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Mouton on Lance Stephenson

Good morning, everyone. This is Eric. There has been considerable buzz about the recruitment of Lincoln High’s Lance Stephenson, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2009, according to Hoop Scoop. If Stephenson plays for Maryland next season – and if Greivis Vasquez returns -- the Terrapins would have the pieces to return to the NCAA tournament and perhaps win a game or two. When former Maryland standout Byron Mouton called me, Mouton brought up Stephenson and said his arrival “would be huge. It would be like the second coming of Steve Francis.”

Mouton said he talked with Stephenson for 15 minutes in person during Stephenson’s official visit to Maryland for the Miami game on Jan. 31.

“I told him, ‘The ACC, the University of Maryland, the facilities, the exposure – man, I think it is a great opportunity for you to come in right away and play on a big stage like this,’” Mouton said. “He got a little excited about that and was like, ‘You are right.’”

Stephenson is expected to take an official visit to Kansas for the Feb. 21 game against Nebraska. Mouton raved about the commitments of big men Jordan Williams and James Padgett, and said with “90 percent of the offense back, I think they will be real good next season,” if the Terrapins also get Stephenson.

Mouton also wanted to put a “positive spin” on the tenure of Coach Gary Williams, who has come under scrutiny recently.

“He is getting a lot of heat, but people don’t understand that Gary built the whole program over again,” Mouton said. “Everyone is just looking at the last five years, nobody talks about the last 15 years. It’s sad. Nobody talks about what he has done for the state of Maryland, the university and for people like me, Juan [Dixon].”

Mouton, who transferred from Tulane, said he wishes he could have gone to University of Maryland for four years.

“When I came to Maryland for a game, I never did understand why Coach Williams would scream at the players on the bench who didn’t play,” Mouton said. “I never could figure that out. But what drew me to Maryland was that I loved Coach Williams’s intensity, and throughout my whole career I played for a coach who had high intensity, and I loved that intensity. I am a very emotional type player and I love playing for an emotional type of coach.”

Mouton said Williams would never compromise his integrity in recruiting, a stance that perhaps has cost him players.

“I know for sure that Gary would never, ever break any rules,” Mouton said. “Sometimes it will hurt [him] but I know for sure that he is doing it the right way. I think it all is going to pan out.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  February 16, 2009; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Mooooooooooooouton, Terps fans will never forget you. We don't have a Sears Trophy sitting in a glass case inside Comcast Center if you don't transfer to MD. Hope you are doing well man. Thank you for talking to Stephenson and trying your best to convince him to come to Maryland, the fans really appreciate you doing this.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 16, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, we don't even get out of the first round in 2001 if you don't save us in the final minute against George Mason. No one in Terps history ever hustled more than Mouton...

Posted by: Barno1 | February 16, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Mosely is to this Terps team what Mouton was to the championship team. Pure glue guy. Really impressive out of a freshman. Stay up Mooot.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 16, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Mouton's a good guy and a good player. He's right that Gary rebuilt the program from scratch. He's right that you have to look at the coach's entire tenure rather than just what's happened since 2002. And Lance Stephenson would be a great acquisition, if he comes down from New York.

But none of that answers the only question that really matters: why have the Terps lost so many recruiting battles for area players? To schools that by and large shouldn't be competitive with Maryland in its own backyard?

OK, so we assume it's partly because of cheating. Or if not actual rulebreaking, then superior gamesmanship on the part of some coaches. But do you really think that explains the last six years of recruiting failure?

Stop with the loyalty oaths, gang. There's a problem at Maryland. Somebody step up and begin solving it.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 16, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Three top 20 classes in 6 years (2002, 2003, 2006. This is fact.) is "recruiting failure"? If that is the case what was 1992-2002 when they had 2?

Posted by: Lee26 | February 16, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Mouton is one of my all time favorite terps. Very unselfish and did the "dirty work"? More importantly he is a quality personn. It would be interesting if you guys did another series about Gary from a former player's perspective.

Long live Gary!!!

Posted by: UnitedWeStand | February 16, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

According to terpcenter.com....If stephenson had to pick today he would be coming to MD!!!! Hopefully he doesn't enjoy his trip to Kansas.

