Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 9:56 am

Big East coaches now in Maryland's sights

Should Pitt's Dixon be Maryland's number one choice?Posted by Eric Angevine

After being granted a contract extension, Sean Miller is staying at Arizona. That means the Pac-12 is safe from further upheaval for a while. The ballooning conference can focus on adding new teams and getting used to a new schedule without having to break in a new coach in Tucson.

That means the conference in the crosshairs now is the Big East, and why not? The always-tough league sent more teams to the NCAA tournament than any other conference this past season, and has become a hothouse for growing top coaches.

Three names come up most frequently now that Miller has withdrawn. Notre Dame's Mike Brey, Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon and Villanova's Jay Wright are the clubhouse leaders in the search at this point. Each coach has a spotless profile and a bright future, but they're hardly identical.

Mike Brey is reportedly meeting with Maryland officials next (though Brey is saying otherwise, natch, and Gary Parrish confirms) and he's a good choice. Brey's recent South Bend teams have been very efficient on offense, and Brey has done a masterful job of keeping his team relatively old. What does that mean? It means he uses redshirts wisely, so that when a player like Luke Harangody graduates, a player like Tim Abromaitis or Tyrone Nash is ready to step in and lead the team for another couple of years. Brey has a commanding presence, is well-spoken and would bring top-notch recruits to College Park. Brey is also from Bethesda, coached in the ACC as a Duke assistant, and has taken teams to the NCAA tournament nine times (Delaware twice and Notre Dame seven times).

Dixon, on the other hand, has been to the NCAA tournament eight times in just eight seasons as a head coach at Pitt. He's also 45, so he offers a younger version of the tough, grizzled coach Brey has become. Dixon has notched a 78 percent winning mark, which is better than Brey's total. He's never been to an NIT, and doesn't look to go that way any time soon. His teams are known for playing tough man-to-man defense, and he also brings in fantastic recruits. He just lost assistant Pat Skerry to Providence, so perhaps he'd like to make the leap to the well-known Delmarva recruiting grounds and nab an assistant who can help him return Maryland to national championship form.

Finally, there is Jay Wright. Wright, 49, is known for wearing nice suits and teaching a very guard-oriented offensive attack. His bombs-away style would be a pretty radical departure from Gary Williams' style, but that's not the worst news anyone ever heard. Wright has shown a propensity for building strong programs out of mediocre beginnings, as he did at Hofstra and then at post-Steve Lappas Villanova. Wright has been to the Final Four, which counts for a lot, but his follow up teams over the past two years have fallen progressively into the doldrums, with the 2009-10 version of the squad barely getting past Robert Morris and then being destroyed by St. Mary's, and last season's bunch barely making the field and bombing out immediately to George Mason. That apparent inability to capitalize on a supernova season has to hurt Wright's profile a bit. Nonetheless, he's the sort of coach who would bring a lot of hope to Maryland fans who are dying to get back to really competing with Duke and UNC on a regular basis.

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Brey got the first look, but looks to be bowing out of this wide-open search. With a little patience, Brey could find himself as the successor to his former mentor Krzyzewski some day - a move that could be made easier if he's a Domer instead of a recent rival.

Dixon really seems like the gem of this bunch. He's younger, he's experienced amazing success in a short time as a head coach, and he did it at a school that hasn't always been an elite destination. Whether he considers Maryland to be a step up from that or a lateral move may determine whether he even seriously entertains the idea of leaving. At his age, and with his resume, he could easily wait for one of the nation's really plum jobs to open up. Or, he could continue to turn Pitt into one of the nation's plum jobs. Dixon's motives and thought processes are pretty opaque to the outside world. It'll be interesting to see which way he goes.

If the Terps really want a young tyro with Maryland ties, they could always follow the suggestion of instant legend Grievis Vasquez, who apparently supports a movement to draft 28-year-old Terps assistant Robert Ehsan. It ain't gonna happen, but wouldn't that be bold?

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 7, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 8:40 pm

Sean Miller has leverage coming out of his ears

Posted by Eric Angevine

As fan bases in Tucson, College Park, and several cities in-between wait nervously to hear any news of Sean Miller's rumored meeting with Maryland about the open coaching job there, the Arizona Daily Star has finally mentioned the infamous "L" word.


Miller can rant and rave like Gary Williams always did.As in, Tucson's a nice place, and the Wildcats have a pretty luminous basketball history. Could it be that Miller is just using the Maryland opening to wring some money out of his employers in tough economic times?

That sounds selfish, but read what the Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe has to say about it before you judge:

(Hoover High School head coach Ollie) Goulston said he believed Miller was trying to ensure his assistant coaches get raises, which, despite the Pac-12's incoming television money, is not an easy thing to do politically in Arizona these days.

