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Important: The $49 Bus Ticket to Storrs

Hello, everyone. This is Eric Prisbell. Sorry, I’ve been so busy over the past two days I never posted about the healthy dialogue I had with a veteran Gary guy at halftime of the Wake Forest game. I know this fan has a peculiar reputation, and even some of his friends have told me to be leery. But I disagree. I found him to be engaging, intelligent and very passionate about his team, which is on the brink of an improbable berth in the NCAA tournament. Gary getting this team to this point is one of the better stories around. I would love the opportunity to talk more with the fan. I want him to know that I will keep the specifics of what he told me private. The fan and I did not agree on all issues, but we agreed on an important one, the need to examine the recruiting practices at some other top programs across the country. He offered to buy me a $49 bus ticket so I can go to another campus and plant myself there for a few weeks looking for stories. I plan to throw myself head-first into these types of issues after the Final Four.

What I want to say in this post is an important message. I know people are trying to paint Maryland as a House Divided right now, and my BlackBerry has been ringing with calls from supporters of both so-called sides. But let me shoot down some things. Gary supporters tell me that Debbie Yow fed me a lot of info for the recruiting stories. That could not be further from the truth. One the other side, some people are telling me I am being too lenient on Gary’s program. C'mon. The guy has one of the most pristine reps of any coach in the country. He is a coach, one of the best in the country. If a reporter wants to find dirt on a college team, he likely won't head to College Park to try to find it because it simply is not there.

All I’m trying to do is be fair and comprehensive. I refuse to take part in any internal squabble among supporters. But if more Gary supporters want to contact me, I would love to talk with you. To reach me, no need to go through third-parties who only attend a few games, like I have been hearing. Please contact me directly at prisbelle@washpost.com. Thanks a lot. And if anyone knows the fan who talked with me at halftime, please pass along my email to him. Thanks.

On with the Madness of March! Time to do my bracket.

By Eric Prisbell  |  March 5, 2009; 12:51 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Taylor Gets Another Year

Comments

"I know people are trying to paint Maryland as a House Divided right now"

People! Did a different Eric Prisbell write the three part bible on the collapse of MD basketball?

"If a reporter wants to find dirt on a college team, he likely won't head to College Park to try to find it because it simply is not there."

Oh my god! Is this what you have ultimately found out after two months of turning over every stone in College Park?

The attempts to get back on MD Basketball fans good side are weak and transparent.

Posted by: mcw28 | March 5, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"I know people are trying to paint Maryland as a House Divided right now..."

"...supporters of both so-called sides."

"I refuse to take part in any internal squabble among supporters."

---------------------------------------


Hmm. Seems to me like you're doing a pretty good job painting this "divided house" by yourself.

Lock wrist, Eric-san. Side to side! Side to side!

Posted by: The_Brown_Vice_President | March 5, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Stoors is a fantastic place to start. Follow that with a trip to Durham and you could be onto something here Eric. Every time I hear morons cheerleaders like Vital talk about what character Calhoun and Krzyzewski have, I throw up in my mouth.

Posted by: virtueandvice | March 5, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

virtueandvice;

You just proved you don't know ANYTHING about Calhoun! I will hold comment about coach K, because I don't know him!
Thanks

Posted by: caphcky | March 5, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

virtueandvice;

You just proved you don't know ANYTHING about Calhoun! I will hold comment about coach K, because I don't know him!
Thanks

Posted by: caphcky | March 5, 2009 3:53 PM

Not referencing anything about them in a personal way (i.e. how they treat their family and friends or conduct themselves in public). My comment has to do with the mountaintop Vital puts them on when both Calhoun and Coach K have dipped their hands deep in the cesspool of recruiting. If you think Calhoun is 100% above board recruiting players, you are very much in the minority. And as for Coach K...........WHERE DO YOU WANT TO START?

Posted by: virtueandvice | March 5, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

LOL....I stand by my previous statement!

