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Dropping Lance Doesn't Make Sense


By now, a lot of people have followed Jeff Barker's lead and re-reported that Lance is not going to Maryland. Every second that passes, it seems that this story gains more credibility. So, what does it all mean?

First, I think it's important to point out that there are two very distinct situations here. The first is that all the noise being made, all the "he'll never go to college here" talk, was actually leading to something. There was actually something behind the scenes that could've tarnished the program - maybe he didn't take his SAT ala Derrick Rose, maybe we knew he accepted money, something like that. And if that is the case, and if the coaches knew about whatever it is, this is the completely correct decision. I would never want to be in the situation we were in 20 years ago when Gary fell into our lap, and I would never want to be in the situation Memphis is in right now.

However, there is a second (more likely, in my opinion, simply because I'm cynical) possibility - the staff got cold feet. If they learned nothing new about Lance's situation and got scared of the swirling rumors, then it's the wrong decision, but at least a little understandable. However, Jeff Barker's blog points out that they stopped recruiting him three weeks ago. Three weeks ago would equate to about May25th, way earlier than any school dropped him. That's also way before Greivis made his decision - even though I'm confident he told the school before yesterday, I couldn't believe he made his decision three weeks ago. That's being way too conservative toward Lance, and way too liberal in believing Greivis will return. Of course, there's a possiblity this decision had nothing to do with Greivis, which would make me even angrier.

If the staff learned nothing new on Lance, I'm incredulous toward this decision. By all indications, Maryland was the leader. Why would you let up now? Sure, there's a possibility he's tainted, but if you don't know for sure, then there's nothing wrong with taking the chance. If he screwed up awhile ago big time, then he's screwed, but Maryland isn't in any trouble. If he gets suspended for a few games, is it really that big of a deal that he isn't worth taking?

If they did let up early with no indication of trouble, I would assume Gary & Co. believes the team is "good enough" in 2009-10 to not need Lance. This could be true, depending on how one sees "good enough". Is Top 25 "good enough"? If yes, then maybe they are. But Lance is a gamechanger, a chance to really make a run. With another bona fide scorer on the team, pressure on Greivis is relieved, he becomes more effective, and there's a safety net if he has a cold streak. Like I said yesterday, this is a top 25 team with Greivis, but a possible Elite 8-caliber team with Greivis and Lance. That certainly seems to me like something worth taking a small chance in.

I already mentioned this, almost verbatim, but I like the point it makes: this same school just a year ago was trying their damnedest to get Tyree Evans, a three-time convict. We're okay with weed, guns, and statuatory rape, but we draw the line at a website, negative body language, and some rumors on eligibility?

Also, I'm okay with letting up the way Florida and Arizona did - stopping before they started. But after the trips to NYC and the effort poured into landing him? It seems like a giant waste of resources. They need to follow through at that point.

In case academics could've been an issue, Lance Sr. said that Lance definitely qualified. I'm pretty sure that Debbie Yow would not have stood in the way of Lance getting an academic exception, just in case he wouldn't qualify for Maryland - she has to know full well the anger that ensue. I doubt academics were a big deal here.

I would again like to point out that all this anger is in assumption that there's no fire behind the smoke. If Lance ends up at a JUCO school or Florida International, I'll be okay with it - tha'ts a pretty good indicator that something's not right. If he goest to Kentucky or Memphis, I'll be pissed.

I would also like to point out that everything above is assuming that the Sun is accurate. "Sources" have been wrong an incredible amount of times in this recruitment. That fact alone should make you wary, but when combined with Barker saying the Terps haven't been in it since May 25th at the latest (we don't know how long he's been sitting on this info), it's difficult to believe.

Remember, Maryland was in Lance's final three on June 5th, 12 whole days after the supposed drop. Lance Sr. said he talks with the coaches, implying that he's done it within, oh, about two weeks. I would think that Gary and Co. would inform Lance that they wouldn't take him as soon as they made the decision. So why was Lance still listing Maryland? Gary doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would fail to tell a recruit he's not welcome. And even if they didn't tell Lance that they wouldn't take him, would they be calling him? Doubtful. Would Stretch then be saying he talks with the coaches if he hadn't talked with them in two weeks? Just saying, something's not right there.

Of course, that doesn't mean the source isn't valid. It should, however, instill some healthy doubt in you.