Terps Q&A with Heather A. Dinich

Sun reporter discusses Maryland football and basketball



Gary, Silver Spring: Maryland's senior basketball class has suffered another black eye with Chris McCray's dismissal. So far, that class has three arrests, one has left the program, and one was lost to poor academics. Since winning the national championship, Gary Williams' recruiting classes have been less than stellar. Has he lost his touch?

Heather A. Dinich: The Terp recruits are still a cut below those going to Duke and North Carolina. You make a valid point, and Gary has expressed his disappointment with this senior class. As to whether he's lost his touch, you've got to look back at the hype surrounding these guys when they were recruited. Garrison was a local All-American. If Gary hadn't gotten him, everyone probably would have been screaming. McCray was their leading scorer and best defender -- like you said, it was his off-court incidents that were his downfall, and sometimes character is the toughest thing to predict. Caner-Medley was the top player coming out of Maine, and a runner-up for McDonald's All-American. Gilchrist was obviously good enough to play pro overseas. Had that class remained in tact, who knows what this season would have been like.

Christopher, Fallston: Why does this set of Maryland basketball players not seem to give as much effort in games? Gary obviously always is putting it all on the floor. Take the Miami game; after all the effort put into getting back into the game and tying it up, they relaxed and sat back on two consecutive possessions and their 3-point shooters made easy uncontested baskets. If we want to be like Duke we have to be playing 40 minutes without relaxing. Will we get to the point where the team will be giving out that effort 40 minutes for every game? I wish the more talented players had the passion shown by untalented players just happy to get into the game for a couple of minutes.

Heather A. Dinich: This is a good question, because after Maryland lost to North Carolina at Comcast -- their first and only loss at home so far this season -- D.J. Strawberry and Mike Jones both told me in the locker room there were spurts where the Tar Heels wanted it more. Neither one could answer why. Even though Maryland showed the kind of effort you're referencing in the second half Tuesday against Virginia, they didn't come out with an intensity that matched that of the Cavaliers. I think Georgia Tech, in terms of effort, might have been their most complete game of the season. Then again, it was their first without McCray, and they definitely had something to prove.

Mark, Oakton, Va.: Moving past Logan-El, I see Josh Portis was accepted and has enrolled. What is the status of Melvin Alaeze, Chris Clinton and Morgan Green? Did they get in?

Heather A. Dinich: All in, sorry for the delayed response -- it's been a busy stretch with hoops, as they played three games in six days.

Joe, Millersville: Losing Antonio Logan-El was a big hit, and now I've heard that 7 of the top 11 recruits in Maryland signed with Penn State. I know that Maryland signed a couple of top players from Pa., but what is the scoop? Is someone influencing these kids against attending Maryland?

Heather A. Dinich: It's no secret Penn State's Derrick Williams has been a recruiting tool for the Nits, but I think it goes deeper than that. Penn State's recent success, coupled with back-to-back 5-6 seasons for the Terps played in PSU's favor. What's changed about recruiting lately, though, is how the kids recruit each other. There definitely was a trickle-down effect in the state, as most of the kids headed to PSU know each other and have either played with or against each other at some point. Penn State assistant Larry Johnson, who recruits Maryland, also has strong ties to the state, while the Terps' recruiting staff has lacked some stability recently. When you look at the big picture, though, a 28 or 29th-ranked recruiting class isn't half bad for losing seasons and no bowl appearances in the past two years.

Ray, Huntington, W.Va.: What's going on with the Terps football recruiting? Any hope of getting back to 10 wins next year?

Heather A. Dinich: With Florida State and Miami on the schedule this season, 10 wins might be a stretch, especially since the Terps lost leading pass catcher Vernon Davis to the NFL. It should be interesting, though, to see what this speedy young crop of receivers has to offer. Defensively, it will be tough compensating for the loss of D'Qwell Jackson at linebacker, who led the ACC in tackles the past two regular seasons.

Mike, Baltimore: Is it true Maryland has a 5-star defensive end coming in from a prep school?

Heather A. Dinich: Well, he was an All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year for the Sun, so he must be pretty good. :)

Here's the lowdown on Melvin Alaeze, thanks to the Maryland sports information department:

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