Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda recently posted a series of pretty negative articles on head coach Gary Williams, which had some mixed reactions. However, today Prisbell posted the entire interview with Gary (with some modifications) on their blog. It's very interesting. Here's my favorite tidbits:
GW: To say that I don’t have friends who are AAU coaches is not true. I don’t have time – I’m not going to pay somebody to go here. I have been offered players for payment.
EP: How often?
GW: This has got to be off the record. [OFF THE RECORD PORTION]
EP: How often in recent years?
GW: Probably not that direct. Now it is more subtle. There are a lot of different ways to get it done. Two kids around here [OFF THE RECORD]. But here is what’s ridiculous. Why do people ask me why we can’t get [them]?
EP: There are some people who say that you have been outworked.
GW: I have been at every recruiting period, I go where everybody goes. You see me there. I make every phone call I am allowed to make. I don’t break rules on phone calls. That’s the most broken rule in college basketball, excess phone calls. See, I’m a little different. And this job is a little different. I recruited at Boston College. I have recruited at Ohio State, you know, Jimmy Jackson. I know how to recruit. When I got the job here, it was historically right after Bob Wade received the sanctions for violating NCAA rules. I was told by President Kirwan that my job was to not violate NCAA rules. And I fulfilled that mission, in the same time winning a national championship. It gets back to: How many coaches during that time have won a national championship? These people who say I can’t recruit. I can recruit pretty good, I think. I do.
EP: People who know the Rudy Gay recruitment, know the background, know how it unfolded, all that, they say that that played a role in turning you off from the third-party aspect of recruiting.
GW: You keep recruiting. I’m just like everybody else. I watch, I see. You learn what goes on. What you are saying, third-party recruiting. In other words, making sure somebody gets taken care of. That’s what you are talking about. I’m not going to do it. I’m just not going to do it. Period. There is no argument there. If that makes me a bad recruiter, then I am a bad recruiter. If that one aspect makes me a bad recruiter. But in terms of working and watching games, making phone calls you are allowed to make, I do it.
EP: Why can’t you say on the record why you couldn’t get Rudy Gay?
GW: I think it is on the record.
EP: He told me he grew up loving Maryland and he celebrated the national title.
GW: Well, then why didn’t he come here? We offered him a scholarship. If all that is true, why didn’t he come here? What logic am I missing here? In other words, if he wanted to come here, and we recruited him and we offered him a scholarship, why didn’t he come here? It had to be for another reason, right?
EP: Some AAU coaches receive nearly $100,000 from shoe companies and then get additional donations from boosters from colleges to their nonprofit foundations.
GW: Yeah, and nobody is sure where that money is. If you are saying that I lose a kid because of that, you are right. You are right. I will lose a kid. See the other aspect is, college basketball generates a lot of money. Coaches make a lot of money. People see that. This is strictly a judgment people make, What’s wrong with us getting a piece of that pie? They connect 18,000 seats in Comcast Center with what’s wrong with a kid, a family getting some money. That’s strictly a moral judgment. I am not God. But I have my principles that I have always had as a coach. I don’t think that makes me wrong because I have my principles that I have always had in recruiting. Nobody has ever accused me of cheating in recruiting in my career. That’s a good thing, supposedly. But people turn that around and say he won’t play the game. You do it this way and you are criticized for not cheating. Basically that’s what is happening. You are criticized for not cheating. So if I am going to be criticized for something, if they want to criticize me for not cheating, that’s fine?
EP: How much of a price have you paid in recruiting for not cheating?
GW: I probably have with certain kids. Nineteen wins, because of the bar we set, is probably unacceptable to a lot of people. But we won the national championship. We set the bar there. Nineteen wins, with the teams we have beaten, would be acceptable at a lot of places.
EP: I’m just trying to get a sense on how much of losing local recruiting battles can be attributed to others cheating?
GW: I don’t know. That would be a hard thing to say. I don’t go out and accuse someone of taking money unless I know it’s a fact. I know that is going on. I can’t tell you if it is this specific kid who doesn’t go to Maryland and goes somewhere else because they don’t come back and tell me. I’m not here to play detective and go find out. I hear things like every other coach hears things. It’s part of the basketball thing.
EP: I know that, you know that, but readers aren’t aware of it. Can you speak to the recruit who [specific allegation told to reporter by college assistants]?
GW: I don’t know how you do that. There will be people who know that’s [Player A] and say that and then put me in a bad light. I have a job. Everyone says, well, you ought to turn everybody in. Yeah, sure. Each school they run their school the way they want to run it. They run their program the way they want to run it. If that is acceptable at those schools, that’s far beyond Gary Williams to …
EP: But these AAU programs, including DC Assault and others, are saying, ‘We don’t know you, you don’t come to the games’?
GW: I know Curtis Malone. So he can say whatever he wants about me. I know what Curtis Malone is about. But you won’t write it in there.
EP: Why won’t I?
GW: Will you?
EP: I’m not saying I will or won’t. I am trying to balance this thing.
GW: Yeah, but don’t tell me Curtis Malone has the right to say whether Gary Williams is a good recruiter or not. I don’t want to hear about Curtis Malone. I know what he is.
EP: You know Damon Handon from D.C. Assault, right? He said you didn’t come to one of their games this summer.
GW: That’s not true. I was out every day wherever they played in tournaments. I don’t know where they were specifically. I guarantee you I saw them play during the recruiting period. That’s wrong. That’s a lie. I saw DC Assault play in the fall, I saw them play last fall.
EP: How would you describe your relationship with that program?
GW: Whatever. We like to get really good players, without a doubt. I’d like to get players from DC Assault. DC Assault is a nationally known program. It’s almost like they are a school. They get recruited on a national basis. People from all over the country don’t go to a high school, they go to DC Assault to recruit players. That’s how that works.
Unbelievably, that's only snippets from about the first half of the interview. There's a ton of great stuff, especially later on, that really delves into how Gary feels about stuff. There's no doubt he hates cheaters, and I can see where he's coming from. But one has to wonder how much of this he's painting over to cover himself.