Tag Archive | "Maryland Terrapins"

Former Terp Jordan Williams on if decision to go pro affected Gary Williams retirement: “I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation”

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Former Terp Jordan Williams on if decision to go pro affected Gary Williams retirement: “I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation”

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

Former Terps center/forward Jordan Williams may not have realized his importance  when he submitted his name to the 2011 NBA Draft, but now after being selected with the 36th selection in last Thursday’s NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, his career is going to be watched for an even bigger reason.

Following Jordan Williams out of Maryland was legendary coach Gary Williams, and with Jordan being the focal point of Gary’s final run in College Park, that also means that Jordan Williams maybe will Gary Williams’ last project to be sent to the NBA.

But Williams-who took a lot of criticism from Terps nation and NBA experts alike-said he felt like he was more ready to move on and is ready and honored to carry on what Gary Williams taught him at College Park toward his NBA game.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Jordan told Glenn Clark and Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Monday. “Just knowing the list of guys that he’s put through the league…for me to be a part of that list is just unbelieveable. I’m definitely excited.”

As a freshman in 2009-2010, Jordan Williams formed a solid 1-2 punch with senior guard Greivis Vasquez as Maryland made its way to an ACC Title. Making an impact right away, he was second in the conference in rebounding and was expected to take an even bigger role in the offense going forward the following season with Vasquez moving on to the NBA.

Which he did.

And despite freshman Terrell Stoglin coming on late in 2010-2011, Jordan Williams found himself as the team’s only option his sophomore year in College Park.  On the Naismith Watch to start the year, Williams averaged a double-double (16.9 PPG, 11.8 RPG) for the Terps this year, becoming one of the best players in the country.

He recorded 13 straight double-doubles as a matter of fact, breaking the longtime record set by Len Elmore and ended the season with 25 overall-also good for second best in the nation.

But with Maryland missing both the NCAA and NIT Tournaments and with question marks about both the program and the future of the NBA, Williams announced he was leaving the University of Maryland and signed with longtime agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports.

That decision, and his eventual selection by the Nets in the 2nd round last week, ended his career as a Terp.

Williams told Clark and Nelson that he’s heard every reason as to why people think he left College Park early to go pro.

But he doesn’t care.

“There’s been a lot of talk about why I did it,” Williams said, “but now I’m definitely happy I made the decision to leave.”

But it wasn’t always his intent from the start.

Williams did say he was planning to make to return to College Park after first testing the draft waters in Las Vegas before signing on with ASM, but ultimately he kept hearing good things about his draft stock at those workouts forcing him to move forward with his transition to the next level.

“I was planning on coming back,” Williams said, “but when I went out there my confidence built and I made such strides. I changed my body too much and it was just the right time for me to go.”

Williams said he consulted as many people as possible before making the decision to turn his back on Maryland, but ultimately the backing of two individuals- Gary Williams and Greivis Vasquez-made the decision that much easier.

“Greivis was very positive on my decision as well,” Williams said. “He just gave me all the advice he could which was, ‘Do whatever you feel is best and don’t buy into what other people tell you because you’ll have to live through it’.”

And he was surprised to see his coach as supportive as he was given the fact he knew Gary wanted Jordan Williams back in his lineup.

“He definitely helped me out a lot,” Jordan said. “He was a huge influence on my life basketball-wise. He knows so much about past players going into the league and making the right decision, so I asked him his advice and what he thought.”

“He definitely gave me a lot of good information as far as making the decision.”

Those staring at the situation from afar said that Jordan Williams entering the NBA Draft was ultimately the determining factor in Gary Williams’ abrupt retirement after 22 years coaching the Terps.

The former student-athlete and third-team All-American said that knowing Gary for as long as he had, he knows that his coach would not have made that rash of a decision over one player leaving, even if it was him.

“Knowing Coach, I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation or one event that happened,” Williams said. “I know he put a lot of time and effort into his decision and did it for all the right reasons.”

Jordan said those same critics didn’t stop there-saying that he could have maybe done himself better by staying one more year at Maryland to fine tune his game. But again, Williams said just being in the NBA and going to a class-organization like the New Jersey Nets is all he can ask for.

“I couldn’t have gone to a better organization, a better place, or a better situation being a rookie coming into the league,” Williams said. “A lot of people were talking about maybe as high as 25 (where his new teammate Marshawn Brooks was drafted by the Celtics who then immediately shipped him to NJ) but at the end of the day I kind of knew where I was falling and I knew the teams and the different slots.”

In the end, Williams said-it was all about getting the call in general.

“I was just excited that my name was gonna even be called at that point…I didn’t even care what the number was.”

Williams says now it’s about getting ready to play in the NBA and getting comfortable with his new teammates, including two-time All-Star guard Deron Williams.

“Deron’s a great guy..one of the best in the league,” Williams said. “For me to be a part of his team, I’m speechless to get the chance to meet him and I’m so excited to pick his brain and learn so much about him.”

Williams has already been told by scouts to prepare himself to play the #4 power forward on the floor, meaning he’ll probably have to lose some weight from his 6’10”, 260-lb frame.

“I know that’s my goal,” Williams said. “That’s where they have met set up. That’s where I worked out for, and that’s why I’ve been trying to change my body from a five to a four. They saw that, and they’re definitely excited for me to start at that position and do what I can to help this team win a world championship.”

And ultimately for those still worried about the lack of his presence in the Comcast Center this winter, he knows that the keys have been left in good hands with Mark Turgeon coaching and, Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard, James Padgett and others on the court.

“I talked to them all recently and they’re excited about it,” Williams said of the upcoming season. “They’re great players. They have a great head on their shoulders and great work ethic and they’re going to put themselves in a position to succeed.”

WNST thanks Jordan Williams for joining “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Monday morning! Be sure to follow Jordan on Twitter @JWilliams20 and continue to follow WNST-We Never Stop Trying to Save You Money!

