Tag Archive | "Juan Dixon"

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Nets Select Maryland’s Jordan Williams in Round 2

Posted on 23 June 2011 by WNST Staff

Williams Picked by Nets in Second Round

Maryland center led ACC in rebounding in 2010-11

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Jordan Williams, who earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition after leading the league in rebounding as a sophomore, was chosen by the New Jersey Nets in the second round of the NBA Draft Thursday night.

Williams, a 6-foot-10 center, was the 36th selection overall in the draft and was the Nets’ second selection of the night.

I’m excited for Jordan that he realized a longtime dream of his to have his name called in the NBA Draft,” said new Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon. “It’s a testament of his hard work and the great opportunity he had to play college basketball at Maryland.  We wish Jordan the best as he begins his professional career, and we will follow him closely as he adds his name to the long list of Maryland alumni to play in the NBA.”

Williams averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Terrapins, who went 19-14 in the 2010-11 season. He set a school record with 13 straight double-doubles this season and ended the year with 25, which was second in the nation.

With 388 rebounds, he finished second on the single-season rebounding list at Maryland and was only the seventh sophomore in the history of the ACC to grab at least 600 career rebounds (672). He finished third nationally in rebounding and was the first Maryland player to lead the ACC on the glass since Joe Smith (1993-94).

He was a third team All-America pick by Yahoo! Sports and FoxSports.com, and earned honorable mention All-America consideration by the Associated Press.

Williams’ selection gives the Terrapin men’s basketball program picks in back-to-back seasons for the second time since 2007. Greivis Vasquez, the ACC Player of the Year in 2010, was selected on the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies and was the 28th pick overall in last year’s NBA Draft.

D.J. Strawberry (2007) and James Gist (2008) were the most recent back-to-back picks, while Maryland had players taken in 2001 (Terence Morris), 2002 (Chris Wilcox, Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter) and 2003 (Steve Blake).

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Turgeon Formally Announces Maryland Staff

Posted on 20 May 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official release, courtesy of the Terps’ Sports Information Department…

TURGEON ANNOUNCES COACHING STAFF

Spinelli, Hill join Ranson as assistant coaches

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Head men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon announced Friday that Scott Spinelli, Dalonte Hill and Bino Ranson will be the assistant coaches on his new Terrapin staff. In addition, Dustin Clark has been hired as the director of basketball operations.

“I feel good about the talent of the assistant coaches we have assembled,” said Turgeon. “They all have their own unique abilities as coaches that, as a group, will make us complete. They all have been successful recruiting this part of the country and will be a big part of the resurgence of Maryland Basketball.”

Spinelli will join Turgeon for the sixth straight season, having worked with him during each of Turgeon’s four years at Texas A&M and for one season at Wichita State. He was the Aggies’ associate head coach and helped direct the program to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Hill, a native of Washington, D.C., will join the Terrapins’ staff after six seasons at Kansas State. Long noted for his recruiting ties to the D.C. area, Hill helped a resurgence in the Wildcat basketball program that had Kansas State hit the 20-win plateau for a school-record five straight years.

Ranson will be retained as an assistant after he spent last season on the staff of retired coach Gary Williams. A native of Baltimore, Ranson has strong recruiting ties in that area and aided in the recent recruitment and retention of shooting guard Nick Faust.

Clark has been an athletics assistant for three years and, last year, moved into the role as team administrator on Turgeon’s staff with the Aggies. A graduate of Texas A&M, he has played an important role in recruiting and in the recent success of the Aggies’ basketball program.

Bios on the new staff members follow:

SCOTT SPINELLI

Hometown: Leominster, Mass.

Education: Boston University ‘89

Following five seasons on various staffs for head coach Mark Turgeon, Scott Spinelli comes to College Park to be part of the coaching staff at the University of Maryland.

“Scott is a bulldog recruiter with tremendous connection up and down the east coast,” said Turgeon. “He is also an excellent coach with a tremendous basketball mind.”

Spinelli sent four seasons with Turgeon as the associate head coach at Texas A&M, and was in the same position with Turgeon at Wichita State in 2006-07.

Prior to that, he was an assistant at Nebraska for three seasons, when he helped land two nationally-ranked recruiting classes. He was the Cornhuskers’ associate head coach in 2005-06. All-Big 12 center Aleks Maric was among the players he signed at Nebraska.

From 2001-03, Spinelli was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Loyola-Chicago. He helped the Ramblers to 32 wins over two seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03) — the program’s most in a two-year span since the mid-1980s — including a berth in the championship game of the 2002 Horizon League Tournament.

Spinelli recruited and developed Paul McMillan, a junior-college transfer who won the Horizon League’s Newcomer of the Year Award in 2003. His first recruiting class for the Ramblers also included Terrance Whiters, who was ranked among the top 70 overall prospects in the country and among the top 20 point guards by ESPN.com.

Spinelli has been recognized by several media outlets as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches. Before joining the Ramblers, Spinelli spent one year as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, evaluating players in the Big East and Atlantic 10 conferences, along with high school players from the Northeast.

Spinelli served as an assistant coach for Cincinnati of the International Basketball League (IBL) in 1999-2000, helping the Stuff to an Eastern Conference regular-season championship.

Prior to his work in the IBL, Spinelli spent two years as associate head coach (1997-99) at American University in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for two nationally-recognized recruiting classes. Spinelli’s first collegiate coaching stop came at Wyoming in 1996-97.

He began his coaching career on the prep level in 1990 at the Milford Academy, where he spent three seasons as head coach. In 1993, Spinelli started the basketball program at The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he produced several Division I players. The school remains one of the top prep school programs in the Northeast.

The Leominster, Mass., native earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University in 1989. As a student-athlete, Spinelli initially walked on with the Terriers before earning a scholarship as a point guard under Mike Jarvis, who went on to a successful stint as head coach at St. John’s.

Spinelli and his wife, Lynn, have three children: Gianna, Gabriel and Joseph.

SPINELLI CAREER

2007-11 – Associate Head Coach, Texas A&M
2006-07 – Associate Head Coach, Wichita State
2005-06 – Associate Head Coach, Nebraska
2003-05 – Assistant Coach, Nebraska
2001-03 – Assistant Coach, Loyola-Chicago
2000-01 – Scout, Philadelphia 76ers
1999-00 – Assistant Coach, Cincinnati Stuff
1997-99 – Associate Head Coach, American University
1996-97 – Assistant Coach, Wyoming
1993-96 – Head Coach, Winchendon (Mass.) School
1990-93 – Head Coach, Milford (N.Y.) Academy

DALONTE HILL

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Education: Charlotte ‘01

Noted as one of the top coaches and recruiters nationally, Dalonte Hill is coming home to the Washington, D.C., area to join the staff of head coach Mark Turgeon.

“It was great to be able to bring Dalonte home,” said Turgeon. “He is a terrific recruiter and will be a great addition to our staff. His relationships on the east coast will be huge for the growth of our program.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Hill was hired as an assistant coach at Kansas State by former head coach Bob Huggins in April 2006 after three seasons at Charlotte.  He was elevated to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator just over a year later upon the promotion of Frank Martin to head coach.

Hill played a significant role in helping to revitalize the K-State program, which has tallied five consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.  With his help, the Wildcats have posted 118 wins the past five seasons, including 50 in Big 12 play, and have advanced to the postseason in an unprecedented five straight seasons, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The 118 wins are the most in school history in a five-year span, shattering the previous mark of 107 wins set from 1957-62, while the 50 conference victories are the most since the squad posted 56 from 1971-76.  K-State is one of four Big 12 schools (along with Kansas, Texas and Texas A&M) in that span to total five 20-win seasons, while the Wildcats and Jayhawks are the only teams to finish in the top-4 in the Big 12 and receive a bye at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in each of the past five seasons.

Hill has also played a major role in helping Kansas State land some of the country’s best recruiting classes, including the nation’s top-rated class by Scout.com and Rivals.com in 2006, which included No. 1 recruit Michael Beasley and No. 6 recruit Bill Walker.  In 2008, he helped the Wildcats pull down their second top-20 class in the past three seasons, including their fourth McDonald’s All-American (and second in last four seasons) in Wally Judge.  The four-man class was rated 17th by Scout/ESPN.com and 18th by Rivals.com.

Hill spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Charlotte under Bobby Lutz.  He helped guide his alma mater to a 61-30 (.760) overall record and three consecutive postseason appearances from 2003-06, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament (2004, 2005).  He also helped the 49ers to a share of the 2004 Conference USA regular-season title as well as runner-up finishes in C-USA in 2004-05 and the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06.

During his tenure at Charlotte, Hill helped coach two All-Americans, one C-USA Player of the Year and seven all-conference players. Two 49ers earned All-America distinction as Eddie Basden and Curtis Withers were named to SI.com’s third team and honorable mention lists in 2005.  Withers was also named to Basketball Times’ All-America third team in 2004.  A two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year, Basden was selected as the 2005 Conference USA Player of the Year as well as the national Defensive Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com.

Prior to joining the college ranks, Hill served two years as the head coach of the AAU’s DC Assault.

A three-year letterman at Charlotte from 1997-2000, Hill played on three postseason squads for the 49ers under head coaches Melvin Watkins and Bobby Lutz.  As a true freshman in 1997-98, he averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 26 games with one start for the 49ers in helping the squad to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 20-11 record.  As a sophomore, the 49ers captured the 1999 Conference USA Tournament title and once again advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round with a 23-11 record.  During the 1999-2000 season, he averaged 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 23 games with 11 starts in helping Charlotte earn a Postseason NIT bid with a 17-16 record.

Hill transferred to Bowie State for his senior season where he averaged 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in helping the Bulldogs to a 19-9 record.  He returned to Charlotte following the season to complete his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2001.

Hill and his wife, Tish, have three daughters: Danae, Dakotah and Daeja.

HILL CAREER

2007-11 – Associate Head Coach, Kansas State
2006-07 – Assistant Coach, Kansas State
2003-06 – Assistant Coach, Charlotte
2001-03 – Head Coach D.C. Assault (AAU)

ORLANDO “BINO” RANSON

Hometown: Baltimore, Md.

Education: Southern New Hampshire ‘99

Orlando “Bino” Ranson was hired as an assistant coach at Maryland in the summer of 2010, and the halls of Comcast Center immediately lit up with energy. He has been retained on the staff by new head coach Mark Turgeon.

“Bino is a young man I have known for a long time, and I have watched him grow as a coach,” said Turgeon. “He is a grinder when it comes to recruiting and he has many connections all over the east coast.”

Ranson has strong ties to the Baltimore-Washington area, having coached for two seasons at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. He came to Maryland after one season as an assistant at Xavier, during which the Musketeers went 26-9 and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. In his lone season on the staff of Maryland head coach Gary Williams in 2010-11, the Terrapins went 19-14.

Ranson said he’s followed the Maryland program for a long time and is familiar with its national reputation and rich history. He spent two years as an administrative assistant at Loyola University on the staff of long-time Maryland assistant Jimmy Patsos.

Prior to Xavier, Ranson was an assistant coach at James Madison for one season, helping the Dukes to a 21-15 mark, the most wins by JMU in a season since 1992-93. The Dukes advanced in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament for the first time since 2003 and their berth in the College Insiders.com Tournament marked their first postseason appearance since 1994.

Ranson also worked for Matt Brady at Marist University for three seasons. The Red Foxes were 62-33 in those three seasons and won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season in 2007. That season, Marist won at Oklahoma State in the Postseason NIT.

Considered an outstanding recruiter, he helped bring in excellent classes at James Madison, Marist and Xavier. Ranson helped land Jay Gavin at Marist, who went on to become the MAAC Rookie of the Year.

Ranson coached at St. Frances Academy for two seasons before joining the Loyola staff. He handled St. Frances’ junior-varsity program, directing the 2003-04 team to a 24-5 record, titles in the MIAA and the Baltimore Catholic League. He also founded Team Baltimore, one of the top AAU programs in the Northeast.

Among the players Ranson worked with at the AAU level are Sean Mosley and Juan Dixon of Maryland, Ricky Harris of Massachusetts, Jermaine Dixon of Pittsburgh and Donte Greene of Syracuse.

A 1999 graduate of Southern New Hampshire with a B.S. in sports management, Ranson completed his collegiate career as one of the top players in the history of the school. He ranked seventh in career scoring (1,899 points), fifth in assists (598) and fourth in 3-point field goals (226) after lettering for four seasons. He was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in January 2007.

Ranson and his wife, Shannon, have two sons: Orlando and Bradshaw.

RANSON CAREER

2010-11 – Assistant Coach, Maryland
2009-10 – Assistant Coach, Xavier
2008-09 – Assistant Coach, James Madison
2004-05 to 2006-07 – Assistant Coach, Marist
2003-04 & 2004-05 – Administrative Assistant, Loyola, Md.
2001-02 to 2002-03 – Coach, St. Francis Academy

DUSTIN CLARK

Hometown: Waxahachie, Texas

Education: Texas A&M ‘07

Dustin Clark comes to the Maryland men’s basketball program as the director of basketball operations on the staff of head coach Mark Turgeon. In that role, Clark will be in charge of the administrative duties in the men’s basketball office, including scheduling, operations and travel.

“Dustin is one of the bright young coaches in this business,” said Turgeon. “He has tremendous passion for his job and will build great relationships with our current players. His understanding and experience of how I want the office and program to run is big in our transition.”

Clark spent five seasons with the Texas A&M basketball program. After serving as an athletics assistant for three years, he was the team administrator in the 2010-11 season. During his five seasons, the Aggies won 124 games, produced three NBA draft picks and had Turgeon earn back-to-back Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.

His duties included on-campus recruiting, coordination of recruiting correspondence, academic quality control and student-athlete affairs. Clark was the director of the Mark Turgeon Basketball Camp, as well as a coordinator for the Texas A&M Elite and Junior Elite camps. He has played a key role in helping the Aggies land multiple nationally ranked recruiting classes.

In 2008, the Aggies won the Preseason NIT and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they lost in the closing seconds to top-seeded UCLA. A&M closed the next regular season on a six-game winning streak and again reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In 2010, Texas A&M reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament despite playing the second-toughest schedule in the nation. A year ago, the Aggies exploded to a 16-1 start, the best at the school in 91 years and earned its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.

A native of Waxahachie, Texas, Clark received his degree from Texas A&M in 2007. Clark graduated from Avalon High School, where he was a four-year letterman in both basketball and baseball.

CLARK CAREER

2010-11 – Team Administrator, Texas A&M
2007-10 – Athletic Assistant, Texas A&M
2006-07 – Student Assistant, Texas A&M

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Garyland no more: Terps coach Williams retires after 22 seasons

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Garyland no more: Terps coach Williams retires after 22 seasons

Posted on 05 May 2011 by Luke Jones

What felt like turbulent waves running through the Maryland basketball program with the official departure of Jordan Williams on Wednesday registered as little more than a drop of a pebble in a pond 24 hours later.

After 22 years at the University of Maryland that included the 2002 national championship and 14 NCAA tournament appearances, legendary head coach Gary Williams announced his retirement Thursday afternoon, sending seismic waves through College Park and the landscape of the college basketball world.

“It’s the right time,” Williams said in a statement on Thursday. “My entire career has been an unbelievable blessing. I am fiercely proud of the program we have built here. I couldn’t have asked any more from my players, my assistant coaches, the great Maryland fans, and this great university. Together, we did something very special here.”

Special, indeed, as Williams returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1989 with the ashes still smoldering from the tragic death of Len Bias in 1986 and Maryland on the verge of being leveled with NCAA sanctions from violations committed under former coach Bob Wade’s tenure. Facing a mountainous climb back to respectability, Williams did that and much more.

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Largely thanks to the arrivals of Joe Smith and Keith Booth, the Terps became a consistent Sweet 16 program beginning in 1994 and climbed to greater heights several years later. With local products Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter leading the way on the court, Maryland advanced to its first ever Final Four in 2001 despite losing five of six from late January into mid-February of that season.

However, the following season would be the stuff of fairy tales as Williams, the coach who suffered through two-year postseason and one-year television bans in his first three seasons at Maryland, led the Terps to a second consecutive trip to the Final Four in 2002. This time playing at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, the impossible became reality as Maryland won its first ever national championship, defeating Indiana 64-52 in a moment supporters couldn’t even dream just 10 years earlier.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EgsMpPyFhg[/youtube]

As Dixon and Baxter collapsed to the floor in a warm embrace, Williams stood in the background, pumping his fist while taking satisfaction in knowing what he had rebuilt and taken to incredible new heights.

Williams retires as the fifth-winningest active coach in the nation and third all-time in ACC wins behind Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith. In his 33 years as a head coach — including stops at American, Boston College, and Ohio State — the 66-year-old compiled an overall record of 668-380. Williams finished with a 461-252 record in his 22 years at Maryland.

Always dealing with basketball giants Duke and North Carolina, Williams guided the Terps to three ACC regular season titles (1995, 2002, 2010), an ACC tournament championship (2004), and seven Sweet Sixteens. He was named National Coach of the Year in 2002 and ACC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2010.

“Gary Williams is a legend,” said athletic director Kevin Anderson, who will utilize the retiring coach as an assistant athletic director and special assistant. “His accomplishments on the court have earned him a place among the elite in college basketball history. But Gary’s legacy here at Maryland goes far beyond basketball. From his philanthropic efforts to his tireless work with fans and alumni to his impact with our students, Gary has left an indelible mark of excellence on this university.”

Despite a 22-year run that dwarfed the accomplishments of longtime, high-profile coach Lefty Driesell, Williams was often a polarizing figure among Maryland supporters. After rebuilding the Terps into a consistent top-25 program in the 1990s, detractors argued he couldn’t lead Maryland past the Sweet 16. He responded with two consecutive national semifinal berths and a national championship.

But in the years following the closing of Cole Field House with a national championship season in 2002, Williams was unable to maintain the same level of success with the opening of the glitzy Comcast Center. After a Sweet 16 appearance led by Steve Blake and a few other championship holdovers in 2003, the Terps have failed to make it past the second round ever since.

Frustrations continued to grow as Maryland failed to make the NCAA tournament in 2005 — snapping an 11-year streak — and missed the tournament in three of the next six years, including this past season when the Terps missed the postseason entirely for the first time since 1993. In recent seasons, his critics — ironically feeling entitled thanks to the accomplishments of the very man — began calling for Williams to step down due to the struggles on the court and in local recruiting efforts.

Those attacks came to a climax two years ago when then-athletic director Debbie Yow was front and center in a not-so-subtle attempt to conclude the coach’s reign before an underdog squad scratched together a strong conference tournament run to make the NCAA tournament in 2009. Williams ultimately remained as head coach, but the final damage had been done to his frigid relationship with Yow.

In what amounted to Williams’ final season in the spotlight in College Park, senior Greivis Vasquez led the Terps to a share of the ACC regular season title with Duke after an exhilarating victory over the Blue Devils on Maryland’s senior night in 2010. The win clinched conference player of the year honors for Vasquez — a player with whom Williams still shares a deep bond — and helped earn the coach his second and final ACC Coach of the Year award.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwig_bEiFGs[/youtube]

Following the Terps’ heartbreaking loss to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA tournament later that month and losing Vasquez and two key seniors, Maryland stumbled to a 19-14 record in Williams’ final season. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Terps’ 87-71 loss to Duke in the ACC quarterfinals on March 11, 2011 not only turned out to be Maryland’s abrupt season finale and the swan song of all-ACC forward Jordan Williams, but ultimately marked the end of an era.

When the news broke on Thursday, comments immediately began flooding in from various players via social media. Having a reputation as a sometimes-surly coach who disliked the over-the-top recruiting tactics prevalent in today’s college basketball environment, countless players voiced their affection for the Maryland coach.

“I love Gary Williams, and I support him [no] matter what!” said Vasquez, who labeled him his coach for life.

The timing of Williams’ retirement leaves the program in flux, a day after learning leading scorer Jordan Williams would not return for his junior season this fall. Speculation has already started regarding incoming freshmen Nick Faust and Sterling Gibbs and their likely intentions to re-open their recruitment. Both will need a release from their signed national letters of intent to do so.

However, players come and go in the collegiate game. Even coaches are hired and dismissed with more and more frequency as the societal movement toward instant gratification provides shorter leashes for college coaches with every new season. Williams’ retirement signals a dramatic end to a mostly-wonderful period in College Park, especially to those who suffered through the heart-rending loss of Bias and the wretched cloud that rested over the university in the years that followed.

Numerous top names have already been tossed around as potential successors for one of the more attractive coaching jobs in the country, with Notre Dame’s Mike Brey and Villanova’s Jay Wright just two of many that will be discussed, but the dust will settle all too quickly and only time will reveal the future of Maryland basketball. The memories of the perspiring, jacket-throwing Williams screaming on the sideline or offering the fist pump as he’s introduced, however, will last as long as they play basketball at the University of Maryland.

As I casually pointed out in March when Williams celebrated his 66th birthday, he had reached the same age at which Smith stepped down from his brilliant career in Chapel Hill. The end was coming sooner rather than later.

But as is often the case in life, loyal supporters and critics alike may have envisioned the likely Hall of Famer’s farewell, but you’re never quite prepared when the moment finally comes.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Top 7 ESPN Documentaries We’d Like to Make

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Top 7 ESPN Documentaries We’d Like to Make

Posted on 15 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

In honor of Sunday night’s premiere of the ESPN documentary “The Fab Five”, today’s Tuesday Top 7 topic was “The Top 7 ESPN Documentaries We’d Like to Make.”

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. “The Juan Dixon Story”

dixon

6. “What happened to Andy (Roddick)?”

andy

5. “Heroes of the Army/Navy Game”

armynavy

4. “The Stunning Rise of Dana White”

danawhite

3. “Barbaro’s Last Race”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJZlAjNTd9Q[/youtube]

2. “America’s Grey Cup: How Baltimore Accepted the CFL”

cfl

1. “The Mighty Ducks: Where Are They Now?”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyVF1glhAfk[/youtube]

Drew Forrester’s list…

7. “The Life and Times of Russian Hockey Players”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHko4ikCzG8[/youtube]

6. “Manny Being Manny: The Manny Ramirez Story”

manny

5. “Dennis Rodman: The Worm”

rodman

4. “The True Story of Dr. Anthony Galea”

galea

3. “The Decline of JaMarcus Russell”

jamarcus

2. “The Greatest Trio Since Rush: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux & John Smoltz”

braves

1. “The Stunning Fall of Tiger Woods”

tiger

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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In Shadow of Vasquez, Maryland’s Stoglin Continues Emergence

Posted on 20 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It seemed fitting that the University of Maryland would hang the No. 21 jersey of Greivis Vasquez in the Comcast Center rafters during a season where the entire program faces adversity.

Fitting of course because “adversity” could have easily been Vasquez’s middle name during the four seasons he patrolled the floor for the Terrapins before being selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies.

