Maryland coach Gary Williams is feeling pressure. He won't admit it, but his behavior is that of a man that is well aware of the whispers that there is dissatisfaction with his job performance. Williams also is beginning to sound like a man aware that his bosses are not particularly fond of him.
The Terrapins appear poised to miss the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years. On top of that, the way the team has been losing has accentuated the problem. Maryland was blown out by 41 by Duke last week, then blew an 11-point halftime lead at home to Boston College to lose by 9. Maryland cannot compete with the big dogs and are falling to the bottom of the ACC.
The problem, in large part, is that the players are not particularly good. Nor have they developed particularly well. All things that are in the control of the head coach. Except that Gary Williams has become increasingly defensive. Not about the kids who are in his program, but the ones that are not.
Maryland also ended its relationship last year with another recruit, Tyree Evans, who told The Sun in May that he was "proud to be a Terp" after being offered a scholarship despite a string of criminal offenses.
Evans, a guard, withdrew from consideration to play for Maryland after media reports detailed his troubled past. Athletic director Debbie Yow said she didn't know at the time that Maryland was recruiting Evans or much, if anything, about his criminal record.
"Tyree Evans would be playing here now," Williams said. "You know, they're all qualified to play at other schools. So that's part of it. In basketball, one player is a lot. It's not like football where you have 25 every year."
Williams later said of Gilchrist and Evans: "It wasn't my fault that they're not here. That was somebody else's call."
Where to begin with this. Look at the players he bemoans not having.
Shane Clark is a back-up forward at Villanova in his senior year. Gus Gilchrist was originally at Virginia Tech, who transferred to Maryland only after the tragic campus shootings made him reconsider. Tyree Evans only came his way because of his past problems with the law and academics kept him out of Cinci and then Kansas State.
Yes, all three players were considered four-star recruits, but one has been a back-up that never developed. The other two committed and signed elsewhere before a change in circumstances brought them to Maryland.
Then consider, he's essentially saying that the players on the present team just aren't that good. The other kids he recruited and has coached. It looks like chemistry issues on the Maryland team do start with the coach.
Amazingly it still gets weirder. The Maryland Athletic Department actually responded to Gary Williams' complaints. It was not in a way that could be considered backing the coach.
Kathy Worthington, Maryland's senior associate athletic director, yesterday called Williams's remarks "inaccurate" and said she was "very surprised by Gary's comments because I had been so involved with each recruit."
After Maryland lost to Boston College, 76-67, last night, Williams defended his remarks and his program, and added that "Kathy Worthington doesn't speak for me. She has never won a national championship. She has never done anything. She is an associate AD.
"Why do they jump on me all the time?" Williams said of school officials. "It's somebody else's call. Who said University of Maryland's call? Nobody. Why can't I say that? This is just giving you guys stuff to make me look bad."
It seems a bit paranoid by Williams and he comes off as a jerk, but it does raise a legitimate question. Why say anything? This seemed like the time when an athletic department would fall back on a no-comment. Maybe cite something nebulous like student privacy issues to avoid the matter. Try and let the matter slip away quietly.
Instead the associate athletic director makes it very clear that it was Gary Williams that ultimately made the call on the players. Meanwhile the Maryland athletic director, Debbie Yow, remains quiet to let this get bigger and messier. Almost guaranteeing that this will get uglier and end badly.
Gary Williams Is Paranoid, but the Maryland Athletic Department May Be Out to Get Him originally appeared on NCAA Basketball FanHouse on Thu, 29 Jan 2009 01:35:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.