Williams Risking His Terps Legacy

May 10, 2008 |

There is no other way to put it; Gary Williams is risking it all with the signing of junior college guard, Tyree Evans. His reputation, his character and his legacy.   Why would Gary Williams, a coach with 600 career victories, an ACC championship, and a national championship, risk it all with a kid that has a questionable character?  
The answer is simple; following three NIT appearances in four years, Williams is feeling uneasy about his tenure at Maryland. Also when he takes a look at his roster for next year, he sees a backcourt that has more questions than answers. Will Greivis Vasquez get consistent?  Can Eric Hayes get more athletic and find his confidence? Will Adrian Bowie or Cliff Tucker, both great athletes, emerge as solid ACC players? Can Sean Mosley get his academics in order and actually qualify. 
With all these questions, you probably can’t blame Williams for taking this gamble.  Sports are a today business, and today the Maryland basketball program is underachieving.   Yesterday’s savior is today’s goat. 
Evans reportedly is the type of player that can help the Terps back to the Big Dance; he is lighting quick and a great shooter (44% from 3-point range). He immediately helps solve the lack of backcourt quickness and should push the other guards to step up their game.
To be fair to the kid, he has apparently stepped up his academics at the junior college level, and his coach has vouched for him. Williams has personally said he will mentor the kid and keep him out of trouble.
My biggest fear is that the large and complex urban institution that is Maryland with lots of temptation and people that will test this kid. It will only take one small mistake or error in judgment, and skeptics will be quick to pounce on both Evans and Williams. A serious incident and Williams will most likely not be able to survive the onslaught.  He might not survive a small incident.
So is it worth the risk? I will put it this way:  without this kid, Maryland might not get back into the NCAA Tournament.  If the Terps don’t make it back to the big dance next year, Williams’ chair goes from tepid to scorching hot. But if this move fails and Evans does get in trouble, it will cost him something more than his job it will cost him his legacy.