I’ll deviate a bit here but follow me: With the first overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trailblazers selected 7-foot center Greg Oden over a silky smooth, long, and athletic small forward named Kevin Durant. Oden was meant to be cornerstone of the Blazers for the next 15 years. Instead he’s only played 82 games in five seasons and yesterday Oden went under the knife for what later turned out to be his third microfracture knee surgery. As a result he will miss the entire 2012 season and likely all of 2013. The night before, Blazers fans probably watched Kevin Durant scored 51 shots on 19-of-28 shooting in ESPN’s primetime 8 p.m. matchup. Conversely, on the night after Oden’s surgery, the Trailblazers fell behind 35-7 in the second quarter of a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Maryland fans can relate to the Oden-Durant dichotomy. 2011 was supposed to be the year that Maryland football began its ascent up the ACC totem pole. Much like Oregon’s rise from Pac-10 laughingstock to national powerhouse courtesy of Nike’s backing, Maryland seemed intent on following a similar path with Under Armour at their side.

However, everything went wrong in December of 2010 when Ralph Friedgen’s head coach-in-waiting, James Franklin accepted the head coaching job at Vanderbilt and attempted to hire four assistants from Friedgen’s staff. As a result, the university brought out the final year of Friedgen’s contract despite guiding the Terps to their fifth nine-win season of his ten-year career. By comparison, the Terps won nine games only five times in the 46 seasons prior to his hiring.

The Terps whittled down Friedgen’s successor to two coaches—controversial ex-Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach or the mundane Randy Edsall. Reportedly Kevin Anderson was pressured not to hire Leach, which made Edsall the de facto hire. Since then, Franklin and Maryland’s fates have moved in opposing directions.

To make matters worse, the Terps stumbled to a 2-10 season and the 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year, Danny O’Brien, was benched in favor of mobile quarterback CJ Brown.

However, what’s been the most disheartening has been watching Franklin recruit and transform the SEC’s Ivy League into a bowl team in year one and in his second year on the recruiting trail has turned the SEC Ivy’s into a formidable football destination. Using helicopters and Vandy’s academic prestige, Franklin has begun recruiting talent to a program that had a 12-68 SEC record during the ten years prior to his arrival.

Franklin assembled a top-25 recruiting class, while Maryland’s was ranked 47th after Signing Day. This week, junior quarterback Johnathan McCrary committed to Vanderbilt over UGA and Alabama. Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the top recruit in the Class of 2013 has expressed interest in Vanderbilt.

Conversely, Edsall’s authoritarian rule has caused 24 players to transfer from Under Armour U. since he took the helm last January.

Although it’s not uncommon for players to transfer when a new regime arrives, the Terps mass exodus has been attributed to General Edsall’s excessive discipline.

The boiling point came when 2010 ACC Freshman Player of the Year, Danny O’Brien left the program. While it’s not uncommon for schools to restrict players from transferring on a football scholarship to schools within the conference or that they actively recruit against, Edsall also declared an embargo against Vanderbilt for O’Brien and two other players. The ensuing backlash has turned Edsall into a snippet of everything that’s wrong with the NCAA. James Franklin has come to represent that’s great about it. Perhaps Oden and Durant isn’t a strong enough comparison. Perhaps Jacob and the Smoke Monster would be more appropriate.

Edsall responded to the accusations that his restrictions from allowing O’Brien to join his ex-offensive coordinator were petty by questioning whether there was any premature contact between Vanderbilt and O’Brien.

However, in an interview on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Franklin flat out and uneqivocally denied the accusations.

“I don’t like innuendos and comments being made about tampering and things like that. You guys know me. I am the type of guy, I am going to have relationships with my players. I hope to have relationships with the guys that play for me for the rest of my life.” Said Franklin.

While Franklin has cultivated relationships with his players, Edsall has shown a proclivity for dumping those he doesn’t need anymore. Edsall didn’t accompany his team back from their loss in Fiesta Bowl and his players discovered the next day that he’d taken the Maryland job from text messages. After O’Brien accepted the Maryland job, his UConn players waited for an hour to hear him speak—over conference call.

One unnamed UConn player ripped Edsall’s hypocrisy for forcing then-running back Jordan Todman to stand up in front of the entire team to announce he would be entering the NFL Draft. Like Oden and Durant, Franklin and Edsall will forever contrasted against one another in the eyes of Terps fans.

At least Greg Oden has quietly dealt with is shortcomings with aplomb. Hopefully, Edsall takes a note, allows O’Brien to follow the coach that recruited him and continue his torch the Terps policy in silence.