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The Gary Williams Interview

Hello, everyone. This is Eric Prisbell. I am about to post a large portion of my Feb. 5 interview with Gary Williams. I carefully edited the actual interview transcript for a few reasons. A decent amount was off the record when both of us talk about three specific cases of alleged cheating, so I have not included some questions and answers. Some of the talk about three specific cases of alleged cheating was on the record, but I am unable to print it for legal concerns regarding unsubstantiated allegations. I refer to those players as Player A, Player B and Player C. I have also slightly edited a few of my questions only to give you guys more context into what we are talking about (like providing full names when I may have only said the first name). I think you’ll find this very interesting. Take some time off work and give it a good read. If you have any questions, feel free to email at On that note, here you go:

[We make some small talk while sitting down]

GW: This year we have one senior, we have signed two inside players. For 15 years, only Carolina and us have not finished last. So whatever they say about me as a recruiter, I’ll put my record up against anyone this decade. I must either be a good recruiter or a good coach. The idea of coaching at this level is to win, so whatever way you win, is okay. So if people say you are not a good recruiter, or if people say you are a good recruiter and not a good game coach, you know who they said that about. People are going to have opinions, which is fine. What I get measured on is winning. If 19 wins isn’t enough, I understand, people are dissatisfied. The two years we won 19, losing a pretty good player each of those years.

EP: But this is a complicated issue, and one aspect many people don’t realize is the changing face of AAU.
GW: Yeah, when would you say that really changed?

EP: Oh, I’ve seen a big change in the last five years.
GW: I’d say the last five or six. I’d say that was the dramatic change. With the change in the AAU has come incredible influence over the player, even players with parents there, the AAU in the last five years has gained a phenomenal foothold with a lot of families in terms of directing their kid where he winds up going to school.

EP: We have talked to more than 50 people. Everybody is on the record for this story except for a few people, including one person that I really respect, a guy who is intimately familiar your recruiting. (I read the quote about third-party aspects of recruiting)
GW: I have AAU guys I consider friends. See, AAU gets nailed wrongly every time someone says something is wrong in the summer time.

EP: Okay, let’s say summer league
GW: Yeah, there are a lot of AAU guys out there who do a phenomenal job, reach into their own pocket. So it bothers me that people blanket AAU guys with this thing. There are a lot of good people. I grew up with a lot of those people. In Camden, there was not AAU back then; there were people in the community who without those people they could not go to college. I have a background that is more extensive than most people in terms of the black community. I taught at an all-black high school at Woodrow Wilson in Camden for three years. I saw the streets. This is a long time ago, the handicaps they had to try to reach what an average white person could get to. Back then, there weren’t as many options for those kids. I saw a change in everything. I have always worked well with kids. I’ve done all that. This person saying that, I have friends who are AAU coaches. To say that I don’t have friends who are AAU coaches is not true. I don’t have time – I’m not going to pay somebody to go here. I have been offered players for payment.

EP: How often?
GW: This has got to be off the record. [OFF THE RECORD PORTION]

EP: How often in recent years?
GW: Probably not that direct. Now it is more subtle. There are a lot of different ways to get it done. Two kids around here [OFF THE RECORD]. But here is what’s ridiculous. Why do people ask me why we can’t get [them]?

EP: There are some people who say that you have been outworked.
GW: I have been at every recruiting period, I go where everybody goes. You see me there. I make every phone call I am allowed to make. I don’t break rules on phone calls. That’s the most broken rule in college basketball, excess phone calls. See, I’m a little different. And this job is a little different. I recruited at Boston College. I have recruited at Ohio State, you know, Jimmy Jackson. I know how to recruit. When I got the job here, it was historically right after Bob Wade received the sanctions for violating NCAA rules. I was told by President Kirwan that my job was to not violate NCAA rules. And I fulfilled that mission, in the same time winning a national championship. It gets back to: How many coaches during that time have won a national championship? These people who say I can’t recruit. I can recruit pretty good, I think. I do.

EP: People who know the Rudy Gay recruitment, know the background, know how it unfolded, all that, they say that that played a role in turning you off from the third-party aspect of recruiting.
GW: You keep recruiting. I’m just like everybody else. I watch, I see. You learn what goes on. What you are saying, third-party recruiting. In other words, making sure somebody gets taken care of. That’s what you are talking about. I’m not going to do it. I’m just not going to do it. Period. There is no argument there. If that makes me a bad recruiter, then I am a bad recruiter. If that one aspect makes me a bad recruiter. But in terms of working and watching games, making phone calls you are allowed to make, I do it.

EP: Why can’t you say on the record why you couldn’t get Rudy Gay?
GW: I think it is on the record.

EP: He told me he grew up loving Maryland and he celebrated the national title.
GW: Well, then why didn’t he come here? We offered him a scholarship. If all that is true, why didn’t he come here? What logic am I missing here? In other words, if he wanted to come here, and we recruited him and we offered him a scholarship, why didn’t he come here? It had to be for another reason, right?

EP: You’re saying it was for another reason aside from the fact that they scheduled the AAU exhibition game up in Hartford?
GW: I don’t know. I don’t know what the deciding moment was. You don’t a lot of times in recruiting, why a guy picks a school over another school. If Rudy Gay wanted to go to Maryland, and that was his school growing up, and we recruited, we made him feel wanted, he was a great player, he has got the scholarship, all he has to do is sign his name and he is here.

EP: Did that one bother you more than others?
GW: Yeah, it bothers you when you think it is a good fit. In other words, the way he played, he wasn’t a big muscle guy, but he was quick and had that size thing going for him. I like long players, like a [D.J.] Strawberry, like 6-4, get your hands on balls. When you press you need guys like that, guys who can really run, just play bigger than they are, but play as quick as the guards. That was Rudy Gay. I just thought in our system he would have been great. I recruit for our system. I try to get guys who can press.

EP: I have been thinking about this a lot. You may be winning now, but not like you did earlier this decade …
GW: Right.

EP: To win like you used to win, it is still possible to do that without cheating?
GW: I think I am a realistic person. Next year, if everybody stays here, nobody goes in the pros, whatever, plus with the two guys coming in, I think we can be a top 25 team. I really do. This kid Jordan Williams is just starting to break onto the scene. He wasn’t considered “really” good but then he played for John Carroll, a very good coach, the kid really responded. He doesn’t play in a great high school league, but 53 points is a lot of points. And he has been over 40 a bunch of times. He is 6-10, 250, and he has got hands. You can throw him the ball. We have always been our best when we have had someone to throw the ball inside to, Joe Smith, Lonny Baxter, that’s been our best teams here.

EP: Well, is it more difficult in today’s landscape to win at an elite level without operating in the gray area in recruiting?
GW: I think it’s difficult for anyone to win. If defining winning is the national title or Final Four. You look at UCLA, they have been to three straight. You look at Florida, they have won two. Those guys, since we won it, have been the two dominant teams. Duke won it in 2001 when they beat us in the semis. Carolina won, what, 2005? It’s hard to stay there, it’s hard to get to the Final Four on a consistent basis. What we did, getting to the Sweet Sixteens pretty consistently, that was looked on as not doing too good. Now, that is looked at as pretty good if you got to that many Sweet Sixteens. It is harder now because there are more good teams. Schools that realize that if you put the majority of your money into men’s basketball, you can be successful because there are only 13 scholarships. A lot of schools have gone that way, like a Davidson, a Butler. They weren’t on the map eight years ago. Now they can play an ACC team. The other thing, they don’t get ground up in the Big East, they don’t get ground up during the season. They can play one game against anybody, they are that good. But if you ask them to play 16 games in the ACC, they might not be as good come March. The NCAA tournament has become the whole measure of your season. You beat the No. 1 team in the country last year, okay, that is a good win, but you didn’t make the NCAA tournament. The measure is now the NCAA tournament. That has gotten stronger. That’s why they should expand the tournament …

EP: But you know the number of talented players this area has produced, especially in recent years. You’re satisfied with the number you’ve gotten?
GW: No, you always want to get more. Once again, there are reasons. You are going to get beat sometimes in recruiting, I’d be the first to admit that. Another school does a better job, or he likes them better than you. You are going to lose kids. You are going to lose some kids because they want to go away. We have had parents tell us we have to get him out of the DC area because there is too much crime. Crime is used against us in recruiting. Len Bias is still used against us. There is a special every year on his anniversary, there are articles, all that is brought up again. That’s how recruiting works. Recruiting is a tough game. There is a lot of negative recruiting out there, in other words, if I don’t have a good team, I’m going to do everything I can to tear down that team that has a good team, that is recruiting this kid too. That happens all the time. A lot of people think that is okay. But there are kids being directed certain places because of agents, because of shoe companies. There are AAU programs that receive a tremendous amount of money from shoe companies.

EP: Some AAU coaches receive nearly $100,000 from shoe companies and then get additional donations from boosters from colleges to their nonprofit foundations.
GW: Yeah, and nobody is sure where that money is. If you are saying that I lose a kid because of that, you are right. You are right. I will lose a kid. See the other aspect is, college basketball generates a lot of money. Coaches make a lot of money. People see that. This is strictly a judgment people make, What’s wrong with us getting a piece of that pie? They connect 18,000 seats in Comcast Center with what’s wrong with a kid, a family getting some money. That’s strictly a moral judgment. I am not God. But I have my principles that I have always had as a coach. I don’t think that makes me wrong because I have my principles that I have always had in recruiting. Nobody has ever accused me of cheating in recruiting in my career. That’s a good thing, supposedly. But people turn that around and say he won’t play the game. You do it this way and you are criticized for not cheating. Basically that’s what is happening. You are criticized for not cheating. So if I am going to be criticized for something, if they want to criticize me for not cheating, that’s fine?

EP: How much of a price have you paid in recruiting for not cheating?
GW: I probably have with certain kids. Nineteen wins, because of the bar we set, is probably unacceptable to a lot of people. But we won the national championship. We set the bar there. Nineteen wins, with the teams we have beaten, would be acceptable at a lot of places.

EP: I’m just trying to get a sense on how much of losing local recruiting battles can be attributed to others cheating?
GW: I don’t know. That would be a hard thing to say. I don’t go out and accuse someone of taking money unless I know it’s a fact. I know that is going on. I can’t tell you if it is this specific kid who doesn’t go to Maryland and goes somewhere else because they don’t come back and tell me. I’m not here to play detective and go find out. I hear things like every other coach hears things. It’s part of the basketball thing.

EP: I know that, you know that, but readers aren’t aware of it. Can you speak to the recruit who [specific allegation told to reporter by college assistants]?
GW: I don’t know how you do that. There will be people who know that’s [Player A] and say that and then put me in a bad light. I have a job. Everyone says, well, you ought to turn everybody in. Yeah, sure. Each school they run their school the way they want to run it. They run their program the way they want to run it. If that is acceptable at those schools, that’s far beyond Gary Williams to …

EP: But these AAU programs, including DC Assault and others, are saying, ‘We don’t know you, you don’t come to the games’?
GW: I know Curtis Malone. So he can say whatever he wants about me. I know what Curtis Malone is about. But you won’t write it in there.

EP: Why won’t I?
GW: Will you?

EP: I’m not saying I will or won’t. I am trying to balance this thing.
GW: Yeah, but don’t tell me Curtis Malone has the right to say whether Gary Williams is a good recruiter or not. I don’t want to hear about Curtis Malone. I know what he is.

EP: You know Damon Handon from D.C. Assault, right? He said you didn’t come to one of their games this summer.
GW: That’s not true. I was out every day wherever they played in tournaments. I don’t know where they were specifically. I guarantee you I saw them play during the recruiting period. That’s wrong. That’s a lie. I saw DC Assault play in the fall, I saw them play last fall.

EP: How would you describe your relationship with that program?
GW: Whatever. We like to get really good players, without a doubt. I’d like to get players from DC Assault. DC Assault is a nationally known program. It’s almost like they are a school. They get recruited on a national basis. People from all over the country don’t go to a high school, they go to DC Assault to recruit players. That’s how that works.

EP: So Dalonte Hill was interested in the assistant job and …
GW: $450,000. That deal went down, that’s a fact. That’s in the newspapers. The guy could not get $450,000 here. We can’t pay it. How are we supposed to get Dalonte Hill to work here?

EP: How about for less than $450,000?
GW: That was the number that he was going to go where he could make a lot of money.

EP: Too much for this school?
GW: Why would he go to Kansas State? He was in Charlotte. How do you go from Charlotte to Kansas State?

EP: $450,000
GW: So you bring Beasley with you. To bring Beasley, it cost $450,000 for sure. We know that. We didn’t have $450,000. So we are not going to get Beasley. Would Beasley have gone to K-State without Dalonte there?

EP: [Bob] Huggins told me he would have gone wherever Dalonte went.
GW: Right. They came up with the top number, I assume.

EP: I know the amount. But knowing that, is it frustrating that you don’t have an opportunity to take advantage of Hill’s potential pipeline because you can’t afford $450,000? A disappointment?
GW: No, I try to get assistants here to help recruit, to help develop players. That is who I have hired. Throughout my career, starting at American U, Fran Dunphy, Ed Tapscott were my assistants … Why do guys get head coaching jobs from my staff? They are good enough to run major college programs. I try to hire the best coaches I can. Because I don’t hire Dalonte Hill, I don’t hire good assistants, is that the premise of this?

EP: I’m wondering if there is a frustration because if you could afford Hill, you get the pipeline to DC Assault. If you can’t, then you can’t get that pipeline?
GW: Yeah, you might. Yeah, you get criticized when you coach for a lot of things. Some of it is justified, some of it is not. You can criticize me for not getting a specific player, but in terms of getting players I think I have, in 20 years, the third most pros in the NBA behind North Carolina and Duke. So if you want to judge it on that, judge in on that. [More statistics to defend program]

EP: How much hands-on recruiting do you do, how much do you delegate to assistants?
GW: Same as everybody else.

EP: You don’t cheat, you don’t operate in a gray area, then why pursue a guy like Herb Pope or Terrence Jennings?
GW: We pursue him to the point where we know we can’t get him. I will try to recruit anybody. And then if you find out a thing about a guy, or you see which way the recruiting is going, then you drop off. But everyone does that, recruiting quite a few and then you narrow it down.

EP: But those recruits, because of their backgrounds, don’t seem like they are your type of guys that you have won with in the past.
GW: Probably not. They were talented players. But we get criticized for recruiting Jennings. Why? Why isn’t [Rick] Pitino criticized, why isn’t every school that recruited him criticized? Why are we criticized?

EP: Because you have not normally…
GW: But so what? I haven’t done anything wrong. I recruited him. The day he left the school in North Carolina to go to Notre Dame, we stopped recruiting him.

EP: But on one hand you say you don’t get involved in the murky AAU waters, and then..
GW: Right, I don’t.

EP: But then why?
GW: What did we do wrong with Terrence Jennings? Did we give him money? I am allowed to recruit any kid in the country until I find out something that is going on.

EP: But you know the reputation of some prep schools.
GW: Hey, you know, why should George Washington take two storefront kids? That’s a pretty good school.

EP: Same with them
GW: They are trying to win. We are trying to win. You know how kids are now, they float to different schools now.

EP: But you have always been above that in AAU. You don’t think you compromised anything pursuing a Pope, who may have hit his coach, or Jennings?
GW: We stopped recruiting him.

EP: Who?
GW: Jennings. We stopped recruiting Pope.

EP: But Jennings committed here.
GW: His father said in the summer that he would like to go to Maryland. That was long before anything. He was going back to Mount Zion school. He never even visited when that took place.

EP: You would have recruited those two guys 10 years ago?
GW: Um, you recruit the best players you can. We thought we could get in with those guys. It didn’t work out. We didn’t get them.

EP: You were right there toward the end with Pope when New Mexico State swooped in?
GW: No, we stopped recruiting him long before that. Why are you judging the players I recruit? Why aren’t you judging the criminal record of the player at Wake Forest?

EP: If I were down there I would.
GW: What, I have to have a background check on every kid I recruit?

EP: No, but those are well-known players with well-known issues
GW: I know, but then I get criticized for not recruiting them. You didn’t get Terrence Jennings, I’m getting criticized for not getting Terrence Jennings.

EP: But what about Joe Alexander, who dreamed of playing here? A late bloomer who was under the radar.
GW: Well, you miss kids. This is not a perfect science.

EP: Scottie Reynolds?
GW: Scottie Reynolds committed to Oklahoma early.

