For years, Maryland basketball fans have watched dozens of players from Baltimore and Washington area high schools either get plucked away to big-time programs like UConn. With Maryland’s struggles recently, fans were beginning to wonder if head coach Gary Williams was not just reluctant to recruit these guys, he was being lazy or he was just a bad recruiter. Now within the last week, Gary Williams made a move this week that maybe will help strengthen his relationships with those future key players so maybe a little more star power comes to the Comcast Center.
Gary Williams hired Xavier assistant Orlando “Bino” Ranson to his staff earlier this week, filling the spot on his coaching staff vacated by Chuck Driesell, who left to coach at the Citadel. Ranson, who is familiar with the area, is a move that could bolster Williams’ recruiting power in the Baltimore-Washington area, especially in the Prince George’s county area in the Terrapins’ backyard, which Ranson says they need to protect.
“You want to guard your yard,” Ranson told Glenn Clark and Drew Forrester on ‘”The Morning Reaction” this morning. “Obviously we want to guard our yards and keep our players.”
Ranson is very familiar with this area. He began his coaching career at the St. Frances Academy, where he coached for two seasons. In the 2003-2004 JV campaign, Ranson’s team finished 24-5 and won the MIAA JV title.
Around that same time, he also formed the AAU team, Team Baltimore, which turned out to be one of the more elite teams in the program. His eye for talent caught the eye of former Maryland assistant and current Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos, who brought Ranson on as an assistant.
Helping Patsos bring in big talent, he then caught the eye of the big programs, as coach Matt Brady and Ranson spent four years together at James Madison and Marist College, where Ranson’s input helped the team to a 62-33 record. The Red Foxes won the MAAC title in 2007.
Then the Division 1 level called for Ranson’s services. Chris Mack, who was starting his first year as coach of the Xavier Musketeers, was looking for a good recruiter to add to his coaching staff. Ranson was the perfect choice and helped Mack to a 20-win season and an NCAA Tournament Appearance. Now with Driesell leaving for the Citadel, Ranson got a call from Gary Williams and is coming home.
“Gary’s been great,” Ranson said. “I look forward to working with Coach Williams, someone who I’ve followed for a long time.”
His job will be to replicate his recruiting success that he had at Marist, where his most prestigious recruit was Jay Gavin, who was named the MAAC rookie the year and made the College Insider Freshman All-American team. The Seat Pleasant product now is playing for Virginia Commonwealth.
Other players that Ranson has worked with in his career around the Baltimore area include Ricky Harris (Massachusetts), Jermaine Dixon (Pittsburgh), Juan Dixon, Sean Mosley, and Donte Green, who went on to play at Syracuse.
Ranson says his success is all about the links he has made contact with over the years.
“It’s all about maintaining your relationships,” he said. “If you maintain your relationships, these things seem to happen to you.”