Maryland’s Five-Star Coach
New assistant Dalonte Hill returns College Park.
by Jon Jaques / @JJaques25
Mark Turgeon’s decision to leave Texas A&M and accept the head coaching position at Maryland was significant, but not at all surprising. The bigger splash was probably made when Turgeon and the Terps lured former Kansas State assistant coach Dalonte Hill to join the Maryland coaching staff.
As recruiting becomes a higher and higher percentage of an assistant coach’s job description, the value of having an ace, name recruiter on a staff is skyrocketing. By all accounts, Dalonte Hill is about as good as they come. There are five-star recruits … Hill is a five-star recruiter. But this move from Manhattan, KS to College Park is about more than the latest charismatic, gym-scouring, parent charming, recruiting dynamo to switch posts. Hill is returning home to the Washington, DC area where Maryland fans hope the connected former AAU coach can take advantage of the tremendous talent in the area that went largely (and famously) untapped during the Gary Williams regime.
So who is Dalonte Hill?
After playing his college ball at both UNC-Charlotte and Bowie State, Hill returned home to become the head coach of the AAU juggernaut DC Assault. Hill was hired at Charlotte after two years with Assault and coached three seasons for the 49ers. With his growing reputation as a persuasive recruiter and his connections to the up-for-grabs DC/Baltimore hoops hotbed, Hill quickly became a target for major conference coaches. Bob Huggins shrewdly swooped in and plucked him for his Kansas State staff. In five years at K-State, Hill eventually became the nation’s highest paid assistant coach.
There is the possibility that Hill and DC native and former Kansas State star Michael Beasley were a package deal, but Kansas State’s unlikely Baltimore to Manhattan pipeline didn’t end with Beasley. Former K-State player Dominique Sutton, outgoing transfer Wally Judge, and current Wildcats Rodney McGruder, and Jamar Samels all hail from the DC area.
Apparently not a one trick pony, Hill’s personality appeals to high school kids regardless of location. Illinois native Jacob Pullen acknowledges Hill’s work in his decision to honor his commitment to K-State after Bob Huggins left for West Virginia.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if Hill can consistently persuade DC/Baltimore area kids to come to Kansas State, he’ll manage at Maryland. Maybe not right away, but talent is going to start flowing into the Terp program. Who knows? In a few years, every Terp fans’ fantasy of monopolizing the Mid-Atlantic Coast recruiting market may finally come true.
Jon Jaques is a former starter for the Cornell Big Red and current forward for Israel’s Ironi Ashkelon club.