Turnovers a big problem for Terrapins

Much of the talk after University of Maryland’s 80-65 victory Saturday over New Mexico centered on the Terrapins’ ability to bounce back from a tough loss.

“I’m really proud of how my team responded,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “It was a short turn around but we came out with a lot of energy.”

The victory came less than 19 hours after the Terps walked off the court 63-61 losers to a short-handed Saint Bonaventure squad in the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla. on Friday night. In that game, Maryland showed little energy, struggled on offense and got beat by a team that was missing its top returning scorer from last season, guard Jaylen Adams. Adams, a Baltimore native, is nursing a sprained ankle.

The Terps showed far more life against New Mexico the next day, roaring out to a 27-3 lead and never looking back as they improved to 5-1 this season with Syracuse up next on Monday night.

But there was one problem that lingered from the St. Bonaventure loss and it’s a problem that has plagued the Terrapins all season – turnovers.

Maryland turned it over 20 times against St. Bonaventure and 22 times against New Mexico. They also had 20 against Butler in a home game earlier this season. For the year, Maryland’s got 120 turnovers in seven games (17 per game).

That number might seem a little high to Terrapins fans – and they’d be right. Last year’s 24-9 team averaged just 12.9 per game.

 

Cowans dribble
Cowan now has 25 assists after seven games and 20 turnovers for the Terrapins.

Continue reading Turnovers a big problem for Terrapins

Memories of ex-DeMatha star Sid Catlett

Sid Catlett, courtesy of DeMatha High School, in about 1965
Sid Catlett, courtesy of DeMatha High School, in about 1965

I didn’t really know Sid Catlett.

But a couple of years ago, I got to spend more than an hour on the phone with him. I’d called him for an interview for something I was working on about D.C. area high school basketball. I’d asked for about 15-20 minutes of his time.

What I got was more than 60 minutes of history, philosophy, reflection, gratitude and thought-provoking observations on learning, life and growing up with the game in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading Memories of ex-DeMatha star Sid Catlett

Williams and Ferry inducted into Washington Metro Hall of Fame

Walt Williams
Walt Williams in 1991

Prince George’s County was well-represented at the Wooden Leadership in Coaching awards dinner Thursday night at the Watergate Hotel in downtown Washington.

Walt Williams (Temple Hills, MD) and Danny Ferry (Bowie, MD) were inducted into the Washington Metropolitan Basketball Hall of Fame.

Both were high school standouts, with Williams playing on Crossland HS team that reached the Class AA state basketball finals three years in a row (1986-88). Ferry, of course, played at storied DeMatha Catholic HS, where the team he played on in his junior year (1983-84) wound up 29-2 and ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today.

Continue reading Williams and Ferry inducted into Washington Metro Hall of Fame

Former local stars shuffle at Maryland

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Kevin Broadus comes to the University of Maryland

For a long time, it seemed like local basketball fixture Kevin Broadus (Blair/Dunbar) might wind up working for every local college basketball program but Maryland.

 

Over the year, he embarked on a tour of the area’s colleges as an assistant coach, working at Bowie State, UDC, American University, George Washington and Georgetown (twice).

Broadus was finally able to complete the local circuit when Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon added him to the Terrapins’ coaching staff last week. There, Broadus’ numerous local connections are expected to come in handy on the recruiting trail.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin to the Maryland basketball family,” Turgeon said in a statement released by the athletic department. “Kevin has a strong reputation as a tireless recruiter and is passionate about developing players on and off the court. He has extensive knowledge and experience as a coach and I am confident his ties to this region will be extremely valuable to our program.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to work with coach Turgeon,” Broadus said in the same news release. “I have watched him from afar and really admire him. He has been very successful everywhere he has been. I am excited to be a part of this program and continue to build on the success they have had.”

Broadus will replace Cliff Warren on the coaching staff. Warren, a star player at Paint Branch High School in nearby Burtonsville, had expressed a desire to come off the road and spend more time with his family. He assumes a new role as the Maryland basketball program’s director of player development.

