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MIAMI - A day after Gary Williams called out Maryland’s athletic department while responding to recent criticism, Wizards guard Juan Dixon took time to offer support for his former coach.

When questioned again about the circumstances Tuesday, Williams said it was the decision of the school’s administration that one-time recruits Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans were not attending Maryland. Then senior associate athletic director Kathleen Worthington rebutted Williams’ claims, saying it was the coach’s decision. It was another example of the tension between Williams and the athletic department, but Dixon believes Williams deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Dixon, who under Williams led the Terrapins to the NCAA title in 2002, said he believes the coach is being treated unfairly and should receive more support and appreciation from the school’s athletic administrators despite the team’s struggles the last few seasons.

”He brought that program a long ways,” Dixon said. “He took over that program when it wasn’t doing as well, [and in] 2002 he won a national title. Coach Williams has been getting a lot of heat lately. A lot of people say he needs to get better talent. But I’m going to keep it real - the assistants he had when I was there worked extremely hard.”

Dixon said that when he was at Maryland, Williams delegated the bulk of the recruiting duties to his assistants, all of whom have since left the school.

”I don’t know how his assistants now work, because I don’t know them personally,” Dixon said. “But I know how the assistants when I was there worked. … So, yeah, Coach might need to get some better talent, but people need to get off his back because he’s done a lot for that program.”

- Mike Jones

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