Dave Dickerson's ties to Maryland's men's basketball program go back to playing in College Park for Lefty Driesell and Bob Wade from 1985 through 1989, and coaching there under Gary Williams from 1996 through 2005.
Maryland is where Dickerson met his wife, Laurette, and where their only child, Dave III, was born.
But Dickerson, now in his fourth season as the associate head coach at Ohio State, won’t have many emotional ties to the Terps when they play the No. 5 Buckeyes in Columbus on Wednesday night as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
“The program [at Maryland] has changed drastically,” Dickerson said by phone Monday. “You have different administrators, you have different coaches, you have different players. There’s not a huge connection to the program.
“It doesn’t change how I feel about the university and about the basketball program. The outcome of the game won’t change that. As far as having any emotional ties, I’m a Buckeye.”
Dickerson -- who played a role in Maryland going to two straight Final Fours and winning the national championship in 2002 -- has been part of Ohio State winning 100 games in a little more three years and three Big Ten championships while going to three Sweet 16s and a Final Four.
Wednesday’s game will be a prelude to the Terps joining the Big Ten next season, and Dickerson -- who has never coached against Maryland -- said he believes that's a great move for his alma mater.
“Being on the athletic side of it, and being around the climate of conference realignment, I’m not surprised that Maryland has made the move to the Big Ten,” Dickerson said. “Now being in the Big Ten for the last four years, I can see why.
“It’s a great conference. It’s well run from the top to the bottom. We have great institutions. From a financial standpoint, the Big Ten is as good a conference as there is out there. ... With the Big Ten Network, it’s a national brand.”
Dickerson doesn’t think Maryland joining the Big Ten is going to have that much of an impact on Ohio State’s recruiting, considering Thad Matta has gone from recruiting mostly in-state and Midwest players to more of national profile.
The one player Dickerson recruited out his old neighborhood, freshman guard Kam Williams (Mount St. Joseph), has not played for the Buckeyes this season after contracting mononucleosis in October. Williams has practiced for two weeks and will likely redshirt, Dickerson said.
“That’s one of those things that Coach Matta is going to do what’s best for Kam,” Dickerson said. “Kam is very, very talented and he does things we need in the program, but with him having mono and being out for so long, for his career, it’s best that he not play now.”
Dickerson has watched film of “three or four” Maryland games with the rest of the Ohio State staff.
“I think they’re very talented,” Dickerson said. “I think Mark [Turgeon] has done an unbelievable job of getting great talent into the program and great ambassadors into the program. They look like they’re good kids. They play the right way.
“Obviously the [Jake] Layman kid has turned out to be a great recruit for the university,” Dickerson said. “The transfer from Michigan, [Evan] Smotryzc we’re familiar with from his two years at Michigan. And Dez Wells is a national type of talent. It seems like they play unselfish. It’s going to be a tough test for us.”
The Buckeyes haven’t lost a non-conference game to an unranked opponent at Value City Arena since West Virginia in 2008. The Terps have not beaten a ranked opponent on the road since upsetting No. 1 North Carolina in 2008.
Dickerson said the atmosphere there is similar to Comcast Center, with students sitting in large numbers close to the court.
“A constant in this program is that Thad Matta is a really good basketball coach, and throughout his 10-year tenure at the university he’s had really good players,” Dickerson said. “Our support here from a fan and student standpoint is as good as I’ve seen.”
While he doesn’t have many emotional ties left to his years at Maryland, one that was revived happened last week when Juan Dixon, the school’s all-time leading scorer, was named as Turgeon’s special assistant.
“I think it’s awesome. It’s some of the best news I’ve heard from Maryland in a long time,” Dickerson said. “If the players can take one thing away from Juan, just take away his toughness, grit and his pride and that’s going to affect the program. It’s a win-win situation for both. Juan needed the university and the university needed Juan.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun