End of an Era: Maryland’s Last Trip Down Tobacco Road Brings Back Old Memories

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 18th, 2014

Saturday night’s Maryland loss at Duke closes a historic chapter in ACC basketball history. It marks the Terrapins’ last visit as an ACC member to the Triangle area, long considered the heart of the conference (just ask Gary Williams). That game, a two-point loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium, seems like an appropriate last act in a long-running drama that has been playing since the formation of the ACC in 1953. Duke’s victory had many of the same elements that these games have had for years — specifically, a hard-fought, passionate contest with questionable officiating that ultimately resulted in another frustrating loss for the Terps.

The 1974 Maryland-N.C. State ACC Championship Game Sparked Changes to NCAA Tourney. (photo courtesy of CNN Sports Illustrated and Sports Then and Now)

The 1974 Maryland-N.C. State ACC Championship Game Sparked Changes To The NCAA Tourney.
(CNN/Sports Illustrated)

Maryland fans have long expressed the feeling that their team just couldn’t get a fair shake on Tobacco Road. Check out this game recap from a 1974 Maryland-N.C. State game in Raleigh. Near the end of the article, Terrapins’ head coach Lefty Driesell is quoted as follows: “My complaint is the charging calls against us,” Driesell said. “I’m not saying the calls were wrong but it’s only called that way in this part of the country.” He is certainly not alone in thinking that Maryland was at a distinct disadvantage when playing conference games in the Tar Heel State, whether they were on a rivals’ home courts or in the frequent ACC Tournaments held in Greensboro or Charlotte. As Maryland prepares to join the Big Ten next season, let’s take a look at some of the other memories that Maryland will be leaving behind.

Maryland was a charter member when the ACC formed prior to the 1953-54 basketball season. Although the Terrapins captured an ACC title in 1958, it wasn’t until the fiery Driesell arrived prior to the 1969-70 campaign that Maryland basketball became nationally relevant. At the time, North Carolina and N.C. State were the top programs in the league, but Maryland quickly joined them and produced some classic games that had a major influence on the rising popularity of the sport. In 1973, the ACC and its TV broadcast partner, C.D. Chesley, decided to go big with the N.C. State – Maryland game in College Park as a prelude for sports fans to the NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday showcase event. The 87-85 win for David Thompson‘s Wolfpack in front of a nationally-televised audience was a highly entertaining game that helped push the reputation of the ACC as the best and most exciting hoops conference in the country.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

ACC M5: 11.29.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on November 29th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Washington Post: Huge news out of College Park this week, as Dalonte Hill has resigned from Maryland’s staff. That opened up a spot for Dustin Clark to be promoted and Juan Dixon to be hired as a special assistant (after he completes his degree). According to Dixon, he’s always wanted to be a college coach, so he’s been in Mark Turgeon’s ear about getting onto the staff during the past few months. If Dixon is half the coach as he was a college basketball player, this will be a great move. He should be an invaluable tool in recruiting local guys (although he can’t go on the road).
  2. Orlando Sentinel: Ian Miller is a big part of Florida State’s dramatic turnaround. Montay Brandon definitely deserves some credit, but Miller’s offensive prowess and experience make him a key cog in Leonard Hamilton’s machine. Last year Miller was injured and unable to practice, but he dropped 25 pounds and is back to being the exciting player people predicted he would be when he transferred. It’s clear from his comments that his injury caused Miller to rededicate himself to the game.
  3. Winston-Salem Journal: This Dan Collins interview with Devin Thomas seems especially prescient considering how closely Wake Forest played Kansas. However, Thomas needs to learn when to walk away, as shown by his two technical fouls over the course of two minutes. Watching the game it was unclear exactly why he got the techs, but he can’t put himself in that position to begin with. Still, after the Demon Deacons played Kansas competitively (even spotting them free throws from three technical fouls while missing boatloads of their own), it’s clear that Wake Forest’s record wasn’t just a fluke.
  4. CBS Sports: Jabari Parker is something else. Matt Norlander does a pretty good job putting his uniqueness into words with this ode after Duke’s win over Alabama. There’s still room for improvement (especially on defense), but Parker is a force rarely seen at the college level. He has range, a post game and an unbelievable array of moves all over the court. One concern for Duke has to be Rodney Hood’s no-show on Wednesday night. The Blue Devils need him to be a factor (and to stay out of foul trouble), but another amazing stat is that Parker has scored 20 in every game thus far.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: The News & Observer ran a special section on Dean Smith in honor of his recent Presidential Medal of Freedom award. While you’re reading Andrew Carter’s article, don’t forget to check out the timeline of Smith’s career or his record. Smith’s mentored everyone from Eric Montross to Roy Williams to John Swofford.
Share this story

Morning Five: 11.29.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 29th, 2013

morning5

  1. When Andy Enfield made his statements criticizing Steve Alford and Tim Floyd we figured that he would hear about them. We just never figured it would be in a public place in front of journalists. As Seth Davis detailed, Floyd approached Enfield and began yelling at him in front of Enfield’s wife and a group of onlookers. Assistants for both schools had to step in to separate the two. It’s unfortunate that the two had to air out their differences so publicly, but Enfield had to expect some blowback after his arrogant comments.
  2. It appears that the Chane Behanan 2012 Final Four controversy has come to a rather abrupt end. Upon hearing about the auction Behanan’s mother called his grandmother, who he had given the ring to. She said that she had put it in a box in her bedroom, but when she checked she discovered that it was not there. When the family contacted Gray Flannel saying that the ring had been stolen the company promptly returned the ring to Behanan. While it is a plausible story it does seem strange that the company gave the ring to Behanan so quickly if they did any investigation at all into his claims.
  3. Floyd and Enfield may have embarrassed themselves with their actions, but they were not the only ones in the college basketball community to embarrass themselves. Craig Neal‘s wife, Jean, has been accused of attacking a school administrator and could be heading to court as a result of it. Former El Dorado High School assistant principal Susana Stanojevic has filed a lawsuit claiming that Janet Neal assaulted her after a high school basketball game in February in which Janet’s son played. Stanojevic is claiming that the school board knew that Janet had a history of such outbursts and did not protect Stanojevic from her. It is worth noting that this is not the first time that Stanojevic has filed a lawsuit against the school board.
  4. When Dalonte Hill was arrested for the third time for a DUI we figured it was only a matter of time before he stepped down (or was forced to do so). On Wednesday, after having taken a leave of absence from the team from quite some time, Hill finally officially resigned. Hill’s primary role was to help the team in recruiting in the D.C. metro area, which is something that he did to a degree, but not at the level that was needed to make the Terrapins competitive in the upper echelon of the ACC (and soon to be Big Ten). Although the news is certainly negative for Maryland as they attempt to increase their reach in recruiting, they did get one positive as they announced that Maryland legend Juan Dixon was joining the staff as a special assistant to Mark Turgeon.
  5. We have heard a lot of strange excuses for why a player is not eligible, but that of two Egyptian players–Aly Ahmed and Ahmed Hamdy–is a new one. They claim that they were misled by former Rice and FIU assistant Marco Morcos who told them to spend a second year in prep school prior to entering college despite NCAA rules arguing against that. For his part, Morcos denies any influence. Although the schools where the two players are waiting at now (Cal State Bakersfield for Ahmed and Houston for Hamdy) appear to be confident that the NCAA will change their mind based on the report that Morcos misled the two players we tend to agree with John Infante that the two are out of luck because they need to know the rules.
Share this story

It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume III

Posted by jbaumgartner on November 26th, 2012

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

  • I LOVED… Ohio State. Maybe I’m jumping on the bandwagon too early, but I grew to really enjoy this team by the end of last year and feel strongly that they have two unique pieces in Aaron Craft and DeShaun Thomas. An elite (albeit annoying, in my view) point guard and a versatile wing scorer are two of the more important components in the college game, and any team that possesses them has a chance to be a tough out.
  • I LOVED… as I do every year, trying to figure out how deep this Gonzaga team can go. Each season I really get a kick out of trying to imagine the Zags playing against good competition all year, eventually accepting the reality that they don’t, and then trying to piece together a mental image of what team will show up in March when they inevitably get hit in the mouth by a legit squad with good guards. Still, it’s hard not to like Mark Few’s lineup this season. Not many teams will shoot it better than Gary Bell, Jr. and Kevin Pangos, and even though Elias Harris is turning 32 or so next week, he’s an active presence on the glass to complement a VERY underrated Sam Dower. I guess the Zags can’t be a sleeper in the traditional sense, but this might be their best (and most well-balanced) team in a while.
  • I LOVED Tom Crean showing no shame with his stick of Wrigley’s finest. How can you not love this? If strict adherence to the five-second rule and the world’s weirdest/creepiest Tweet ever doesn’t appeal to this generation’s high-schoolers, I don’t know what does.