Posted by: caphcky | March 5, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's inevitable that a reporter becomes part of the story when the issues have highly opinionated advocates. What we're witnessing in these blogs is a big measure of emotion and gossip. I'm sure that Mr Prisbell has no preconceived opinions about UMd or Coach Williams and has written as carefully as he could. But many of us seem to interpret his columns through the prisms of our personal views, biased as they are. I think Terp supporters should be glad to have Mr Prisbell's frequent columns, most of them offered here on the web without cost. So hang in there, Mr Prisbell, damn the personal attacks and keep 'em coming.

Posted by: AncientTerp | March 5, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Will you be doing any stories about John Thompson being on the Nike Board?

Posted by: mcw28 | March 5, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I canceled my subscription to the Post the other day. I suggest all Maryland fans do the same. Let them know we won't support their war against the Terps.

Posted by: RAD3 | March 5, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Eric,

Please do not think all those who complain about lack of fairness are just biased Terp fans wanting the best for their University no matter what the objective facts are.

Instead, the problem is that there are no objective facts that paint the Terps program as shady in any way.

If you write a multi-columned article on some funny business with shoes, Under Armour, recruiting a superstar, Gary wanting that superstar on the team-- and put it all together and have it spell some sort of unfair competitive advantage for Maryland, then it does drag down reputations.

If the Terps deserved it, then let them have it, with all the ink you have. Let the article spread across the country into all the living rooms of all the recruits. It is your right! Probably even your responsibility.

But realistically, you should have facts, not just the possibility of potential facts. Chances are there is no impropriety whatsoever. And if you should ever find there is impropriety, about Maryland or any other program, then that's the time to print such an article-- but not in advance of ascertaining anything.

The 2010 recruiting class is critical to Gary's future and the future of the Terps' program. Naturally, with this article, you have made the job of sustaining the program much harder. But for what good purpose?

Posted by: EdDC | March 5, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I would be willing to guess MD drops the recruitment of Lance Stephenson in the next week!

Posted by: Terptime | March 5, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

This is very ironic.

A lot of the fans here like Barno1 are always asserting that Gary Williams doesn't mesh well with 5-star recruits, that he's better with the diamond-in-the-rough guy like Dixon. As you say, Gary doesn't like the "one and done" guys.

Yet you're now saying Gary Williams' future revolves around the recruitment of one of these 5-star recruits that will likely be a "one and done" deal.

P.S. I can see it coming. The moment Lance Stephenson selects another school, like Kansas, you'll be blaming Eric and the Washington Post for subverting the recruiting process...lol

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | March 5, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

"Eric,

Please do not think all those who complain about lack of fairness are just biased Terp fans wanting the best for their University no matter what the objective facts are.

Instead, the problem is that there are no objective facts that paint the Terps program as shady in any way.

If you write a multi-columned article on some funny business with shoes, Under Armour, recruiting a superstar, Gary wanting that superstar on the team-- and put it all together and have it spell some sort of unfair competitive advantage for Maryland, then it does drag down reputations.

If the Terps deserved it, then let them have it, with all the ink you have. Let the article spread across the country into all the living rooms of all the recruits. It is your right! Probably even your responsibility.

But realistically, you should have facts, not just the possibility of potential facts. Chances are there is no impropriety whatsoever. And if you should ever find there is impropriety, about Maryland or any other program, then that's the time to print such an article-- but not in advance of ascertaining anything.

The 2010 recruiting class is critical to Gary's future and the future of the Terps' program. Naturally, with this article, you have made the job of sustaining the program much harder. But for what good purpose?"

Excellent comment. I look forward to Mr. Prisbell's response.

Posted by: magnuson | March 5, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

With all the talk about in-house squabbling, lack of recruiting prowess, and athletic garment involvement, I think we sometimes forget that some of these things, in the big scheme of things, probably go on all the time on other campuses. It reminds me of a great Shakespearean play, called, oh what's the title, oh yeah, "Much Ado About Nothing".

To your credit, you've tried to throw a few different things at the program to see if anything sticks. Instead, you saw a program that for the most part works. Recruiting wars are nothing new and while it seems that Maryland sometimes gets the dogs (i.e. gilchrist), sometimes they get the pearls (like Dixon). And I can safely say that not every relationship between a coach and the AD is all hugs and kisses. It's just that some squabbles need to be quieter (where the press can't hear you). What, you think Calhoun, Roydub, and K haven't locked horns with the higher-ups every once in a while.

