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March 2, 2009

Weekend wrap — Maryland, Under Armour and Stephenson

Maryland's recruitment of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln shooting guard Lance Stephenson got a little more complicated over the weekend.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Under Armour’s ties with the Terps athletic program and the shoe company’s courtship of the five-star shooting guard raises questions about the recruitment.

Maryland wanted the heralded guard to be the centerpiece of a recruiting class that would help make the Terrapins a contender in the ACC in the 2009-10 season. At the same time, industry sources said, Under Armour wanted to build a relationship with Stephenson so he would become part of its fledgling basketball shoe division if he reaches the NBA.

The most elite high school basketball players are often recruited by shoe companies, but rarely is a company also a major benefactor of a university pursuing the same player. Under Armour founder and chief executive Kevin Plank is a former Maryland football player and member of the school's Board of Trustees. That means the NCAA considers him a "representative of the institution's athletics interests," commonly known as a booster.

In a statement released last night, the Maryland athletic department said it was reviewing the situation.

"The coaches and staff of Maryland Athletics are diligent in regards to following NCAA rules and regulations," Maryland's statement said. "Our business relationship with Under Armour, as the department's exclusive apparel provider, is a relationship common throughout collegiate athletics."

On Saturday,’s Adam Zagoria reported that the UM staff planned on making several more trips to New York this season to watch Stephenson and power forward signee James Padgett play.

The Terps staff plans to watch Stephenson, a McDonald’s All-American, four or five more times this season as Lincoln pursues its record fourth straight PSAL championship and third consecutive New York State Federation crown.

Terrell Vinson scored 20 points yesterday, leading St. Frances to the Baltimore Catholic League title.

Vinson had two key blocks in the final two minutes and hit three of four free throws in the last 10 seconds to lift the No. 2 Panthers to a 44-41 win that wasn't decided until Loyola senior guard Matt Rum's desperation heave from midcourt fell short at the buzzer.

• Maryland targets Mychal Parker and Hippolyte Tsafack helped the Miller School to a 48-45 win over Blue Ridge (Va.) for the VIC Division I championship..

The Barons still held a three point lead going into the final period, and with time running out and the game tied at 45, Mavericks junior Mychal Parker hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift his team to victory. Parker led Miller (23-3) with 16 points and Marshawn Powell added 14. Hippolyte Tsafack posted 10 points.

Will Regan’s Nichols (N.Y.) School squad suffered a 69-60 loss to Canisius in the Manhattan Cup final.

Andy MacKinnon led Nichols with 14 points while senior Chris Stegemann had 11. Junior standouts Ron Canestro and Will Regan were limited to 10 and eight points, respectively. Regan and Stegemann were named to the all-tournament team.

Baltimore Sun reporter Glenn Graham took a look at Lake Clifton’s run to the Baltimore City Championship. Terps target Will Barton led the Lakers with 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.

"We all took a back seat, and we're all for one," said Will Barton, a versatile forward. "We don't care about the individual stats as long as we're winning. That's all we care about."

• Maryland women’s commitment Alyssa Thomas guided Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 38-34 win over Wilson in the District 3-AAAA girls' basketball championship game.

"It all just happened so fast. Gabby and I were trying to figure it all out waiting for our medals," said Thomas, who finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. "We were very fortunate to win. They played exceptional defense."

• Terps point guard commitment Natasha Cloud helped Cardinal O’Hara to a 48-35 win over Central in the Pennsylvania District 12 AAAA final.

In the second quarter, O'Hara put together runs of 6-0 and 8-0, and went into halftime with a 29-22 advantage. Natasha Cloud (six rebounds, two assists) scored six of her 11 points in that period.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:54 AM | | Comments (12)


I read the article yesterday and I thought it was all speculation. As some pointed out in a previous post, the article never mentions other shoe companies and their dealings with "amateur" athletes. Everyone knows that Nike is tied pretty close to Oregon, not to mention other high profile college teams. And the "opinions' they got were from a Virginia Tech official and Sonny Vacaro. I cant imagine why a VT official would be critical of Maryland recruiting a top prospect (sarcasm). And Vacaro is no saint and can be blamed for the rise of shoe company influence in "amateur" basketball.

The article on GW's recent recruiting failures was a legit topic, but this article seemed like a hatchett job.