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New Maryland coach Mark Turgeon: “I’ve worked my whole life to get a job like Maryland”

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New Maryland coach Mark Turgeon: “I’ve worked my whole life to get a job like Maryland”

Posted on 25 May 2011 by Ryan Chell

Mark Turgeon may have  been hired less than two weeks ago as the next coach of the Maryland Terrapins basketball program, and while he may have been stunned and shocked to be taking another college job in mid May, he is still taking it with the same approach as if he took the position months ago.

In a sense, it did the former Texas A&M, Wichita State, and Jacksonville State coach well for him to finally get the Maryland job because he didn’t know if he could wait any longer for a big-time opportunity to come his way.

And he joined “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Monday-joining Glenn Clark and Thyrl Nelson-to emphasize his anxiousness in moving on out of College Station to a job he considers elite in College Park.

Mark Turgeon

“I didn’t have the patience to wait at Kansas to take that job,” Turgeon said-who was a Jayhawks assistant under both Larry Brown (1987-88) and Roy Williams (1988-92). “And I understand those that felt a Maryland assistant should have got the job. But I have an understanding of how Maryland works.”

In reality, the last two weeks have all been about getting used to a new home in Maryland, picking up the pieces in the recruiting process, and assembling his staff.

And all that work-not just over the last two weeks in moving his life to Maryland, but his journey as a coach-have taken him here to succeed the great Gary Williams.

“I’ve worked my whole life to get a job like Maryland. I turned down jobs at Wichita State, and I believe we can go to the Final Four a lot in the future here.”

But, Turgeon was able to spend a few minutes introducing his game plan for the program.

But it’s not as complex as what you think.

Turgeon said his style of play is winning.

“This is big-time basketball,” Turgeon told Nelson and Clark. “I want to win as many titles as I can. It’s not easy.”

Turgeon, 46, recently took over for longtime Maryland coach Gary Williams-who stepped down after 22 years on the sidelines at College Park.

Turgeon told Nelson and Clark that it’s been strange to imagine he ushering a legend like Gary Williams out of his office down at Maryland, but so far, he says the transition has been smooth to say the least and Williams has been a big part of that.

“Gary knows that he needs to help out,” Turgeon said. “We all want him around to help us along here. Gary wants us to win and is very proud of the program.”

Turgeon-who spent the last four years at Texas A&M where he went 97-40 during his time at College Station, had four NCAA Tournament appearances and won two Big-12 Coach of the Year awards-also is fully capable of his resources as a coach.

“I’ve never thought about it,” Turgeon said of replacing a legend. “I followed Billy Gillispie. I know Gary’s shoes are big to fill, but I have confidence in my ability.”

What he even has more trust in is his newly formed staff, the administration atop of him, and the support of both the school’s body when it comes to he getting the Maryland program back on the map.

“I have even more confidence in the University of Maryland and the tradition of the program,” Turgeon said. “I became a better coach the day I accepted the job. There’s no excuses. We should have everything  we need to build a Top-10 ball-club.”

The only issue with that standing in his way? Turgeon knows that he’s going to have to beat the best of the best in the ACC-in this case the Duke’s and North Carolinas led by his former mentor in Roy Williams.

But again, Turgeon felt like the hurdle down on Tobacco Road is nothing different than what he went up against in the Big 12 when it came to powerhouses like Texas and his alma mater in Kansas.

“The ACC really isn’t that much different than the Big 12,” Turgeon said. “Kansas won the league for the last four years. We had those two at the top. Those programs recruit at the same level. It’s definitely a challenge.”

But Turgeon said if they do the same things that the elite programs of the league do-and he didn’t beat around the bush when saying it was recruiting-, he said that any program can beat the elite teams in the country.

“We’re not trying to be Duke or North Carolina,” Turgeon replied. “We’re just trying to be Maryland. If we do it right and get good players, we will be able to play with anyone in the country.”

And one of the biggest things Turgeon has done since he took the job was the news that last week that City guard Nick Faust-one of Gary Williams’ prized young recruits who initially committed to Maryland then asked for a release of his letter of intent after the coaching change-decided to stick it with Turgeon as his coach.

Turgeon couldn’t express enough the importance of keeping guys like Faust in the plans for the University of Maryland, and he said it was just a sign that things aren’t going to change too much between him and Gary Williams.

“Keeping Nick Faust was important,” Turgeon added. “I’m looking forward to working with him and making him even better.”

He compared it to his time coaching in the NBA under Larry Brown-one of several stops under the legendary coach-and having to work with one of the NBA’s biggest stars in Allen Iverson.

“The year in the NBA was great working with Coach Brown and coaching Allen was great,” he said. “He was as good as anybody and very respectful. I’m a big Iverson guy.”

He said dealing with a guy like Iverson helped him relate to the prep athlete in the recruiting process.

“It has helped me handle superstars and be more patient. We will use it in recruiting. We will everything in recruiting.”

And Turgeon said that as soon as he was done with Nelson and Clark, that’s what he was getting right back to doing.

“We’ll make a few phone calls trying to add someone,” Turgeon replied. “We’re looking, but being selective not trying to just fill holes.”

“I got the job May 8th. That’s really late to add a piece. We’ll try JuCo or something looking for a post player. But we will have a great class for the upcoming year.”

WNST thanks Mark Turgeon for joining WNST as we welcomed him to College Park! Check out the interview at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson on Mark Turgeon hiring: “it was all about hiring the best basketball coach for the University of Maryland”

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson on Mark Turgeon hiring: “it was all about hiring the best basketball coach for the University of Maryland”

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Ryan Chell

Back in December, new Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson was tasked with replacing a head coach who was not only an alum of the school but could be seen as an institution when it came to football coach Ralph Friedgen.

Anderson-who was hired back on September 4th, 2010- had to show off his skills as an adequate leader and decision-maker of the athletic department when it came to finding a new football coach for the Maryland program, and he indeed found at least a worthy candidate in former Big East coach of the Year in Randy Edsall.