Posted by: beas13 | February 16, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Mouton! Loved the 'reverse goggles' move after a dunk. Awesome.

Posted by: damnpost1 | February 16, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Great to hear from Moot. Is there a possibility for him to join the coaching staff?
As far as Stephenson is concerned, sure he's a potential superstar, but is he a good fit at Maryland? His reputation for having some issues may be a sticking point for Gary's style. Will he fit in Maryland's scheme or will he do his own thing for a year and then bolt for the NBA?

Posted by: ecglotfelty | February 16, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

But none of that answers the only question that really matters: why have the Terps lost so many recruiting battles for area players? To schools that by and large shouldn't be competitive with Maryland in its own backyard?

Here are some answers--Calhoun paid off Rudy Gay's AAU coach with a game, Jeff Green couldn't get into school, K State bought Beasley.

Nobody gets everybody they go after, and not every kid develops. Other schools offer scholarships too. You sign 3-4 kids per year, some 17 year olds pan out, some don't. If they all got better, Mike Jones would be Maryland's all-time leading scorer and Kwame Brown would be an All-Star.

Posted by: PeteinAZ | February 16, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Mouton sounds like he'd be a much better recruiter than Gary Williams or his assistants. That's exactly the kind of advertisement for the program that will entice top recruits to choose Maryland.

Settle down guys, according to Rivals.com, Lance Stephenson doesn't even have Maryland on his list currently.

I know that UNC and Kansas are putting a huge effort in signing him.

Lance Stephenson
Schools in the Running

Kansas Medium

Memphis Medium

North Carolina Medium

Pittsburgh Medium

Seton Hall Medium

St. John's Medium

UCLA Medium

USC Medium

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | February 16, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Lance Stephenson is also rated as the #9 recruit overall by Rivals for the 2009 class.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | February 16, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Lee26 wrote: "Three top 20 classes in 6 years (2002, 2003, 2006. This is fact.) is "recruiting failure"? If that is the case what was 1992-2002 when they had 2?"

Try turning the question around: wouldn't you expect a team with three (count them) three Top 20 recruiting classes between 2002 and 2006, to produce a better record than Maryland had?

Either Maryland isn't recruiting very good players, or Gary didn't do a very good job turning them into a successful team.

I tend to think it's the former.

Now, of course, players aren't even seriously considering Maryland -- even in its home region.

So is that supposed to represent progress?

Posted by: Samson151 | February 16, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

peteinaz wrote: "Here are some answers--Calhoun paid off Rudy Gay's AAU coach with a game, Jeff Green couldn't get into school, K State bought Beasley. Nobody gets everybody they go after, and not every kid develops. Other schools offer scholarships too. You sign 3-4 kids per year, some 17 year olds pan out, some don't. If they all got better, Mike Jones would be Maryland's all-time leading scorer and Kwame Brown would be an All-Star."

In logic this is sometimes called a 'false compare."

Of ccurse, all schools make mistakes. Of course, some programs play fast and loose with the rules. Of course, not all recruits pan out.

None of which disproves the notion that Maryland has a problem.

Here are some names from those vaunted post-NCAA title classes: Mike Jones, Nik Caner-Medley, Travis Garrison, John Gilchrist, Chris McCray, DJ Strawberry.

One really good player out of the group -- and that was the Strawberry, the least heralded except for his famous dad.

The evidence says something is fishy.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 16, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Gary brought this program back from the dead and won a national championship. That happened just 7 years ago. How many active coaches have won a national championship? It's not a long list. It's easy to criticize, but what's the alternative? Perhaps Ed Tapscott will be available next season to coach the Terps!

Posted by: randysbailin | February 16, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Gary is my hero, he definitely needs to stay.
Steve Blake, Juan Dixon, Byron Mouton, Chris Wilcox, Lonny Baxter = best team ever
If i remember correctly, Dixon and Baxter were not big names recruits coming out of HS.

Posted by: quickcoll | February 16, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The parallels are striking, aren't they? Granted, Steve Francis only stayed one season -- but his understudy, a small kid from Baltimore, went on to lead the Terps to the trophy in '02. It would be nice to have this kind of spotlight and talent on the Terps' squad again.