EP: But Gary Hall [Reynolds’s former high school coach] says you weren’t in until late, when [Kelvin] Sampson got out of Oklahoma.
GW: We had [Greivis] Vasquez and [Eric] Hayes. We thought they were going to be our guards. You can’t just go get a guy if you have two players who are supposed to be four-year players for you. You recruit to fill in your team. The reasons we got these two coming in next year is that we are not big enough. We can’t get every kid. There are a lot of good players in this area. We have the player of the year in Baltimore, remember that?

EP: I understand [Sean] Mosley, but if you had just gotten one or two out of the deep pool of talent in this area, you probably don’t miss the tournament, right?
GW: You can’t say that. We recruited [Austin Freeman]. He chose not to come here. So don’t tell me I don’t recruit guys. We recruited those guys.

EP: You remember Deron Williams?
GW: Yeah, we recruited him. A lot of schools recruited him.

EP: Yeah, the mom said you viewed [John] Gilchrist as the priority at that position.
GW: Yeah, John Gilchrist was all-state in Virginia. He was considered one of the best guards ever to come out of the state of Virginia, along with [Allen] Iverson and whomever you want to list.

EP: Yeah, but her criticism was that Maryland stood out from the others because you were the only head coach who never talked to her or Deron.
GW: But I was recruiting Gilchrist very hard at the same time. I wanted Gilchrist. A lot of people thought Gilchrist – if you remember Williams, when he played in high school, he was fat. A lot of people thought he would be too heavy. I saw him play three different times. I didn’t talk to the mom. But I thought we could get Gilchrist, and we did. Gilchrist was a very good recruit. The way things work out, you don’t know that is going to happen. So we got Gilchrist that year. So am I a bad recruiter because we got John Gilchrist instead of Williams.

EP: No, but there is case after case after case of players you could have gotten, missed opportunities, missteps.
GW: I got Gilchrist. I could only take one point guard that year. We got the point guard we wanted to get that year. I didn’t know Williams was going to be that good. I don’t think many people did, from what he was in high school. He was good, he was solid. But John Gilchrist was right here. Easier to recruit. Okay, so I recruited him. So don’t criticize me for not talking to Williams.

EP: Josh Boone would have loved to come here.
GW: Who recruited Josh Boone besides Connecticut?

EP: Not many schools
GW: Josh Boone was kind of under the radar, and we didn’t get involved with Josh Boone.

EP: Do you regret that?
GW: Yeah, he is a good player.

EP: That’s what I’m getting at, are you satisfied with your recruiting over the past seven years?
GW: Yeah, I think we have worked hard over the past seven years. Things have changed over the past seven years in recruiting. I still believe if we didn’t have Strawberry go down and have McCray not go out, we would have been in the NCAAs.

EP: But people want to see you in recruiting. Your name matters in the recruiting scene.
GW: I am out there. I was out every day I could go out. I was at the DeMatha game the other night.

EP: I know
GW: I go out. I don’t advertise. I don’t know I should self-promote more or not. I’m in Orlando, Vegas, LA, following Jordan Williams around, wherever there are tournaments around. If they don’t see me, what am I supposed to do?

EP: Well, how about a Kendall Marshall, who comes on a visit here. And the father is upset because he said he just dealt with the assistant coaches.
GW: That is not my fault. I had to be somewhere. They call up the day before and say they want to come to campus and I am not here. It’s because I was doing Coaches vs. Cancer or whatever. Juts like every other coach, Calhoun, Boeheim, we are all at the same damn golf tournament. So I am the bad guy because I am not here and they call up the day before and say they want to come. Don’t go there, that is not right. I am here, I talk to kids, I do whatever I can. A guy calls up Friday and says he wants to come down Saturday, I might not be here because I might have to be at another obligations somewhere else.

EP: I wasn’t aware of that.
GW: Well, see, people can say whatever they want. Just make sure you have facts when they say it.

EP: You are satisfied with how involved you have been with recruits?
GW: Yes, I am. Very satisfied. The two we have coming in, that speaks for itself.

EP: Now you said they were top 50 guys [Jordan Williams and James Padgett]. There is no ranking that has them that high.
GW: Well, whatever, just give it a chance for the high school season to go. See where it is. All I know is what Jordan Williams is doing. James Padgett plays for a school that is really good. They won the NY state title last year. He had 17 and 10 against this guy who is supposed to be the best big man in the country, right? So, yeah, I think he is a good player. Whether he is top 50 or not, I don’t know. Every guy has had guys who weren’t ranked who turned out to be pretty good.

EP: You know Jeff Bowden, Baltimore Select?
GW: I know who he is.

EP: How about Craig Boothe, from Hoop Booth, a lower-level team
GW: No.

EP: Some people put the onus on [former assistant] Dave Dickerson, and said he didn’t evaluate the kids as well as he should
GW: That’s not fair. Not fair. How do they know?

EP: These people are coming out of the woodwork on the record, you can’t speak to that?
GW: I can’t speak to the fact that [Player B] was bought. And you know he was bought, and yet you give me s—t for not getting [him]. He was bought.

EP: Tell me how to get it and I will do the story
GW: You don’t have to do the story. But you should know that while you are writing this story. You know I should not be criticized for [him].


EP: [Interview shifts to shoe companies]
GW: See, you’ll write critical all about my recruiting, but you don’t say anything about the [Player C] deal. Why don’t you say, that looks kind of strange that he goes …

EP: I’ve got to say more than that.
GW: Why? You’re going to make accusations of me based on what other people say.

EP: If I wanted to do a rip job, I wouldn’t be here. How do I get that point across about those other players who you may have lost because of cheating?
GW: I shouldn’t be criticized for those two [local kids who went out of state], but I am. Does that make me a bad recruiter? Okay.

EP: You’re saying that on the record?
GW: I can say I tried to recruit each of the, each one. See, some of these…[OFF THE RECORD]

EP: Well, you are talking about a major violation involving a donation to a nonprofit foundation?

EP: Why would the coach do that?
GW: Right. The NCAA knows that information.

EP: How do you know?
GW: They know rumors.

EP: More than rumors, because I have been told the same from people who have had no contact with you. I have the tax forms, minus the donors.
GW: It’s history, we didn’t get those guys. But anyone who knows anything about college basketball has a pretty good idea of why they all went to where they went.

EP: I know, but people are on the record here. Others are saying you should be fired, that you can’t recruit.
GW: That’s okay. You should be fired. Anybody can say anything they want. I shouldn’t be fired based on my record. I am not here to recruit. I am here to win basketball games. Recruiting is part of my job. But you can’t say I should be fired when you look at my record. You can’t say that. Then all those guys who finished below me in the ACC should be fired, that haven’t won as many games as I have. Those people can’t say I should be fired. They are saying I should be fired because I didn’t get a certain recruit. Like the kid from Texas who is a great player for the Utah Jazz. I got John Gilchrist, didn’t get [Williams], but I should be fired because I didn’t get him. Fire me because of my record. If you want to fire me, fire me because of my record. Don’t fire me because I didn’t get a recruit that somebody thinks I should get. Don’t say I should be fired because I didn’t get a certain recruit. Fire me because of my record.

EP: You said making the tourney now means someone is a success.
GW: That is the world of today. But I had significant injuries two of those years, and you should write that. Let another team try to make it there with those injuries.

EP: I completely understand the players who may have gone elsewhere because of alleged cheating, but why couldn’t you get Boone or an Alexander, Reynolds, West
GW: Everything you said about Jennings was with West. He wasn’t recruited by anyone around here. You know that.

EP: But just one or two of those other guys
GW: True. But you know, we recruited who we recruited. Braxton [Dupree] was considered a very good player coming out of Calvert Hall. 6-9, 350.

EP: Sure, Travis Garrison another.
GW: McDonald’s all-american. Mike Jones, a McDonald’s All-American.

EP: The two McDonald’s All-Americans you got were Garrison and Jones. You have succeeded with guys more under the radar
GW: Yeah, and you don’t get every guy under the radar. You don’t get a Boone. He really came on when he went to U-Conn. I don’t think many people thought he could play there when he went to U-Conn. To his credit, he worked very hard. U-Conn. did a great job recruiting because they saw it in him and a lot of schools – not just Gary Williams – didn’t see it.

By Eric Prisbell  |  February 17, 2009; 9:43 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Williams & Neal: A Tag Team Effort


If the rumors of cheating are so prevalent, why is there no action or atleast investigation from the NCAA? How does that process get initiated?

It's a shame GW is getting penalized for doing the right thing. The NCAA has to do a better job of getting money out of the recruiting process to level the playing field for all, not just for GW.

Posted by: DBriles10 | February 17, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

If the rumors of cheating are so prevalent, why is there no action or atleast investigation from the NCAA? How does that process get initiated?

Posted by: DBriles10 | February 17, 2009 11:11 AM

I think a big part of it was what Gary was (not so subtly) mentioning: money. Basketball is a big money sport. Not as big as football, but it doesn't mean it isn't huge. It's the same reason why in college football a lot of major investigations don't occur until *after* the bowl game. Same reason why sponsors are never banned, but players are, for their actions. There's too much money to lose if there's any sort of investigation.

Posted by: JHopper2 | February 17, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

When are you guys going to call off the witch hunt on Gary? You seem to have sided with the AAU cheats and some mouth breathers from the internet. Gary has good support from the University, fans, and the alumni.

Posted by: Watson1 | February 17, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I think this interview actually shows Prisbell as sympathetic to Williams' concerns. Fans are also sympathetic if the allegations he's making about players being bought and non-profit agencies being setup to launder money are true. It just would be nice to see his off the record comments or at least some type of investigation by either the NCAA or even a Post investigative story into how much cheating is actually taking place and who is responsible.

Posted by: JDP_ | February 17, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Is there any way that the shoe company kid is not Kevin Durant? He seems to be glaringly missing from any talk. As is Carmelo Anthony. I'm trying to think of who the third kid is.

Posted by: ianharte | February 17, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Gary Williams: "I must either be a good recruiter or a good coach."

Exactly. I'm voting for good coach.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 17, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey. The Terps are 5 - 5 at this moment. I don't know bout UNC game but all the others they can possibly pull out with W's and make the tourney. Shouldn't that take precedence over what happened in the past? It sounds like, Gary got the kids he wanted in the past. he lost some other kids. But all schools lose out on kids. He couldn't possibly get ALL the players coming out of this area. I for one thought he's recruits after 2002 were going to continue MD's success. But they didn't quite come through. Who cares now? He has got 2 kids and possibly a 3rd for next year. and RIGHT NOW, they are fighting for a bid. if they win 4 out of 6, they might make. Besides the UNC game, they really need to play their BEST... Can we just focus on that? if they make, I might be able to fill in MD in my march madness bracket... COME ON!!! GO TERPS!!! LAY IT ALL OUT THERE!!!!!

Posted by: doeshin | February 17, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting this. Additional good info. Again, I don't see how posting an interview with Gary Williams in which the interviewer gives Williams ample space to detail his decision-making process and establish his record is "going after" Gary.

Still, the proof is in the pudding regarding recruiting. The players Gary has recruited since the national title have almost uniformly not met expectations. We'll see how this new class shapes up.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | February 17, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the interview and the investigative series but PLEASE, follow the story. I used to love college basketball because it wasn't all about the money (in some respects). Paying for kids disgraces the game. Be an investigative journalist and expose this stuff. It's a story the sports viewing public wants and story we need.

Posted by: bagoldstein | February 17, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Gary would never throw Mello and subsequently his boy Boeheim under the bus. Even off the record. Gotta be someone else. Regardless of his shady past, stop snitching video, etc.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 17, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

This is great stuff. Thanks!

Posted by: lavar609 | February 17, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I have to imagine a story surrounding the donation to the non-profit would be one that would generate interest for the paper. It sounds like you have sources to go along with documentation and you wouldn't even need Williams to serve as one of the sources. I think most of your readers would be rather interested to know more information regarding this.
Is there any intention of pursuing it further?

Posted by: johnja97 | February 17, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

gary is the MAN!!! THE MAN!!!

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | February 17, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the comments and feedback so far. Yes, I have done quite a bit of AAU coverage in the past and we plan to cover a lot of AAU issues this spring/summer. There is nothing more I would rather dig into. And the more readers express their interest to read it, the better chance I have of being given the green light to explore and expose it, so keep the comments coming. Thanks a lot. And if you'd like specific stories on specific AAU issues, please let us know as well.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

in that case...expose it!!!

Posted by: deadskin | February 17, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

not sure if i mentioned this or not...but you should investigate the cheating further...

Posted by: deadskin | February 17, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

classy coaches like GW that have morals, take the high road and avoid the grey areas deserve to have this sort of thing exposed to level the playing field for those that play by the rules and keep everything on the up and up...

sure, maybe gary should develop better relationships with some of these AAU coaches...keeping those with shady backgrounds at arms lengths but at least giving them a reason to be able to speak on his behalf about what type of person/coach he is...

but, much like baseball keeping is eye blind to the doping hoops cant keep a blind eye on recruiting practices or the bubble will eventually have to burst...

EP needs to bring this to the forefront...he is our hero!!!

Posted by: deadskin | February 17, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Maryland Fired Lefty Drisell because he didn't live with, and hold the hand of Len Bias every 24/7,after graduation and suffered. Now some people want fire GW. Go ahead and see who will come coach at Maryland. The administration at Maryland can't see what a treasure they have GW. Signed: a disgruntled alumnus who has stopped giving to his school in disgust.

Posted by: jimpearson1 | February 17, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Outstanding interview with lots of threads to follow up on.

Posted by: hetherb | February 17, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

the media is a strange/weird beast...

a picture of michael phelps taking a bong hit...a kid blowing off a little steam like all kids his blows that into a front page story...wont let it go...

oh boy...doping in the Tour de France...oh marion jones dopes...oh arod doped...clemens and bonds doped??? surprise there...

TO says Romo love Whitten more than me...the media cant let that go...

Reed benched mcnabb and the media go nuts...

the media jumps all over this crap over any little rumor or tidbit...

why wont it go after college recruiting...something important...something to look out for the best interest of KIDS...not just HS kids but JHS and now elementary kids...they are engaging kids in 3rd and 4th something meaniful with your investigative jounalism...quit beating dead horses and investigate something productive...

Posted by: deadskin | February 17, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Your series and the interview were very well done. Gary Williams has done a terrific job at Maryland and Maryland would be foolish to part ways with him. With his record, he is entitled to bristle at the criticism from some quarters (not the paper). It is also fair to note, however, that the talent level of the team has dropped off. I hope Maryland and Coach Williams will work together to find ways to improve the recruiting system, without resorting to the unsavory tactics described in the stories. I may be naive, but I think they can get this done.

Posted by: bobk2 | February 17, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

that last comment was directed at the WaPo and media in general...and not at EP directly...

give him the green lite!!!

set gary free!!!

rather than ride gary for doing things the right way, why not bring attention to those that do it the wrong way...

a little exposure of the bad practices will level the playing field for those who do it the right way...


Posted by: deadskin | February 17, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Barno's notes:

-The "I shouldn't be fired" quote that was used in the 3-part series was taken out of context. After seeing the question and Gary's full answer, it's clear that the quote was used to make him look more defensive than he was actually being.

-Prisbell/Yanda are trying to have it both ways. Gary is a bad recruiter for not getting so and so...but he's also a bad recruiter for going after so and so. He's either one or the other, he can't be both. Gary seemed to pick up on this contradiction in Prisbell's questions.

-Why is Baltimore not considered local? We got the Baltimore Player of the Year last year in Sean Mosley, which should quash the "Ignoring the Backyard" storyline, at least for this year. And yet it doesn't. Why? Because the Washington Post does not consider Baltimore as "local" as the DC area, though it should.

-Prisbell/Yanda repeatedly ignore Gary's point that we lost our best player in 04 and our top scorer in 05, due to injury and academic eligibility, respectively. These are not minor details...they should not get brushed over as if they are. We were ranked in the Top 25 when McCray flunked out. And we were a Final Four contender when Strawberry went down. Don't gloss over losing those crucial players as if it didn't happen.

-Last but not least, I wonder how many Terps games those who love to criticize Gary have attended this year. As I've said in this space before, the "fans" who attack Gary at every turn aren't the ones who attend the games, aren't the ones there for midnight madness, or preseason, or scrimmages, etc. They're often the ones who became fans of the program AFTER the Terps got good. They don't remember the hard times after the Bias tragedy and the sanctions because they weren't fans back then. These idiot fans should be ignored because as Seth Greenberg said, "they don't know what they don't know."

That's about it.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I might be missing the obvious here but are there any guesses as to the identities of Players A, B and C?