  • I LOVED… reading this Sports Illustrated article on Michigan’s Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Glenn Robinson III. It seems like we get plenty of stories every year about father-son relationships gone bad, but this was a rather refreshing example of two kids that have really gone about things the right way and made it through the tougher parts of living in the shadows of their NBA All-Star dads. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

ACC Weekly Five: 08.06.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on August 6th, 2012

  1. News & Observer: The crown jewel of North Carolina State’s highly touted incoming class is, without question, Rodney Purvis. The Raleigh native and scoring sensation, however, has hit a small word block in that the NCAA has begun reviewing Purvis’ eligibility. This is not an unusual situation and, as of right now, there is nothing too alarming about it. Purvis was part of the Upper Room Christian Academy’s first graduating class, which means that the school has not yet gone through a full NCAA review — meaning that the examination of his eligibility seems to hinge on nothing more than the school’s newness. Still, the unfortunate result is that the vaunted freshman will miss the Wolfpack’s trip to Spain and the Canary Islands and not get the crucial live-game experience which can be so valuable for young players just getting to know their teammates.
  2. Wilmington Star News: Of course, while North Carolina State’s international trip features beautiful Barcelona and the storied Canary Islands, Wake Forest and coach Jeff Bzdelik went a different route in planning the Demon Deacons’ international trip. The Deacs are going to Canada on a brief jaunt that’s going to include only two games and some sightseeing in Toronto and Niagara Falls. While the trip will surely be a great experience for the young players, it lacks the glamour of the Wolfpack’s Spanish journey or Duke’s eventful tour of China last summer. Bzdelik is understandably concerned about the physical toll of the season on what is going to be a very young and inexperienced team, but something tells me the players would rather be somewhere more tropical than Ontario.
  3. NBC Sports: Rob Dauster follows up a fairly interesting article on college basketball teams that had unlucky seasons last year with a sleeper pick that will be interesting for ACC fans. Dauster likes Miami, a team that will be returning a good deal of experience and talent, to make a big run in the conference. The combination of Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson is one of the more potent frontcourt punches in the league, but the question for next year will be the same as last year: Can the two remain on the court, standing strong against the twin scourges of injuries and foul trouble? If they do, Miami might surprise some people.
  4. Washington Post: Maryland basketball legend Juan Dixon is going to be inducted into the the university’s Hall of Fame, a fairly reasonable move considering the guy’s Terrapin resume. Dixon is the all-time scoring leader for the Terps and led the team to a championship in 2002. He was named the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Player, a first team All-American, and ACC player of the year in that same season. One of Maryland’s all-time greats, his induction into the hall certainly seems well-deserved.
  5. Fayetteville Observer: The NC Pro-Am is a welcome summer basketball sight for ACC fans. Featuring a host of college players and former college players from the four Tobacco Road schools, the circuit is a great chance to get a fresh look at incoming freshmen, see how returning players are progressing, and finally, see which of the old-timers still has it (hint: Jerry Stackhouse). It’s also a great chance to see lesser-known ballers of all stripes. The Fayetteville Observer does a great job doing mini-profiles of some of the more interesting but not-as-well-known characters who have been making a name for themselves in that crowded Durham gym.
Share this story

ACC Morning Five: 04.02.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on April 2nd, 2012