It was much too easy to point out coming into Maryland’s Sunday night tilt with North Carolina State that Gary Williams’ team was still looking for a way to replace Vasquez’s production on the floor and more importantly his leadership on and off the court. It seemed to be the biggest reason why the Terps entered Sunday in imminent danger of having their NCAA Tournament bubble hopes completely burst.

Greivis Vasquez came to Comcast Center Sunday night with a Maryland team facing significant adversity. It was a familiar script.

The difference Sunday for Vasquez was that he had to remain in his seat as the Terps faced a second-half deficit against the Wolfpack. Instead of personally carrying the team on his shoulders through a time of adversity, the “Vivacious Venezuelan” would simply have to watch from his seat to see if one of Maryland’s young guards could carry the team to only their third victory of the season in games decided by a single-digit difference.

Had freshman Terrell Stoglin not stepped up, arena officials may have had to use force to keep Vasquez off the floor.

Stoglin was fantastic for Maryland, scoring 25 points (matching a career high he posted just five days earlier in a loss at Virginia Tech), dishing nine assists and turning the ball over just once as Maryland (17-10, 6-6 ACC) held on for an 87-80 win over NC State (14-12, 4-8).

The win doesn’t get them much closer to the NCAA Tournament, but it at least kept them from burying their hopes altogether.

After being inserted to the starting lineup alongside fellow freshman guard Pe’Shon Howard for the first time all season, the young man from Tucson, Arizona may have well taken a mighty step towards replacing the Under Armours of Vasquez. It started with advice he received when his team faced a 40-38 deficit at halftime.

“I just wanted to push the ball and go, but coach told me to calm down and just stay within our offense” said Stoglin. “That’s what we did and that’s when we came back to take the lead.”

Stoglin was particularly impressive in the second frame, scoring 18 of his 25 points after intermission to go with four more assists and no turnovers. He admitted finding inspiration in the pregame ceremony honoring Vasquez.

“When I saw his jersey number go up there, I thought to myself, ‘Man, that’s what I want.’”

Stoglin is a long way from being remembered with the likes of Vasquez, Steve Blake, Lonny Baxter, Juan Dixon, Keith Booth, Len Elmore, Len Bias and the nine other men who have been honored in such a way just 27 games into his collegiate career. But performances like the one he put together Sunday night are at least reminiscent of some put together by Vasquez.

When the game was on the line, Vasquez came through. Stoglin was aware of that trait when asked what he most admired about the newest Terp to have his jersey honored.

“Honestly? His heart. He wasn’t the most athletic, most talented person but he had heart and I respect that a lot.”

Tying a career high in points and reaching a career high in assists in a potential bubble-eliminating game that was tied with 5:20 to play?

I’d say that qualifies as showing heart.

Williams noticed Stoglin’s performance, but admitted there was one area in particular where the freshman still needed to improve.

“Terrell thinks the green light is always green. He’s never seen a red light.”

The coach would go on to add of his 6-foot-1 freshman: “He’s going to make some mistakes once in a while in terms of shot selection, but what he gives you is someone who wants to be out there and really likes the competition. He really enjoys playing. He’s a tough little guy, and it’s great to see him advance during his freshman year.”

If you take out the word “little”, does it sound like something you heard Williams say about Vasquez?

“It’s the great competitor that thinks he can score against anybody,” Williams added about Stoglin. “You gotta channel that a little bit because you’re going against good people now, and see where it’s best for you to pick your spots. I thought he took two bad shots the whole day, and he scored 25 points. So I’ll take two bad shots for 25 points.”

Williams thought the comparison to Vasquez was fair.

“Greivis gradually came along to where he realized he had to be a leader. That’s what I think changed his game more than anything else was knowing that he had to get people (like) Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes involved in the game. That’s what moved Greivis up to the level where he could play in the NBA.”

For his part, Vasquez was happy to see Stoglin and Howard both in the starting lineup.

“That’s great,” said Vasquez. “That puts a lot of pressure on the upperclassmen. They’ve got to take it as ‘if these guys as freshmen are playing hard, now we’ve got to wake up.’”

It’s not worth getting too carried away about a game against NC State, but 50 points in two games is enough of a statement that it cannot be totally ignored.

Maryland has a long way to go to reach the NCAA Tournament, likely needing to start with wins against Florida State and North Carolina this week to have any hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

But the emergence of Stoglin alongside the continued dominance of sophomore big man Jordan Williams (who scored 26 points and collected eight rebounds against NCSU) give Maryland fans hope that a magical run like the one Vasquez lead Maryland on in 2009 might still be possible.

And in the eyes of Gary Williams, the comparison between Stoglin and Vasquez is favorable towards the youngster in at least one area.

“Greivis is a lot crazier than that. Terrell’s like easy to coach in his freshman year.”

-G

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Huevos! Maryland’s Vasquez Named WNST Local Sports Person of the Year

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Huevos! Maryland’s Vasquez Named WNST Local Sports Person of the Year

Posted on 23 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

Had it simply been based on accolades, Greivis Vasquez would have won WNST’s 2010 Local Sports Person of the Year award going away.

In 2010, the former Maryland Terrapins guard was named first-team All-ACC, second-team All-American, ACC Player of the Year, and the Bob Cousy Award winner — given to the nation’s top point guard. He also helped the Terps clinch a share of the ACC regular season title. When the Memphis Grizzlies selected him with the 28th pick of the NBA Draft in June, Vasquez became the first Terrapin selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since Chris Wilcox and Juan Dixon were picked in 2002.

In terms of on-field (on in this case on-court) accomplishments, no athlete in the state of Maryland reached the heights that the “Vivacious Venezuelan” did in 2010. As Jason Jubb (WNST.net contributor and former “Sunday Morning Blitz” co-host) said, Vasquez “took over this year.”

However, Vasquez’s selection was about more than just on-court ability. There was something about watching Vasquez play in 2010 that made fans in Baltimore and throughout the state heap adoration at a level not seen since Dixon’s graduation.

Sometimes a picture explains just about everything.

vasquez

It was the passion displayed by Vasquez when he stepped foot on a basketball court that made fans fall in love.

WNST’s Ryan Chell said Vasquez in 2010 was “hated by every other ACC fan and adored by the Terps nation. He put the team on his shoulders.”

Never was it more evident than in the game pictured above.

On March 3, Maryland defeated then No. 4 Duke, 79-72. It was Senior Night at Comcast Center, and Vasquez’s final game was one of the more passionate displays in recent college basketball history.

Vasquez led the way for Maryland with 20 points and 5 assists in the victory, but it was one particular shot that was a total display of “huevos” (a term first labeled by ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt) in the final seconds.

With Maryland clinging to a 71-69 advantage over the Blue Devils in the final minute, there was no question Vasquez would take the shot. And despite the shot being an off-balanced, running 12-footer that looked more like a heave than an actual basketball shot, there was really no question whether or not the shot would go in…even if it had to find every piece of the rim before it would fall.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA_qoFMFITA[/youtube]

It wasn’t only the Duke game that stood out in 2010 for the young man from Caracas. In fact, Vasquez’s shining moment may well have occurred just one game earlier.

The Terrapins traveled to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech February 27. The game was delayed more than three hours due to a water main break outside Cassell Coliseum. Maybe the anticipation built during the delay made the nature of the performance even greater.

Vasquez posted 41 points, seven rebounds, and six assists en route to 104-100 win over the Hokies in two overtimes.

The two wins would ultimately be the difference for the Terps in sharing the ACC crown.

Watching Vasquez play in 2010 was special.

It’s unlikely that Vasquez could have won a 1-on-1 contest with some of the great all-around players in recent Maryland history. Vasquez’s game wasn’t nearly as polished as someone like Dixon, Steve Francis or even John Gilchrist.