Posted by: DaymondMyles | February 17, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Barno, I respect your opinion a great deal, but, with all due respect, I was there for the interview and I had talked with Gary privately as well. I did my best to be as fair as possible. And few understand what he has dealt with in recruiting battles -- in terms of battle schools that sometimes are will to bend or break rules -- as much as I do. I tried to paint a strong picture of that in Part II of the series.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

barno1: "-Last but not least, I wonder how many Terps games those who love to criticize Gary have attended this year."

Maybe they'd attend more if the team was playing better.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 17, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they'd attend more if the team was playing better.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 17, 2009 1:55 PM

Exactly my point. They are fairweather fans.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

A, B, and C went to Connecticut, Kansas State and Texas.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 17, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

barno1: "Exactly my point. They are fairweather fans."

Or maybe basketball fans who would become Terp fans if the team was better,

I tend to think that teams can't just play to their hardcore fan base. They have to attract the interest of those that might go to the games or watch on TV if the team captured their imagination a little. Otherwise they wouldn't fork over the $$ for decent seats or switch over from CSIL Miami to see the Terps.

That's not a lesser breed of human. That's just people with lives of their own, who seek a little wholesome entertainment from college basketball.

And those folks really, really want to see their team in the tournament.

Maryland hasn't done much for them in the past few years.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 17, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr Prisbell,

You forgot to ask Coach Williams when he stopped beating his wife!

I think a statistical analysis of Maryland's win-loss record since their national title would show they are near the top of the ACC and did not differ significantly from Duke and NC.

Posted by: AncientTerp | February 17, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Please Please Please write more about how AAU is leading to the ruination of college basketball. I want to know the stories behind Players A, B, and C.

Posted by: JBaker76 | February 17, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"I did my best to be as fair as possible."
I dont buy it. Implication is a powerful tool that the media has in its arsenal and you used it well.
You knew the story and motivation behind an AAU coaches criticism of Coach Williams and yet you chose to report that unvalidated and undocumented criticism of him as if he was a credible source.
Sorry, 'that doesn't hold water'--

Posted by: Beltwayman2 | February 17, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Gay was recruited by Connecticut and Maryland. Gay, eventually picked UConn. A few months later, Uconn and former (AAU) players played an exhibition game. Lewis', Gay's AAU coach, was paid $25,000. A coach alleged that the payoff led to Gay's decision.

Posted by: JBaker76 | February 17, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It does hold water. Over the past few years, i have traveled the country in part to reveal what coaches such as Gary have to deal with in the murky AAU world. Gary knows how much I have tried to do that in recent years. if I wanted to do a rip job of Gary, we would not have talked to 60 people, and I would not have sat down with Gary. i wanted to do the most comprehensive piece on his recruiting since 2002. Perfect? No way. But I'll defend our efforts to try to be as fair as possible.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Well I enjoyed it, Eric. Thanks for putting this up. I think it adds tremendously to the 3 part piece

Posted by: JBaker76 | February 17, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse


Before you published this story, I'm sure you anticipated the ensuing whirlwind of controversy.

Many of the posters here do not cherish a nonbiased view of their coach and their team. They prefer slick public relations over tough, independent journalism.

Keep up the outstanding work, knowing full well that no matter what you write, you'll have detractors.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | February 17, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

GW's point about Chris McCray and DJ going down with injury is a critical one. If the Terps had flopped in the second half of the season after McCray went down, it very well may have been written off due to the injury. Instead, Gary does a fantastic job coaching the team that was left (as usual) and we barely miss the NCAAs--and then Gary is criticized. If anything, that had to be one of the more impressive coaching performances of the last few years. He can coach the hell out of his guys.

It is one thing for the media to question his level of success over the past few years, but it is quite another for anyone in the Maryland community to even talk of firing Coach Williams. He is Maryland Basketball. I personally am grateful to so great a coach and person for sticking it out at Maryland when he could have named his price at any other school.

Posted by: jnozzle17 | February 17, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Very good article - here- and also the three parter as well. I think Gary has done a great job in his time here at Maryland - good enough that he has earned some slack for last year/this year or whatever. I also think he was let down, in a sense, by the assistants that followed Hahn, Patsos, and Dickerson. I think he has the train back on the right track, and we should see more great basketball again next season.

Posted by: 1of9000 | February 17, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse


One poster stated this..."Many of the posters here do not cherish a nonbiased view of their coach and their team. They prefer slick public relations over tough, independent journalism".

I have been a regular critic of Gary's recruiting but who likes thier coach to recieve unfair criticism? If you expect me to believe you have been fair, I've got a bridge to sell you in New York. Defend yourself all you want. I know what I read and I know how you chose to present your story.

Posted by: Beltwayman2 | February 17, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse


We've discussed this over email, but I'd like you to respond here so everyone can see:

Could you tell your readers why the Washington Post Graphics Department went out of its way to not mention James Gist or Gus Gilchrist in the graph of All Mets and other quality players of the last 7 years?


Seems to me that had they included Gist and Gilchrist, that would have hurt your overall argument that Gary Williams has been "ignoring the backyard." Seems to me that over and over again, you guys did everything you could to avoid including any detail that might run counter to your argument.

This is precisely why so many of your readers feel your series has been a one-sided, agenda-driven, hit piece. When you ignore pertinent details that run counter to your argument, you begin to lose the trust of your readers. And if you notice the comments on your blog (last week), the vast majority of your readers are outraged at your unfair attacks on Gary Williams and the program (though you say most of the emails you've received have been positive--a claim we can't possibly dispute).

So, why did the Post not include any mention of Gist or Gilchrist (or Dupree, or Mosley) in the graph?

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

FYI- I submitted the above question during Eric's live chat last week but it never made it into the chat. That's because the moderator did not send it along to Eric. I wonder why that is.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect, if I did not want to be fair to Gary, why did I mention Malone's criminal record, why did I leave out the Dennis Marshall details, why did I sit down with Gary and go piece by piece through each and every bit of criticism? Gary's recruiting is a complex issue and we did our best to balance the piece with arguments from all sides, and there are several sides to this issues. It was a worthy issue to explore.

As for the graphics department, I cannot speak to that. I can speak to anything that was written in the stories, as well as the reporting approach for the story as a whole. I'll take any and all questions on that.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Tell us who we need to write at the Post to give you the green light. This stuff needs to be exposed

Posted by: bagoldstein | February 17, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Eric, you fault Gary for not signing Deron Williams out of Texas, but had he done so that would have showed that Gary was "ignoring the backyard" when John Gilchrist was available locally.

See my point about you trying to have it both ways?

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

As for the graphics department, I cannot speak to that

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 3:35 PM

Gist and Gilchrist should have been in there, right? That's what you told me.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Reading this transcript only goes further to show how slanted the articles were. Gary explained each question you asked rationally and little of his side made it into the written articles.

When asked why you don't ask the same questions about other local schools (including Georgetown) missing those exact same local recruits your response is "I am not assigned to cover them". Thats a convienent excuse which does not make much sense since you compare MD's records to other schools. You have graphs of other schools records in the series but cant even mention that Georgetown admits players denied admission to MD ?

You state that most of response to this series has been positive. I dont know who has been e-mailing you but I have seen the vast majority of people thinking it was way negative. Can't you see the backlash from this series ? Most people see the series as slanted. Its always easier to tear down a house than to build one.

Posted by: Bib1 | February 17, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I am certainly in the camp that says MD should be attracting better players more consistently with all the pluses we have:

* great facility
* great conference
* large and loyal fan base
* tradition (which predates the great one GW)
* hotbed of high school talent

I love when the FOGs say silly things like Gary gets no credit for the year we almost made it when our "best" player McCray flunks out in his senior year or gosh DJ Strawberry got hurt one year. First of McCray flunking out happened on Gary's watch. Hello McFly! I'm sure no other schools have dealt with academic and injury issues. I have trouble with saying we couldn't have done any better. Is it so hard to say we've come up short:

* in identifying the diamonds in the rough (Alexander, Boone)
* in picking the right player to target (Gilchrist vs. Deron Williams) (Reynolds vs Hayes)
* at least building relationships in the "grey" area to be in the conversation with more kids

Even before our magical run fueled by three players who vastly exceeded their projected potential (Baxter, Dixon, Blake) many people felt MD wasn't reaching its potential on the player side of the equation. We put together a magical few seasons when the cosmos were all aligned correctly for us. Mouton for example giving up the chance to be a 4 year start at another team to be a glue guy for us.

Those days aren't coming back. Gary seems unwilling to even acknowledge the importance of recruiting. I'll be shocked if this years team makes the tourney which will be 4 out of 5 for those keeping count at home. In most programs that consider themselves major that would be grounds for moving in another direction.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 17, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

This piece is definitely not one sided. It's the reality of the sprectrum of college basketball. The truth is Maryland basketball is not a power house. The team is consistently bubbalicious.

The one thing I take issue with the article is equating recruiting troubled players with dealing with AAU coaches and donations. GW may be playing dumb about his intentions to recruit the named players, but I'd rather see MD recruit a kid with a criminal past give me a second chance and an education than see some AAU dirt bag coach take school money. Everybody is getting rich except for the kid for about a year.

It reminds me of the great movie "Baseketball"
Remer: "Alright dude, listen to me carefully. Do you think Shaq got rich playing in Orlando?"
Coop: "No, he got rich playing in college, everybody knows that."

Peace out credibility

Posted by: ianharte | February 17, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Amen Bib. And let me just say one thing about Prisbell: he is the best Terps beat reporter in this town in my lifetime. Not just as a journalist, but as a writer. For 5 seasons now, he has shown no agenda in covering the Terps football and basketball teams. While I wholeheartedly feel this series has been unnecessarily critical, and in many ways slanted, it doesn't change my opinion that Prisbell is as good as it gets.

We can disagree on the recent coverage, but I still have a lot of respect for his overall body of work these last 5 years.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What a f'n blame-the-world crybaby. Give him some credit for not recruiting dirty, but he's also in a top conference, w/a huge budget, a state of the art facility, in the middle of arguably the best talent pool in the nation.

In 2006 he whined about Mason making the tourney over UMD. They ended up going to the FF and his squad (no injuries that year) lost at home to Manhattan.

Then he cried about the MVC schedule, but wouldn't answer the phone when every team in that conference challenged him to a home & home.

Now he cries about not recruitng dirty - but dodges and evades when asked about guys like Jennings and Pope.

F him. He's got the credibility of that guy who did the press conferences for Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: ScottV | February 17, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who knows me knows I would love nothing more than to spend a few weeks -- or even months looking into the recruiting practices of ANY elite men's basketball program. Georgetown, Duke, UNC, Kansas State, Memphis -- anybody. The only thing I want is to do comprehensive stories that give readers insight into the tangled and murky recruiting world. So if given the time, I would be more than glad to look into recruiting at any major program. And I plan to do extensive coverage of AAU starting as soon as the final buzzer in the Final Four sounds, so hopefully I can dig into it.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I think it is extremely unfair to question a coach, any coach, about the "ones that got away." Coach William's is portraying the situation exactly as it is. Coaches decide which players fit their system and put out feelers to gauge interest. If the player is a fit AND they show interest, then the recruiting process begins in earnest. If Coach Williams knows a player is not interested in attending Maryland, there is no point in him spending his nights and weekends chasing that player around the high school and AAU circuit. Believe it or not, Maryland has a budget for recruiting and they have to make very tough decisions about how best to use that money. The Coach's comments about phone calls and visits should not be overlooked. The NCAA has very strict rules about how many times a coach can call a prospective player, and how many times they can attend a game to watch that player in action. Coach Williams has always been above reproach in this regard and should be acknowledged for this. As a life-long Maryland fan I would rather do things the right way and not make the tournament, then cheat and win the national championship.
What I would have liked to have seen in this article were some quotes from former Maryland players about their recruiting experience to get a sense of how involved Coach Williams was/is rather than listening to AAU coaches and parents who state that they never saw coach williams.
I think if Mr. Prisbelle would like to investigate something perhaps he should look into the fact that ESPN has regular 2 hour infomercials for Duke basketball (also known as basketball games)once or twice a week. The NCAA gets a lot of money from that contract and in the interest of amateur athletics and fairness, they should do a better job of ensuring that the gross bias that ESPN consitently demonstrates is checked. Personally, I think it is a little over the top to see Dick Vitale's grandchildren in the stands of a game wearing Duke shirts while he gushes about how "there is no other coach in the country kids would rather play for than Coach K." (I am not making this up. This actually occurred last season.)
If Coach Williams does not have his job for as long as he wants it, there is something very wrong with my Alma Mater.

Posted by: terpinator2 | February 17, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

What a f'n blame-the-world crybaby....In 2006 he whined about Mason making the tourney over UMD. They ended up going to the FF and his squad (no injuries that year) lost at home to Manhattan.

Posted by: ScottV | February 17, 2009 3:55 PM

We were without our leading scorer and best defender the 2nd half of the season, moron.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't say it was a TERRIFIC ARTICLE, rather than it was more of an ENGAGING INTERVIEW. Too bad the 3-part piece from last week didn't actually REFELCT any aspect of their discussion...whatever makes copy & sells, right Jayson Blair?

Posted by: iamasofaking | February 17, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Good point ScottV

Then he cried about the MVC schedule, but wouldn't answer the phone when every team in that conference challenged him to a home & home.

I remember that whole petulant rant from Gary then. I don't think we would to do a home and home with Creighton. They would clean our clocks most days. Gary's best years were when we were down and out and he was fighting the odds to get us back to a decent program. I say hats off to all he has accomplished, now its time for a new young buck to come in and build on what Lefty and Gary have built to take us to the next level. Sean Miller and Jeff Capel are two great candidates.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 17, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Keep gunning for that Pulitzer, Eric!

Posted by: LECH51 | February 17, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Then he cried about the MVC schedule, but wouldn't answer the phone when every team in that conference challenged him to a home & home.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 17, 2009 4:16 PM

Restonhoops has repeated made up blatant lies on this blog and this one is no different. Keep telling yourself that you're a MD fan...I'm sure eventually someone will believe you.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Every single coach has missed players in recruiting, just like college football coaches miss players and NFL teams screw up their drafts.

Screw AAU.

I support Gary.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 17, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Im a UMD grad and loyal MD basketball fan. I must say that I am having a tough time deciding what to make of Gary and the programs recent struggles vs. his past accomplishments (our first national championship, first final four, he is an alum, and he took over a program which he had to rebuild from an ugly probation period). As I list his accomplishments, it is hard for me to be overly criticle of Gary because he has meant so much to the school. The only thing he needs is to get us back to the tournment a few times and win some games there. That will give him some room to breathe. I know, easier said than done. I hated seeing him next to Yow at that press conference having to defend himself. He deserves better. It is tough for me to say that he needs to do better with the under the rader players like Alexander and Boone when he hits on players like Dixon and Baxter. And there is so many issues with the 5 star players, even in our back yard, with the shaddiness of AAU and camps. I will say that this piece is generating great and healthy debate amoung loyal terp fans, so for that Eric I commend you.

I wanted to ask you on our chances to get the other Lincoln player Stevenson. Saw him on the televised ESPN game. You add him to that mix and we got an excellent class. However, he seems exactly like a player that may be swayed by an outside party given his rep. Eric, would you agree that examing the process with a recruit like him, could entail many of the issues that we are debating now?

Please coment on my post. Thank You and go terps.

Posted by: terpskinzorioless | February 17, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Stevenson would be a great get and put us back on the map for a season. Sorry Barno I am a fan of MD not a fan of Gary Williams. Gary is NOT bigger than the program, he maybe for you, but for me MD the program comes first. Gary is not getting the job done. If we Stevenson here next year then I will stand corrected. I think the pressure of this series and other articles as well as empty seats at Comcast is only a good thing if it leads us to going after big time players.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 17, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

whatever makes copy & sells, right Jayson Blair?

Posted by: iamasofaking | February 17, 2009 4:16 PM

Comparing Prisbell to Jayson Blair, or even to La Canfora, is totally absurd. He may have stepped out of bounds in this series, but he has no history whatsoever of having an anti-Md agenda... much less ever done anything remotely close to what guys like Jayson Blair did and La Canfora do on a regular basis.

You could make the case that doing a series like this helps a reporters career since it attracts a lot of attention--regardless of whether the reaction is positive--but to act like he does this regularly or is unethical is either disingenuous or clueless.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the post. I have watched Stephenson play during the summer scene since he was in 8th grade, when he played well against O.J. Mayo at ABCD. And I have talked to Stephenson a handful of times over the years. I understand that he is a very confident player and can play with a swagger. But I have always found him to be polite and respectful. I don't know what the chances are for Maryland to get Lance -- I don't know if anyone does -- but I do know that if they have lance and Vasquez on the team next season, this could be a team that wins a few games in the tournament. And I do know that Gary Williams has been very hands-on in this recruitment, going up to Brooklyn, eating with the family the day of the Miami game, talking with Lance Sr. at length after the Miami game. in some ways, lance and Gary may need each other. I would not expect Lance to stay more than one year. But i would expect Maryland to be very good if he did come for one year.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

And since when do WAPO editors determine whether to PURSUE stories based on VIEWER FEEDBACK? An important story about the practices and dealings (good and bad) about these summer leagues needs to be EXPOSED, bottom line. College recruiting has been SHADY long since the days of Rex Chapman at Kentucky, Jerry Tark at UNLV and Coach Eddie Sutton on Oklahoma and beyond (suggested reading "Raw Recruits" by Armen Keteyian). I'm guessing perhaps there's to many GREASY TIES to JTIII or Coach Hobbs at GW, which could make for potential loss of READERSHIP from these respective institutions.

Personally, the 3-piece article on Gary JUMPED THE SHARK when Deron Williams' mom was about GRABBING FOR STRAWS. I'm still BAFFLED why no mentioning of the loss of highly prized JAI LUCAS (son of former Terp great John Lucas) to Florida when he "seemed" like such a shoe-in for College Park. I guess since he already transfered elsewhere, his name is no longer considered NEWSWORTHY...

Posted by: iamasofaking | February 17, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Right now the topic of discussion is the fact that we are losing. We did so well for a great stretch with all the consecutive tournment bids, the non conf home streak, and the national championship not too long ago. Now we have missed the tournament 4 of 5 years or whatever it is so it only fair to examine why. Critics point to wanting to see better recruiting, especially given our location in the country with the great high schools here. Eric did talk to recruits that didn't go here and asked why. He took this to Gary and got his comments. So I have no problem with content of this article. In fact, I think that a long Q & A with Gary about the current losing and recruits choosing other schools is exactly what many fans wanted to see. I agree with an earlier post that perhaps Eric should have included some of the positive comments from great recruits that did come here and their dealings with Gary. But I am disapointed too at the loosing. The past few years have been tuff. We fell fast. So as I say positive comments about what Gary has done here I also can't ignore the current loosing. That is why I am so torn.

Posted by: terpskinzorioless | February 17, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Does Gary and UMD really have thet third most players in nba that's pretty impressive if it's true. But i really think people are frustrated with seeing local high school stars go on to nba stardom without stopping thru college pare for a yr or 2. The team currently have several guys from this area, it's just not anyone that is going to the league except vasquez( go grevious). I commend Gary for not cheating, but if he's not gonna cheat, i'd like to hear recruiting stories about him waking up at 12:00 midnight the first morning he can legally recruit not just tales of him recruiting like other schools are recruiting. If he wants to be considered a great recruiter he HAS to get the 5 star guys without cheating. He sounds like he wants a cookie for doing what he's supposed to do and us to be content with the team's mediocrity while he rescues the sport's integrity.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 17, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

1) Yup, guys have been cheating for decades. I've read Raw Recruits so many times since 1990 can't even tell you. I covered Tark for three years at Fresno and uncovered academic fraud. Tark and I have had a good working relationship and I have always loved sitting down with tark and talking extensively about how colleges cheat and who cheats. nothing beats it. Tark knows everything. My point: the cheating is different now, a little more advanced.

2) Lucas is a fair point. The reason I did not bring him up was because several people involved in the recruiting world told me his loss was overstated. Yes, he could have helped, but I was told other losses meant more.

3) The reason why Denise Smith's quotes are important is because it speaks to Gary's lack of involvement. I understand he targeted Gilchrist, but other schools targeted other people as well. And the mom found it strange that Gary was the only head coach who did not speak to the mom or Deron.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I think people can deal with losing as long as your team looks as though they are moving in the right direction, but over the past 3 seasons i have seen umd become smaller and less atheletic. It could be recruiting, it could be a sign of the times, but when gary thumps his chest about only md and unc never finishing last in the conference you kinda wanna ask him how many times other acc teams lost to morgan state on their home floor. As a coach you have to back your players, but everything can't be roses in college park, either they need better players or they need a better coach. Terp fans deserve to hear Gary respond to that.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 17, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"As for the graphics department, I cannot speak to that".

I cant believe that as the author of a story you are not responsible for the accuracy of a graphic that is attached to it. Would any journalism professor in the country say you are not responsible for the graphics attached to your term papers ? If there was a mistake in the graphic, fine, but own up to it.

Posted by: Bib1 | February 17, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The entire argument about Maryland mens' basketball is absurd. Parity among the top 100 teams is here to stay. Given an annual opportunity to recruit one to three players it's a largely a matter of chance that a team winds up superior in talent to the others. Coaching is the big difference, if you ignore academic challenge that some schools, like Kansas State, can diminish. We Maryland fans are very fortunate indeed to have the many top tier athletic programs at College Park. And College Park, folks, ain't a recruiter's dream site. It's the cloaca maxima of the Washington area.

Posted by: AncientTerp | February 17, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I still don't buy the IMPORTANCE of Deron's mom for an EXTENSIVE article on a beloved (and not-so beloved) local public figure, especially since he already had John Gilchrist on the RADAR (and in his commitment) now Gary's not GREEDY enough to also pursue Deron with the same INTENSITY. Take a look at Deron's high school pic, he was terribly BLOATED (I won't say the 'f' word to offend anyone who's overweight). Deron's personal journey from overweight player to star NBA guard carries more WEIGHT (no pun intended) for a sports story than why some college coach didn't pursue him. Besides, you give any mom the PLATFORM to speak freely about why her and her "baby" didn't get enough attention (back in 2002) from a particular college coach, any article worth it's WEIGHT (sorry, I had to) will start to loose CREDIBILITY right there.

If you had Gary on the ROPES for his recruiting...why not PRESS him about his graduation rate at the same? Again, I'm guessing the big-money RECRUITING story overshadows anything ACADEMIC-RELATED....

Posted by: iamasofaking | February 17, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the interview..Eric, I will say that after you posted the first part of the series I thought this was a hatchet job on your part. But I don't believe that now. And this is really eye opening for the average fan that does not know about AAU stuff and the *gray* areas of recruiting. But I still don't see Gary getting a fairshake here. He's being judged unfairly. And sugesting that he should lose his job is rediculous in my opinion. I don't see any fair comparisons with other coaches other programs. I echo the fact that two players being out probably is the difference in going to two ncaa dances. And then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. And why don't sports desks write about it if players like Durrant are being bought to go to certain schools? We don't see that in the papers. The ncaa doesn't investigate it and we don't hear about it. And how about the same scrutiny of other programs? Gary has done a fantastic job at Maryland and too many folks have unrealistic expectations. Think about how hard it is to win in the ACC. Just ask fans of Florida St. or Clemson, or NC St. Gary has gotten it done and there are really only a handful of caoches in the entire country that can put their records up against what Gary has done for the Terps.

Posted by: Jaymand | February 17, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Very informative interview. I'd like to see you cut Gary some slack with regards to missing Boone, Alexander, Reynolds, or West. Its too easy to look back in hindsight and say that we should have got certain guys.

Go Gary!!

Posted by: Tim584 | February 17, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Barno1
Comparing Prisbell to Jayson Blair, or even to La Canfora, is totally absurd.

Where did I compare Prisbell to Blair? I just know (based on RELIABLE SOURCES) that Jayson Blair likes to PERUSE these pages every so often...

Posted by: iamasofaking | February 17, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

DC Assault is a completely underhanded program, they are founded and run by DC area "Street thugs" and street money. Much more needs to be investigated regarding these entreprises which are directing the future basketball pros in this area. Players ABC are most likely GAY at Connecticut with the non profit donation. Beasley at Kansas State with the AAU coach going with him to receive a half million dollar payment to "coach". The NCAA is for all intents and purposes useless. They fail to investigate even the most obvious of offenses, highlighted in this national newspaper, ESPN and many other respected investigative news papers. This is why people like Gary Williams and Boeheim are often off put by the bias against them in the media in spite of all their success.


Posted by: ghettogandhi1 | February 17, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick of comments like the one above. DC Assault is not the end all and be all of area AAU basketball. The fact is that ALL kids play AAU ball. Every single player on Maryland's roster played AAU and none of them for DC Assault.

