COLLEGE PARK - In his first few years coaching basketball at Maryland, Gary Williams often talked about the importance of recruiting players out of Baltimore.
But after convincing Keith Booth, Rodney Elliot and Juan Dixon to become Terrapins, Williams heard more about the players who left the city for other schools, most notably Towson Catholic's Carmelo Anthony at Syracuse.
That will change this season.
Freshman Sean Mosley and sophomores Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory give Maryland the most Baltimore players it has had at one time in Williams' 20 seasons at his alma mater.
"You look at the careers of Keith, who I brought back as an assistant coach, and Rodney, who's played in Europe for 10 years now, and Juan Dixon, what he's done with his life, I take a lot of pride in that," Williams said yesterday.
"The success story of those players coming out of Baltimore is not something that is talked about much in Baltimore. If you watch players from Baltimore and where they've gone and what they've done, I think we've done as good as any school that's had more than one or two players from Baltimore."
Dupree and Mosley, in particular, could have a tremendous impact on this year's team, which will hold its first public workout tonight as part of the Maryland Madness festivities at Comcast Center.
After struggling with his weight and confidence as a freshman last season, Dupree transformed his body - and potentially his game - over the summer. The former Calvert Hall star dropped more than 20 pounds after ballooning to as heavy as 285 pounds late in the season.
Dupree said he put on weight as his playing time and practice time dwindled toward the middle and end of last season. He said he didn't change his eating habits as much as his workout regimen and acknowledged the weight loss wasn't easy.
"I was expecting it to come off real quick; it was gradual," Dupree said. "I feel a lot different running the floor. Last year, I'd get winded so fast. Now when I'm running up and down the court, it's nothing. It's not even that difficult."
Paul Ricci, the team's new strength and conditioning coach, said Dupree recently recorded times normally reserved for guards, not power forwards or centers, in a test of 18 repetitions that includes sprints and endurance tests.
Dupree, who will likely compete for a frontcourt starting job depending on how many guards Williams decides to use at one time, understands how important he will be to this season's team because power forward James Gist and center Bambale Osby have graduated and Gus Gilchrist transferred over the summer to South Florida.
"We're not deep in the post; everybody has to play a big part," said Dupree, who averaged 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in a little more than 10 minutes a game.
The Terps are deep in the backcourt, but that shouldn't affect Mosley. As Booth did as a freshman 15 years ago, the former St. Frances star has a chance to start this season at one of the wing guard positions because of his size (6 feet 4, 210 pounds) and athleticism.
"It really doesn't matter to me; I'm just going to come out and play as hard as I can each and every day," said Mosley, who was The Sun's Player of the Year as a senior and finished his career with 2,933 points, second in state history. "I'm one of those guys who doesn't take any days off."
Williams has said Mosley reminds him a bit of Booth in terms of his attitude, and even Booth said he has heard it from others.
"The one thing about Sean, he's very mature for his age," Booth said. "During the recruiting process, one of the things that always stood out is that he seemed to have a focus and a goal. One of the things that Coach Williams is always telling him is, 'Do what you did to get this far.' "
For Gregory, this season is about doing things differently than he did as a freshman. The Sun's city Player of the Year as a senior at Mount St. Joesph, Gregory played a total of 92 minutes as a freshman and didn't get into the last 16 games.
What does the 6-7, 227-pound forward need to do this season to get on the court?
"I've just got to bring it every day in practice, show Coach Williams that I want to play and I'm ready to play," Gregory said.
And, along with Dupree and Mosley, ready to revive a Baltimore tradition.
Comcast Center, College Park