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Trouble in Terp Town

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Maryland has lost five of seven, starting with a home date with Morgan State on Jan. 7, and is on the verge of missing the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years.

Considering Gary Williams started the decade with two trips to the Final Four, in three years, and won the national title (2002), the natives are more than restless in Terp Town.

After Tuesday night's home meltdown — up 11 at the half — against fellow bubble-seeker Boston College, Williams fired a salvo at the Maryland administration on the absence of two recruits, Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans.

"Kathy Worthington doesn’t speak for me. She has never won a national championship, she has never done anything. She’s an associate AD. This is just giving you guys stuff to make me look bad," Williams said in the Baltimore Sun.

At 2-4 with two dates with UNC, one with Wake Forest and another with Duke, who just beat the Terps by 41, that's 8-8 at best for the old JV coach from Jersey. Realistically, the vertically-challenged Terps are staring down the barrel of 5-11.

Will that be enough to supplant Williams after 20 seasons? Depends.

That Williams and Maryland AD Debbie Yow have a poor relationship is no secret. Does Yow have a successor in mind, one that can recruit the fertile DC/Baltimore corridor?

If she does, Williams is history. If not, she'll spend the next 10 months identifying that coach and do the honorable thing and give Williams, the coach who saved the NCAA-stricken program from the Len Bias post mortem, one last kick at the can.

Williams can X-and-O with anyone in the biz, his downfall has been recruiting. And not just a failure to get marginal recruits like Gilchrist or Evans in school, but a failure to land the biggest stars from his own backyard.

The misses of Kevin Durant (No. 2 prospect, Class of 2006) and Ty Lawson (No. 5, Class of 2006) were two stinging losses for Williams. And not just that he missed but he wasn't in the conversation. Ignoring Joakim Noah (No. 68, Class of 2004, backbone of two national titles at Florida), who wanted to go to Maryland, didn't help his cause either.

Coaches always say they need talent to win. Williams always preferred to groom his talent, find the players under the radar and develop them. He tried the blue-chip route with Nik Caner-Medley and John Gilchrist and struck out (relatively anyway, the two did net the 2004 ACC title).

He went back to the margins and found Greivis Vasquez and Bambale Osby but not enough ACC talent.  

It's OK to go off the reservation, but you have to have the results to back it up. When Williams stopped mining the Juan Dixons and Drew Nicholas' of the world, he stopped producing the results.

Now he's in the up-the-creek, no-paddle situation of coaching for his future.


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First Year I've Seen...

This is the first year in a many years that I've seen the Terps looking in the basement of the ACC. Where is the height at the wings and post area? Maryland looks very weak in the post areas. I tried to tell a young baller that Maryland going to need someone like you to at 6'9" to play for them. But he didn't get the opportunity and went to some small community college somewhere in VA. I think his name was Billy King. Any ways the Terps need better recruitment planning get a level up again to surprise teams in the ACC.

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.