Not long after the Maryland men’s basketball job came open for the first time in two decades, fans and media members started a classic online debate: what are the top 10 jobs in the country, and is Maryland one of them? Some highlights:
Patrick Stevens: “Good luck naming 15 jobs undeniably better....If you strip away the current coaches and players and overall circumstances of programs and leave the facilities, recruiting base, tradition, overall support and generally presumed capabilities of schools, it doesn’t take long before getting into the list of programs with as much going for it as Maryland.” (He came up with a max of 17 schools that could be at or above Maryland’s level.)
Ivan Carter: The Washington Post Live host called Maryland a top 10 job on Thursday’s show, and then attempted to list programs that were clearly better on Twitter. He came up with Kentucky, Kansas, UNC, Indiana, UCLA, Michigan State, Illinois (maybe), Arizona, Duke and Syracuse. That’s 10.
Mike Prada: The SB Nation blogger listed UNC, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, UCLA, U-Conn., Michigan State, Ohio State, Texas, Villanova, Florida, and Pitt as superior jobs. That’s 13. “Five years ago? No question, top 10. Now, I think it’s slipped though,” he wrote.
The Big Lead: “Sorry guys, not buying Maryland as a Top 10 job in the country. Obviously a highly subjective topic w/ a lot to consider. Top 20, ok,” he wrote.
ACCSports.com: “Not saying it’s Top 10, but Top 15 yes,” he wrote.
I’d like to see a coaches poll on the matter, but in at least three areas I can think of, the Terps are right in the conversation.
Recruiting base: Put aside D.C. and Baltimore; ESPN the Magazine ran some numbers a couple years ago that indicated P.G. had produced the most NBA players per capita of any county in the country. Here’s the subhed of the story: “What’s the hoops hotbed of the US right now? Chicago? No. LA? Nope. NYC? Sorry. Welcome to Prince George’s County, MD.” At the time of the story, P.G. had produced more McDonald’s All-Americans over the past three years than any state besides California. College Park happens to be in Prince George’s County.
Recent Pedigree: Yes, 2002 is getting further and further in the past, but if you go back the 11 years since Maryland made the Final Four, only seven schools have won a national championship, and only eight schools have made at least two Final Fours. (Sorry, should be nine, forgot Butler.) Maryland is on both lists. Only 10 schools have done either: UNC, Kansas, Florida, Syracuse, Maryland, Duke, Connecticut, Michigan State, UCLA and Butler.
Fan base/arena: I know attendance is a sloppy way to measure something like this, but it’s one way, anyhow, and it’s a lot easier to find than TV ratings. Over the past five seasons, only 10 schools have appeared in the NCAA’s top 15 attendance list every year: Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, Wisconsin, Maryland, Illinois, Kansas and Marquette. Maryland has been in the top 10 in four of those years, which only eight schools can claim.
Anyhow, this all tells me that Maryland is very much a top 20 job in the country, a claim which very few people would argue, except maybe Gregg Doyel.
Ah yes, Gregg Doyel, remember him? The guy who ripped Gary Williams a few weeks back? In his podcast on Thursday, Doyel claims that Maryland is not, in fact, a top 20 job.
“Oh gosh, if you’re talking about the top six or so, it's not even close,” Doyel said on Thursday. “I don’t know that it’s a top 20 job. You look in the ACC, just off the top of my head, obviously North Carolina and Duke are better jobs. N.C. State, that’s debatable. But that might be a better job. Virginia’s close. It might be the fifth best job in that league, fourth or fifth. And if you’re the fourth or fifth best job in your league, I don’t care how good your league is, that’s not a great job. And that’s what Maryland is right now.”
Well, I’ll disagree. Maryland is a great, great job.