MANHATTAN — Dalonte Hill's decision to leave Kansas State's basketball staff for Maryland leaves the Wildcats in need of a new assistant coach.
What type of assistant is the question.
Hill accepted Mark Turgeon's offer to join his staff Tuesday, according to two sources close to Hill.
Will K-State look for another recruiter like Hill? An Xs and Os guru? A candidate with a mix of those skills?
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Coach Frank Martin makes that decision, but Hill's departure leaves a noticeable void.
Since arriving in Manhattan in 2006 with then-coach Bob Huggins and being promoted to associate head coach under Martin in 2007, Hill has been known as a master recruiter. A former AAU coach with deep connections in his home of Washington D.C., Hill had access to five-star talent.
He was directly responsible for bringing Michael Beasley to K-State for his lone season of college basketball and continued signing high-caliber players early on. High school All-American Wally Judge and Dominique Sutton, as well as current players Jamar Samuels and Rodney McGruder, all became Wildcats in large part because of Hill.
Jacob Pullen, the program's career scoring leader, credited Hill in his decision to honor his commitment to K-State after Huggins left for West Virginia months before his freshman season.
Now Hill is gone, off to join Mark Turgeon's staff in College Park — not far from where Hill grew up in Washington — after a weekend of deliberation. Also gone is the contract that paid him $423,750 per season with the potential to make as much as $80,000 a year in bonuses. The Washington Post reported that Hill wouldn't make that much at Maryland.
It is unlikely K-State will throw similar numbers at future candidates, for two reasons.
Hill was believed to be the nation's highest-paid assistant. Any newcomer would have to settle for a much lower salary.
Hill's contract wasn't translating into fabulous recruiting classes as time went by. The longer he was at K-State, the longer his status as a can't-miss recruiter was on the decline. Sutton unexpectedly transferred for family reasons last offseason and Judge quit the team midseason after falling out of the playing rotation and transferred to Rutgers.
The pipeline that once flowed strong between Washington and Manhattan was also drying up.
McGruder and Samuels are the remaining players on the roster with Washington connections. In the past two years, K-State has focused its recruiting efforts in Florida, New York, Texas and Kansas.
In those states, current assistants Brad Underwood and Matt Figger took the lead in helping Martin land three-star prospects.