Posted by: random-adam | February 16, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

God, I'm going to show my age but, it has to be said - Tom McMillan, Len Elmore, Owen Brown, John Lucas, Mo Howard - Best Maryland team to not make the NCAAs

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | February 16, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The Jeff Green rumor has to stop. The idea that Green couldn't qualify for MD but could qualify for Georgetown is downright laughable. Let's see...a top 25 university vs. a slightly above average unranked state university. Just stop.

Posted by: DaymondMyles | February 16, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The Jeff Green rumor has to stop. The idea that Green couldn't qualify for MD but could qualify for Georgetown is downright laughable. Let's see...a top 25 university vs. a slightly above average unranked state university. Just stop.

Posted by: DaymondMyles | February 16, 2009 12:55 PM

Right...and Allen Iverson probably majored in physics and Patrick Ewing was pre-med. After all, it is G-town...

Posted by: p1funk | February 16, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, G-Town, the school where Grant Hill was quoted as saying the admissions officer brought him children's books to see if he could read them, where Ewing graduated from even though he was apparently illiterate. Believe it or not schools do apply different standards for athletes.

Posted by: island1 | February 16, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Most fun team to watch....Tom Roy, Owen Brown, Mo Howard, John Lucas and Brad Davis. 1975 I think. I agree with another poster who wrote that Bryon Mouton would be great to have on staff. If he could recruit with the same enthusiasm with which he played he'd do just fine.

Posted by: hit4cycle | February 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The Jeff Green rumor has to stop. The idea that Green couldn't qualify for MD but could qualify for Georgetown is downright laughable. Let's see...a top 25 university vs. a slightly above average unranked state university. Just stop.

Posted by: DaymondMyles | February 16, 2009 12:55 PM

Diffence is Georgetown is a private school and therefor has ultimate flexability when applying its entrance requirements. UMD, being a state funded school has no such leeway.

Posted by: neeko | February 16, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I believe that the list on rivals in regards to Lance Stephenson has not been updated for a while. If it was correct I think they would have deleted Memphis as I read somewhere he was no longer interested in that school. Your hear and read so many things I could be 100% wrong on this but this is what I read a few weeks ago.

Posted by: Nemo4 | February 16, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse


georgetown? Please? to your first point: g'town has no standards for athletes. to your 2nd point? slightly above average university? go compare B School.

Go check who's 2nd tier and who's ranked.

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/rankings/

Posted by: blur991 | February 16, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I had heard that the Terps do not have any more available scholarships, unless someone transfers. Does anyone know the real deal?

Posted by: bailey5 | February 16, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The Rivals.com information is wrong!! Lance Stephenson is down to really three schools:
St. John's-might be favorite-he is a hometown boy-Kansas and Maryland!!! He is visiting Kansas on the 21st of Feb and really likes Bill Self the coach and their basketball tradition! The Terps do not have a scholarship available right now but I would be willing to bet that if Stephenson picks MD they will make one available-pretty quickly. Maryland has a few things going for it! Gary Williams is one of the best coaches around, ACC-great conference and James Padgett his teammate is a future terp!!!

Posted by: Terptime | February 16, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, of those three potential recruits -- Padgett, Williams, and Stephenson -- none is from Maryland's home region.

Doesn't that sort of support the Post article's point? Why aren't the home guys sticking around? I mean, I know the traffic's bad and all, but really...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 16, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Top recruit Lance Stephenson puts Maryland on his list
Buzz up!
Like this story? Share it with Yahoo! Buzz

1abloglancestephenson Lance Stephenson, one of the top unsigned high school basketball recruits, has put Maryland on his short list and dropped Memphis.

The 6-5 guard from Brooklyn Lincoln, the same school that gave the NBA Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair, is ranked No. 9 in the nation by Rivals.com.

Stephenson had never mentioned Maryland before making a surprise visit last Saturday night. (Photo by Todd Plitt, USA TODAY)

He told Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog that he will make his choice between Maryland, St. John's, Kansas and USC, in March after the PSAL Boys AA championship game. Stephenson's Railsplitters are the three-time defending champions.

