Dalonte Hill's arrest comes at a busy time for Turgeon, Terps
According to police report, Hill's eyes were "red and watery" and his speech was "slurred" when he was pulled over Thursday
Maryland men's basketball assistant coach Dalonte Hill is shown in a mug shot taken following his arrest in suspicion of driving under the influence Thursday. (Anne Arundel County Police Department)
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Not only will Turgeon have to deal with the prospect of his first two-game losing streak since coming to College Park, the possibility of facing Duke without 7-1 freshman Alex Len (who sprained an ankle Saturday in the loss to Temple) and the hoopla surrounding naming of the court at Comcast Center in honor of longtime Terps coach Gary Williams. Turgeon will also have to figure out how to move forward with the punishment of assistant coach Dalonte Hill following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence Thursday morning in Anne Arundel County.
Maryland announced Friday that Hill would be suspended for "at least two games," meaning that he was not on the bench Saturday in Philadelphia for the team's loss at the Palestra and would not be there for the game against the Blue Devils. But it seems to me that it could be longer, given that many college teams suspend players indefinitely after similar offenses.
According to the police report, Hill was stopped at the intersection of southbound Route 295 and Route 32 around 1:55 a.,m. In the report, officers said that Hill was spotted "driving erratically" and "failing to drive in a single lane" while making "abrupt and unsafe" stops and starts. After he was pulled over, officers noted that Hill's "appearance and behavior" seemed to be consistent with a person driving under the influence.
Police said that Hill's eyes were "red and watery" and that his speech was "slurred." While he couldn't tell police where he was coming from, he did say that he had consumed "three beers at the club." It should be noted that the day he was pulled over marked Hill's 33rd birthday.
After getting out of his vehicle, police said that Hill "walked slowly and [was] swaying" and he had to put his left hand on his vehicle at one point to maintain his balance. Once the officer began to administer a field sobriety test, Hill became "uncooperative" and refused to take the test. He also refused to take a breathalyzer.
This was Hill's first offense since coming back to Maryland, where he grew up, from Kansas State, where he was one of the highest paid assistants in the country (a reported $425,000 annually) and most noted for recruiting Michael Beasley and a couple of other members of the DC Assault AAU team. Hill had DUI offense while at Kansas State.
Hill came to Maryland with Turgeon amid much fanfare. Though he isn't making as much money as he did at K-State -- $300,000 according to the contract The Sun's Jeff Barker obtained last summer -- Hill is beileved to be making nearly as much if not more than Williams' entire staff was earning when he retired. That translates into pressure to produce, and so far Maryland's recruits for next season are tied to Turgeon, assistant coach Scott Spinelli and Bino Ranson, the only assistant retained from Williams' staff.
Turgeon has been a no-nonsense guy with his players and I expect that to carry over with his staff as well.
He has also showed a compassionate side too. I'm sure he will let the legal process play out and make sure that Hill gets whatever help he needs. Hill went through an alcohol education program after his arrest at Kansas State. It might be interesting to note that Hill was suspended for one-game by Wildcats coach Frank Martin for his arrest there.
Hill also faces the likelihood of losing his driver's license for up to six months after refusing to take a field sobriety test, meaning that his abilities as a recruiter would seemingly be impacted. Maybe that would be the proper time frame for Hill to take care of his off-court issues. I'm sure nothing more will be done the next few days, given what's on Turgeon's and Maryland's plate.