Terps Q&A with Heather A. Dinich

Sun reporter discusses Maryland basketball, football



Texas Terp, Dallas: I follow Maryland basketball closely and a recent Q&A referenced the Terps' interest in possibly recruiting a 'big' for next year from the JUCOs. I have not heard anything about this, however, given the clear lack of bulk with the present frontline, with no immediate answer in the 2006 recruiting class, and Gary's prior success with same (Ryan Randle, Jamar Smith), I think it's a good and necesary idea to bridge the gap between DuPree's and Gregory's arrival in 2007. Is Maryland specifically targeting any single player?

Heather A. Dinich: The staff is going to see four JUCO post players and they're trying to figure out which one is the best fit. In the '07 class, Maryland is also looking at 7-foot-1 center Kosta Koufus, a five-star recruit out of Glen Oak in Canton, Ohio, Michael Sanchez, a small forward from Har-ber High in Arizona (Rivals Top 100), and Anthony McClain, a 6-11 center out of National Christian who is also ranked among Rivals' Top 100.

Ray, Ocean Pines: When you make as much money as Ralph and Gary make, you are going to be criticized when you do not produce. And I really don't think JUCO players are the answer for the teams recent failures. You don't see UNC or Duke bringing in JUCO players. Gary has not recruited a true center since Joe Smith, and Joe was a big surprise and was not heavily recruited. Don't you think Gary has to bring in a true big man to play the middle, in order to compete with UNC and Duke? And why can't our coaching staff teach Ibekwe proper shooting technique? He is still shooting his jump shot and his foul shots from behind his head. As long as he continues to shoot the way he does now he never will be a consistent scorer.

Heather A. Dinich:You're absolutely right, and JUCOs are usually a quick fix - not to say the Terps don't need one of those right now. See the above answer, though, on who the Terps are looking at. Ibekwe has worked a LOT on his shot - including some time with Andy Enfield, a.k.a the shot doctor, but you're right, it's still off. Not that mine is any better.

Mike, Baltimore: Will Gary Williams ever be held accountable for his low graduation rate?

Heather A. Dinich:You're going to get more than you bargained for on this one, Mike. First we have to be clear which method of the NCAA's graduation rate you're talking about. The zero percent graduation rate is misleading. It's a snapshot of the student-athletes who enrolled in school six years ago -- the allotted time the NCAA allows players to graduate. In this case, it was the 1998-99 school year.

Check this out from an earlier story I did:

The zero percent graduation rate for the Maryland men's basketball team is based on the paths of the two freshmen on the 1998-99 roster. Danny Miller transferred to Notre Dame, and Lonny Baxter didn't graduate within the six-year period (school officials wouldn't confirm if he has since graduated). Juan Dixon did not count toward the 1998-99 graduation rate because he joined the team the season before but redshirted.

Half the ACC basketball teams have a graduation rate of zero percent based on the data of less than five players.

Now, there is also an other one which is at 30 percent, and pretty poor in comparison with the rest of the ACC. It's called the "Graduation Success Rate," and is the NCAA's newest method. Debbie Yow's answer to this was to make higher graduation rates an incentive in Gary's contract. His current 10-year deal -- which expires May 31, 2009 -- will be extended by one year for each of the next four seasons if the team gains the NCAA tournament and one of two academic standards are met: Maryland meets the annual NCAA Academic Progress Rate cut score of 925, or the scholarship athletes on the team earn an average of 27 academic credits per year.

Williams also will receive bonuses if he graduates at least 50 percent of his players and finishes in the top half of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Maryland DID meet the cut score this year.

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