Cumberland Times-News

Columns

May 4, 2014

What, they changed the recipe at Ledo’s?

Taking its cue from the neighboring Landover Redskins, the University of Maryland men’s basketball program continues to make more offseason news than inseason news. The difference being the Redskins usually win the offseason, while the offseason losses keep mounting for the Terrapins.



Make it four now that junior guard Seth Allen, Coach Mark Turgeon’s first committed recruit at Maryland, has announced his plans to transfer, with No. 5 possibly on its way as whispers persist junior forward Charles Mitchell might leave as well.



Already gone this offseason are transfers Nick Faust (Oregon State), a senior guard Turgeon practically begged three years ago to keep the commitment he made to Maryland and to Gary Williams, junior center Shaquille Cleare (Texas), at the time Turgeon’s most heralded recruit, and sophomore guard Roddy Peters (undecided). And, oh yes, assistant coach Scott Spinelli also left, making a lateral move closer to home in taking an assistant’s job at Boston College.



The departures of Faust, Cleare and Peters, while brow raising, did not come as a complete surprise. Allen’s departure, however, new to the whisper mill last Wednesday, seemingly came out of nowhere for the Maryland program, supporters and alumni.



“It's time for me to say it ... What is going on with the #Terps program!?!?,” tweeted Drew Nicholas, a guard on the 2002 national championship team. “When was the last time ANY school had 4 kids leave the program!?”



ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas told the Baltimore Sun on Friday that the wave of transfers is not exclusive to Maryland.



“There are more transfers than ever,” he said. “The reasons don’t always seem to make sense to us who think we know the reasons why kids should stay in school, stick it out, work through things.



“Years ago, this wouldn’t have seemed like an issue. If you don’t play in a position, if you have to make a sacrifice, if you have the ball in your hands or don’t have the ball, now it’s more acceptable to transfer. You don’t want to overuse the word culture, (but) even players in AAU jump from one team to another with no rhyme or reason.”



If it concerns college basketball and Jay Bilas says it, I put it in stone, but
even players in AAU jump from one team to another with no rhyme or reason? Isn’t it more like particularly players in AAU jump from one team to another with no rhyme or reason?



For a number of reasons Gary Williams did not play the AAU game when he was at Maryland. Did he take AAU players? Of course. But he understandably wasn’t up to putting himself and Maryland at the mercy of the players, who not only play AAU, but who coach and direct the AAU programs and wave their players under the noses of hungry coaches the way a fisherman does bait. Toward the end of his career in College Park, Williams was criticized for this (and didn’t care a lick), not surprisingly by AAU coaches and supporters who don’t understand just how sleazy the AAU meat market can be.



Turgeon, on the other hand, recruits the AAU both feet in, and there is not a thing wrong

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