Yet in terms of fortitude, only Dixon could match Vasquez. Vasquez cared deeply about representing the students, the University and the entire state.

“Every time I put on the jersey I did my best and cared about them,” said Vasquez after learning he had won the award. “Those four years at Maryland were a big part in my life, and I eventually want to raise my family around Maryland because it meant very much to me.”

It was the type of passion that rubbed off on everyone around him, including his teammates.

“He was a great teammate,” Maryland guard Adrian Bowie told WNST. “His passion was evident on and off the court. He loved us and we loved him.”

Perhaps that passion was no more evident than in his final act as a Terrapin, a devastating 85-83 defeat to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Trailing by 16 late in the second half and seemingly limping out on a disappointing note, Vasquez took his team on his back a final time, scoring nine of Maryland’s 11 points in the final two minutes. His final basket with six seconds left to give the Terps a one-point lead looked to be another brilliant moment before the Spartans’ Korie Lucious broke the hearts of Terrapin Nation with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, ending Vasquez’s collegiate career and leaving fans wishing for one more chance to watch him.

“It’s a memory all Maryland fans want to forget, but his final game left you wanting more and epitomized what he meant to this program,” said WNST’s Luke Jones. “We throw around words like courage and heart all the time in the sports world, but his passion, his determination was authentic. In those final minutes when he nearly willed the Terps to victory when it seemed all but impossible, it summed him up perfectly. As disappointing as it was for the team, knowing Vasquez would never wear that uniform again was sobering. You didn’t want it to end.”

Vasquez truly was loved by fans both on campus in College Park and throughout the mid-Atlantic region. His talent as a basketball player was appreciated, but his incredible passion made watching him play a joyous experience for Terps fans.

For as much joy as Maryland fans (and WNST contributors) took from watching Vasquez on the court, Maryland Head Coach Gary Williams told WNST he took equally as much joy from coaching him.

“If you pay a lot of money for a ticket, I think you want that guy that you paid the money to see to really work as hard as (in your mind) you would if you were a player,” said Williams after learning Vasquez had won the honor. “And that’s what Greivis gave all those people that bought the tickets. He gave them that player that played they way they would play if they got the chance.”

“I’ve always felt a big part of college basketball is the passion in the game,” added Williams. “I talk to pro players that have played here, played other places, and they really miss that passion that you get at college basketball in big games. Greivis was a part of that. He was nationally known as one of those guys.”

In a fitting twist, the brilliant performance of Vasquez in 2010 came after what would have to be considered the last “low” moment in what had previously been a roller-coaster career.

On Dec. 30, 2009, Vasquez pulled up but missed an important three point shot in transition in the second half of Maryland’s 83-77 loss to William & Mary at Comcast Center. Trailing by seven points, the miss turned into a five-point swing in favor of the Tribe as they would go on to upset the Terps.

The tone for Vasquez in 2010 was set that night. Not by the miss, but by the support shown by Williams despite the crucial miss (and poor decision). When asked about the shot after the game, Williams responded:

“Greivis has won a lot of games for us pulling up for threes. He didn’t make that one. Sure, he missed it, so I wish he would have driven the ball. But if he would have driven the ball and gotten his shot blocked, I’d wished he would have taken the three. It’s the way it works. I want Greivis to keep playing like he’s playing. He’s working hard, he’s trying to help us win. As long as he does that-I’ve had a lot of great players here that take shots once in a while that take shots that you might not like as a coach but that’s part of what makes them great. They have that aggressiveness, they have that no fear of being out there playing which you try to put into a lot of players, but not everybody has that.”

With that support, Vasquez never looked back in 2010.

“I can’t say enough about coach,” Vasquez told WNST. “I think he made a big impact not only in my game but in my life. He mean so much to me not only as my coach, but as a father and a friend, everything I needed. He’s more than a good friend, he’s a mentor. That’s why he’s successful and wins championships and went to the Final Four. I can’t say enough about coach Williams and he will be a special person to me for the rest of my life.”

Vasquez’s personality wasn’t left on the floor. He was as engaging on the campus in College Park and in the community as well.

“Greivis always had time for people,” Williams said. “Sometimes I’d have to get on him because he was trying to do too many things to please too many people. The time he read books in elementary school to kids in Spanish-in a lot of Spanish areas around here-nobody even knew about that stuff. He was just always willing to show up. If they had a shoot-a-thon to raise money for charity on campus, Greivis would come in and try to make one from half court. That’s just the way he was. He was just always willing to be like the other students, which they really appreciated.”

“Greivis had a passion for both basketball and for life that was infectious,” Maryland associate Athletic Director Doug Dull told WNST as well. “He had a confidence and a personality that was magical and unforgettable.”

Watching Greivis Vasquez play basketball in 2010 was a special feeling for Terrapins fans and even those who support other schools but live in the area and found themselves glued to Maryland games.

There were two voting qualifications for the Local Sports Person of the Year honor.

The first was that the person had to play for a professional, college or high school team in the state of Maryland OR represent the state of Maryland in an individual sport.

The second was that the honor was year-specific. The honoree had to be someone for whom 2010 stood out not only in comparison to other sports figures, but also to things they had accomplished themselves in other years.

D1scourse.com writer (and regular contributor to “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST in 2010) Patrick Stevens offered a very well thought out explanation as to why Vasquez best met both qualifications.

“Vasquez came to Maryland with maybe his biggest obstacle being the language barrier. That’s almost a bigger impediment for someone who sort of knows a second language and tries to fit in while learning on the fly than someone who just relies on a translator and stays in his comfort zone. The thing was, Vasquez was always supremely at ease on the court, where it was immensely easier for him to express himself than through his many, many words.”

Stevens added, “For as much as people latched onto Vasquez’s rhetoric throughout his college career, he was always better measured through his deeds. It didn’t matter if it was on the floor (a 41-point night at Virginia Tech or helping topple Duke in his last home game) or off (posing for picture after picture well after games ended or simple gestures like handing a pair of shoes to a security guard at the ACC Tournament). Vasquez was the most impactful University of Maryland athlete since Juan Dixon, and never more so than in 2010.”

Vasquez’s often hard-nosed head coach was emotional in summing up his feelings about his former star player.

“The person that he is…is really tremendous. I really miss him. Obviously, you miss his playing ability, but you miss him being around.”

He’s not the only one.

-G

(Vasquez joined Rex Snider, Luke Jones and Glenn Clark on “The Afternoon Drive” Thursday to accept the honor. That interview is available now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)

Final Voting For WNST Local Sports Person of the Year-

1-Greivis Vasquez (20 points)
2-Buck Showalter (19 points)
3-Ray Lewis (10 points)
4-Joe Flacco (7 points)
4-Danny O’Brien (7 points)
6-Anquan Boldin (5 points)
7-John Rallo (4 points)
8-Gary Williams (3 points)
8-Jay Davidson (3 points)
8-John Harbaugh (3 points)
8-Forest Boyce (3 points)
8-Caitlyn McFadden (3 points)
8-Pam Shriver (3 points)
8-Cal Ripken (3 points)
15-Bill Ripken (2 points)
15-Ben’s Cat (horse) (2 points)
17-Pete Caringi (1 point)
17-Kevin Plank (1 point)
17-Reggie Holmes (1 point)

Panel of AM1570 & WNST.net contributors eligible to vote included: Glenn Clark, Drew Forrester, Thyrl Nelson, Rex Snider, Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones, Ryan Chell, Ashley Bishoff, Pete Kerzel (CSNBaltimore.com writer/regular contributor to “The Mobtown Sports Beat”), Jon Schmidt (WNST Sales), Paul Kopelke (WNST General Manager), Christine Cortezi (WNST sales), Jason Jubb, Mark Suchy, Patrick Stevens (D1scourse.com/regular contributor to “The Morning Reaction”), Sam Angell (WNST.net contributor), Allen McCallum (regular contributor to “The Afternoon Drive), Ed Frankovic, Gary Quill, Derek Arnold (BMoreBirdsNest.com/WNST.net contributor), BJ Appel (WNST.net contributor), Chris Pika, Lawson Lambert (WNST.net contributor), John Rallo (“Shogun Fights”/regular contributor to “The Mobtown Sports Beat”), Jay Trucker (Examiner.com writer/WNST.net contributor), Todd Helmick (NationalChamps.net writer/regular contributor to “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) and Brian Billick (WNST part-owner). Not all contributors eligible submitted ballots.