But Anderson’s skills were to put even more to the test last week when longtime coach Gary Williams-a 22-year stalwart and the school’s winningest basketball coach; the man who led the Terps to the lone national championship in school history in 2002-abruptly announced his retirement leaving Anderson again with the task of finding another coach for a major program at Maryland.

And after the ceremony last Friday to thank Williams for his time in College Park, it was Anderson’s job to tour the country in search of the next man who would follow in Gary’s steps on the sidelines of the Comcast Center.

Kevin Anderson

Anderson-left in quite a predicament by Williams’ abrupt retirement-then went quickly to work in going through candidates to find the school’s next head coach.

And after several high-profile coaches turned down the offer to leave behind what they had at their respective schools, Anderson eventually found a candidate this week in Mark Turgeon, the basketball coach at Texas A&M who spent the last four years at College Station roving the sidelines in the Big 12.

Mark Turgeon

Turgeon will be introduced Wednesday afternoon, but before then, Anderson joined “The Mobtown Sports Beat” with Thyrl Nelson Tuesday to introduce his next coaching hire to Terrapin Nation.

“I want to thank my team at Maryland and the athletic department,” Anderson said. “They helped me out tremendously so we were able to go after this in a hurry and after a couple days we were able to hire Gary’s successor.”

The first question Nelson asked Anderson? Who’s the next Maryland team that needs Anderson to find them a coach?

“Hopefully there isn’t an encore,” Anderson laughed. “I believe that if everyone embraces Randy and Mark the way they’ve embraced me, we’ll all be fine here for quite a long time and be successful.”

Just from his interactions with Turgeon, Anderson knows already that he is the right man for the job.

“He’s a proven winner,” Anderson said. “Everywhere he’s gone, he’s had a program…that he’s basically taken from scratch or he’s made it better.”

Turgeon is 250-159 in his coaching career between Jacksonville State, Wichita State and the last four years at Texas A&M.

He directed the Aggies to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and for his efforts was named Big 12 Coach of the Year the last two seasons.

He also holds the distinction of being the only coach in the history of the Big 12 with at least 24 wins in each of his first four seasons.

Anderson said that in occurrence-and this could be the first  in Turgeon’s 13-year coaching record-he has something to build off of at Maryland when it came to Gary Williams’ foundation as opposed to starting from scratch or having to clean up after someone.

“In this case,” Anderson said, “he’s going to come in here and he’s going to work on what Gary’s done and the legacy Gary has, so he’ll continue to build on that greatness.”

And in a way, Anderson said that already Turgeon has shown him the tenacity that he’s willing to fight for recruits in the Maryland-VA-DC area-something that was the biggest criticism of Turgeon’s predecessor at Maryland in Williams.

“The other thing is that he’s a competitor,” Anderson said. “He will back down from nobody.”

Anderson said that attribute may have been the biggest thing Turgeon brought to the table on his resume.

“I believe that was one of the most important attributes we could find in the next Maryland basketball coach because we play in a conference against some great coaches. I wanted somebody to come in here who was not only a good coach, but wasn’t going to be afraid to go after the top prize and not back down from anybody.”

“And that’s Mark Turgeon.”

And that’s where Anderson wanted to drive the point home. While Gary Williams had a hand in choosing his successor, and Anderson certainly was looking for candidates ready to carry on the legacy of Williams-he wanted to make it clear.

They were looking for the best coach to lead the University of Maryland basketball team forward.

“You don’t find the next Gary Williams because Gary Williams is an entity unto himself,” Anderson said. “He’s a very unique basketball coach.”

“But it was all about hiring the best basketball coach for the University of Maryland-one who’s going to take care of the student-athletes, who’s going to be demanding in the classroom and on the court.”

Anderson compared it to hiring Edsall replacing Ralph Friedgen.

“I would say that therea lot of the same characteristics that Randy Edsall and Mar share…Mark sees things the same way as Randy does and I do too,” Anderson noted.

Anderson hopes bringing in a quality guy to the coaching chair on the sidelines at Comcast will bring in the quality prep talent to the program as well.

“That’s what we kept talking about,” Anderson said. “If you hire quality people, you recruit quality kids. Nine times out of ten you’re going to be successful. That’s part of why he’s here now.”

The irony of it all?

All of this almost didn’t occur with Turgeon in the mountains of Pennsylvania over the weekend in a bad cell area. The initial phone to call to Turgeon from Anderson?

It didn’t connect.

“I reached out to Mark and didn’t get a return call,” Anderson said. “I didn’t think he would be interested. Well, what happened was he was camping with his family up in the Pennsylvania mountains but there was no cell service.”

“As soon as they came down the mountain, he hit voicemail and responded immediately. We connected Sunday night and here we are today.”

WNST thanks Kevin Anderson for joining “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to welcome in the new Maryland basketball coach, Mark Turgeon! Glenn Clark has you covered tomorrow as he is introduced! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @WNST!

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Former Terps WR Torrey Smith ready to “help Ravens get to a Super Bowl…and win it”

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Former Terps WR Torrey Smith ready to “help Ravens get to a Super Bowl…and win it”

Posted on 04 May 2011 by Ryan Chell

From the start of the evaluation process for the 2011 NFL Draft, the Ravens personnel department said repeatedly that they were very interested in bringing in former Maryland Terps wide receiver Torrey Smith for a look at solving their offensive woes.

Torrey Smith

But only if the price was right.

And that price was at best a second-round pick-which happened to be the case as former Ravens LB Peter Boulware announced that Baltimore had selected the Maryland Terrapins junior receiver with the 58th selection last Friday night.

And for Smith, playing for the nearby Ravens was definitely a possibility  for him, as he told Thyrl Nelson Monday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” in his first appearance on Nelson’s program since becoming a Raven.

Smith had joined Nelson every week since January giving updates on his draft preparation.

“I knew it was a possibility,” Smith told Nelson. “I wanted to be there.”

Before the draft based on Smith’s pure athletic ability, resume at Maryland and his Combine numbers, Torrey Smith had been projected by every mock draft to at least land on all 32 NFL teams.

