Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker and Don Markus and editor Matt Bracken weigh in on the three biggest topics of the past week in Maryland sports.
The Maryland football staff held a "get to know us better" event this week with the media. Does the school and its PR firm want us to see a new Randy Edsall?
Jeff Barker: Not new. A little repackaged, maybe.
The Maroon firm isn't trying to reinvent the coach. Good public relations firms know you don't try to make clients anything that they are not. You don't want them to appear forced or phony.
I think Maryland, with Maroon, wants to enable the media to see a more relaxed coach. And the school plans to make the offensive and defensive coordinators available to the media this season. I welcome that. Football is a complicated game, and the coordinators will help me explain its machinations to readers. Not every Maryland story has to have the head coach in it.
A final note: Edsall wasn't happy at times last season because he felt the media spent too much focusing on his team rules. If he believes in his rules – and I absolutely know he is committed to them – than why worry about some press scrutiny? But I do understand that he's ready to turn the page on 2011 and arrive – as quickly as possible – at a new season.
Given the number of point guards taken in the NBA draft Thursday night, should Maryland fans be surprised that Terrell Stoglin wasn't picked?
Don Markus: As I watched the draft unfold, I kept thinking that Stoglin might sneak in toward the end of the second round as several teams seemed to go for European players who will likely never make it to an NBA training camp. For marginal prospects coming out of a second-division ACC team, as Stoglin and Maryland was considered, it was certainly a long shot. But it only takes one great workout and one team to take a chance, especially later in the two-round draft.
But in the end, I wasn't really shocked and neither should Maryland fans.
The one thing that stood out to me about the guards drafted was their collective size. I don't think any of them were listed under 6-2 1/2, which is the height they were measured at by the NBA teams they worked out for and not what the schools have them at in the media guide. Stoglin was listed as 6-1 at Maryland, and I think he would be hard-pressed to measure out at 6 feet.
That Stoglin played primarily off the ball as a sophomore didn't help him. It's easy to envision an Austin Rivers, at 6-5 or 6-6, being made into a point guard or at least for now, backing up at both guard positions in New Orleans. (That might cut into Greivis Vasquez's minutes with the Hornets or it might mean that the former Maryland star will be on the move again, as he was after his rookie year in Memphis.).
I thought Stoglin had promise as a point guard, but the best place for him to learn the position was at Maryland, under a former point guard like Mark Turgeon. I'm not sure going to Europe or the NBDL will help him become a more disciplined player. There are some small guards in the NBA who don't have Stoglin's scoring ability, but you probably can count on one hand the number of 6-foot point guards that are sitting on NBA benches these days.
Even if Stoglin was on a team's draft board going into Thursday night, another big drawback was the character issue. How many coaches and general managers interviewed on ESPN during the draft used the words "changing the culture" in talking about the players they selected. I listened to Jay Bilas on a radio show this morning talking about how many "high character" guys there were in the draft.
I like Stoglin and I don't think he's a bad kid, but his lack of maturity and the way he handled things in College Park was tough to overlook. Add to that the speculation surrounding his one-year suspension by the university and his subsequent departure and it's pretty easy to read between the lines. If it's any consolation to Stoglin, ESPN draft expect Chad Ford mentioned Stoglin among the five most talented players not drafted in a tweet Friday morning.
Who knows, maybe he'll get invited to an NBA summer league team and light it up. Or should I say tear it up. We've seen him do that many times.
Maryland's in-state football recruiting binge continued this week with commitments from Milan Collins (Bishop McNamara), Jacquille Veii (Avalon School), Malik Jones (Dunbar), and Deon Long and Ricardo Young -- both of whom are junior college transfers from D.C. Could Baltimore City, where Jones is from, eventually be as fruitful for Maryland football as Prince George's County and Washington?
Matt Bracken: If you go by the rankings, Jones is an under-the-radar, two-star prospect with lots of athleticism and potential. He could certainly develop into a big-time pass rusher for the Terps down the road. But the significance of his commitment goes beyond just him.
Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith, who served as an assistant under Ben Eaton and was elevated to head coach when Eaton died in 2007, couldn't remember the last Poet to commit to Maryland. Certainly there have been Dunbar players since then that are Maryland caliber -- most notably Tavon Austin, who sort of considered the Terps before becoming a Heisman candidate at West Virginia.
Players like Austin don't come through the city very often, but the next time one does, Maryland should get more than just a courtesy mention on a lengthy list of schools. Smith believes Randy Edsall was sincere when he talked about starting the Dunbar-to-College-Park pipeline. The Poets won't have someone every year for the Terps, but when they do, Maryland will be a serious option once again.
Baltimore City will probably never have the amount of talent that P.G. County produces on a yearly basis, but it's a little crazy that there's not one product of this city's public schools on Maryland's 2012 roster. That'll change in 2013 when Jones suits up for the Terps. And if the 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end has his way, Dunbar quarterback William Crest -- a four-star prospect and 247Sports.com's No. 47 player nationally in the 2014 class -- could join him the year after that.
Landing Jones was an important first step in creating goodwill between Maryland and Baltimore's top public school program. We'll see soon enough if others will follow.