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Maryland Terrapin commit Nick Faust ready to prove that Gary Williams can recruit Baltimore prep athletes

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Maryland Terrapin commit Nick Faust ready to prove that Gary Williams can recruit Baltimore prep athletes

Posted on 04 November 2010 by Ryan Chell

Over Gary Williams‘ time in College Park, numerous Maryland basketball fans have been quick to point out about the number of Baltimore and Maryland-based basketball players who leave the area to go to other universities and institutions and find success there.

There have been exceptions to that belief over the years-most notably guard Juan Dixon-and last week, Gary Williams and Maryland proved the doubters wrong yet again by landing four-star recruit and the 37th ranked high-school recruit in the nation in guard Nick Faust, who plays his high school ball at City College right around the corner from where Memorial Stadium used to lie.

ESPN U had him ranked the 9th shooting guard overall and has him at a 95-ranking. He also earned a four-star recruit status by Scouts Inc as well as ESPN U.

He had received offers from other schools such as Florida State, Villanova, Marquette and Oregon State, but in the end he chose the hometown school on a live ESPNU broadcast last week.

“It was a long process, but Maryland started recruiting me over the summer time. After that, it just felt like a second home to me, so that’s why I decided to go there,” Faust told Drew Forrester of “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday.

Credit Maryland assistant coaches Keith Booth and the new addition in Bino Ranson with the commitment.

In the end, while some kids want to get away from their current surroundings to go to school, Faust said being close to his family and friends was too much to pass up on.

“I was thinking about other places at first, but then I thought about my family and staying close to home, things like that,” he said.

And much like the former Maryland native who came on to join Gary Williams’ team in Dixon, Faust told Drew Forrester that he models his game after Juan Dixon.

Faust has taken City College to the last two 2A State Championships before transferring from John Carroll. In his junior year last winter, he averaged 19.7 points per game and 5.3 rebounds, which caught the eye of many a Division-1 programs.

The only knock on Faust may be his size. At 6’6”, 175, Faust may need to grow a little more, but the experts are certain that Coach Williams will get him in the weight room and will bulk him up the way he did with Dixon and Lonny Baxter from that National Championship team.

But Faust does know this. He likes Williams’ game-plan when it comes to playing the game of basketball.

“I think I fit very well in the style of play with the flex offense,” he said.

“But he knows that he still needs to improve so that he can live up to his full potential, and when he joins the team in 2011, he knows that he will be ready to compete alongside the likes of former St. Frances guard Sean Mosely.

“Right now, I am just working on my game every day,” Faust said, “getting stronger, just to get ready for the season and get ready for college.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Terps as we prepare for the 2010 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking!

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me because Bear Grylls did a “heli-oop” in a recent Degree commercial (Thanks Deadspin/YouTube!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AytBhd_NwH8[/youtube]

In a related story, I once rode in a helicopter. I was so nervous I peed a little. Bear Grylls once drank his OWN urine!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2zITvSp0Hk[/youtube]

You see, he and I have so much in common!!!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Tavares Gooden, WR Donte’ Stallworth don’t expect to find out status for Week 9 until Sunday

My gut says both guys will play, but I feel stronger about Stallworth than Gooden right now. The Ravens not only need a different option at WR (Stallworth POTENTIALLY gives them a speed threat), but they really need a punt returner-especially with Tom Zbikowski still out of practice while he remains in a walking boot.

As far as Gooden is concerned-there is at least a chance the Ravens could choose to hold him out for another week given the depth they now have inside with Brendon Ayanbadejo healthy and with Jason Phillips having played well on Special Teams. But if Gooden is fully healthy-and he looks like he’s pretty close-he plays.

At that point, the Ravens have to find seven true scratches again to go with an injured Zbikowski. The likely names are Scott Kooistra, Dennis Pitta, Ken Hamlin, Arthur Jones, Lamar Divens, Jason Phillips and David Reed, as they’re the guys who have been inactive at times during the first seven weeks of the season.

2. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Ravens came back to Owings Mills in 1st place in AFC North

Which is better than the alternative, but clearly doesn’t matter much.

The bottom line is that there is little chance the Ravens make it through the rest of their schedule without at least two more losses. They have tough games at the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans; as well as dates with the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. A more realistic expectation is probably an 11-5 finish.

The Steelers’ schedule doesn’t appear to be quite as tricky. The Ravens are the only team with a .500 or better record that they still have to face away from the Steel City. They do have to welcome the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets to Heinz Field; but that schedule sets up much better.

That’s why the Steelers’ loss to the New Orleans Saints Sunday night was significant. If they had won that one, they would have been in UNBELIEVABLE shape to win the division. At this point, it looks like the two teams will be in a dogfight.

(Note: This is Week 9. In a month, all of this could be different. In fact, it probably will be.)

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says CB Fabian Washington watched Buffalo Bills tape 3 times, ready to move on

We’ve all had bad moments.

During one of my first overnight DJ shifts back at WHFS, I forgot to turn my mic off after introducing a White Stripes record (I think it was “Seven Nation Army”) and listeners throughout the Old Line State were blessed with the opportunity to hear my variation of Jack White.

Why would I ever listen to that aircheck again? Mostly to make fun of myself. Why would Fabian Washington watch the tapes of getting abused by Lee Evans? He probably did it to get BETTER.

If the Ravens for some reason choose NOT to return Fabian Washington to his starting spot Sunday against the Fins, I would have to recommend they consider Ximena Navarrette. (Thanks Guyism!)

navarette

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says TE Todd Heap ‘feeling better’ after aggravating shoulder stinger in win over Bills

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-Did you miss former Ravens head coach Brian Billick (NFL Network/Fox Sports) with Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Nick Faust (City Guard/#25 ranked prospect)-who joined Drew Tuesday morning to discuss his commitment to head to College Park in 2011
  • Andrew Perloff (SI)-who joined Drew Tuesday morning to talk Randy Moss and all things NFL
  • Patrick Stevens (D1scourse/CSNWashington.com/Fanhouse)-who joined Drew Thursday morning to talk Terps hoops and Terps football
  • Our “Tuesday Top 7″-which this week was a look at the Top 7 NFL MVP candidates thus far this season
  • Plenty of audio from 1 Winning Drive Monday, including Head Coach John Harbaugh, WR Derrick Mason, Heap and Stallworth
  • Postgame audio from last night’s Maryland-Florida Southern game, including Jordan Williams, Cliff Tucker and Sean Mosley
  • Tommy Polley (Former Ravens/Dunbar LB)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Monday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to discuss Week 8 NFL action
  • Brad Edwards (ESPN)-who joined Thyrl Monday to talk all things BCS and College Football
  • Tim Layden (Sports Illustrated)-who joined Rex Snider Monday on “The Afternoon Drive” to discuss Ray Lewis’ legacy and more

It’s all in the Audio Vault. So your day…for the millionth time…is planned well in advance. Just go ahead and thank me now so you don’t have to do it later.

5. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Jordan Williams lead Maryland with 18 points in exhibition win over Florida Southern

And coming from someone who ventured down to Comcast Center, it was a real thriller. Trust me.

That being said, it was certainly MUCH better than it could have been.