“Cliff shared his desire of tending to family matters and this new position will allow him to do so,” Turgeon said. “He has been an outstanding mentor and role model to our team. Cliff will continue to play an integral role in supporting and guiding our student-athletes academically as well as helping them achieve success on and off the court.”

Broadus, 53, is probably most known for his work as an assistant at Georgetown. There, he coached and helped recruit future NBA players like Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert and Otto Porter.

Broadus sandwiched two different stints at Georgetown totaling nine years around a successful but controversial two-year stint as the head coach at Binghamton. There, he led the team to the NCAA tournament in his second year. He was later forced to step down after admitting to improper contact with a recruit during a so-called “dead period.” Broadus later sued the university and the state higher education system in New York for discrimination, but agreed to resign after getting a $1.2 million settlement. An NCAA investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

TRIMBLE’S NUMBERS: Most every story about Melo Trimble’s decision to leave the University of Maryland for the NAB after three years mentioned that he was part of 79 Maryland victories.

That got me to thinking: Where does that total of 79 victories rank among other great players who have worn the Maryland red and white?

The answer is: pretty high.

In some sense, measuring the O’Connell grad against Maryland stars of the past is comparing apples and oranges because prior to the 1972-73 season, players had to sit out their freshman seasons. Then, too, college basketball teams typically play more games now than they did 45 years ago – back when Maryland’s basketball first gained national prominence.

In 1972-73 and 1974-75, for example, Maryland reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and still played just 30 and 29 games, respectively. This past season – Trimble’s last, as it turns out – Maryland played 33 games even with its disappointing first-round NCAA Tournament exit.

That said, Trimble’s number are impressive my almost any measure. He is one of just two players in school history (Terrence Morris is the other) to play for three consecutive teams that won at least 25 games. Even if great postseason success eluded Trimble and the Terps, that run of excellence has to count for something.

Trimble’s three-season victory total doesn’t quite match that of Lonny Baxter (Springbrook/Anacostia) and Juan Dixon, who accumulated 82 victories – including the national championship – in three varsity seasons from 2000-2002.

The pair of Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas played on teams that won 78 games in their last three varsity seasons (2001-2003). Morris’ last three Maryland teams managed 73 victories, as did the 1972-74 teams spearheaded by Tom McMillen and Len Elmore. The John Lucas-Maurice Howard Terrapin squads of 1973 to 1975 accumulated 70 victories. Adrian Branch (DeMatha) helped win 69 games for the Terps from 1983 to 1985. Local legend Len Bias (Northwestern), meanwhile, won 68 games in his last three seasons in a Maryland uniform.

Make 2017 a Banner Year for Adrian Branch

The University of Maryland athletic department announced this week that it will unveil a banner honoring former basketball coach Lefty Driesell before the Feb. 11 home game against Ohio State.

The move is long overdue. Driesell put Maryland on the college basketball map in the 1970s, raising the program to the point where it could compete against the best.

adrian-branch
Adrian Branch

Now that the athletic department has addressed this oversight, I’ve got another suggestion. How about school officials also raise a banner for ex-player Adrian Branch?

In the early 1980s, Branch helped Driesell accumulate 82 victories from 1981-85, a healthy chunk of the 348 wins Driesell amassed during his 17 years in College Park.

It’s not like Branch isn’t deserving. He’s the only 2,000-point scorer in school history whose jersey number doesn’t hang from the ceiling.

Continue reading Make 2017 a Banner Year for Adrian Branch

DeMatha’s Fultz a fabulous freshman

marquelle-fultzThe new college basketball season is still taking shape. As a result, it’s difficult to draw many definitive conclusions based on what’s happened so far. After all, preseason No.1 Duke has already lost once; perennial power Michigan State has lost three times.

One of the few certainties in this still-young season is this: Upper Marlboro native and DeMatha grad Markelle Fultz is playing as well as any freshman in the country. Through the first five games of his college career at the University of Washington, Fultz is averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

Continue reading DeMatha’s Fultz a fabulous freshman

Gene Doan, a basketball architect

Gene_Doane

When Gene Doane was a young man, he thought he might become an architect or an engineer.

“I always had an interest in designing things,” he once said.