But luckily, Smith was able to fall given some of the other wide receivers and position players being of need.

But despite not being drafted Thursday by an NFL team, Smith knew that he could always rely on the Ravens to call his name.

“I felt like Ozzie and Coach Harbaugh wanted to draft me,” Smith said. “I’m just happy everything happened the way it did.”

In a sense, it seemed like it was meant to be for the Ravens to take their second Jimmy Smith of the draft weekend (Torrey’s real first name is James.)

“I didn’t necessarily think he was going to be there,” Ravens director of pro personnel Eric DeCosta told Drew Forrester Tuesday morning. “I thought it was probably a 50-50 shot.”

It does come as quite the surprise that Smith was available to the Ravens at 58 given his impressive resume in his final season at Maryland.

Smith had 67 catches (4th best in school history), 1,055 yards and a Maryland-record 12 TDs in his final season at College Park, and built on his career numbers of 152 catches, 2,215 yards, and 19 TDs.

Only former Raven Jermaine Lewis has more receiving touchdowns (21)and yards (2,932)in his career than Smith.

Smith hopes he can bring the same skills to the table taking passes from Joe Flacco behind two of the best in the business.

“I just want to help anywhere I can,” Smith said. “I’m lucky to be able to learn from Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin. I’m looking forward to learning from them.”

Smith also offers versatility and options to the Ravens in the return game. In fact, Smith broke onto the scene in the ACC more for his return skills at first-then he blossomed into an NFL-caliber receiver.

In his career, he amassed 2, 983 return yards which broke the previous ACC-record.

His three career touchdowns returned via kickoff are a Terrapins school record.

All-in-all, it was everything Smith brings to the Ravens that caused Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome to call Smith their “three-pointer”.

“I think the Ravens can use my speed,” Smith said. “They need that from me. I’m happy I can provide that and give the Ravens my best up there.”

But Torrey’s going to have to put on the brakes for now. Just like the rest of the Ravens draft picks minus first-rounder Jimmy Smith, Torrey Smith unfortunately wasn’t able to get a playbook from the Ravens coaching staff due to the lockout being put back into place by the owners Friday into Saturday.

“I was only able to say hello at the press conference and that was it. I couldn’t talk about football and didn’t get any playbooks,” Smith said. “It was tough.”

But so far, he has heard from several of his new Ravens teammates though and they are ready to embrace him as quickly as the opportunity presents itself.

And he’s ready to use the same speed in getting prepared toward playing in the NFL that he used toward burning past ACC-defenders and tacklers.

“My goal is to help the Ravens get to a Super Bowl and win it,” Smith said. “I hope the judge rules in favor of the players so that everything can get going.”

WNST thanks Torrey Smith for joining “The Mobtown Sports Beat” after being drafted by the Ravens and leading up to the Draft as well! Torrey being a Raven makes it that much easier to root for him! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Former UConn RB and NFL-draft prospect Jordan Todman: “With Coach Edsall…he had a great opportunity to make me better”

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Former UConn RB and NFL-draft prospect Jordan Todman: “With Coach Edsall…he had a great opportunity to make me better”

Posted on 01 April 2011 by Ryan Chell

Former University of Connecticut running back Jordan Todman’s dream is to play in the NFL. It has always been to play football for as long as he can.

And when he joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Thursday, he had a lot of thanks to throw around for the position he is in, and he has one guy new to the Baltimore area to thank for his success.

The projected third-or-fourth rounder in April’s draft had current Maryland and ex-UConn football coach Randy Edsall for helping him raise his playing level to that the NFL caught notice of while he was in college.

Jordan Todman

“With Coach Edsall, I feel like I connected with the coach as well,” Todman told Nelson. “We all had the same interests. We just bonded real quick and I knew that he knew what he was doing and that he had a great opportunity to make me better.”

And Todman was pretty good for Edsall.

Todman was named the 2010 Big East Offensive Player of the Year and proved to be another talented running back  following the departure of Donald Brown to the NFL.

Todman gave a lot of credit to his predecessor in building the bridge for him to make plays.

“Donald Brown as we all know is a great running back and did well at the college level and is now out there. He and I are friends and I had the opportunity to play under him and have my game be better so that when I go to the NFL, I can be as successful as him.”

His 1,695 yards rushing for the Huskies this year was second most in school history, and the 14 scores he had were good for fifth-best for the program.

He became the first UConn running back to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, and finished third on the team’s career rushing list with 3,179 yards and 31 TDs in his three seasons in Hartford.

It wasn’t until Edsall coached him up and told him that he could play at the next level that Todman put his priorities in order.

“When you’re committing to school to play college football to eventually the NFL, that’s naturally not in your mind at first thought. I went to UConn and had no regrets about it, and I was finally able to to play in some games as a freshman and start some as a sophomore. Then to be the feature back my junior year, all-in-all it was probably the best decision I made.”

And he’s using that same ethic that Coach Edsall passed on to him when it comes to his NFL preparation.

“I felt like I put in all the work for the combine and my pro-day, and those things are over now. So, the next big thing and the next big date with football is having some meetings with some teams and draft day. Football is my full-time job now and as we speak I’m in the gym right now. It’s more of an opportunity to get better in the game of football.”

WNST thanks Jordan Todman for joining Thyrl Nelson and WNST! Could he be the next backup for Ray Rice? WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Terps coach Gary Williams on Jordan Williams draft decision: “Jordan is looking at things…he has every right to do that.”

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Terps coach Gary Williams on Jordan Williams draft decision: “Jordan is looking at things…he has every right to do that.”

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Ryan Chell

Jordan Williams and Gary Williams

Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams has had a little time on his hands to sit back and take in what occurred to his Terps squad in 2010-2011, and while he is already in gear for next season-hopefully with star Jordan Williams in the fold-he joined “The Morning Reaction” this week to give his thoughts on the Final Four from an outside perspective.

