Though the decade couldn’t have ended on a more negative note for Maryland than Wednesday night’s unacceptable loss to William & Mary, Terps fans can look back fondly at the decade and cherish Maryland’s national championship in 2002, first ever Final Four appearance in 2001, and ACC Tournament championship in 2004.
While Gary Williams’ teams have failed to sustain that same success (another blog for another day), I present my All-Decade team.
While Baxter played second fiddle to Juan Dixon, the center was the regional MVP for both of the Terps’ Final Four appearances.
Wilcox only spent two seasons in College Park, but he easily wins the award for most explosive player of the decade and was a major part of the 2002 National Championship team. How far could the Terps have advanced in 2003 had Wilcox stayed for one more year?
Although the eccentric guard from Caracas, Venezuela has been a very polarizing figure in College Park, critics cannot deny his major contributions to some underwhelming teams at the end of the decade. His triple-double (35 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) in an upset win over North Carolina may have been the best ever single-game performance by a Terp.
Blake was a four-year starter at point guard over the most successful four-year run in school history. He’s the all-time assist leader at Maryland, and who will EVER forget this play?
Does anything really need to be said here? The Most Outstanding Player of the 2002 NCAA Tournament and the player of the decade, Dixon approaches the late Len Bias for the title of best player in school history.
G John Gilchrist
His departure following his junior season was messy and bitter, but his performance in Greensboro in 2004 trumped anything Dixon ever accomplished in the ACC Tournament.
Nicholas had the misfortune of playing behind Dixon for three years, but in 2003, he averaged nearly 18 points per game and hit a big shot that you may have heard about. . .
Gist had a fine career at Maryland, but he always seemed to leave fans wanting more. Perhaps it was his tendency to play on the perimeter in his senior season, but the big man never seemed to realize his full potential.
Morris easily would have supplanted Wilcox in the all-decade starting lineup if not for such a disappointing senior season (scoring dropped from 15.8 to 12.2 ppg). However, the forward from Frederick was a key member of the 2001 Final Four team.
If Dixon was the heart of that 2002 championship team, Mouton was the soul. Transferring from Tulane following his sophomore season, he replaced Danny Miller in the starting lineup in 2001 and brought plenty of energy to Maryland’s two Final Four teams.
Caner-Medley is remembered as being part of the disappointing 2002-03 recruiting class (along with Gilchrist, Travis Garrison, and Chris McCray), but the lefty from Maine had a productive career at College Park.
Another player that has steadily improved under Gary Williams’ tutelage, Milbourne has been a three-year starter with two years out of position at power forward. His versatility has been valuable to an undersized Maryland team that qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2008-09.