Maryland has already received a commitment from 6-8 forward James Padgett, a Lincoln teammate of Stephenson's.

“Maryland, I had fun,” he told Zagoria.said. “We talked about Padge, how we’re going to get him ready for Maryland. That’s a good look for me and him to go to. I’m just looking at different schools and trying to see where the best fit is.”

Stephenson picked a good night to watch the Terps. They beat Miami, one of their two wins since Jan. 10.

"They played hard that game and after that I just chilled with the coaches,'' he said. "We talked about how I could make a big change in the program.”

Posted by: probking | February 16, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Blur991, I didn't realize the players were getting their MBA. What an excellent point! And yes, that's sarcasm.

The stuff about Ewing not being smart is just racist crap. He never demonstrated anything but intelligence and class. The only people that questioned his intelligence back then couldn't accept that a 7 foot black guy from Jamaica could actually be a smart guy in addition to a great basketball player. Don't think the players would have elected him head of the NBA Players Union if he were an idiot. And Iverson's GPA and grades were never a problem. Funny, I don't see you all question Steve Francis's GPA. He doesn't exactly seem like a rocket scientist. Or what about Chris Wilcox, Nik Caner-Medley? Bunch of real academics there. Maybe I should just toss out ex-MD players' names and say they couldn't get into Gtown. It would have about as much validity as your ignorant assertions.

Posted by: DaymondMyles | February 16, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Everybody has their opinion, but am I the only one getting tired of hearing Sampson151 REPEATEDLY spewing his same conspiracy theory? Every school has something to offer, and students are drawn to these perks whether they are real or perceived, and whether they are legal or ethical or not. I applaud Gary for avoiding the AAU scum and I hope he never sinks to their level. As for DaymondMyles...Steve Francis commented in an interview about how frequently Md assistant coaches "happened" to walk past his classrooms while he was at Md. I don't think any of us truly knows about how these players qualified or how they did in the classroom unless we witnessed everything, but one thing's for sure...I ain't buying any statements that Allen Iverson was a good student. Study?...Study?... We're talking about studying?

Posted by: TerpsfanstuckinNC | February 16, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

When I think of the Georgetown-Maryland connection I think back to Alonzo Mourning and Brian Williams. Mourning seemed set to go to Maryland, but at the last second switched to Georgetown. Sonny Vaccaro, then a bigwig with Nike at the time and living in Las Vegas was good friends with John Thompson of Nike clad Georgetown. Some say Bob Wade smelled a rat and was promised to be reimbursed. Oh look, Brian Williams just happened to be living in Vaccaro's house that year. I'm no Sherlock Holmes but.....

Posted by: TripleH44 | February 16, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Gary Williams should be blamed for essentially "buying" recruits to get players like Rudy Gay or Michael Beasely. That doesn't explain some other lesser high profile players from the area like Joe Alexander (WVa), Josh Boone (UConn), Jack McClinton(Miami), & Malcalm Delancy (UConn) who have all signed elsewhere. I'm sure there are a number of others who could be added to that list.

In the cases of Alexander and Boone, they made it very clear that UMD was their 1st choice but MD did a poor job of recruiting them. Same was said by Malcolm Delancy. MD is now being outrecruited by football schools like VA Tech, Clemson, and Miami.

Maybe MD's academic standards and Gary's unwillingness to deal with the unsavory AAU coaches hinders MD with some recruits, but I don't think it's entirely to blame. Gary has failed to bring in top assistants except Keith Booth to help in recruiting and it is not known for his warm personality in dealing with recruits and their families. Gary's a great coach but he hasn't had a successful recruiting class in 5 years.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 16, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, of those three potential recruits -- Padgett, Williams, and Stephenson -- none is from Maryland's home region.

Doesn't that sort of support the Post article's point? Why aren't the home guys sticking around? I mean, I know the traffic's bad and all, but really...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 16, 2009 5:16 PM

B/c the article pointed out that Gary does not want to deal with the Curtis Malone Cartel and the other AAU types in the area...if he can go out of town to circumvent them, why not?