This team is going to be able to get up and down the floor quickly and they will certainly be able to find ways to score points. There’s an argument that Jack McCallum might write his follow up to “Seven Seconds or Less” about Gary Williams’ team.

The real question is whether or not the team is going to be able to shoot. Last night they were just 4-12 from beyond the arc and 18-30 from the free throw line. It goes without saying that those numbers will need to improve.

That being said, they look like they have an identity post-Greivis Vasquez. That’s good news thus far.

6. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins appear to be loaded with “athletic ability”

I wholeheartedly agree. Patrick made a comment last night that this might be the most athletic group assembled in College Park since the Steve Francis/LaRon Profit/Juan Dixon/Terrence Morris team in 1998-1999.

That team was most remembered as being a team that never minded throwing up an alley-oop; no matter where they were on the floor. Of course, that wasn’t necessarily always a good thing.

If we remember, that team was eliminated (in semi-embarrassing fashion) by St. John’s in the Sweet 16 because the Red Storm were an OUTSTANDING defensive team lead by Ron Artest. Should this Maryland team figure out a way to reach a similar level in the NCAA Tournament, it would be an incredible overachievement.

7. UMTerps.com says Maryland QB Danny O’Brien named ACC Rookie of the Week after throwing 4 TD’s against Wake Forest

What’s more? A handful of fans even recognized him as he was sitting at Comcast Center Monday night watching the Maryland basketball game.

It’s really been a surprisingly good start for O’Brien this season. He’s not Scott McBrien just yet, but he certainly appears like he’s a much more naturally able QB than say Chris Turner.

He’s been good. Good enough that if Holly Peers were on campus in College Park, he’d probably be able to get a date with her. (Thanks Busted Coverage!)

peers

8. ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terrapins face much more difficult schedule down stretch in ACC play

And before we move on from the Terps, a couple of things…

-On the basketball side, it was announced before last night’s game that Sean Mosley and Dino Gregory would be the team’s captains this season. It was a LITTLE bit surprising considering Mosley is only a junior and both Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie are seniors; but Mosley has a reputation for being a solid practice player and might have more “emotional leader” in his blood.

It also means that the Terps now have two captains from Charm City to go with two of the three assistant coaches on their staff (Bino Ranson, Keith Booth). But someone without a brain will still try to mention that Maryland “cares more about DC than Baltimore.” Lord.

-Also in basketball, the team will hang a banner honoring last year’s ACC (Co) Regular Season champions before next Monday’s season opener against Seattle.

-In football, the ACC announced kickoff times and TV for the team’s next two games. They’re game against the Miami Hurricanes this Sunday will kick off at 12pm and will air on ESPNU. Next Saturday’s trip to Charlottesville to face Virginia will kickoff at 3:30pm and will be seen on ESPN3.com. Hard to generate interest when no one is seeing the games…

9. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Rick Kranitz accepted job with Houston Astros, Texas Rangers special assistant Mark Connor expected to be Orioles pitching coach

Well, if he could help a lowly team like the Rangers win the World Series, just imagine what he could do with the Birds!

(Edit from GMC: Apparently the Rangers did NOT win the World Series. I will be forced to admit that I didn’t watch last night. I chose fake college basketball and Monday Night Football instead.)

I’d offer an opinion here, but it would be misinformed. I don’t REALLY know how much Rick Kranitz did for this team. I do know that the Orioles young pitchers steadily improved last season, so Kranitz might deserve some credit there.

I know LESS about Mark Connor-other than the fact that he shares a name with my 7th grade history teacher. Don’t ask me why I knew my 7th grade history teacher’s full name-and DEFINITELY don’t ask how I remember it.

10. The Sun’s Steve Gould says Baseball America named Manny Machado, Zach Britton top prospects in O’s organization

Yet somehow “JWoww” from Jersey Shore was left off the list despite wearing this for Halloween…

jwoww

Finally, I leave you with this.

In honor of Election Day, I’ll pass along my favorite sign from Saturday’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” at the National Mall in DC. This guy literally made this sign and brought it to a rally. If there wasn’t a legal definition for “awesome” before, there is now…

fajita

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Questions abundant as Terps tip off practice at Maryland Madness

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Questions abundant as Terps tip off practice at Maryland Madness

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The lavish, smoky spectacle of Maryland Madness tipping off is always full of surprises, from the over-the-top dancing to the unpredictable entrance of coach Gary Williams, this year as a fighter pilot right out of “Top Gun.”

The event always provides conflicting feelings of optimism and uncertainty. The distinct absence of departing seniors and the premiere of freshman faces is an annual ritual in mid-October, but through all the smoke and pyro, Williams faces a much thicker cloud of questions this season.

The graduation of ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne leaves behind a 43.6-point hole in the offense and an even bigger void in leadership after guiding the Terps to a share of the ACC regular season championship. You just don’t replace one of the more decorated senior classes in the Gary Williams era without significant doubt and tempered expectations.

“What we lose [in the three seniors] is guys who know how to play,” said Williams, beginning his 22nd season at Maryland.

Of course, Williams is not starting from scratch, returning five players who averaged more than 14 minutes per game a year ago. Junior guard Sean Mosley (10.1 points per game) and sophomore big man Jordan Williams (9.6) — the only returning starters — will feel the most pressure to help replace the 55 percent of the scoring pie vacated by the graduated trio.

Mosley has shown the ability to score at times, like in his 26-point effort in a loss to Villanova last December, but the Baltimore native must show more consistency from the perimeter and better ability to finish near the hoop to take his game to the next level where the Terps need it to be.

Williams, on the other hand, appears destined for stardom after a wildly successful freshman campaign in which he averaged nearly a double-double and often looked like one of the most dominant big men in the ACC. The 6-foot-10 center looks leaner and more muscular after providing a powerful presence in the paint as a frosh.

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In terms of leadership, Maryland will look to three seniors who have spent their entire careers as role players. Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker, and Dino Gregory have all had their moments in College Park, but none have provided enough consistency to instill confidence that they can fill the shoes left behind by Vasquez, Hayes, and Milbourne.

Among the three seniors, the wildcard who could potentially see the biggest scoring increase is Tucker (5.7 per game as a junior), an enigmatic player who admittedly has spent more time in Williams’ doghouse than in the spotlight of the hardwood. Of course, Tucker has had his moments of brilliance, with his 22-point performance in an overtime win over North Carolina two years ago and his electrifying game-winning three-pointer to top Georgia Tech last season, one of the most exciting moments in the history of the Comcast Center.

“That’s helped me out a lot,” said Tucker about his heroic shot in the 76-74 win on Feb. 20. “It gives coach [Williams] more confidence in me.”

While Maryland will initially lean on its experienced players to start the season, Maryland Madness and the start of fall practice is largely about the newcomers, which include five freshmen and a junior-college transfer.

Guard Pe’Shon Howard has made the bold decision to wear Vasquez’s No. 21 jersey and has already earned praise for the heart with which he plays. Early signs point to him being an emotional player and potential fan-favorite, but will that translate to freshman success?

Mychal Parker’s athleticism and Terrell Stoglin’s quickness appear promising, but how will they translate to the college game?

Can 6-foot-9 forward Ashton Pankey provide help in the frontcourt despite spending the spring and summer recovering from a stress fracture in his left leg?

Is Haukur Palsson — a forward from Iceland — an ACC-caliber player?

All remain question marks with answers we won’t begin to uncover for several more weeks. However,  Williams is eager to unwrap his new presents when practice officially begins on Saturday.

Within the group, perhaps there is a Joe Smith, Juan Dixon, or Vasquez who will shine from Day 1 and pacify concerns over the loss of so much scoring and leadership.

“That’s what’s fun about [starting practice Saturday],” Williams said. “You’ll get some surprises. … You want to stay open to everybody — no preconceived notions.”