  1. Draft Express: This is a very good breakdown of Kendall Marshall‘s game from Joseph Treutlein. The short version is pretty straight forward: Marshall is an elite passer and game manager, but he doesn’t look for his own offense and is a defensive liability. I don’t think Marshall will ever be a good defender, but Ricky Rubio definitely made him some money this year with his passable perimeter defense. Trerutlein’s points about Marshall looking for his own offense more definitely paint an optimistic picture (though I expect he’ll need to rely far more on his jumper than driving at the next level). The bottom line is Marshall is a very good point guard in a draft nearly empty of NBA-ready point guards.
  2. Washington Post: This is a cool look back at Maryland’s national championship and the expectations of that season ten years ago. In a way, it’s reminiscent of Duke’s crushing beatdown from UNLV in 1990, the way the Terrapins rebounded from a crushing loss to Duke (after they held a 22-point lead) in 2001. Only two members of that Maryland team are still in the NBA (Steve Blake and Chris Wilcox), but don’t let that make you think the team has forgotten. It sounds like one man off the roster, from Gary Williams to Juan Dixon, could recount that season from start to finish.
  3. ACC Sports Journal: Andrew Skwara doesn’t mince words as he grades six ACC seasons. So far Florida State leads the way with an A with Duke tailing with a B thanks to the Blue Devils’ embarrassing loss to Lehigh. I think the second half of the conference (alphabetically speaking) is a little more interesting to evaluate: What grade for NC State after a disappointing regular season and terrific postseason run? What about Miami? Were Wake Forest’s improvements good enough to earn a decent mark?
  4. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Good news for Coral Gables, as Kenny Kadji announced he will return to Miami for his senior season. Kadji will be critical for the Hurricanes’ success because he gives Jim Larranga a stretch four to help open up the paint for Reggie Johnson and Durand Scott. Johnson will still be the biggest piece: if he comes back and gets in shape, Miami could contend for a top three or four conference finish. If he doesn’t, the Hurricanes are looking at the middle of the pack.
  5. Yahoo!: Duke stayed America’s favorite college basketball team this year, edging out Kentucky and North Carolina. I would like to see more poll numbers, but Duke’s national brand certainly plays a huge role in a study like this (my guess is Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky are fairly close, but even other blue-bloods lack the national audience to maintain their relevance. However, with Duke taking what looks to be a step backwards next year, could the Wildcats and Tar Heels may overtake the Blue Devils.
EXTRA: Lance Pugmire sat down with James Worthy to talk about his NCAA title from 30 years ago (interestingly and unrelatedly, the ACC won championships in 2002, 1992 and 1982).
Share this story

Highlights from Maryland’s Tribute to Gary Williams Last Night

Posted by mpatton on January 24th, 2012

First, thanks to Bonnie Bernstein for tweeting these images and quotes out last night, as the event wasn’t broadcast anywhere that I could find.

Maryland kicked off it’s two-part celebration of dedicating the basketball court to Gary Williams last night. The event featured his ACC coaching brethren such as Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski, as well as former players Juan Dixon and Walt “Wizard” Williams.

All in all it sounded like a terrific event. I for one, can’t think of two players better (other than possibly adding Greivis Vasquez) to honor Williams’ coaching career. Walt Williams chose to stay at Maryland despite impending NCAA sanctions (thanks to Bob Wade, and piled onto the program’s already tough times of Lefty Driesell’s departure in the wake of the Len Bias tragedy). Basically, Gary Williams inherited a mess and Williams stayed to help rebuild the program. By his senior season, Walt Williams was a second-team All-American and averaged almost 27 points a game en route to beating Len Bias’ single season scoring record at Maryland.

New Logo outside of the Comcast Center Showing Gary Williams' Fist-Pumping Silhouette (credit: @EmmyTerp)

Juan Dixon’s story is very different. Seriously, read it. He grew up the son of two heroin addicts, both of whom died of AIDS less than two years apart when he was a teenager. Dixon battled his way to two Final Fours, a national championship and the all-time career scoring record in College Park. He never looked like a dominant player, but he was always ready to hit the big shot — be it a dagger three or two free throws — to ice a close game. Dixon was one of the best players of the last decade. He’s also someone I will always associate with Gary Williams.

It sounded like a very special event. The second half of the ceremony will be tomorrow night before the 9 o’clock game against Duke. Let’s hope this one is televised.

(h/t Dan Steinberg)

See the images from Bernstein’s Twitter feed and a sneak peak of the court after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

ACC Team Previews: Maryland

Posted by mpatton on October 27th, 2011

Maryland was very unlucky last season. It ranked 330th out of 345 schools according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistical “Luck” element, falling just in between ACC compatriots Clemson and Georgia Tech. However, the team’s flaws contributed as much to its close losses as anything else. First and foremost, Sean Mosley took a step back from a very promising sophomore season and became a virtual non-factor on offense. Terrell Stoglin‘s brilliant play masked Mosley’s absence for much of the season, but the lack of a consistent third option killed the Terrapins down the stretch. Additionally, Jordan Williams had an Achilles’ heel: poor free throw shooting. Williams was the rock of last year’s Maryland squad, but his inability to shoot foul shots well forced him to take on a reduced role at the end of games.