Ive been involved with AAU for over 5 years and I can say first hand that the talk of corruption is WAY overblown. You have a handful of cases with guys like Gay or Beasley but those situations are limited to the rare guys who are considered top 5 recruits nationally, and 1 year and done college players.

99% of AAU programs are lucky to break even. Most coaches go into their own pockets to pay for travel and other expenses. They do it for the love of the game and working with kids. Like Gary says its inaccurate and unfair to paint AAU with a broad brush and keep refering only to one area AAU program.

As for Gary's recruiting the fact is that he just doesnt like taking the time to build relationships with all the people that is necessary in today's recruiting world. He could very easily do a much better job recruiting without compromising anything. At age 63 and set in his ways, I just dont think he has it in him.

He's been a great coach and as a Maryland alum I thank him for all he's accomplished. But the sun is setting and its time for some new blood and better recruiting in College Park.

Posted by: VaTerp1 | February 17, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I read the three part series in one sitting. After completing the articles, I found myself much more supportive of Coach Williams, his commitment to Maryland and his past successes. I was feeling that his time at Maryland was coming to an end and now he has earned the right to continue at the helm. He has not shamed the University in scandal, embarrassing Assistants (K-State or Kansas - does anyone remember Danny Manning's father?) or recruiting a student with a Welding Certificate.

I do think the reporting was less than fair, including an incomplete graphic, and Eric you are responsible for the content.

Gary fits the personality as the coach of the Terps - a bit of a chip on his shoulder, exposing his emotion and wanting to prove our critics wrong. Gary will be able to get the Terps back on top.
We deserve to support him after he accepted a nearly impossible task of repairing the program following Salughter/Wade(Thompson) fiasco. He had other opportunities and he decided to stay at UofMD.
I am amazed that the reporters are not willing to expose more of the cheating, payoffs and violations in basketball. Additionally the Summer Leagues without any supervision, fictional high schools and Agent/Family reps are commonly acknowledged, however, enforcement is nonexistent.
I give Gary more credit to standing up for his convictions and not intimidated by any potential backlash - other than the unfounded criticism.

Posted by: ArizonaTerp | February 17, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I take responsibility for the entire series. No argument about that. As for being fair, Steve and I talked to more than 60 people. I sat down with Gary for an hour and addressed each and every critic. If I did not want to be fair, I would have included the Kendal Marshall stuff. We talked to his dad, as well. If i did not want to be fair, I would not have posted a large portion of the transcript of the interview. I have taken significant steps to give Gary a significant voice in the series. "Not willing to expose more of the cheating"? I have done everything legally allowed to track down donors to AAU nonprofit foundations. I have spent years on this stuff, building some relationships with AAU coaches who have taken part in these schemes. No one else has reported anything about it. I have come close. I will try again.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | February 17, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

It's clear that most of the GW fans are clue less to the point being made by the editor. There are few on the AAU circuit who's getting paid for the recruits. Local College coaches GW in particular are not putting in the work to get the kids. In this area alone we have let Tywon Lawson, Kevin Durant, Mike Beasley, Nolan Smith, Chris Wright and Austin Freeman get away when they could have been gotten before they were Jr's or Sr's in high school. These kids worshiped Univ. of MD and live less than 10 miles from the campus. Kendall Marshall (Univ. NC), Quin Cook(Hottest Soph. in the area), Tyler Thorton (Duke) and the Grant boys(Dad - Past NBA player) all in our back yard again. Where is Maryland?????

Don't be fooled by all this AAU talk. Yes there's some corruption but your dealing with college educated parents of the kids listed above who feel GW is to distant when it comes to recruiting. We are a breeding ground for elite basketball talent. But Georgetown is the only local program who seems to know how to get the talent without paying (Greene, Hibbert, Freeman, Wright, Clark, Starks). Go figure!!! It's not AAU, it's a lack of being able to effectively evaluate and recruit top local talent. Shake the tree and you'll find a couple of bad apples but you have to climb the ladder to pick the good one's.

One AAU coach in the DC Area does not control all the kids. Ask Sam Young (Univ. Pitts, Oxon Hill,MD), Scottie Reynolds (Nova, Reston,Va) & Malcolm Delaney(VA Tech, Bmore).

Posted by: netsirkyle | February 18, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Eric, we love you hear at UMD. I am a university of Maryland student (Suppose to be studying for orgo at 10am, but this a lot more fun), and your article is the talk of the dorms. Also there is a lot of talk about Lance. Lance thing aside, DO MORE POSTS OF THIS NATURE. We love Gary, and all that comes with GARYLAND. Ok, so he doesn't cheat, and we grumble with bad seasons, but we are excited every time for the next year, because we KNOW Gary is a hell of a coach. Make sure you post links to your stories about the AAU, because I have this insider thing on favorites, and rarely have time to check other places for news. However, Yanda buddy thanks for trying but idk if covering the terps are your strong suit. Good writer, but maybe not for us. Back to studying and keep up the good work.

Also if you could do a quick blog about Lance and any status update/news when he'll announce/link to how we can free up a scholarship that would be amazing b/c that is all we are talking about.

Posted by: Bradumd | February 18, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

So the delusionsl Williams' new standard of excellence is not finishing last!

He insinuates that he is the only coach not cheating to get top players. Does that mean that the Williams that can recruit and coach (UNC) and the coach "K" at Duke who manages to get a "few" top players, and coaches pretty good, are cheating!

So now winning 19 of 29 or 30 games is a mark of success even when most of those wins are against some really bad programs. Every year now Williams "schedules" 12-13 wins iwht he likes of Bryant(?), Morgan State (loss), Youngstown State, and more just like them.

Posted by: tonymo | February 18, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

anybody watch the game last night? this team is not a team of the caliber to compete in the acc. recruiting has to be a problem at umd, how can people let gary sling mud at kids and their families when the proof is in the pudding. Jerai grant was a horse against md last night and all he did before college was win a championship at dematha, and grow up in the area (dad was bullets player harvey grant). so grant, a bonafide power forward, goes to clemson and umd is left with milbourne playing the four. ask gary how sean mosley and that korean kid filled out the needs of his team since that's what his excuse was for not recruiting certain players.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 18, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

GW kills me with this. You are paid to produce a winning basketball team. That includes recruiting. All he is using is excuses. There's no question he's slacking at recruiting. He blames it on AAU kids or the coaches, but as i'm in the AAU scene as a coach I know there are good kids there and coaches. Gary just has to find them and get out of the office. There's no bigger name in PG/DC/VA basketball than Gary Williams. He needs to use it.

Posted by: adman34 | February 18, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The Post has employed excellent Terps basketball journalists over the years, but Eric Prisbell's incisive work at this difficult time stands head and shoulders above the rest; as a UM journalism alum, I had an ambition to follow a similar course at one time. Coach Williams' unwillingness to stoop to the level of coaches who engage in dirty pool is laudable, and the Terps have had rotten luck with injuries and underachieving HS All-Americans during the middle of this decade, luck that was with the program early in the decade and in the late 90s. But the persistence of complaints that Coach is often having the assistants work the front lines of recruiting is disturbing. The catch phrase he keeps using with the families of recruits as well as with those in the Athletic Dept. about having won a national championship evokes images of an aging guru slumped over on his throne. That may not be a fair rap considering how hard he works with players during practice and ball games, but much in the way he came to the campus with a mandate to erase the stigma of impropriety, so too he must alter the perception in the recruiting marketplace of an aloof coach who's no longer beating the pavement like he used to. Only then, along with enough wins to bring the program back to Top 25 status consistently, will the drumbeat for a new regime begin die down.

Posted by: roseknowsins | February 19, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Where are all the other posts?

Posted by: VaTerp1 | February 19, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It cost K-State $110,000 to get Dalonte Hill, the associate head coach at K-State and former AAU coach, not $450,000. He was being paid $65,000 when he was at Charlotte and interviewed for the Maryland job, and Gary Williams turned him down because he preferred Michael Adams.

Gary Williams can blame whoever he wants, but Maryland's inability to pay Hill's asking price had nothing to do with it. K-State restructured Hill's contract in his second year, and the reason there have been absolutely no allegations of wrongdoing by the NCAA is because K-State and Hill did absolutely nothing wrong.

Posted by: clb8778 | February 24, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

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