Williams-who has taken two Maryland teams to similar Final Four appearances in 2001 and 2002-joined Drew Forrester on Tuesday and said that each of these teams left in the tournament-from your major powerhouses like Kentucky and UConn and your newcomers in Butler and VCU-are here for a reason.

“I know that’s all the big part of it,” Williams said of how crazy this tournament has been given some of the upsets. “It’s all about how well you’re playing going in. Every once in awhile, you get one of those teams who just has one of the nights where they’re not shooting the ball well. But once the tournament is seeded, that doesn’t matter anymore. You need to win the game you’re playing.”

Williams had a ton of respect to throw toward two of his fellow coaching counterparts in Kentucky’s John Calipari and Jim Calhoun of Connecticut for leading yet another team to the Final Four, and the Maryland coach said that those two coaches in particular are the best of the best when it comes to getting that high level of play out of their players.

“Calhoun and Calipari first of all get their players to play,” Williams said. “The players they have in the program play really hard, and are very well coached.”

A lot of basketball fans and the media on the outside of the business may criticize a coach like Gary Williams for heralding coaches proven to be cheaters in the past, especially with Calipari who has vacated two previous Final Four appearances, but Williams said that it’s up to  them to make their own opinions of what Jim Calhoun and John Calipari are and how forgiving they are of their past transgressions.

“People will get their own chance to make their own judgment,” Williams said. “I think that’s what important with the media. They just put it out there there-every part of it. The fact is, they are good coaches and people can judge that. They can decide whatever they want to about that situation.”

In the end, Williams said-it’s all about something special for the players, and that’s where the focus should remain.

“I think that the one thing for these young guys-and obviously I’m not a young guy anymore in this game-this game is a great game.”

And for one of those young guys in Terps center-forward Jordan Williams, who was the Terps best player in 2011 leading Maryland in scoring with 16.9 ppg and 11.8 rgg.

He set a single-season record with 25 double-doubles and broke longtime Maryland great Len Elmore’s record of straight double-doubles.

It was also announced Tuesday-immediately after Gary Williams joined “The Morning Reaction” that Jordan Williams had submitted his paperwork and applied for the 2011 NBA Draft, but as of this moment has not hired an agent, keeping his NCAA eligibility alive.

His coach addressed his potential interest in going pro after his sophomore year.

“Jordan, like a lot of guys, is looking at things,” Gary Williams said. “Other than that, that’s all he’s doing and he has every right to do that. It’s just an ongoing discussion, but he needs to do what’s best for him and his family.”

Williams compared Jordan’s situation to that of Greivis Vasquez a few years ago when he too probed his NBA draft status before deciding to come back for his senior year.

Williams said he wishes Jordan all the best in the NBA should he decide to go pro, but he also said that his star player should really think about his time in college as being several of the best years of a person’s life and an era that one shouldn’t pass up or take for granted.

“You only get four years in college, no matter how good you are,” Gary said. “If you’ve ever hung around the pros, once they go the play-no matter how successful they are in the NBA-they always talk about their college experience.”

“We had Kevin Durant in here playing pick-up games over the summer after his season was over. All he talked about was how much he enjoyed his one year at Texas…how he wished there was a way he could still play there. That’s a guy making a lot of money, but the college experience is unbelievable.”

Jordan Williams is a star at Maryland. In the pros, it will definitely take some time for him to get to that level again.

“When you go to the NBA, you’re not a star anymore. I’ve talked to Greivis a lot this year, and it’s really tough year for him because it’s lonely. You’re making good money, and that’s fine. But at the same time all your friends are here, and it’s dog-eat-dog out there. It’s like any other profession, you have to go hard everyday.”

WNST thanks Coach Gary Williams for joining Drew on “The Morning Reaction!” Check out his chat at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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For O’s fan like myself, Christmas-and hopefully a New Year-begins next week

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Ryan Chell

In the last month at WNST and in the sports world, most of the talk has been surrounded by the ongoing labor situation in the NFL(recently flaring up in a lockout by the owners threatening the 2011 season), disappointment from Terps basketball as yet another year with no NCAA Tournament aspirations, and various other sports topics of discussion-most of them negative.

But, I was surprised at the start of baseball season to see so much optimism toward the hometown Baltimore Orioles-mind you a team that has not had a winning season since 1997.

And of course, you can trace that optimism back to last summer, when veteran manger Buck Showalter-who built three franchises to the level of World Series participants-took over as manager of the Baltimore Orioles on August 3rd and led the Orioles to a 34-23 record-best in the AL East for the last stretch of the season.

Showalter’s arrival showed the impact of what a veteran manager (guys not named Dave Trembley or Juan Samuel) who knows the game of baseball along with evaluating key personnel can put wins on the board.

But frankly, it could also be said that Showalter was blessed with the healthiest Oriole team of last year, having both his leadoff hitter in Brian Roberts and his reliever in Koji Uehara healthy for the final run of the season.

Still, what Showalter did last year energized the displaced and beaten Oriole fanbase.

And I was one of them.

Last season, I went to one game before Showalter took over as manager of the Orioles-this coming from a former regular to OPACY.

I always enjoy going to Orioles games growing up. Baseball is my first love. My dad and I have been going to games since I was eight years old (I’m 23 now).I have so many fond memories of going to Oriole Park as a growing lad.

I remember when I was younger sitting in the club seats on the first base side when my dad got them from the car dealership he used to work for.

I still have my Orioles cards I received one night at the ballpark featuring the likes of Chris Hoiles, Cal Ripken, Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson, Brady Anderson and more.

I loved emulating Cal Ripken’s hundreds of batting stances and Mike Mussina’s trademark way of checking the runner at first base by bending down and looking through his legs.

One of the first games I ever went to at Camden Yards, I puked due to eating so much of the food there. (Not one of my finest moments but I can safely say I’ve never hoarded out since).

In 1997, my dad and I went to Game 1 of the ALCS verus the Cleveland Indians. The Orioles won that night with Scott Erickson on the mound, and we sat in a filled-to-the-brink Camden Yards in the back row of the left field bleachers.