Terrell Stoglin and Jordan Williams Would've Made a Dynamic Duo at Maryland

Looking back at Maryland’s year is like reading The Little Engine That Could(n’t). Gary Williams‘ squad was competitive, only being blown out twice by a middling opponent (once by Miami and once by Virginia Tech). Those two bad losses, though, were balanced byonly two decent wins (vs. Clemson and Florida State). For whatever reason Maryland couldn’t break into that next tier last year.  The year was so frustrating that after hearing Jordan Williams was departing for the NBA Draft, Hall of Famer Gary Williams departed for the cool breezes of retirement. While inconsistency — especially on the recruiting trail — marked the last few years of his tenure, Williams-coached teams regularly flourished during ACC play in the early 2000s especially the 2002 National Championship team headlined by Steve Blake, Lonny Baxter and Juan Dixon. But the stresses of constantly having to reload from lost players and assistant coaches finally caught up to the head coach after Jordan Williams left his team with very few players and nothing to speak of in the front court. The good news is that the very capable Mark Turgeon was hired away from Texas A&M to take the helm in College Park. Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

2011 World University Finalists – Will the Next NPOY Be Buried on the Bench Again?

Posted by rtmsf on June 8th, 2011

As summer heats up, the various Team USA basketball rosters also start rounding into shape.  One of the better such international events that includes collegians, the World University Games, is scheduled to occur from August 13-23 in Shenzhen, China.  As such, the training camp roster of 22 current college players was released on Wednesday with a goal of cutting the group to a final 12 in late July.  The remaining dozen will spend early August practicing as a team before traveling overseas to represent the United States in an event that hasn’t been kind to the Yanks in the last decade.  Perhaps as a result of increasingly fewer talented players still in college or representative of the world catching up to the USA in basketball, this team has only finished first or second once in its last four outings — the 2005 team led by Shelden Williams (Duke) went 8-0 on its way to collecting gold in Turkey.  Two years ago, the 2009 team went 7-1 with its sole blemish a one-point semifinal defeat to Russia to bring home the bronze.  This year’s team will have its work cut out for it in an increasingly competitive international landscape.  Here’s the training camp roster:   

It’s a guard-heavy group, as Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs, Xavier’s Tu Holloway, Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor all have All-America potential in 2011-12.  This isn’t surprising, as many of the better big men in the game have either opted out of international basketball this summer (Kentucky’s Terrence Jones; Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger), or they’re moving on to NBA riches (Arizona’s Derrick Williams; Georgia’s Trey Thompkins; Kansas’ Morris Twins; Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson).  It’s notable that Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine (2010), Northwestern’s John Shurna (2010, 2009), Kentucky’s Darius Miller (2009), Gibbs (2009), and Alabama’s JaMychal Green (2008) have all had previous international experience, which would presumably give each a leg up to make Jim Boeheim’s team this summer. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Best Dressed: 1995-2004 Maryland Terrapins

Posted by rtmsf on May 31st, 2011

John Gorman is an RTC contributor.  Every week throughout the long, hot summer, he will highlight one of the iconic uniforms from the great history of the game.  We plan on rolling out 24 of these babies, so tweet your favorites at us @rushthecourt or email us directly at rushthecourt@yahoo.com. This week, we recall the great Maryland uniforms from the mid-90s through the early 2000s.  To see the entire list to date, click here.

Fear the turtle. A phrase that elicits smiles from same mouth which speaks its words, but before 1932, would have never seen the light of day without the help of an inquisitive school paper and a Maryland man named “Curley.”  The campus daily, The Diamondback, called out for a school nickname to replace the “Old-Liners,” a reference to the state nickname. Harry Clifton Byrd, the school football coach affectionately known as “Curley”, answered the call. Curley proposed “Terrapins,” a nod to the Diamondback Terrapin turtle endemic to his Chesapeake Bay hometown of Crisfield. As Byrd moved up to the ranks from football coach to athletic director to university president, the Terrapin was minted, popularized and given an identity.

