Maryland's Mighty: Testudo's Top Five Terps in Recent History
Testudo, the University of Maryland's terrapin mascot, has had the opportunity to watch countless basketball games over the past decades.
He's taken over Gary Williams' position and is naming his starting five—well, maybe six—best Maryland basketball players from the last three decades.
Point Guard: Steve Blake
Steve Blake is the ultimate point guard. He can see the court and dish out assist after assist, but he can also drive to the basket when necessary.
He won a national championship in 2002 and finished his NCAA career with 972 assists, which ranks him fifth all time.
Blake was the first ACC player to have 1,000 points, 800 assists, 400 rebounds, and 200 steals in his college career.
Talk about an all-around player.
Guard: Juan Dixon
Juan Dixon is one of the best players in the history of Maryland basketball. While playing at Maryland, he made everyone around him better.
Even Mike Krzyzewski said, "Dixon was literally sensational."
Dixon led the Terps to a national championship in 2002 and was honored as the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four.
He received the ACC Athlete of the Year Award as well as the ACC Men's Basketball Player of the Year Award. Dixon also won the Chip Hilton and the Lowe's senior class award.
If all of these accolades don't tell you enough about the type of player that Juan Dixon was while playing for the Terrapins, look him up. You won't be disappointed.
Guard: Greivis Vasquez
Greivis Vasquez currently leads his team in almost every statistically category. He is the first Terrapin to lead the team in scoring, assists, and rebounding.
He has all of the skills, but, in my opinion, he's better when he passes. Don't get me wrong, the man can shoot at will when he's hot. But the way that he sees the court is unbelievable.
If Vasquez wants to help this year's Terps succeed, he's going to have to play phenomenally while igniting all of those around him.
He has the potential—I'm even willing to rank him among some of the greats. I'm excited to see what Vasquez can do this season.
Forward: Len Bias
During his time, Len Bias was considered one of the most dynamic players in the nation.
He was often compared to Michael Jordan. The belief was that he would be just as good, if not better.
He led his team in scoring and rebounding for two years. Bias was an All-American at Maryland and was the second overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft.
Sadly, the same night he was drafted, Len Bias overdosed on cocaine. Maryland fans will be forced to wonder what could have been.
Despite this tragedy, Bias is one of the absolute greatest players in the history of Maryland basketball.
Forward/Center: Lonny Baxter
Lonny Baxter was a force to be reckoned with inside of the paint.
He won a national championship in 2002 and was Regional MVP of the NCAA tournament twice. Baxter scored an average of 13.5 points per game, and his field goal percentage average was 55.3 percent to go along with 7.2 rebounds per game.
Who doesn't want a big man who can play on both sides of the ball and put up those kinds of numbers for four consecutive years?
This picture says it all—Lonny Baxter is championship material.
Forward/Center: Joe Smith
It's the sixth man on a starting squad of five...but I just couldn't choose between Joe Smith, Baxter, and Bias.
Smith lead his team in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots for two seasons.
He was named Player of the Year in 1995, the same year that he was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NBA.
He was tough to hang with, both offensively and defensively.
Solid Sixth Men
These are the guys that didn't quite make the starting five but would definitely be assets off the bench. I don't think any coach would complain about having these guys as their sixth man.
#23 Steve Francis: Guard - Takoma Park, MD
#54 Chris Wilcox: Forward - Raleigh, NC
#15 Johnny Rhodes: Guard - SC
#44 Terence Morris: Forward - Frederick, MD
#13 Chris McCray: Guard - Capital Heights, MD
#11 John Gilcrest: Point Guard - Virginia Beach, VA
#22 Nik Caner-Medley: Forward - Portland, ME
#1 Byron Mouton: Forward - Rayne, LA
Those guys are in no particular order, although Steve Francis or Johnny Rhodes would probably be the first off of my bench.
Coach: Gary Williams
Gary Williams was a graduate from the University of Maryland, where he played basketball for four years.
As a coach of his alma mater, Williams has led the Terps to an NCAA Championship in 2002, the Sweet Sixteen seven times, and the Final Four two times. In his coaching career at Maryland, Williams has led his team to 13 NCAA tournament appearances, including a streak of 11 consecutive appearances.
He won also won an ACC Championship in 2004.
Williams has 418 career victories as Maryland's head coach, making him the school's all-time winningest coach.
Williams is one of the best coaches in college basketball today, if not one of the best coaches of all time.