Miller's planned contract extension, for one, was not brought before the Board of Regents in April possibly because of the controversy over tuition increases.

As of now, both remaining assistants, James Whitford and Book Richardson, make about $200,000 (they were hired for $190,000 in 2009) and the other staffers all make considerably less.

Looking out for his assistants is a noble goal. It's also (hey, we have to be realistic here), a perfect excuse to jet if his demands aren't met. This way, it's not a selfish decision if he leaves, he did it for his homeboys.

Goulston was apparently sought out by the newspaper because he coaches incoming big man Angelo Chol, and knows Miller in that capacity.  "I talked to him last night but I think there's all kind of reasons to stay at the end of the day," Goulston told Pascoe. "Sometimes these coaches use these situations for leverage."

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Realistically, this is a no-lose situation for Miller. If he gets what he wants from Arizona, he stays in a sunny paradise, riding a wave of good feeling based on this past season's NCAA tourney appearance, and a nice recruiting class coming in. He has the potential to rule the Pac-12 in relatively easy fashion, despite being one of the most recent hires in the conference.

If he gets what he wants from Maryland, he slides into one of the better jobs in the ACC, where he will be instantly loved for his fiery intensity, which will bring back (slightly less sweaty) visions of Gary Williams, who retired this past week after 22 years at the school.

Sean Miller is on top of the world right now. That's a mighty big plank, resting on a rock-solid fulcrum.


Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 6, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: May 6, 2011 11:07 am

Fruit of Gary Williams' coaching tree is unripe

Where are Gary Williams' top assistants?

Posted by Eric Angevine

Typically, when a long time coach retires after more than two decades at the same school, a comforting list of former assistants is trotted out, to give the semblance of continuity in the coaching search. North Carolina, in particular, has made a science of this, drawing clear lines from Dean Smith to any candidate who has ever come near Chapel Hill. Gary Williams retired at Maryland yesterday after 22 years, but he hasn't left behind much of a list of former coaching associates to ease the minds of his AD or fan base.

The list of possible high-profile replacements includes some impressive names. But it begs the question: is Gary Williams' coaching tree really so bare?

Honestly, the answer is yes, but not for lack of trying.

One of Williams' longest-tenured assistants, Billy Hahn, played at Maryland in the 1970s and was an assistant to Williams for 12 years before taking the head job at La Salle University. Before he could really do much to turn the Explorers around, Hahn became embroiled in a scandal - in which he and La Salle's women's hoops coach were accused of failure to report sexual assault allegations - which ended his head coaching gig after just three seasons. Hahn was out of coaching for three years before Bob Huggins took him on as an assistant at WVU, a position he still holds today. Hahn wouldn't be a top choice regardless, but the heat Maryland AD Kevin Anderson would take if he looked at someone with that particular baggage would make it an even less likely scenario.

The other long-time assistant Williams sent out into the world was 13-year Maryland man Jimmy Patsos. Patsos is about as connected to the local scene as a guy can be. A Massachusetts native, Patsos played college ball at Catholic University in D.C. and coached high school ball at Archbishop Carroll in that same city before moving just down the road to help out at Maryland. When he left, it was to take over Loyola University in Baltimore. Patsos has only managed a 70-82 record at the MAAC school, but his reputation for eccentric behavior may be an even bigger problem. It was Patsos who tried to stop visiting Davidson by double-teaming Steph Curry for an entire game in 2008, leading to a headline-grabbing 30-point blowout loss for the Greyhounds (but hey, Curry didn't score!). That same season, Patsos again drew unwanted attention when he elected to coach from the stands to avoid ejection after several run-ins with officials in a November contest. No winning tradition and a goofy public persona aren't likely to earn Patsos a chance.

In desperation, some turn to Mike Lonergan as an exemplar of a successful Maryland assistant. It's a tenuous, one-season connection, but sure. The only problem is that the Vermont coach seems about to be snatched up by another area school, George Washington. Making the leap from the Catamounts to the Terps would have been a stretch anyway, and there's no way Anderson is going to try to outbid GW on Lonergan, who would be more of a fallback position if the big names don't pan out in College Park. Speaking of local backup options, do you think Jim Larranaga's down in Coral Gables kicking himself right about now?
The other names that come up are a couple of not-ready-for-prime-time players in Dave Dickerson (former Tulane head coach, now an assistant at Ohio State) and Chuck Driesell (son of Terp legend Lefty, current Citadel head coach). Either could be a candidate down the road, but neither is ready right now.

