first-team All Big East)
Donte Green (Syracuse, 2007-2008: Reached 2008 NIT q-finals, second-team All Big East)

11
Feb
09

The Washington Post is coming to get Gary Williams

Uh-oh. This doesn’t look good. This afternoon a five-page article about the Terps appeared on the WaPo home page. Evidently it’s all about recruiting. And it’s just the first in a three-part series. The name of that series? “Missed Shots.”

Here’s a choice excerpt:

The Terrapins have reached the round of 16 only once since winning the title and are in danger of missing the tournament altogether for the fourth time in five seasons. A review of NCAA tournament records shows that no national champion in the past 18 seasons has regressed so quickly. How did this happen? Interviews with more than 50 coaches, players and others knowledgeable about the program reveal many explanations, and Williams, 63, is central to each of them.

I can smell Gary’s sweat from here.

More on this as it develops…




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