I remember being in the fifth grade (my teacher also went to the game that night) and looking back behind me and just seeing a chain-link fence and a huge drop behind me. I was terrified. And even I wasn’t worrying about that, I couldn’t see much of the field or the players even with the binoculars I brought.

It was kind of a bummer for a ten-year old kid.

My dad was “well-off” at the time, but his reasoning for the nose-bleed seats were to save for the eventual World Series tickets.

Unfortunately…that never came.

And after 14 years of losing, the Orioles continued to test both my and my dad’s patience so much so that our journeys to Camden Yards dwindled and dwindled till we stopped going completely.

There’s only so much of an emotional roller-coaster ride you can take. Right O’s fans?

I would still watch the games on television religiously for 80% of the year until the usual August slide occurred post All-Star break, and then it was on to football.

It was part of the routine for the last decade-plus.

But things are different now. For the first time in years, the Orioles FINISHED well and on top of that, we might not have football to rely on this year Baltimore.

After Showalter put a spark into the team, that renewed sense of optimism put my dad and I back in the ballpark on several occasions. It was the first time in almost a decade that my dad had been at the park and for me, I could count on one hand how many times I had gone solo or with a group of friends to an Orioles game that wasn’t student night or giving something away.

The Orioles management in the off-season tried their best to keep that salivation going on the part of the Baltimore fanbase by  getting some new toys  for practically nothing, and with little risk involved.

They traded away David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio-two pitchers who had the chance to be non-tendered by the club anyway-for a 30 home run third basemen in Mark Reynolds who had an off-year due to injuries in 2010.

The same could be said for former Cubs/Marlins/Braves first baseman Derrek Lee-once on track for Triple Crown numbers several years back with Chicago, and an offensive upgrade at shortstop with J.J. Hardy forcing Cesar Izturis to the bench.

And the club reached out to the competition and stole the closer of the Toronto Blue Jays from last season in Kevin Gregg to hopefully do the same for the Orange and Black.

But ultimately, the icing on the cake came when the Orioles finally reached out to former AL-MVP Vladimir Guerrero and signed him to a one-year deal.

Guerrero-who was sought by the Orioles years ago when he first hit free agency in 2004-was a huge part in the Texas Rangers reaching the World Series last year, and even if he has an off-year, I’ll take a drop-off from 29 HR, 115 RBIs and a .300 batting average any day of the week.

People say he’s injury prone, but he did play in 152 games last year as a DH.

I’m right along with Buck Showalter right now in wanting to just get this thing started.

I’m the kid at Christmas waiting for his parents to come downstairs so we can get started opening them.

The enthusiasm has to be there. How can you be disappointed in what the Orioles did in the off-season?

They went out and addressed needs-and with short-term solutions-maybe even guys who turn their careers around and become a piece of the U-turn in Baltimore.

You have to crawl before you can walk. You have to show the superstars out there-guys like Prince Fielder-that this team is going somewhere before they are going to make a commitment.

And if they don’t work out? They won’t be here. This isn’t Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro, and Javy Lopez where they’re stuck with these guys for several seasons paying them for mediocrity while holding someone else back.

And while all the talk about earning a wild card spot, reaching the playoffs, and even getting to .500 this year is all good and nice, sorry Baltimore-this is where I have to lay it down like it is.

Even with the moves they made from a year ago, it’s going to be near-impossible to improve by 20+ wins in the standings. They still have relatively the same pitching staff from a year ago, some injury concerns, and a similar bullpen in many aspects.

So hold off on the-”We’re gunning for you Boston and Baltimore”-especially you…Buck Showalter.

But I will say this. I don’t care how they finish right now. And if even if the consecutive losing streak continues this year, it’s not going to be because they started out with just two wins on the year in the first three weeks.

They’ll be exciting to watch and competitive.

We’ll be in April soon. Everyone will have a clean slate and on Opening Day, everyone will be on the same level,  identical records and have common ground is in place.

The best thing in the world of Orioles baseball would be for this team to get off to the tremendous start the team got off to in 2005-going 42-30 under Lee Mazzilli while enjoying first place-but this time staying there with another former Yankee leading the way.

And I’d be there to watch it.Now let’s get started.

WNST is ready for the Orioles 2011 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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CB Josh Wilson, while waiting for free agent status with new CBA, active with Ravens teammates Zbikowski and Stallworth

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CB Josh Wilson, while waiting for free agent status with new CBA, active with Ravens teammates Zbikowski and Stallworth

Posted on 11 March 2011 by Ryan Chell

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson was a late addition to the Baltimore Ravens last year, but the former Maryland Terp corner back not only provided depth to a position of need in 2010, but he may have been one of the better surprises playing for Baltimore this past year.

A former second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks out of Maryland, Wilson came over in a trade to Baltimore on August 31st to provide adequate depth for a position filled with guys coming back or suffering from devastating knee injuries.

After jumping on and off the bench for much of the first half of the season, Wilson eventually found the playing field and took over for a struggling Fabian Washington and provided solid play game after game.

In nine starts for Wilson, the former Dematha prep standout recorded 37 tackles and three interceptions.

While he did give up the critical touchdown to Roddy White late in Baltimore’s 26-21 loss to Atlanta, he made up for it several weeks later by intercepting Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in overtime and bringing it back twelve yards for the score to seal the win for the Ravens, 34-28.

For Wilson, this season was a dream come true for him because not only was he getting the playing time he wasn’t guaranteed in Seattle under a new coaching staff, but he returned home to the Baltimore area and became part of the Ravens family.

So much so, that earlier this week at the annual Ed Block Courage Awards, Wilson accepted the award on behalf of teammate Donte Stallworth, who was voted as the Ravens’ winner for his strength in coming back from a life-changing event in which Stallworth killed a man while driving under the influence.

“It was a wonderful event,” Wilson said. “I’m glad I was able to be a part of it for Donte. It was such a great event.”

