Although the Terps are no longer in the ACC, their long history here produced some very cool players so we thought we’d just continue our series and mention a few favorites.
- Greivis Vasquez. The Venezuelan-born guard was a fiery leader for Maryland and, as much as anyone, enjoyed the Duke-Maryland rivalry. He confessed once how much he liked Cameron and it was hard not to like him after hearing him say that. He was one of our favorites from any other school in the ACC. When we think about Venezuela today, his family is the first thing that comes to mind. He should be able to help them, but the country is a mess. We hope they’re all okay.
- Len Bias. Now mostly associated with tragedy, in college Bias was incredible. His back-to-back dunks at UNC (he stole an inbounds) is still iconic. He was right there with Michael Jordan in college and, had he survived draft night, the Boston Celtics dynasty would have rolled on.
- Buck Williams. We talked recently about how Dennis Rodman dominated the much bigger Shaquille O’Neal. Well, Buck Williams used to kick Ralph Sampson’s ass. He was just 6-8 and may have been the most ferocious player in Maryland history and one of the most ferocious in ACC history (that’s a list for another time).
- Juan Dixon. That guy...he had no reputation coming out of high school and no parents: both of his parents died of AIDS. Gary Williams saw something in him and Dixon became an incredible player. He was just superb, particularly on defense. Loved him. Correction: apparently his biological father is still alive but they didn't have a relationship when he was growing up so he still in many ways overcame a difficult childhood. His mother and the man who he thought was his father both did die. We hadn’t heard, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.
- Steve Blake. Johnny Rockets was Dixon’s backcourt mate and where Dixon was freakishly quick, Blake was just mentally tough. We never thought he’d stick in the NBA but he had a solid career. Portland liked him so much they had him on the roster three separate times. At Maryland, as in the NBA, he simply out-toughed a lot of guys. He’s currently an assistant with the Phoenix Suns. We never liked him but we had immense respect for him.
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