Word of Mark Turgeon's interest in hiring K-State super-assistant Dalonte Hill first leaked out sometime yesterday. Things have heated up from yesterday's "preliminary" warning, as the word is now that the two met earlier today. What's more, if Chick Hernandez can be believed, it was on Maryland's campus.
Kansas State associate head coach Dalonte Hill met with Maryland coach Mark Turgeon today. Would take a pay hit, but chance to go back home.
Sources tell me Dalonte Hill on MD campus with head coach Mark Turgeon, final assistant coach interview.
The meeting being in College Park says at least something about the mutual interest the two must have. It's encouraging for a deal to get done.
If you don't know who Hill is, he's basically the guy who made Kansas St. relevant.
A native of Washington D.C., he played at both UNC-Charlotte and Bowie St. After graduating, he became the head coach of D.C. Assault, the infamous local AAU squad that produced stars like Michael Beasley, Wally Judge, Josh Hairston, and Quinn Cook.
After two years at the helm of DCA, he was an assistant at Charlotte. After three seasons down there, he was hired by Bob Huggins at K-State. He brought with him Michael Beasley, who obviously transformed the program. There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding this aspect of his career, as the two were essentially a package deal. When Gary was at Maryland, he very noticeably balked at this, and has made a few thinly-veiled references to it in the past.
But Hill wasn't a one-hit wonder. His presence and connections led to the commitment of three other highly-regarded DCA alums, Dominique Sutton, Wally Judge, and Rodney McGruder. He also played some role in the recruitments of Bill Walker and Jacob Pullen, among others. He's also built some in-roads with the NY Gauchos AAU team, getting commitments from Jordan Henriquez and Shane Southwell in the past.
Admittedly, his production recently had dropped off a tad. Many of the DCA guys who would've followed him out to Manhattan, like Jordan Goodman and Jerome Seagers, have been heading out to Rutgers and another former DCA coach, David Cox. But K-State is in many ways a tougher sell than Rutgers these days: Frank Martin is insane and nearly drove off his entire team, Manhattan is in the middle of nowhere, and it's a plane ride, not a medium-length car ride, away from DC.
His production at this point isn't even the most important thing anymore. It's his connections and relationships. Gary and DCA had a notably terse relationship. The two were oil and water. In fact, I can't remember any DCA player to ever suit up for Gary, at least not off the top of my head. Hiring Hill - one of DCA's own - would go a very long way towards repairing the relationship between Assault and Maryland. And lest you think that the hiring of Hill would anger the other premier DC-based AAU squad, Team Takeover, Josh Barr says that Hill and Takeover are friendly as well:
Also, in addition to being connected with D.C. Assault, Hill has long known the person behind the other big travel team in the area, Keith Stevens of Team Takeover. Stevens was a young assistant coach at Newport during Hill's playing days.
The hold-up is going to be money. Hill is the highest-paid assistant in the country at upwards of $400k a year. He's supposedly willing to take a pay cut to move home, but no one knows exactly how much of a cut he'll be cool with, especially with the differing costs of living. I always say that assistants assist for experience and the chance to be a HC one day, and Hill isn't getting either of those under Frank Martin, but at some point the money starts to be enough to keep you where you are.
If Maryland is able to come to terms with Hill and retains Ranson, you might as well just take some rope, go to Towson, and just start fencing the area off until you reach Fredericksburg. If those two end up being assistants, Turgeon would have one of the most high-powered staffs in the country, and the long-time fan dream of "being able to rope off the DMV" would finally be achievable. No, really, it would be.