Being around that group of individuals coming back from struggles and injuries really moved Wilson earlier this week, but ultimately he knows that with his free agent status in check as well as the possibility of a lockout occurring, he knows his time as a Raven could be short-lived despite he being embraced by the coaching staff and players.

He was assigned a restricted tender by the team, but ultimately when a new CBA gets done, Wilson most likely will find himself an unrestricted free agent able to sign anywhere.

It is Wilson’s hope that he can remain in Baltimore for the long haul.

“Right now, I’m in town…I’m back where I grew up in the area,” Wilson said.

Wilson has been one of the many players out there anxiously awaiting word as to what is going to happen when it comes to there being football next year or not.

“Right now, I’ve noticed that the more you get excited because you think something is going to get done on the big day of movement…the next day you find out we’re still far apart. I’m listening and paying attention, but it’s always like ‘don’t get your hopes up too quick’,” Wilson added.

Not getting his hopes up in that regard has allowed Wilson the opportunity to catch up on some other things going on in the Ravens community, including the likes of his teammates Tom Zbikowski fighting on the Cotto-Mayorga undercard this weekend at the MGM Grand.

Wilson-while he will be missing the event due to his birthday on Friday-said that he definitely will be keeping tabs on his secondary mate.

“I couldn’t make it to the actual event, but I’ve got my ears to the pavement with that one,” Wilson said.

“That’s the way he is. He’s serious about his craft…he’s serious about boxing. And he’s good at it…he’s a trained professional and almost like a dual athlete, so you better watch out who you’re talking trash to.”

WNST thanks Josh Wilson for joining “The Afternoon Drive with Rex Snider! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Despite recent coaching departures-including most recently Don Brown-Terps football coach Edsall pleased with first Signing Day

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Despite recent coaching departures-including most recently Don Brown-Terps football coach Edsall pleased with first Signing Day

Posted on 08 February 2011 by Ryan Chell

Last week, high school Signing Day for the most part was pushed under the rug because of all the hype leading up to Super Bowl XLV.

But one person hard at work in the few short weeks he has been at the helm of the Terps has been new football coach Randy Edsall.

Edsall’s recruiting class was also pushed under the rug due to the fact that the “experts” didn’t give the first-year Terps coach much credit for what he brought to College Park.

Edsall-hired as the new football coach of Maryland in the coming days before coaches were allowed to hit the recruiting trail back in January-had a shorter time to work with than most coaches implementing his own recruiting plan following the firing of  Ralph Friedgen.

Edsall joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to discuss his results from last week’s Signing Day, and with the National Letters of Intent still finding his way to his desk as of Monday, he is pleased with the results and likes the way the team will be shaping up for the 2011 season.

And despite the recent departures of some of Friedgen’s former assistants-guys like James Franklin(who left to become the head football coach at Vanderbilt)-and defensive coordinator Don Brown-who just this past week announced that he will take the same position at Edsall’s old stomping grounds at UConn-the recruits still saw College Park as the place to be.

“It’s been a situation where we were able to maintain most of the guys who were committed here previous to my arrival,” Edsall told Nelson. “And we were able to get three or four guys where we had spots that needed to get done.”

Ralph Friedgen in his decade-long run at Maryland was always good at recruiting the best of athletes to become Terps-guys like Vernon Davis, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Shawne Merriman, and Torrey Smith-and Edsall said that his first recruiting class at Maryland hasn’t missed that beat either.

“You know, being able to maintain the speed and athleticism that we had on the defensive side and I thought we got three quality receivers so overall I was pleased with the work and the final tally of these twenty-one recruits.”

The recruit that has jumped off the charts-or at least highlights the receivers Edsall signed-is Parkwood High School (North Carolina) wide receiver Marcus Leak, the 44th ranked wide receiver prospect in the country.

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

Leak is along the same lines of a Torrey Smith, and has shown on the prep level to have adequate speed and impressive size and bulk.

He is also expected to be a force in the return game when he suits up for Edsall on the field.

Receivers coach Lee Hull was one of a handful Friedgen assistants to remain on Edsall’s staff, and Hull will no doubt have an impact on the grooming of Leak to help him hit the field quicker and perform better when he does hit Byrd Stadium.

Another prospect catching attention and praise from Edsall and others is Hoschtown, Georgia native Tyler Cierski, a protypical fullback at 6’1, 240 pounds.

Tyler Cierski

Cierski was rated as the #2 fullback in the nation according to ESPN.com, and his signing could be attention to the fact that Edsall is going to commit his teams to running the football effectively and not relying entirely on the shoulders of his ACC Rookie of the Year QB Danny O’Brien.

Cierski could eventually be blocking for the recruit who signed late as of Monday- #26th ranked running back Justus Pickett out Ardrey Kell High School in North Carolina.

Justus Pickett

Pickett had several other schools on his list, including West Virginia, Arkansas, Duke, Wake Forest, and Ball State.

The 5’10, 166-pound running back is said to have 4.3-4.6 speed and has drawn some comparisons to Mountaineers running back Noel Devine.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive coordinator Don Brown was expected to remain with Edsall and run that side of the ball, but he recently announced that he was taking his services up to UConn to run new coach Paul Pasqualoni’s defense.

Brown said the move was based on being closer to his family in the New England area, and the former UMass head coach will be going home apparently.

That leaves Edsall with a hole in his coaching lineup at defensive coordinator, but whoever picks up the headset there will have some toys to play with in the coming years.

Quinton Jefferson

Three-star defensive end recruit Quinton Jefferson (Woodland Hills, Pittsburgh)-who had received offers from Iowa, Cincinnati, WVU, Pittsburgh, and Wisconsin-could either be that dominant pass rusher in the next few years for the Terps on the line or if Edsall remains confident in the 3-4 as his defense, Jefferson might be the next Shawne Merriman.

Cole Farrand-a three-star linebacker/tight end out of Sparta, NJ/Pope John-could see himself at either position for Edsall in the coming years.

ESPN has him ranked as the #25th ranked OLB in the prep nation.

You can also add to the mix at the linebacking corps Maryland’s own Alex Twine-out of Quince Orchard High School.