Dig deeper into the time before Williams became Testudo's best buddy, and big names pop up. Rick Barnes (not leaving Texas), Fran Fraschilla (hasn't coached since 2002) and Ed Tapscott (an NBA front-office guy who's had some coaching turns) don't seem like realistic choices, but they do, at least, have ties to Williams. The most promising name from Williams' days as a Buckeye is Randy Ayers, who is currently an assistant with the New Orleans Hornets. A former collegiate national Coach of the Year with fresh NBA ties, Ayers could be worth a shot, even though he's not really a Maryland man.

Aside from Barnes, none of the men mentioned above is a first-call kind of guy. As Gary Parrish points out, the UMD brain trust is much more likely to go for the huge splash by trying to lure the likes of Mike Brey or Jamie Dixon from the Big East. Anderson should aim high right now, he knows that there aren't many jobs in the country that compare to what he has to offer. That means he can let his fan base daydream about young tyros like Butler's Brad Stevens and Sean Miller of Arizona without it seeming patently absurd.

This is likely to be the biggest coaching search of the year, and it will be very public and stressful for Maryland AD Kevin Anderson and the school's fan base. For those of us not directly or emotionally involved, it should be very enjoyable high theater. Let's pop some corn, get comfortable on the couch, and enjoy the show.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 5, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 5:44 pm

Maryland's Gary Williams to retire

Posted by Jeff Borzello

As first reported by Jeff Goodman of Foxsports.com and confirmed by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Maryland head coach Gary Williams is retiring.

Williams turned Maryland into a consistent national player during his 22 years in College Park, helping the Terrapins reach 14 NCAA tournaments in the last 18 years. They made seven Sweet 16 appearances and won a national championship in 2002.

Since the title, though, Maryland has fell back in the ACC pecking order. The Terrapins have not reached the Sweet 16 since 2003 and underachieved in Williams’ final season, going just 19-14 overall.

“It’s the right time,” Williams said in a statement.  “My entire career has been an unbelievable blessing.  I am fiercely proud of the program we have built here.  I couldn’t have asked any more from my players, my assistant coaches, the great Maryland fans and this great university.  Together, we did something very special here.”

This is going to be a difficult loss for the entire program.

Despite his distaste for the “underbelly” of recruiting, Williams was bringing in a very solid freshman class and seemed prepared to lead the Terrapins back to the NCAA tournament.

“Gary Williams is a legend,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said.  “His accomplishments on the court have earned him a place among the elite in college basketball history."

Williams coached at American, Boston College and Ohio State before going to Maryland, compiling an overall record of 667-376 in 33 seasons.

The other aspect of this, of course, is the coaching carousel. It just started spinning again.

Maryland will be a highly sought-after job in the coaching industry, due to its prime location between Baltimore and Washington D.C., long thought to be one of the nation’s most fertile recruiting basis.

Expect the athletic program to pursue marquee names to bring in as Williams’ replacement.

This hasn’t been a good week for the Maryland, as the Williams news comes on the heels of the Terps losing their best player to the NBA draft.

Forward Jordan Williams, who averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds last season, has signed with an agent. He announced he was testing the waters in late March, and the common school of thought was he did not intend to return to College Park.

The decision became official on Wednesday.

“We wish Jordan well as he pursues his dream of playing in the NBA,” Williams said in a statement.

Now, not only do the Terrapins have to replace their best player, they have to do it with a new coach. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 25, 2011 2:37 pm

Which schools are most overvalued in NBA draft?

Posted by Matt Jones

This is not a new story, but with the NBA draft deadline having just passed and little happening in the post-Easter weekend sports world, I found it interesting. Two years ago, the blog 82games.com sought to determine which schools were most overvalued and undervalued by the NBA in the draft process. The process for making the determination was by no means scientific. The author utilized only the past 20 years and by starting in 2009, the older players' careers and their longer careers were ultimately given more weight. Still, the methodology, while not perfect, was adequate for determining whether players from certain schools are more consistently over or under valued by NBA teams. 

The blog compared a players' career per-game average in points/rebounds/assists versus the average totals for other players who were also picked in the same slot in those 20 NBA drafts. A per-game comparison (as opposed to a per-minute method) is not a good way to evaluate an individual player, but it is a decent method for an enterprise such as this, which is seeking to make a macro judgment about a larger pool of players. After determining the difference from the average person selected at the same pick, a particular player would be categorized as either a star, role player, etc and then rated versus the other colleges. Only schools with five or more players were ranked in the total school comparison.

