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More on Maryland's Newest Assistant Coach, Bino Ranson

Whenever Maryland hires "outside the family", as they are expected to do with Bino Ranson for the assistant coaching job, there are always questions. It's natural - few Maryland fans really knew of Bino Ranson before the coaching gig opened up. But Bino's story is a little interesting, and will probably answer some of those questions that revolve around him.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Bino Ranson was born in Baltimore as Orlando Ranson (no knowledge of where the nickname Bino , not far from where Juan Dixon grew up. Actually, he was a "good childhood friend" of Dixon, which might be why Dixon reportedly gave an endorsement for Bino.

Ranson, like so many kids raised in Baltimore do, turned to sports to overcome the rough city life. He become a prep star in Baltimore in the early 1990s as a hard-working point guard, and played in college for Southern New Hampshire University. He was recognized as one of the best point guards in the nation while there, and ranks in the top ten for the school's all-time leaders in points, assists, and 3-pointers.

After starring in college, he returned home to coach St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. He stuck at that gig for two years before founding an AAU team, named Team Baltimore (I believe it may have morphed into Baltimore Select at some point, though I'm not sure). For the short while when he was heading the program, they were on of the better AAU teams on the Eastern seaboard; Sean Mosley, Jermaine Dixon, Ricky Harris, and Donte Greene had all been on the team at one point or another.

Obviously, this gives Ranson great relationship with AAU coaches, especially in the area. The best way to get connected with AAU people is to be an AAU person, and Bino's been there. He's also cited it as a big help in recruiting:

Tremendously, because recruiting is all about building relationships. Once you have built relationships, it allows you to be in that part of the country to recruit.

...

It's all about relationships and treating people nice and never turning up your nose to anyone. You may have to come around the same block that you turned your nose up at. When you're recruiting someone, you're essentially going to be that kid's parents for the next four years. That family knows that their son is in good hands. I always pride myself on being sincere and loyal.

Eventually, he left the program to be an assistant coach at Marist. A few years later, he upgraded to an assistant coaching position at James Madison. In 2008, his first year and only year at JMU, he pulled off something pretty incredible, even if it ultimately means little: he got Josh Selby to take an unofficial visit.

This isn't a situation where he got Selby before he blew up: Selby was a huge recruit from his freshman year, and getting a visit from him showcases Ranson's connections to the area. Selby basically was doing Ranson a big favor, but the very fact that he (or someone close to him) knew Ranson well enough to do him a favor is impressive.

About a year after taking the job at James Madison, Chris Mack, who had just taken over for Sean Miller at Xavier, tabbed Ranson to be one of his top assistants. Ranson took the job and immediately put his Baltimore connections to work, landing 2010 Baltimore center Jordan Latham and getting Xavier in contention with Will Barton and Victor Oladipo.

Before heading to Maryland, he continued to work his area connections for Xavier in the 2011 class. He was Xavier's point man for plenty of targets who also happen to be considering Maryland: Dorian Finney-Smith, Mikael Hopkins, Desmond Hubert, and Greg Lewis, to name a few. Adjehi Baru and Nick Faust are also considering Xavier, and their location makes it probable that Ranson played a prominent role in their recruitment.

Essentially, this allows Ranson to hit the ground running. I assume they'll keep the same strategy in place from Chuck Driesell and simply transfer many of Chuck's recruits, like Finney-Smith, to Ranson. Having already developed relationships, all Ranson has to do is change the school he's recruiting for.

Finney-Smith recently took a visit to Xavier, when almost all he had to go on was his relationship with Ranson. It's likely that he'll give Maryland a shot in the future as well, considering Ranson has made the switch and Maryland was already recruiting him steadily beforehand. DFS is one of my favorite players of the summer so far: he plays for Boo Williams and is a versatile wing player that specializes in rebounding. He'd be a great complement to a certain, oh, Jabari Brown type of scorer.

As for where this puts Maryland on a larger map: Maryland and Baltimore have always had a rocky relationship, for a variety of potential reasons (perceived racism, Bob Wade, supposed slights). It's rare that a stud player from Baltimore seriously considers Maryland, let alone picks it. Maryland has made hires in the past attempting to appeal to Baltimore (Keith Booth, for example), but to no avail.

Ranson might not be able to fix that, but he's probably got a better shot than anyone else. He has Baltimore cred that few other recruiters in America have. Despite hopes to the contrary, there's no Baltimore pied piper out in the college basketball world right now. I doubt Ranson will be one, but I can't think of too many names that have a better chance. Certainly few have been involved in the Baltimore AAU scene and established relationships within the city.

Ranson has serious connections in Charm City and is supposedly highly respected there. Whether or not he can heal the injuries of the decades that preceded him is yet to be seen, and his results will speak much louder than his credentials. But with Keith Booth alongside him, it's clear that Baltimore will be a priority and Maryland will never have a better chance at establishing a connection than they will in the coming years.

Meanwhile, the only coach that doesn't specialize in Baltimore still on the staff is Rob Ehsan. Ehsan has shown buckets of potential as a star recruiter, especially on the West Coast, where he was responsible for two commitments (Terrence Ross and Terrell Stoglin). Even though he's only coached for a few years, he's proven that he can be a serious player in any recruiting plan. He'll have to be, because the other two guys on the staff specialize in the DMV.

Maryland's new staff is young and inexperienced; there's no way around it. Keith Booth has never been lauded as a star assistant, Ehsan barely has a couple of years under his belt, and Ranson has only been in the business for about five years. This is the only high-major job for all three major assistants. None is particularly lauded for their coaching ability in terms of player development or Xs and Os, and in that sense, this hire in particular and staff selection in general is risky.

But Maryland has two of the oldest, most experienced coaches in the country on their bench in Gary Williams and Joe Harrington. Both are noted for being masters of teaching and gameday coaching. The new staff has two potential stars, or at least as close as assistant coaches can be to becoming stars. I've heard Ehsan's great in practice; Ranson apparently is good at coaching guards, drawing on his own time as a PG. Both have the potential to give Maryland ins into talent-rich territories: Ranson into Baltimore and Ehsan into the West Coast.

All I can say is that I really hope this isn't another Patsos situation. Ranson seems like a very good hire (sort of like a James Franklin-level), probably as good as Patsos. Plus, I just wrote a ton.