There is nothing like a tirade from an ignorant Virginian to rouse me out of hibernation. Bob Lipper, who is apparently a professional sports journalist, wrote a grimy piece of yellow journalism for the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the Tyree Evans affair.
In his “article”, he trashes Gary Williams and the program that he built at Maryland. Lipper suggests that Tyree Evans is better off now that he withdrew from Maryland. That may be true, but Lipper’s rationale is nothing but a poor attempt at character assasination.
After you’ve read the article, I encourage you to read my email to Mr Lipper (below):
Bob, how dare you write such drivel about a coach who will be in the Basketball Hall of Fame! Did you interview any of Coach Williams’ former players for this story? Wouldn’t that have been a balanced way to write an article? Couldn’t they provide insights into how Williams is as a mentor?
Williams has been at Maryland for 19 years yet somehow Maryland is a “burbling stew”? I suppose Evans would be better suited to go to UVA where the coaching carousel has not stopped turning since Terry Holland left in 1989. Sure, the Terps have missed the NCAAs a few times in recent years; but Williams runs one of the best programs in the country.
Leaving Williams’ on-court achievements aside; your article disgraces Williams’ honorable track record of taking in players with troubled backgrounds.
He took in Juan Dixon—an orphan who’s heroin-addicted parents died of AIDS. Dixon completed his senior season 6 credit hours short of graduation. He is too busy earning millions in the NBA to worry about completing his degree right now. Williams also recruited a player by the name of Johnny Rhodes. Rhodes grew up on the hard scrabble streets of Southeast DC where he got shot in a drive-by while still in high school. Johnny Rhodes graduated. Williams recruited a player by the name of DJ Strawberry– a kid whose high profile father, Darryl Strawberry, spent much of DJ’s childhood in and out of rehab. DJ left Maryland in good academic standing and is currently making millions playing for the Phoenix Suns.
Those are three examples that I came up with in about 10 minutes of research on the Internet.
Not only does Gary Williams know how to turn young basketball players into NBA-caliber talent; he also knows how to turn them into men. Your claim that Williams did not graduate a player from 1997 – 2000 is completely misleading. Many of those players actually earned degrees after the six-year period that you use as a standard. Most Maryland players turn pro after their days in College Park come to an end, either in the NBA, the NBDL, or overseas. Earning a degree often takes a back seat to earning seven-figure salaries. Did you even check to see how many players earned degrees after this arbitrary “six-year period”? Of course not.
During Gary’s tenure, every single Maryland basketball player except for one (Chris McCray) was able to maintain academic eligibility during their college career. Gary Williams is not responsible for ensuring that his players graduate. His responsibility is to make sure that they reach their senior season on track to earn a degree. No senior Terp can take the floor unless they have completed enough credit hours to be a senior in academic standing. If they fail to graduate that is not Gary Williams’ fault or responsibility.
Just because you dislike the University of Maryland (perhaps because we consistently beat up on Virginia schools); it doesn’t give you the right to pen this libelous garbage. For shame!
Gary is not perfect. We all know this. But, running his name through the gutter because you have an axe to grind is disgraceful. I encourage you all to let Mr. Lipper know how you feel about his opinions.
He can be reached at (804) 649-6555 or email@example.com.