Ultimately, he was diverted from such pursuits. Basketball was in his blood, so instead he became a coach – a builder of successful high school basketball programs, an architect of winning teams.

Doane, who passed away last month at the age of 82, was one of the most successful coaches in Montgomery County – back when Montgomery County basketball was at its peak. From 1971-79, county schools won a dozen state titles. It took them another 30 years to win their next 12.

Doane compiled a 441-113 record and won with three programs – Sherwood in the 1960s, Blair in the 1970s and Seneca Valley during a half-dozen years there in the 1980s.

He won a pair of state championships at Blair, in 1975 and 1977. His success there is what he was most famous for locally. The ’75 team, which finished 23-2, probably set the standard for excellence among Montgomery County basketball teams.

“They were unreal,” marveled Mel Laughner, who coached at Sherwood at the time and led that school to a state title in 1979.

Doane probably could have stayed at Blair forever and won a few more titles – that was home to him, after all – his alma mater. But he grew restless if he stayed anyplace too long. He was constantly looking for another project to work on. To him, the real satisfaction in coaching was building something.

“I liked to get to a high school, put it on top and stay there for a couple of years and go on to another one,” he said. “It’s fun to do that. I never stayed at a school more than nine years.

“I liked challenges. I loved going to a school, building from scratch and making a winner.”

That’s what he did. He guided Sherwood to the state semifinals in 1965 – that school’s first-ever appearance in the state tournament. Then came the two Class AA state titles at Blair. At Seneca Valley, he took over the program at a football-crazy school in 1978. By 1981-82, he had the Screaming Eagles 23-1 and was named “Coach of the Year” in the metropolitan area by The Washington Post.

He did this by being fiery, meticulous and leaving nothing to chance. No matter where he coached, he went the extra mile. At every stop, he watched junior high games, met with kids and adults in the community, tried to place his team in a strong summer league and started basketball camps.

He was just as detail-oriented when it came to practices and games. He constantly drilled his players – he always thought other coaches did too much scrimmaging – breaking the game down into its component parts so that players could understand and execute what he wanted.

One day, when legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith came by a Blair workout on a recruiting trip,he was heard to say as he was leaving the gym, “Now that’s how you run a practice.”

“He wasn’t a coach, he was a teacher,” said Cedric Boatman, one of the stars on that ’75 Blair team. “What made him so good was his preparation. The reason Coach Doane’s teams won so much was because we were so prepared in practice.”

Doane delighted in the intricacies of in-game strategy as well. Someone like Springbrook’s John Barrett would adjust to something Doane was doing, and Doane would have to counter it.

“I think the main joy he got out of coaching – aside from the relationships he had with us – was figuring out how to counteract things and figuring out how to make things work with the pieces he had,” said Brian Magid, the shooting star of the ’75 Blair team.

Doane found plenty of challenging opponents in the county coaching ranks back then. From 1977-79, for example, county teams won eight of the 12 state championships contested in four Maryland classes. At one point in the late 1970s, there were eight county coaches working the sidelines who had won at least one state championship.

There was Barrett at archrival Springbrook, Laughner at Sherwood, Jim Conner at Rockville, Dale Miller at B-CC and Wootton, Tom George at Woodward, Hank Galotta at Paint Branch and Les Lombardi at Churchill – all of whom won state titles for the county during the 1970s.

“The coaches they had then – they worked at the game,” Doane once said. “They knew the game, so you had to be good to beat them.”

His players and his colleagues could always appreciate the passion he brought to coaching. To the public at large, however, he could sometimes come off like a madman. No one was more animated on the sidelines and often the only thing louder than his sportcoat was his voice as he yelled at his players. Maryland’s Gary Williams wouldn’t be an inappropriate comparison in that respect.

But his players came to understand – although maybe not always in the moment – what Doane was trying to do.

“If I can say this in the most affectionate way, he was a taskmaster,” said Willis Wilson, who played on the ’77 Blair team and later became a college coach himself. “He was very driven and very detailed. He always used to say, ‘There’s a method to my madness.’ He was always going to keep the heat on his players and his teams to really reach down and find their best.”