Friday, February 13, 2009

The Head Turtle Waxes UConn Again

More than five years later, Gary Williams is still fuming about Jim Calhoun and the recruitment of Rudy Gay. And that lingering bitterness has dragged the Gay recruitment back into the spotlight.

In the second of a three-part series in Friday's Washington Post on the decline of Williams' Maryland program, writers Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda recount Gay's recruitment in 2003, a battle won by UConn and questioned heavily by Williams, especially after UConn paid $22,000 for an exhibition game with the Beltway Ballers, who were affiliated with Gay's AAU program.

In Friday's article, Williams again hints at wrongdoing by Calhoun and the UConn program in Gay's recruitment, which is portrayed as the major turning point in the downward trend of Williams' program.

"Gay's recruitment," the article states, "so scrutinized that it appeared to be the impetus for an NCAA rule change in its aftermath, cemented Williams's belief that signing the most sought-after recruits in the current climate often depends on practices he is unwilling to undertake. As a result of that experience ... Williams has steadfastly avoided pursuing relationships with many of the most influential power brokers in the recruiting world.

"'If [Gay] wanted to come here, and we recruited him, and we offered him a scholarship, why didn't he come here?' Williams said during an hour-long interview [with the Post] last week. 'It had to be for another reason, right?'"

UConn was within NCAA rules at the time it made the $22,000 payment to the Ballers in 2003, but because of that incident, the NCAA soon after banned such payments. Too late for Williams, who remarked upon losing Gay in 2003 that "We could have scheduled an AAU team and given them $25,000 like some schools I know."

At the end of Friday's article, Williams again takes a veiled swipe at UConn.

"Third-party recruiting -- in other words, making sure somebody gets taken care of [financially] -- I am not going to do it," Williams said. "Period. There is no argument there. If that makes me a bad recruiter, then I am a bad recruiter."

1 comment:

  1. The rules are bent in every sport, at every level, amateur or professional. It sounds like Williams just doesn't have the tools to compete at such a level. Do what you can that will give your program the edge, even if you have to skirt some rules.

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