Amongst all teams, these ten schools were ranked as the most consistently undervalued by NBA teams (number of NBA picks during selected period in parentheses):

1. Wake Forest  (7)

2. UTEP   (5)

3. Marquette (7)

4. Xavier  (8)

5. Clemson (6)

6. Kentucky (15)

7. Alabama (13)

8. Depaul (6)

9. Purdue (6)

10. Pittsburgh (6)

In a bit of a surprise, Wake Forest took the top spot, thanks in large part to the three superstars it has produced, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Josh Howard (who is a superstar relative to his No. 29 overall draft status). Spots 2 and 3 are taken by UTEP and Marquette, both of which are helped in large part by having produced Tim Hardaway and Dwayne Wade. What is most striking is that, with the exception of Kentucky, none of the top 10 are traditional powerhouse schools, showcasing that the NBA is very likely to undervalue many second-tier programs, just as most fans do as well.

Here is the list of the most overvalued programs in the NBA draft:

1. Louisville (11)

2. Vanderbilt (5)

3. Colorado (5)

4. Gonzaga (5)

5. Indiana (13)

6. Mississippi State (6)

7. NC State (9)

8. Missouri (9)

9. Iowa  (10)

10. Texas Tech (5)

During the 20 year period studied, Louisville had the most players consistently overvalued by the NBA. Pervis Ellison, Samaki Walker, Reece Gaines, Felton Spencer and Cliff Rozier were all picked in the lottery during this period and none averaged more points than the average player picked at their position. Also disappointing is Indiana, which produced few top players during the end of the Bob Knight era and has seen its overall status as a program drop during the same period.

Finally, the blog ranked the top powerhouse programs based upon NBA draft performance as well. Because a school that produces only five players in 20 years can have its status changed by one high profile star or bust (see Marquette with Wade or Gonzaga with Adam Morrison), the higher sample size makes this a bit of a better comparison. Here was the ranking of top programs with 15 or more players selected during the 20 year period:

1. Kentucky (15)

2. Michigan  (16)

3. Connecticut  (21)

4. Arizona  (28)

5. UCLA  (26)

6. Syracuse (15)

7. Georgia Tech (19)

8. Michigan State (16)

9. North Carolina (22)

10. Maryland (16)

11. Texas (16)

12. Kansas (22)

13. Duke (28)

Amongst the programs with the most picks in the draft, Kentucky players have been the most consistently undervalued. The production by players such as Jamaal Magloire, Tayshaun Prince, Chuck Hayes and Rajon Rondo from low draft spots, places Kentucky at the top of the list. The biggest surprise of the list (with the exception of Georgia Tech having 19 players drafted during that period) is the school at the bottom of the list, Duke. The Blue Devils are the most overvalued group of players in the NBA draft by a substantial margin, with the greatest number of players performing below the average player at their position. Also interestingly, North Carolina's players are valued exactly at the correct point according to the scale. With the 22 players the Tar Heels have produced for the NBA during that period, their final NBA production has been exactly average for any player picked at their positions.

What does all this mean? Probably not much. Potentially NBA teams should consider Brandon Knight or Deandre Liggins a few picks higher or Kyrie Irving a couple of picks lower. But probably what it does mostly is give college basketball fans something to argue about during the offseason. And that in and of itself is productive.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 7:19 pm

Making the Leap: Jordan Williams tests waters

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Maryland’s Jordan Williams was one of the best big men in the country this season, despite not receiving much national attention.

Williams is hoping NBA scouts noticed, as the 6-foot-10 sophomore entered his name into the draft pool on Tuesday. He will not hire an agent and could return to College Park for his junior season.

Williams averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds this season, notching 25 double-doubles for the 19-14 Terrapins.

Although he put up gaudy numbers this season, Williams is not projected in most mock drafts.

Without him, Gary Williams will be faced with another rebuilding task. Three of Maryland’s top five scorers – guards Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker, and forward Dino Gregory – were seniors this year, and Williams was the team’s top scorer and rebounder.

Terrell Stoglin came on strong down the stretch, and Sean Mosley and Pe’Shon Howard showed punch on the perimeter. The Terrapins could struggle on the inside, though. James Padgett has been a disappointment so far, and only one frontcourt player (Martin Breunig) is coming into the fold. Expect newcomer Nick Faust to lead the team in scoring if Williams keeps his name in the draft.

It could be another down year for Gary Williams – will his seat start feeling warmer?

Photo: US Presswire

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Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:47 pm

Terrapins get coveted big man

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Maryland needed a big man to complete its 2011 recruiting class, and Gary Williams got his man on Thursday, as Martin Breunig committed to the Terrapins.

Breunig is a 6-foot-9 forward from Germany who came over to the United States before the season and has been attending St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy (Wisc.).