Well Matt, you're instincts were correct. I kind of wish Nike still had the contract with Maryland Basketball, and he had met with Nike instead. Then it would be OK? The NCAA has never been lenient with Maryland. Notre Dame and Clemson both commited violation much worse than Maryland and got just a slap on the wrist. What about Duke and their AAU connections? What about Duke Alumni paying the parents of top recruits some of whom were either on welfare or in poverity six figure incomes to do .. nothing? How about this... Why don't you guys write up an article about Duke's recruiting practices? If you want a BIG story, there is big material there. So its not ok to talk to Kevin Plank who is the CEO of Under Amour but it is ok to pay the parents of recruits a six figure income? Is this even remotely reasonable? What about Sheldon Williams? How about you guys interview the coach that kicked in the door of the hotel where Sheldon was [with that] teenaged girl? You want a big story? How is it possible with a H.S. Coach as a witness that this got swept under the carpet? And please don't ask Duke for their response. They won't self-immolate. Find out if the girl was either coerced or payed to drop the charges. I'm sure some Duke lawyers have already put the kabosh on the girl, so you'll have to ask family, friends or how about the assistant coaches? Didn't Nike ink a massive deal with Duke? Wasn't it one of the first apparel deals for college basketball? Did Nike donate generously to Duke? Doesn't that make them boosters of the school? Then if any Nike representatives ever said word one to any Duke recruit in its efforts to get a shoe deal ( and you can be certain they did) it would amount to the same thing.

Hey, are there any accountants out there who can confirm that a publically traded companies tax records are actually public record? Can someone dig up Nike's contributions?

John Thompson has been on the Board of Directors for Nike for past 20 years. So, he was a Nike board member and coached the Hoyas, and now his son coaches the Hoyas. How is this any different? Let's make sure we make a big stink about, so that we scare Stephenson off.

Certainly Kansas and Bill Self run a clean program. Kansas only hires the recruit's parents and AAU coaches. Calipari also does this and it is hard to know whether he is a coach or a "headhunter." This is called "Packaging," and the NCAA turns a blind eye to that for some reason.

Knight single handedly put one of his best friends in the AD spot at Oregon. The guy had no previous experience.

Thanks again Wash Post for breaking another great story at the attempt of bringing down our program. I wish you all would hire "Capt. Negative, Mike Preston. Between the both of you, you can conspire to bring down all of the sports programs in the state of MD. As a kid I use to look forward to reading the Sun's sports section. Now a days I cringe wondering what sport they will try to ruin next.


What role does Michael Jordan have with Nike, and what affiliation does that have with UNC???


Kevin Plank was NOT EVEN IN THE BUILDING WHEN Lance visited. Gee. I personally would like to see U of M sue the Duke Post I mean Washington comPost for slander.
I mean seriously. File it today. Any Terp alumuni willing to help with the filing?

Under Armour tells us UA boss Kevin Plank, a Maryland booster, didn't meet with Stephenson because he was at the Super Bowl. Stephenson toured the facility, but didn't meet Plank.)


Here is a link to the Nike Duke apparel deal from Duke's own web site, nice huh.

Here is a link describing just how much Coach K got for the deal. $1.5 Million bonus. $375k/year. Lots of stock options.
So, can someone find out if Nike ever talked to a Duke recruit?

Oh yeh, uhmmmm. We just can't leave out the history of Myron Piggie can we.,1328,2563846,00.html

Well folks that should do it! We can kiss Lance Stephenson goodbye. Responsible journalism at it's best.


I know it's off the Lance subject, but what is the future of Jackie Nared at MD? I knew she came and left and was supposed to come back and play at the second semester. Has she opted out of her scholarship or will she be back next year and if so will she have 4 years of eligibility left? Thanks

yeah the media ruined our chance of landing a top recruit again. we should start paying our media to go and make up false stories of other programs being considered so we can pick up a stud recruit. lance this is all bs come to md and save the turtle.

Rick -- I'm pretty sure she's back in College Park and enrolled in classes. She'll have four years of eligibility starting next season.

The article also goes into depth about Under Armour's attempt to unseat Nike as sneaker king. It relays the story of how Nike did the same to Converse in late 70's/early 80's. However, Nike had help in that in that Converse was acquired in an LBO and the new owners cut advertising and R&D to pay off debt. This gave Nike an opening that it walked through and never looked back. To learn more go to

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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