When the Michigan men’s basketball team takes the floor in College Park on Thursday, it will mark a homecoming of sorts for Hunter Dickinson and Terrance Williams.
The Wolverines’ two freshmen both grew up in the surrounding area. They competed against each other in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and played travel ball together, establishing themselves as two of the DMV area’s top prospects. Both were consensus four-star recruits, with Dickinson finishing just outside five-star territory.
But even as local D.C. stars, Maryland was barely involved in either of their recruitments. The hometown Big Ten school offered them scholarships, but there was little push after that.
For Williams, the Terrapins’ lack of interest was puzzling. He would’ve been the top-ranked recruit in Maryland coach Mark Turgeon’s 2020 class, but the Terps’ staff never prioritized their courtship of Williams. The top-100 recruit was clearly willing to stay home, as evidenced by his initial commitment to Georgetown as a rising senior.
Turgeon’s son played on the same high school basketball team as Williams. Despite seeing Turgeon in the stands at most of his games, the recruitment never gained any traction.
“I just feel like (Maryland) didn’t take me serious enough throughout my entire high school career,” Williams said during a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday. “(Turgeon) saw me mostly every game. It was like an offer, but then after that there was no contact. So I really just was turned off by that, and I didn’t want to go to Maryland.”
The Terps’ whiff on Dickinson makes even less sense. The 7-foot-1 center, who just earned his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week of the month, would’ve filled an immediate need for a Maryland team that lost Jalen Smith to the NBA during the offseason. Instead, the Terps are relying on a rotation of undersized forwards for contributions around the rim.
Asked if he was recruited by Maryland, Dickinson didn’t mince words.
“I did feel a little disrespected when I wasn’t recruited by them,” he said Tuesday.
Dickinson isn’t the only recent DMV star the Terps seemingly passed on. He comes from DeMatha Catholic High School — a national D.C. powerhouse where the Terps haven’t landed a single recruit since 2002. In a since-deleted tweet from last year, Dickinson claimed that local programs Maryland and Georgetown would be perennial top-five teams if they “actually recruited kids in this area for basketball.”
As Turgeon and his staff break down film ahead of their game against the Wolverines, Dickinson and Williams will stand out. Dickinson is averaging 15.3 points on 69.4 percent shooting and 8.4 rebounds, while Williams has shown a willingness to deliver hustle plays in timely situations.
But instead of playing the hometown hero role, they’ll be suiting up in the visitors’ locker room at the Xfinity Center on Thursday.