Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell may have lost all of his assistant coaches and has not signed a single recruit for next season, but he insisted yesterday that the basketball program at College Park "is doing fine."
Driesell has apparently given up in the battle for 7-foot-3 Ralph Sampson of Harrisonburg, Va., but said he hopes to sign "two or three recruits within the next few days."
Driesell would not name the players he is after, but the Terrapins are lagging behind many other Atlantic Coast Conference schools when it comes to getting the blue-chippers, and there aren't many left.
North Carolina State signed 6-11 Thurl Bailey of Baldenburg yesteday and already had signed guards Dereck Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe of De Matha.
North Carolina has signed James Worthy of Gastonia, N.C., and is still in the running with Virginia for Sampson.
"I haven't talked to Sampson and he hasn't asked to talk to me, so I would say we aren't going to get him," Driesell said.
Sampson said a couple of weeks ago that he had narrowed his choices to Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Kentucky, but Driesell insisted at the time that he felt he still had a chance at Sampson.
Driesell added that Maryland's recruiting was going "fair to middling. I'm not comfortable with the situation but I've never been comfortable, and I won't be until I win the national championship.
"I thought we had a super year last year and we have four starters coming back, but we still have a lot of improving to do."
There is also chance Driesell will be working with three new assistant coaches next season.
His top assistant, Joe Harrington, became head coach at Hofstra earlier this week and his No. 2 assistant, Wil Jones, is expected to get the head job at the University of the District of Columbia.
Driesell's part-time assistant, Bill Turner, is not expected back next season.
"I'm happy for my assistants," Driessell said. "If Wil gets the job that will make nine former assistants of mine who have gone on to become head coaches. It's no problem at all that I'm losing them. I'm elated over the fact that they want to hire my assistants."
Driesell said he didn't have anyone in mind to fill Harrington's spot, or Jones' if he gets the UDC job, "but I have about 500 prospects. The phone has been ringing off the hook.
"I'm looking for someone who wants to be a head coach. I don't want any professional assistants."
Jones who has been a Driesell assistant for three seasons, applied for the head coaching job at American University, his alma mater, last year, but did not get it.
"I feel I'm ready for a head coaching job," he said yesterday.
Driesell said the situation with his assistants has not affected his recruiting.
"Everything is fine out here," he said. "Everything's fine."