Maryland Was At Its Hoops Peak in These Uniforms (UM Athletics)

The Diamondback Terrapin is green, gray and white, but the school’s red, white, black and gold model is colored after the alternating Calvert and Crossland emblems that appear on the Maryland state flag. You’ll note if you look closely, this same pattern also provides the inspiration for the mid-field Baltimore Ravens’ crest (which doubles as the team’s secondary logo).  The logo and mascot which appears on the threads, “Testudo,” draws its moniker from an old Roman warfare formation where soldiers would pack together closely, and flank all sides with shields, to protect the formation from incoming arrow attacks. Testudo, fittingly, is Latin for “Tortoise.”

Always an aesthetic pleaser and a huge draw at the box office (former Terps coach Lefty Driesell is commonly credited for starting Midnight Madness), the school’s profile rose considerably in the 1990s, as coach Gary Williams built a consistently competitive program. It was at this time Nike stepped in and did what Nike does: Doctored up the athletic wear to entice the locals to buy.  Nike gave the home whites some pop: A big, bold MARYLAND on the front with even bigger, bolder red numbers, and – the perfect touch – black and gold diamondback trim along the edges, crafting that quintessential snapping-turtle look. Never before has something so slow looked so fast streaking up and down the hardwood.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Team of the 2000s: #10 – Maryland

Posted by rtmsf on August 9th, 2009

teamof2000(2)

Ed. Note: check the category team of the 2000s for our other entries in this feature.

We are now seriously in the dog days of summer.  The July recruiting period is over, coaches are on vacation, and the college basketball news feeds have dried up like Hillary Clinton in Kenya.  Even Congress has taken the month off, meaning that RTC has been left thinking up new ways to entertain ourselves while we wait for the cool autumn breezes to arrive.  One idea we’ve been sitting on since the end of the 2009 NCAA Tournament has been to evaluate the top ten programs of the 2000s, culminating in a coronation of the Team of the 2000s.  Remember, next season – 2009-10 – actually falls into the 2010s, so when Kansas or Kentucky or Michigan St. or Butler wins that title, they’ll stake an early claim on the Team of the Next Decade, not the current one.

We used a hybrid analysis in constituting our top ten programs of the 2000s.  The numbers are extremely important – how many titles, F4s, Sweet Sixteens, NCAA Appearances, did you have?  How did you perform in your conference?  What about wins and losses?  NBA Draft picks?  Consistency?  But there’s also a qualitative component that we used – which programs ‘felt’ like they performed in the 2000s?  How do you handle programs who were consistently good vs. those who had a couple of really good years?  What if that team had a losing season, or multiple losing seasons?  All of these factors and more were considered in our analysis.  Hopefully we’ve come up with a fair representation of the top programs of the last decade, but as always, we encourage you to tell us where we’re wrong.

#10 – Maryland

#10 v3 - Maryland 2000s

Overview.  Had we reviewed the first half of the 2000s separately, Gary Williams’ program would have been right there with Duke and Michigan St. as the top program, with five NCAA appearances, two F4s and a title in 2002 to its credit.  However, the Terrapin program has fallen off considerably in the second half of the decade, with the Terps failing to make the NCAAs in three of the last five seasons and only winning a total of two NCAA games in the other two appearances (cf. with 14 wins from 2000-04).  Of the twenty-three programs we considered, Maryland had the worst overall W/L record, yet it’s a testament to their early-decade postseason success that they still managed to sneak into our top ten of the 2000s.  One positive for the program throughout the decade has been its relative consistency.  Although the Terps haven’t been a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, they’re always in the conversation.  The program hasn’t endured a losing season since 1993, and even in their ‘bad’ years, Gary Williams still manages to coax a 19-13 type of year out of his players (resulting in NIT appearances).  The Maryland program is still a program to be feared (“fear the turtle”), but there are legitimate questions as to whether this program can again achieve the success that it did at the beginning of the decade under its current leadership.