The real story of this season will be how a team, who was picked by some prognosticators before the season to finish dead last in the conference, will end up in the NCAA tournament. (yes, we will beat UVA and end up in the ACC semis. I guaran-F'ing-tee it.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | March 5, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Is there a full-time MD athletics blog-website, like the UPS has with blackshoediaries???

I mean, not one that updates once a week, but one that updates daily, reports and discusses current information, and although biased, is always typically positive?

I feel like by continually posting on this website, we are perpetuating the myth that these reporters have any credibility.

I mean, if we get upset, then these guys are feeling like their doing a good job. If we do not respond, or have another place to respond, then we won't be feeding the beast.

Posted by: kozora | March 5, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Eric,

you need to be a reporter and report facts. thats what journalists do...not create stories. I believe you've mentioned the book Raw Recruits before on here, and the fact that you've read it 20 times. If you want to speculate, insinuate and impart your opinion on a story, write Raw Recruits II. We expect that in a book, but for now youre supposed to be a reporter

Posted by: asnis715 | March 5, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

kozora,

This site fits your description:

http://terrapins.wordpress.com/

Posted by: EdDC | March 6, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Eric,
You are a reporter and your job is to bring the truth to light. Don't listen to these guys that are telling you what to do and how to do your job.
-V

Posted by: aviscardo | March 6, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I guess to the Post Gary Williams = Joe the Plumber.

Leave no stone unturned in your attempt to dig up dirt on someone.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 6, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

aviscaro,

No one is advocating hiding the truth. What truth, what scummy dealings by the Terps, were ascertained in Eric's story about shoes-Under Armour-recruiting-and Gary? I couldn't find anything in all that ink. But if you found a truth in there that should have been exposed by an investigative reporter, what is it? The point is that "truth" is not just printing vague associations with unethical characters (about which this program has been famously circumspect over many years) and hoping that spells guilt.

For a model on investigative reporting, go back and look at Woodward-Bernstein on Watergate. Facts after facts were found and pieced together over time, until a conclusion of wrongdoing could be reached. This is a model for uncovering the truth. In the Under Armour shoe story, if Eric got to his first fact of wrongdoing, please say what it was.

Posted by: EdDC | March 6, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Ed,
I believe the point of the story was to show how shoe companies and big business affect the recruiting of high school kids. Not just at Maryland, but at all universities It wasn't a hatchet job against the Terps or Gary. Nothing is going to happen as a result. No sanctions, nothing. Now if you believe that Prisbell is out to get the Terps, you can continue with that delusion. If anything Prisbell's reporting has HELPED the Terps recruiting. Did you read how Gary and AAU's Curtis Malone have met? Isn't that a net positive? In addition, Prisbell's previous story showed that Gary wasn't willing to play the shady games that other coaches play when recruiting a kid and that his character is impeccable. So you think that is a slam job?

Posted by: aviscardo | March 6, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

First, I don't think Prisbell is out to "get the Terps." He is probably just trying to advance his career with some investigative reporting that the Post might approve of.

Second, I didn't think the shoe/Under Armour story was about basketball recruiting in general, as you suggest. It was about the Terps involvement in something, what, unethical, unsavory, what?

Third, I didn't have any problems with the recruiting series.

My problem with the Under Armour story is reporting possible, potential facts--but not real facts. For example, the recruit, Stephenson:

A. Was steered to Under Armour by Gary;
B. Went to visit Under Armour, with Gary trying unsuccessfully to talk him out of the visit.
C. Went to visit Under Armour, with Gary trying to talk him out of it, but when he could not, told the recruit the do's and don'ts of the visit.
D. Knew he was going, and thought it was great, which is a violation (or not)?
E. Didn't know Stephenson was going.

OK, pop quiz: which one of these alternative scenarios actually happened? Do we know? If not, where is the story? Should it be written anyway, even if you don't know the facts?

By the way, do you live near the 7-11 that got bumped off last night? Where were you at 10:15 pm? If you said "watching TV by myself," that is suspicious.

Posted by: EdDC | March 6, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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