Surely Williams can’t believe that all the teams that have enjoyed success while Maryland has struggled are bankrolling their rosters to do so.
This is the main hot-button topic for Williams’s detractors and supporters. The vitriol on both sides makes it nearly impossible to initiate meaningful dialogue about the state of the Terrapins. Williams’s defensiveness contributes to the shouting.
In fairness to Williams, the Terrapins are only one season removed from sharing the regular season ACC championship with Duke, and he was selected the conference’s coach of the year for the second time. Entering this season, the Terrapins’ 120 ACC victories over the previous 12 seasons were second only to Duke’s 151.
Then there’s the talent argument. For every Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay and Michael Beasley who left the region to play college ball, Williams instead points to the program’s success in helping under-the-radar players develop into stars. Greivis Vasquez was the conference’s top player last season, and sophomore center Jordan Williams was selected to the all-ACC first-team this week.
Freshman guard Terrell Stoglin was voted to the all-freshman team, and Jordan Williams was on it last season. Maryland and Wake Forest are the only schools with all-freshman players in each of the last two seasons.
The fact is, though, Williams has not attracted players who possess NBA star potential. Such a player can take an average supporting cast deep into the NCAA tournament. A team with two or more has a good chance to cut down nets.
No one could blame Williams, 66, if he doesn’t want to spend his summers watching high schoolers 12 hours a day at shoe company-sponsored tournaments. However, that’s now part of the gig for college coaches making seven-figure salaries.
Despite the program’s downward trend, Williams has compiled a Hall of Fame resume, and the right boosters are still believed to be in his corner. He also appears to have developed a good relationship with Kevin Anderson, Maryland’s new athletic director, and Williams deserves to leave on his terms for everything he has done for the school.
“I’m here as long as I can stay healthy and feel like I can do the job,” he said.
And as long as Williams remains on the job, Maryland basketball probably will continue adhering to the rules and winning games. Just not nearly as many games as most of its fans would prefer.