02 maryland t-shirt

Pinnacle.  Clearly the 2002 national title team featuring Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox.  This team exorcised several years of obsesssive frustration on the part of Terp fans with respect to its most hated rival, Duke, and in so doing gave Maryland its long-awaited first national championship.  But it wasn’t easy: in fact, conventional wisdom at the time said that UM would never get there with that particular group.  When Maryland blew not one, not two, but THREE, games to Duke in utterly confounding collapses in 2001, there was a prevailing sentiment that the Terp program simply could not get over the mental hurdle necessary to beat the Devils and (by proxy) win a national title.  After an early-season shellacking in Cameron in 2002, though, the Terps finally put it all together and reeled off thirteen ACC wins in a row (including a convincing win over Duke in College Park) to win the regular season and secure a #1 NCAA seed.  Then, with the fortuitous news that the Devils were knocked out in the Sweet Sixteen by Indiana and Jared Jeffries, the Terps cruised through the field without worry about facing their longtime nemesis, and behind the scintillating shooting of Juan Dixon (26 ppg on 54% shooting), they cut down the nets for their first and only national championship.

Tailspin.   Other than the gut-punch moments in 2001 mentioned above, we’d have to say that Terp fans must be extremely frustrated by recent vintage Maryland teams consistently tanking down the stretch of the regular season.  In 2005, Maryland was a promising 15-7 coming off a win vs. Duke – they lost five of their next six games (incl. 0-1 in the ACC Tourney).  In 2006, the Terps were 14-4 only to finish 5-8 (1-1 ACCT) and settle for another NIT bid.  In 2008, they sat at 16-8 prior to a 2-6 finish (0-1 ACCT) that again led to the NIT.  Even last year, the Terps finished 1-3 prior to making a nice run in the ACC Tourney, and the one season they actually finished strong (7-0 down the streetch in 2007), they were one-and-done in the ACC.  These disappointing finishes have led some observers to ask questions regarding the leadership capabilities of their longtime coach – has he gotten complacent after winning his national title?

duke signs for maryland

Outlook for 2010s:  Grade: B+. As long as the irascible Gary Williams is heading the ship at Maryland, there’s no reason to believe that the Terps will fall off sharply:  Maryland will remain competitive both in the ACC and nationally.  The question is whether he has the fire and drive to once again get Maryland to the top of the food chain, and we don’t think he does.  In order to prove us wrong, he’ll have to step up his recruiting in the fertile DC/Baltimore area.  Consider that in the last seven years since the 2002 championship, all-world players such as Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson and Carmelo Anthony went to schools outside of the area – two of them won titles, the other was a NPOY.  Would Maryland’s fortunes change substantially if they were once again keeping players like that close to home?  Of course they would.  The flip side of this is what might happen should Williams decide to retire in the next few years – where would the Maryland program go from there?  Williams has already had public battles with Maryland officials over recruiting and his graduation rate is abominable, and it wouldn’t shock us if he hung up the whistle (or had it hung up for him) before the end of his contract in 2012.   Some people question whether the Maryland program would flourish without Williams, remembering the dark days of the 80s under Bob Wade, but we disagree.  The recruiting bounty in the area alone is enough to attract a top-flight coach, and Maryland has historically supported its basketball program to the max.  Some new blood on the sidelines could once again move this program up from the top 20s (where it is now) to a top 10 program, but the key question to answer is how much longer will the state of flux with Williams last?

Share this story

Maryland HS Star Decides To Go To Maryland?!?

Posted by nvr1983 on April 24th, 2009

We have mentioned Gary Williams and his struggles to keep his Maryland program relevant since Juan Dixon left College Park, Maryland, but it looks like he might he temporarily fixed one of the many problems with a commitment from Terrence Ross, a 2010 recruit from Montrose Christian (same high school as Kevin Durant) in Maryland. Ross is a 6’5″ SG who transferred to Montrose from Portland, OR before his junior year. Even though he only averaged 13.5 PPG this year (partly attributable to playing alongside Mouphtaou Yarou, a senior who is ranked 10th in Rivals Top 150), he is a 4-star recruit who is ranked 31st in his class by Rivals with some ridiculous athleticism (see below).

Keeping an in-state star might not seem like a big deal to most people (especially when you’re the only legit program in the state), but it is from Williams who has lost a bevy of stars (Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, and Ty Lawson) to out-of-state programs in recent years as well as the aforementioned Yarou, who signed with Villanova. While this might not necessarily mean that Williams has righted the Terrapin ship, it is certainly a very good start.

Share this story