I wonder if the fact that Gary Williams ran such a clean program at Maryland will actually affect Mark Turgeon’s AAU recruiting positively.
Was Gary a Coach K without the blue chip players? Gary never stooped to the level of a Calipari in order to get talent. And when Gary had the talent, he went to two final fours and won a championship.
What Gary always maintained was the most necessary aspect of an excellent program. It wasn’t talent, or winning. It was integrity. That is the foundation of any successful organization, basketball or otherwise.
So now, Turgeon comes in with a commitment to bring in AAU talent. But instead of starting from scratch, he is head of a program that has one of the best reputations in the country. He doesn’t need to build that.
So my question is, is Gary’s legacy an asset to attracting blue chip talent now that he’s gone?
When blue chip talent now gets the attention that Gary didn’t give to AAU players, are they more attracted to Maryland than to a coach like Calipari because they know that they can play for a school with integrity? They don’t have to play for “the mob” to win. They’ll get to keep their Final Fours.
Would a prospect choose a clean program over a dirty one if they knew they had the chance to win at either? The chance to be drafted by an NBA team as easily at either?
Of course. Playing for a Calipari offers a hollow success. Calipari can’t offer integrity. A prospect would be foolish to turn down the opportunity to play for a program that offers pride, not just trophies. When you can have it all, it’s a no-brainer.