Notes: Juan Dixon, Johnny Rhodes, Byron Mouton, Rodney Elliott, and Dave Neal were among the notables present for the annual alumni game. Dixon hit a myriad of three-pointers in his return to College Park. … The basketball team sported their new black uniforms while performing the annual team dance for Maryland Madness. However, it is unknown whether the Terps plan to wear the uniforms due to their lack of success wearing black uniforms in recent seasons. The basketball team’s uniforms have been tweaked this season and are still supplied by Under Armour.

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Regarding LeBron: How Would We Have Felt?

Posted on 13 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

If I chime in on LeBron James, does that officially mean that EVERY columnist/blogger in the world of sports media would have dedicated print/type to the subject?

I will admit that I have much less moved by the LeBron James saga than the large majority of this country. I was unmoved by his free agent courting process, I was unmoved by ESPN’s “The Decision” special, I was unmoved by his decision to bolt Cleveland for Miami, and I was unmoved by Dan Gilbert losing his mind Thursday night.

I will also admit that rarely am I particularly moved in any way by a subject in sports that doesn’t garner any sort of emotional investment from me. With no offense to the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, my level of involvement in the NBA Finals was minimal at best. If I was home and the games were on, I watched them. I certainly did not plan my month of June around making sure I was home to see Kobe Bryant go up against Paul Pierce.

I have no emotional investment when it comes to LeBron James. I have enjoyed watching him play at times (his masterpiece against the Detroit Pistons in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals was special), but I have never been much too concerned about what he was doing on or off the floor.

Apparently I’m one of the few.

The most compelling thing about the LeBron saga for me has been the reaction-both in Cleveland and across the country. Be it fans burning LBJ jerseys in “The Comeback City” or Jesse Jackson forcing himself into the topic, I have been intrigued by all of the attention that has been placed on the subject.

Heck, even my partner on “The Morning Reaction” Drew Forrester has been inspired to talk about the NBA, a subject I couldn’t even ask him to discuss the other 11 months of the year.

Obviously the most irrational reaction has come from the shores of Lake Erie, where sports fans have not only burned jerseys; but have made much more dangerous threats and have compared the man they previously called “The King” to their other most despised sports figure-former Baltimore Ravens majority owner Art Modell.

Also amongst the reaction have been the inevitable comparisons to heartbreak-or potential heartbreak-in other cities. For example, Yahoo! Sports’ Les Carpenter (formerly of the Washington Post) wrote a column comparing James’ decision to depart Cleveland to the decision Cal Ripken made in 1988 to re-sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

It’s a fair comparison. Both were local products who achieved great success early in their career with their hometown team. There are also key differences.

Had Cal Ripken walked away from Charm City following the 1988 season, he would have been doing it in an era where fan reaction would have been much more difficult to gauge.

There were no sports talk radio stations in Baltimore in 1988. Blogging didn’t exist. Only the columnists at the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post would have REALLY had a chance to express the feelings about Ripken’s decision in a way that could have been knowledge to the man who would eventually become a Hall of Fame-caliber player.

There are also career differences-as Cal Ripken had helped lead the Birds to victory in the 1983 World Series, while LeBron James had never reached the mountaintop with the Cavs. Cleveland fans are starved for a championship at this point considering the many near misses of not only the Cavs, but also the near misses of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians over the last 25 years.

Part of the angst felt by Cleveland fans certainly has something to do with the fact that they had to be convinced James would be part of the solution to finally end the city’s title drought. In reality, it’s hard for fans in ANY city in the country to really understand the mental makeup of a fanbase that hasn’t claimed a major pro sports title since 1964. Heck, in Baltimore alone we’ve won 5 titles since then, despite having only two pro sports-one of which was missing for over a decade.

However, I don’t necessarily think it’s unfair to try to consider how we’d feel in the situation. It’s with that in mind that I offer this hypothetical, which may or may not have any real validity in the big picture.

Let’s imagine that the Baltimore Bullets never left town. Instead of moving the team to Washington, Abe Pollin was granted an expansion team in DC and sold the Bullets to local ownership. Let’s also consider that instead of the Bullets franchise winning the 1978 NBA Championship; the “Washington Wizards” expansion team won the title.

Stay with me.

Let’s continue with the hypothetical and say that the Baltimore Bullets franchise during the 80′s and 90′s had about the same success level as the team that ACTUALLY moved in the nation’s capital did. The Bullets/Wizards franchise made just one playoff appearance between 1988 and 2004-a 1st round sweep at the hands of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1997.

Now let’s consider that in the mid-1990′s, the team had moved out of the clearly defunct Baltimore Arena and into a new building, potentially where M&T Bank Stadium now sits. The building is now known as the “Under Armour Center”, but was previously known as “PSINet Arena.”

Still with me? I hope so. I’ve laid the groundwork for the “Baltimore Crabs” (the NBA still forced a name change due to the violent nature of the name “Bullets”); a team that has existed since 1963 without winning a NBA Championship and has at times struggled to survive given the organization’s struggles and the level of pro competition in both Baltimore and DC.

Now, let’s have that organization meet a significant player. Let’s say that Towson Catholic graduate Carmelo Anthony decided that instead of going to Syracuse, he would follow in the footsteps of fellow Catholic League star Juan Dixon and could commit to Maryland. During the ’02-’03 season; ‘Melo would join with Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas to lead Gary Williams’ Terrapins to a 2nd consecutive NCAA Championship and then bolt to the NBA.

Look, I said this was a hypothetical. I probably should have said “dream sequence.” But let’s not split hairs here. I know Carmelo was BORN in New York and has always been fascinated with The Big Apple, but let’s pretend he was MORE fascinated with staying home. It works better here.

Being one of the poorer teams in the ’02-’03 season, the Crabs obtained the #2 (or #3) overall pick in the NBA Draft; where they were able to select Carmelo after the Cavaliers selected LeBron James.

Suddenly, a franchise with no direction and no hope becomes a team with a local star player-a player that would quickly develop into a perennial All-Star and would lead his team to the playoffs year in and year out.

Games at the Under Armour Center are now sold out before the season after previously being attended at O’s-like rates. Businesses near the Inner Harbor boom 50+ nights a year when the Crabs are at home. Crabs jerseys with the Number 15 on them are as popular sellers as Ravens jerseys with the Number 52.

On top of all of that, the Crabs really put things together in 2010-2011, and Carmelo eventually leads the Crabs to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history-where they unfortunately lose to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Did you stay with me?

It’s the summer of 2010. The Baltimore Crabs have acquired some solid players, but were fortunate to get past the Miami Heat in ’11 because Chris Bosh was hurt early in the season. With a healthy Bosh teaming with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat are again viewed as the significant favorites to win the East. Amare Stoudemire had a stellar season for the Knicks, and rumors swirl that New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul will join him at Madison Square Garden to try to make a run at the Heat.

Carmelo Anthony is now facing free agency. He’s beloved in Baltimore, where his family and friends have enjoyed watching him play night in and night out. The people of Baltimore view him as an icon, but he’s not sure he can get over the hump and win a championship given the commitment level from ownership.

With all of that in mind, Carmelo bolts. He signs a max deal to join Amare and Chris Paul in New York, where a welcome party is held in Times Square and he’s given a key to the city by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Now here’s the question.

How do you feel?

Are you burning a jersey in the street?

Are you calling Carmelo a “coward” or a “traitor” or “Benedict Anthony”?

Are you ready to picket outside the Carmelo Anthony Youth Center?

Or are you willing to say “he’s still a hometown guy, and I’ll always be grateful for what he did here”?

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer.

The reality is that I might be closer to “burning a jersey in the street” than I would be to “thanking him for the years he gave to the city.”

How would you react? How would Baltimore have felt if this were OUR star?

It’s worth considering.

-G

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