UM aide Dickerson denies Clemson chat

Head coaching interviews on hold until Terps done

Texas no stranger to UM

South Regional notebook

NCAA Tournament

March 28, 2003|By Gary Lambrecht and Paul McMullen | Gary Lambrecht and Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

SAN ANTONIO - Maryland top assistant coach Dave Dickerson denied reports that he was scheduled to meet with Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips yesterday here to interview for the Tigers' head coaching job.

Dickerson, who has been an assistant at Maryland for seven seasons, added that he expects to talk with Clemson after Maryland's season is over. The Greenville News reported that Phillips was in San Antonio to speak with Dickerson.

"Your next game is the most important thing when you're coaching basketball," said Dickerson, who also has been mentioned as a candidate for the vacant job at Virginia Tech. "The reason I'm getting mentioned in some good situations is because we're winning. If we keep winning, maybe I'll continue to get my name mentioned."

Dickerson, who played at Maryland in the mid-1980s, interviewed for the head coaching job at the College of Charleston last year, following the Terps' national championship drive. He has been an assistant at Gardner-Webb, James Madison and Radford, and has never been a head coach.

The Greenville News reported that Clemson has interviewed former Chicago Bulls head coach Tim Floyd, Western Kentucky head coach Dennis Felton and Oklahoma State assistant Sean Sutton and possibly is pursuing Dayton head coach Oliver Purnell.

"Getting a head coaching job is a hard thing to get. Getting the right one is even harder," Dickerson said. "I'm smart enough to realize that what I do to prepare myself and the team for Michigan State is the most important thing. Things will take care of themselves after that."

Said Maryland head coach Gary Williams: "Dave is ready to be an outstanding head coach. He really knows the game, he is a relentless recruiter and he gets along with everyone."

Barnes-Williams reunion?

No introductions will be necessary if Maryland and Texas win tonight.

Longhorns coach Rick Barnes assisted Williams at Ohio State in 1986-87, and rapidly moved on to George Mason for one season, Providence and then Clemson, where the two matched wits in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

One of Barnes' biggest recruits in Austin is Houston product T.J. Ford, the sophomore point guard who is regarded as one of the best in the nation. He was already on board when Terrell Ross signed to play for Texas out of Allegany Community College.

When Ross and Ryan Randle were sophomores in 2001, Allegany lost in the final of the national junior-college tournament. Jamar Smith was a freshman on that Allegany team, and Ross joked that "we would always get on him [Smith] about how lazy he was."

Ross played his high school ball for Butch Young at Meade, which he led to the state 4A semifinals at Cole Field House in 1999, when the Mustangs were eliminated by Oxon Hill and Mike Sweetney, now the Georgetown big man. Unlike some of his high school teammates, he wasn't an Army brat, so it was a leap for him to leave his home state for Texas and the Big 12 Conference.

"When I visited Texas, it had the atmosphere, the bond among the team, that I knew at Allegany," Ross said. "It's a long way from home, but my mom [Terri Moore] finally got down to see me on Senior Day. She isn't here, but she'll meet me in New Orleans if we get there."

No room for Okafor

When Ford led Sugar Land Willowridge High to a 39-0 record, a state 5A championship and a No. 2 national ranking in 2001, the competition in that Texas classification included Bellaire and center Emeka Okafor. Not recruited by Texas, Okafor went to Connecticut, where he established himself as a shot-blocking force who will bedevil the Longhorns today.

"T.J. was great in high school, and he carried that greatness into college," Okafor said. "As for getting back at him, it gives us a chance to knock him out of the tournament."

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