“We talked yesterday, and it was just a thing where he felt so comfortable about it,” SJNMA assistant Martin Esters said. “When he got back from his visit, I asked him if there was anything he didn’t like about it. And he said, ‘I liked everything about it.’”

Maryland was the only official visit Breunig took, although Virginia, Saint Louis, Arizona State, Oregon State, UAB and others were all involved.

“It was kind of hard for him to get recognized by a lot of high-major schools because we’re a first-year program and he came over from Germany,” Esters said. “But he played some high-caliber games, especially in Rhode Island at the National Prep School Invitational.”

Breunig is a versatile forward who can play all three frontcourt positions. He uses his aggressiveness and athleticism to create match-up problems at the offensive end of the floor.

Esters said Breunig will likely play the four at the next level.

“They have some openings at the four,” he said. “They didn’t tell Martin that he’s going to play there for sure or anything like that, they didn’t make any promises. But he’s got a good shot at it. He’s going to really compete for the four spot, with Dino Gregory graduating.”

With two other international players on the team, Haukur Palsson from Iceland and Berend Weijs from the Netherlands, Breunig immediately felt a connection with the Terrapins’ roster.

“When he got here, he didn’t know the difference between Duke and Wisconsin-Green Bay,” Esters said. “So even the fact Maryland won the championship in 2002, that didn’t play into his decision at all. Having a legendary coach, that wasn’t what he was looking for. He just thought it was a good place where he could develop.”

Maryland loses three seniors for next season, meaning Williams will have a young team at his disposal. Still, the Terrapins have double-double machine Jordan Williams down low and a host of talented perimeter players, namely freshmen Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard, as well as incoming recruits Nick Faust and Sterling Gibbs.

Breunig can certainly be an impact player in the ACC once he develops and gets some playing time under his belt.

“He is really skilled for his size and a big-time athlete,” SJNMA assistant Bryan Clayton said. “He could be a steal.”

Photo: St. John's Northwestern Military Academy

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 9:04 am

ACC's fourth place is no consolation prize

Posted by Eric Angevine

We know who the top three teams in the ACC are – the layering is obvious to see.

Duke is not only the top ACC team, but has garnered 19 first place votes to move back atop the national polls this week. North Carolina is No. 19 and managed to just hold Boston College at bay this past weekend to stay in second place in the league standings. Florida State, even without Chris Singleton, has a firm grip on third, with a 9-3 record.

Clemson and BC are battling for a crucial fourth-place slot in the ACCSo why do we care who’s fourth? As Brett Friedlander of ACC Insider reminds us, the top four teams get first-round byes in the ACC tournament, and no team has ever won the ACC auto-bid after playing all four days.

Right now, there are four legit contenders for that fourth spot, which could conceivably lead to an at-large-worthy resume for the team that earns it:

Virginia Tech 7-5

Clemson 7-6

Boston College 6-6

Maryland 6-6

Each team below Maryland is well under the .500 mark in conference play.

The schedule is beautifully stacked in terms of working this logjam out. After a visit to woeful Wake Forest on Tuesday of this week, the Hokies play Duke, BC and Clemson to finish out the season. Clemson’s next game is a home game vs. Wake, then they get Duke and Virginia Tech to finish. Maryland has the best two potential statement games, hosting Florida State on Wednesday and heading to the Dean Dome on Sunday before their season tails off with Miami and Virginia.

Clearly, the Hokies have the most control over their own fate right now. They have the better league record and two chances to play spoiler with teams right below them. On paper, that makes sense, but on hardwood, the Hokies have been anything but consistent.

According to kenpom.com’s predictive formula, however, the first shot may be fired by the Terps. He gives them a 77 percent chance to upset FSU on Wednesday. The much-improved play of Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin is giving fans of the program a great deal of hope. If Gary Williams takes a page out of Boston College’s book and throws a zone at the Tar Heels, he may very well grab a crucial W in that one as well.

Clemson has also sneaked into the national top 20 in defensive efficiency, and Friedlander says it’s too soon to count the Tigers out for the bye and for at-large NCAA consideration. Obviously, this stretch is crucial.

Given that Tech has already swept Maryland on the season, they have the most to gain by playing out the string well, but the ever-dwindling roster in Blacksburg makes that look like a near impossibility. The March 5 Virginia Tech at Clemson game is setting up for loads of drama. It could mean the difference between a four letter bid to the NCAA or a depressing three-letter consolation prize (NIT, CBI, CIT).

In the Olympics, fourth place gets you nothing. In the ACC, it could mean a great deal.

Photo: US Presswire


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com