Posted by: p1funk | February 16, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Wow - DaymondMyles, you have no idea how colege basketball works, do you? It is not racist to remember that Ewing's representatives requested (and was granted) untimed tests due to his learning "difficulties." His Title-winning teammate Michael Graham really was denied entrance to MD, but magically enrolled at GU, won a title as the enforcer, and flunked out soon after basketball season was over. So please don't let the facts get in the way of a biased rant....

Posted by: dmagee | February 16, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The stuff about Ewing not being smart is just racist crap. He never demonstrated anything but intelligence and class. The only people that questioned his intelligence back then couldn't accept that a 7 foot black guy from Jamaica could actually be a smart guy in addition to a great basketball player. Don't think the players would have elected him head of the NBA Players Union if he were an idiot. And Iverson's GPA and grades were never a problem. Funny, I don't see you all question Steve Francis's GPA. He doesn't exactly seem like a rocket scientist. Or what about Chris Wilcox, Nik Caner-Medley? Bunch of real academics there. Maybe I should just toss out ex-MD players' names and say they couldn't get into Gtown. It would have about as much validity as your ignorant assertions.

Posted by: DaymondMyles | February 16, 2009 5:39 PM

No one is saying that MD is full of PhDs either. My comment came as a RESPONSE to someone who was dissing the academic standards at MD. My point is that ALL college b-ball programs are willing to sacrifice certain standards to get players and G-town is NO exception.

As far as racist crap, that's just you painting with that brush. I'd criticize the white players at G-town except they NEVER get recruited there...since you seem so interested in race-relations, I wonder if you ever found that interesting?

+++++++++++++

"We make alot of money, but we also spend alot."

-Patrick Ewing's immortal quote representing the NBA players union in justifying ridiculously high guaranteed contracts for NBA players...and the sad part is that he was serious...

Posted by: p1funk | February 16, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

White players? Nikita M. (now a starter) and Nate Lubick come to mind. We have also heavily recruited a number of white players in recent years (Ryan Kelly comes to mind) but lost them to other schools.

Regardless of you all may think of the program in the past (and I would say it is a lot of rumor and speculation) none of it has come under JTIII's reign and yet he has beaten the crap out of Gary when it comes to recruiting. In fact, GTown's 2 best players, Greg Monroe and Chris Wright, had GPAs in high school of 3.7 and 3.4 respectively. And plenty of other schools have high academic standards for their athletes and do just fine (see Duke and Notre Dame ). As good as MD may be, it is ridiculous to say its academic standards get in the way when there are a substantial number of successful AND clean programs at schools just as good and better than MD. Face it. The reason Gary is not getting it done has nothing to do with high academic standards or ethics.

Posted by: DaymondMyles | February 16, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Look, dude. Someone came on here and took a swing at UM academic standards saying they were well below G-town.

I swung back.

You are the one who brought up the racial slant.

I'm a Terp, but I like G-town just fine.

No one is saying that every player on the roster is an illiterate moron. My point is that it is ridiculous to place G-town athletic academic standards on a pedestal over and above other programs just because it is "Georgetown". When you look at the history of SOME of their recruiting, it is absurd.

Posted by: p1funk | February 16, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

terpsfanstuckinnc: "Everybody has their opinion, but am I the only one getting tired of hearing Sampson151 REPEATEDLY spewing his same conspiracy theory? Every school has something to offer, and students are drawn to these perks whether they are real or perceived, and whether they are legal or ethical or not."

Sorry, terpsfanstuckinnc. First, because you're a Terps fan stuck in NC. Second, because you seem not to know what a conspiracy theory is.

I'm not saying there's a conspiracy. I'm saying there's a big, fat, unanswered question. And that question is -- cover your shell-like ears, terpsfanstuckinnc, because I'm going to REPEAT it -- why don't lccal stars choose College Park when it clearly has many advantages for them?

If I read correctly, you're responding that it's because of corrupt AAU coaches whno conspire to prevent Gary Williams from recruiting top athletes and (presumably) ascending directly to heaven shortly after retirement.

So it looks like I'm not the one wearing the tin foil hat.

My interest is personal: I just want to know if there's a way to fix it. And I suspect denial is not that way.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 16, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Okay geniuses who want to ditch Gary -- who replaces him?

Posted by: jjhare | February 16, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

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