The Washington Times - June 28, 2008, 02:26PM

Among those watching the NBA Draft from beginning to end on Thursday night was Maryland coach Gary Williams.

He was finally rewarded —-albeit during a commercial break —- when forward James Gist went off the board with the 57th pick.


“I’m happy for James,” Williams said. “He improved ebery eyar. He worked hard. He came along way from his  freshman year. I’m happy with him getting an opportunity with San Antonio. [Gregg] Popovich appreciates the work ethic in players. They play a certain way. They have a very good team. They have some players that can teach a lot. I think it’s a great opportunity.”

This was a short conversation —- maybe three or four minutes at most, coming at the end of a day when he hosted the Gary Williams Invitational golf event —- and focused mostly on the draft.  As for some insight onto how things were going over the summer (and presumably for looking toward next season), Gary only said, “It’s been fine.”

That probably isn’t how many fans see a tumultuous offseason that has left Maryland with nine scholarship players definitely in the fold for next season (though guard Sean Mosley and forward Jin Soo Kim could both wind up in College Park before the fall).

But for now, a vague “it’s been fine” is probably a slightly better reply than some variation of “Well, we’ve had a pretty good decade…” —- a talking point with an expiration date in another 18 months that probably will go bad even sooner with an impatient fan base that has sniffed the NCAA tournament once in four years.

Of course, there’s only one way to find out —- and everyone very well may in the next nine months.