UPDATED 8:04 p.m.
Scott Spinelli, Mark Turgeon’s longtime associate head coach at Texas A&M, said Wednesday that he is already at work recruting for Maryland and looks forward to joining a coaching staff that will also include Kansas State’s Dalonte Hill and Terps holdover Orlando “Bino” Ranson.
Spinelli, a 1989 Boston University graduate, cleaned out his office in College Station on Monday, the same day Billy Kennedy was introduced as Turgeon’s successor, and hopes to arrive in College Park on Sunday. Maryland has yet to announce Spinelli’s hiring.
“Coming in, knowing that right now we are a little bit thin in the front court, that’s going to be a huge priority for us in recruiting,” Spinelli said of the Terps. “Dalonte, Bino and I have an identity, and we have relationships with players and coaches who are going to be instrumental in that. That’s a huge plus.”
Spinelli coached and recruited against Hill as Big 12 foes and said the two built a good relationship along the way.
“Dalonte is an excellent basketball guy and recruiter, obviously, especially in that Washington area,” said Spinelli, who also was on Turgeon’s staff at Wichita State. “At the same time, Dalonte is a very good coach, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him, as well as Bino Ranson.”
He also has a connection with Ranson, who played for Spinelli, then barely out of college, at the Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., a top prep basketball program.
With strong ties to Washington area coaches, Turgeon’s staff holds the promise of raising the Terrapins’ recruiting game — something that will be essential in rebuilding a team that lost its top scorer and rebounder, sophomore center Jordan Williams, who decided to enter next month’s NBA draft.
Spinelli was a point guard for Mike Jarvis at Boston University, progressing from walk-on to scholarship athelte. He remains close to Jarvis, the former George Washington and St. John’s coach, whom he consulted before talking to Aggie administrators about succeeding Turgeon as the head coach at A&M.
“I leaned on Coach Jarvis quite a bit for advice,” Spinelli said.
Spinelli also was an assitant for two seasons at American.
Like Ranson and Hill, Spinelli is well versed in recruiting the Washington area.
“It’s a very fertile market,” he said.
Turgeon led Texas A&M to 24 victories and an NCAA tournament appearance in each of his four seasons in College Station. And East Coast players are well represented on the squad that will return next season.
Junior David Loubeau, who withdrew his name from the NBA draft to return for his senior season, is from Florida.
Sophomore Khris Middleton, a 6-3 forward who started all 33 games for the Aggies, is from Charleston, S.C.
And sophomore Naji Hibbert, who was also recruited by Maryland, is a 6-6 DeMatha product from Baltimore.
“That area — the I-95 corridor — is very fertile ground,” Spinelli said. “There are so many good basketball players. You can make a case that you could draw a 60-mile radius from College Park or a 90-mile radius and stay there and have a chance [to succeed] if you could keep those players at home. But Maryland is a national program, and that’s how we’ll recruit.”