- The Washington Times - Friday, June 4, 2021

Bino Ranson wasn’t looking to leave Maryland basketball. The assistant coach enjoyed his 11 seasons with the Terrapins, spending the last 10 as part of coach Mark Turgeon’s staff.

But in the coaching business, Ranson said, opportunities occasionally find you. And when Tony Stubblefield — Ranson’s old friend from when he coached at Xavier and Stubblefield was at Cincinnati — was hired to become DePaul’s new head basketball coach, one thing led to another.

“You’re not looking for something, and something comes and you’re like, ‘Ah, well, you know what,’” Ranson said in a phone interview Thursday. “Then it becomes intriguing, and then it becomes like, ‘You know what, let’s see if it’s worth doing this.’ And then, you’re just, bam.”

In this case, “bam” came in the form of an offer to join Stubblefield’s staff at DePaul. And despite Ranson’s long tenure at Maryland — or perhaps because of — the assistant saw this as an ideal time to move, to try something new. So Ranson accepted, and he’s excited for the challenge ahead of returning the Blue Demons’ program to prominence.

“Maryland’s home. I love Maryland. I love the Terps. Love Coach Turgeon,” Ranson said. “It’s just one of those things that I just want to do something different and be part of another historic program like DePaul. DePaul is Chicago’s basketball. I thought that it would be a good time to do it.”

Ranson arrived at Maryland in 2010 after one season at Xavier. But in that season, he displayed his recruiting prowess and connection to the Baltimore area by convincing four-star forward Jordan Latham to join the Musketeers. Before that, Ranson had stops at Loyola, James Madison and Marist.

He quickly became an integral part of Turgeon’s staff in College Park, leading the recruiting drives for marquee players such as five-star forward Jalen Smith, who went on to become an NBA lottery pick. Ranson was also instrumental in securing five-star center Diamond Stone, four-star guards Darryl Morsell and Eric Ayala, and incoming freshman Julian Reese, according to 247Sports’ recruiting database.

“It’s all about relationships,” Ranson said. “Recruiting is about relationships and getting people to believe in one thing, you know what I mean? That’s what I pride myself on doing, just getting people to believe in the program. Whatever program I’ve been at, believe in the head coach, their vision and so forth. So I think the same principles will apply [at DePaul].”

Ranson’s recruiting abilities will likely be missed at Maryland, a team that already filled one coaching departure this offseason by hiring former Wake Forest coach Danny Manning to replace DeAndre Haynes. A team spokesperson said the hiring process to replace Ranson is “currently active.”

The same relationships Ranson preaches when recruiting played a part in why he joined Stubblefield’s staff at DePaul. Ranson said the two coaches became friends while they both were in Cincinnati, and they stayed in touch periodically.

When Stubblefield was hired and first approached Ranson, the wheels started turning. After some thought, Ranson was on board.

“You have those authentic relationships that are real,” Ranson said. “That relationship between he and I was real. That’s what helped me make the decision, also.”

Ranson said the future for the Terrapins is bright, and that Turgeon has the “thing going in the right direction.” Ranson, through his coaching and recruiting, helped win a share of the 2019-20 Big Ten regular-season title, and he leaves Maryland in a good place, with his fingerprints over much of the current roster construction.

But Ranson’s attention has turned to DePaul, a program coming off a 5-14 campaign in 2020-21. The Blue Demons last reached the Final Four in 1979, and they haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 2004. Ranson envisions a return to those former heights, though, restoring DePaul to the forefront of college basketball after years sitting in the periphery.

“Excited, you know what I mean?” Ranson said. “Not that I ever lost my fire. It’s just that, it just revs it up even more, to want to be successful and want to bring a program back to being relevant.”

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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