While Maryland concluded preparations for tonight's game against Southern California at Cole Field House, it was learned that assistant coach Adam Preyer resigned from Coach Gary Williams's staff.

Preyer, 24, is the second basketball assistant to leave the school since the conclusion of last season.

"For a young coach, this might not have been a good place to be because of the pressure," said Williams, who lost Roger McCready, 26, last spring. "I would have liked to see Adam stay for the remainder of the year because I think it would have helped his search for a new job in the spring but I think he'll be successful in whatever he does."

Like McCready, Preyer, was said to be considering taking a position in private business. Preyer could not be reached for comment.

According to friends, Preyer was upset about allegations last spring that he participated, along with assistant Billy Hahn, in operating illegal team workouts before the start of the 1989-90 season. This summer, members of the NCAA investigative staff questioned them about the incidents and in October, Athletic Director Andy Geiger and Williams announced that Maryland would begin practices for the 1990-91 season on Oct. 20 -- five days after the official starting date -- as a self-sanction.

"The pressure at this place last year was unbearable; what do you think happened to McCready?" said Williams. "I'd never had a season like it; I'm nuts so I was able to get through it but everyone isn't like me."

Tonight's game is important to the Terrapins for a number of reasons.

Williams looks at it as a chance to measure his squad's rebounding ability. And it is the first contest in what may be a telling stretch of three games as West Virginia and Boston College follow.

Williams knows the Trojans (1-0), picked behind No. 2 Arizona and UCLA in the Pac-10, will be more of a challenge than Towson State, which Maryland defeated Monday, 93-69.

"They're probably as good a rebounding team as we'll face all season," said Williams. "Against Towson State, we had a size advantage but that won't be true against them. They have bigger, wider people. It'll be a really big test."