Twine may make an immediate impact on special teams and has already has impressed the coaching staff with his sure tackling ability.

The wild card in the defensive recruits Edsall mentioned may be defensive tackle Keith Bowers out of Dwyer High School in Palm Springs, Florida.

Bowers already weighs in at 6’1, 250 pounds, and he could be that force in the middle for Edsall’s defense.

But while that remains to be seen-as well as the rest of this recruiting class-just as it is in the transition from college to the NFL, some of these guys may not pan out.

“You never know how someone will turn out until you’re four or five years down the road,” Edsall noted. “I just worry about what we do as an evaluation as coaches.”

Maryland’s recruiting class was rated ninth out of the 12 ACC schools, with only Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and N.C. State trailing the Terps according to ESPN.com.

Edall however doesn’t believe in all that rankings and star-systems when it comes to recruiting college athletes. He just wants guys who he knows can play the game of football and do it well enough to his standards.

“I don’t put any credence in the star system,” he said. “What we’re looking for is how they’re going to fit into the schemes we play and do they fit in academically…socially…with their work ethic, and character wise. Those are the decisions we have to make…all those other things are just there to make money for fans to buy into.”

But what Edsall does know that these 21 guys are committed to the University of Maryland 100%, and they’ve already taken that first step in proving so by signing their letters of intent and getting to work.

“It’s so refreshing,” Edsall said,” because you’re teaching these kids about commitment and what commitment means.”

WNST has you covered talking Baltimore sports!

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Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt says Gary Williams may have similar problem in keeping Jordan Williams at College Park as he did with Derrick Favors

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Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt says Gary Williams may have similar problem in keeping Jordan Williams at College Park as he did with Derrick Favors

Posted on 30 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Maryland and Georgia Tech meet tonight at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum in an ACC contest, and with much of the conference  clawing at each other to break away from the middle of the pack, this is another important opportunity for both the Yellow Jackets and the Terps to get a very crucial conference win.

For the Terps, it would mean three straight ACC wins over Clemson, Virginia, and the Georgia Tech and putting Maryland above .500 in the ACC after starting 1-3 in the conference.

The Yellow Jackets meanwhile are wanting to keep their home conference record perfect (3-0 at home) while building on their momentum fueled by a 72-57 victory over Virginia Tech.

Paul Hewitt

Yellow Jackets basketball coach Paul Hewitt joined “The Morning Reaction” Friday to preview the game tonight, and he told Drew Forrester that both he and Gary Williams have experienced the same kind of pressure playing these conference games.

“We’ve played the first few games here in the ACC well, and obviously every ACC game is important,” Hewitt said.  “And we’ve got another important one with Maryland Sunday night at 7:45.”

Much like Maryland, Georgia Tech has had to rely on a young nucleus of talent-mostly sophomores minus the likes of leading scorer, guard Iman Shumpert (16.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), who is a junior.

Shumpert is supported by fellow sophomore guard Glen Rice (12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) as well as Brian Oliver (11.5 ppg).

Hewitt told Forrester that he also understands how Maryland coach Gary Williams is feeling right now having to rely on young talent at key positions on the court, and how frustrating that can be at times.

“Our teams are similar in respect to we’re depending on young guys playing in important positions,” Hewitt said.  “Obviously Gary has his two freshman at the point guard, and they’re playing a very important job right now. It’ll be an interesting game. We’ll see how it goes on Sunday night.”

Hewitt said he continues to rely on his scorers to keep them in ballgames, and so far that not only has Shumpert offensively, but defensively as well.

Shumpert was huge in holding VT senior guard Malcolm Delaney-who torched Maryland with 19pts, 7 assists, and five rebounds in the Hokies 74-57 victory over the Terps-to just eight points in Tech’s 72-57 win.

“He’s been real overlooked in terms of that aspect of his game, and if you go back to the NCAA Tournament last year when we beat Oklahoma State, he completely shut down the kid James Anderson, who ultimately became a first round pick by the San Antonio Spurs. Iman has done that time and time again with great scorers,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt hope to have that same kind of defensive pressure-whether it be from Shumpert or not-on Maryland’s inside presence in sophomore Jordan Williams.

“He’s got great hands,” he said.  “He is an excellent finisher around the basket. And when people say ‘he’s that close to the basket he’s supposed to finish,’ trust me, in our league…Jordan Williams can finish with the best of them. Having been in the league this long…this will be my 11th year…he’s as good a finisher around the rim as we’ve seen.”

And he knows with Jordan Williams being that good, Gary’s going to have his work cut out for him trying to convince him to stay around College Park for his junior year and beyond.

Hewitt has had that same problem many times over his 11 seasons on the GT sideline, most notably last year with forward Derrick Favors going pro after one year, going third overall to the New Jersey Nets in the 2010 NBA Draft.

He also has had difficulty keeping guys like Chris Bosh, Jarrett Jack, Thaddeus Young, and Javaris Crittendon from going pro.

“It’s something we have to work on. We’ll figure it out,” Hewitt laughed. “The thing we have to do is continue to recruit well and even when we get the great player who has the option to go to the NBA early, I don’t think you can stand in their way of a great opportunity. But we have to make sure we continue to recruit maybe the guys who are just below that, so if they leave we can have somebody else step in and fill the gap.”

This will be the only time this season that the Terps and the Yellow Jackets will hit the hardwood against each other in the regular season. Hewitt said that works well with him, as well as not having to play North Carolina or Duke twice this season as well.

“The way our schedule works is when we play Duke twice, we also have to play Carolina twice. So, I’m not sure what the benefit of that is or if it’s a detriment. But we’re looking forward to play Maryland on Sunday. I’m sure it’s going to be a great game.”

WNST airs all this week live from Dallas on Radio Row! We are still taking your calls while catching up with all the stars in Dallas and preparing you for Super Bowl 45! And Rex and Thyrl will still take your calls from 10-2 here in Baltimore! WNST-We Never Stop Talking!

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