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They got what they wanted when Williams retired after the 2011 season. A new coach came aboard, and a new way of doing business as well. They hired Dalonte Hill as an assistant coach, and Hill was supposed to be the guy with the AAU connections, who could do business with the likes of Curtis Malone, who ran the AAU powerhouse D.C. Assault.

Well, Hill had to resign after he racked up his third DUI arrest in five years, and Malone turned out to be a major drug dealer, recently pleading guilty to selling large amounts of heroin and cocaine.

These are the kind of associations and connections that put programs back in the cemetery. Maryland would be hard-pressed to find another Gary Williams to dig them out, a man who willed a college basketball program to greatness.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and