Trouble in College Park

Posted by nvr1983 on January 28th, 2009

Since winning the NCAA title in 2002 (in the ugliest title game I have ever seen at any level), Maryland basketball has fallen on hard times. Since that win, the Terrapins have made the NCAA tournament just 3 times in 6 years and have only advanced to the Sweet 16 once in that period. As you can see from the graphic below, the Terrapins have been a pretty mediocre ACC team since 2002.

Maryland's record since 2000-01
Maryland’s record since 2000-01

During that stretch, Gary Williams‘s teams have a combined record of 136-79 (63%) overall and 53-49 (52%) in the ACC. While they have had their bright spots (knocking a freshman Stephen Curry out of his first NCAA tournament), it seems like the Terrapins have had more than their fair share of bad moments in the past year.

Terrapin fans and the local media have already started to question Gary Williams. After the massacre at Cameron, I began to wonder how long Williams had to right the ship at Maryland (and rtmsf mentioned it in this morning’s ATB). The program is no longer even considered among the upper echelon in the ACC and Williams has been widely criticized for his inability to recruit top players to Maryland. The last class that Maryland had that was even was in Rivals.com’s Top 30 was back in 2006 (#19 that year). To be fair to Williams, he never really landed top recruiting classes (exception: 2003, the year after they won the national title, when they landed the #3 class, which unfortunately never panned out), but still managed to have great teams with Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, and Lonnie Baxter.

To make matters worse, the Terrapin players don’t even seem to go to class or at least not enough to graduate. (Note: This isn’t something new. It has been going on for a while at Maryland.)

Williams has been able to weather all these storms, but the latest news about his public disagreements with the Maryland administration regarding his inability to close on Gilchrist and Evans may just be the tipping point and provide the impetus needed for his opponents in the Maryland administration to get him off the sideline.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This leaves us with the question: How long do Maryland fans have to wait before calling for Williams’s head (figuratively please)? Bill Simmons says fans should give their teams a 5-year grace period. Unfortunately for Gary, that period ended with the loss in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament in 2007 and Maryland fans are not always the most supportive of their own team. With this latest fiasco, which unfortunately for Gary involved the Maryland administration, it may just be a matter of time before the most successful coach in Terrapins’ basketball history is sent packing from College Park.

nvr1983 (1290 Posts)


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3 Responses to “Trouble in College Park”

  1. Dillon Raye says:

    I think that they should sign Big Danny Burns and Rick Schlauch, the dumpster, and also Bornsteintech, the half-assed technical school!!!

  2. HD says:

    If anyone actually reads this blog, it is yet another rush to judgment on Gary Williams. The guy is a scrapper, when you think he is down and out, he’ll kick your ass. I have been a MD fan for 30+ years and have been one of those guys who has on occasion called for Gary’s head but somehow he always finds a way to respond. Small team this year with Dave Neal a 3 year bench player making significant contributions somehow he managed to knock of several top 10 teams and win 20 games. Embarrasing? Yes at times it has been- Duke, GTown, Gonzaga and most of all Morgan St. But thinking about what was perceived to be a small, untalanted bunch has now knocked on the doorstep of the NCAA tournament and as of now still has a shot to win the ACC crown. If Williams can bring in a talanted big man, there is no telling how good the team can be for quite sometime. Forget the top recruiting classes, Williams wins with his type of guys, tough scrappers that set higher expectations for themselves than anyone else has for them. He won a National Championship with a less than stellar recruiting class and with the right mix he can do it again.

    Do not mistake his stature as a college coach vs. Coach K, Roy Williams and the likes. Year in a year out, the recruiting class cannot compete yet somehow his team can. Finding lightning in the bottle is what he is faced with each year and yet Coach K has the top talent and has not won a championship since 2000-2001. Top talent = 0 championships since the beginning of the decade!

    Understanding that this article was written during the low point in the season and also considering that my commets are during the high point, MD basketball is unique with Williams and he will hopefully put his critics behind him with the finish to this season. An ACC quarterfinal and a birth to the dance would have seemed unlikely a the beginning of this year, now with a little luck both will come to fruition.

    HDizzle

  3. nvr1983 says:

    HD–
    I’m not sure what you’re getting by questioning the validity of this blog since we’re one of the 3-4 biggest CBB blogs by most measures. I’m also not sure if you’re trying to disagree with my point or using this as a pulpit.

    I’ll agree that Williams and the Terrapins have done a nice job turning it around although they deserved all the criticism they got after that horrible loss to UVA. Having said that, Maryland is definitely in the 2nd/3rd tier of the ACC right now, which is surprising after all their success in the Juan Dixon-era. I’m not arguing with his ability to coach. I’m questioning his ability to recruit, which is a big part of college basketball. You can say “forget the top recruiting classes” and knock Coach K for not winning national titles, but at least his teams are consistently in the hunt, which is something you can’t say about Maryland since Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, and company left.

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