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The Top 50 Greatest Maryland Basketball Players Of All Time -- In Haiku!

Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2010

The Top 50 Greatest Maryland Basketball Players Of All Time -- In Haiku!

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    There are more decorated programs in college basketball than the Maryland Terrapins. But few, if any, are more colorful.

    One national title. Two Final Fours. 22 tournament appearances. Len Bias. The birthplace of Midnight Madness. Lefty Driesell and “the UCLA of the East.” Ritualized couch burning. The host court when all-black Texas Western defeated all-white Kentucky back in 1966. A crazy eligibility scandal that set the team back years but led to the formation of a program that has remained whistle-clean to this day.

    I bet you always wanted to see a list of the top 50 players in this storied program’s history. Well, here you go. And as an added bonus, all my player descriptions are written in haiku form. Yeah, that's right. Why? Well, it’s shorter and easier, for one. But more so, it’s because Maryland basketball and its players are like nature: sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, often chaotic, always unpredictable. Please enjoy.

50. Nik Caner-Medley, power forward, 2002-2006

2 of 51

    Like the wounded frog,
    his teams fell short of success
    Fifteen hundred points

49. Jerrod Mustaf, center, 1988-1990

3 of 51

    Had a nose to score
    Very strange and sordid life
    Left school too early

48. Gary Williams, point guard, 1964-1968

4 of 51

    A scrappy point guard
    Went on to become a coach
    Maybe you know him

47. Ben Coleman, power forward, 1982-1984

5 of 51

    Terp for just two years
    Over five hundred rebounds
    Several years as pro

46. Landon Milbourne, small forward, 2006-2010

6 of 51

    Splendid mid-range game
    A quiet contributor
    Athlete at the rim

45. Exree Hipp, small forward, 1992-1996

7 of 51

    Future Globetrotter
    Great passing for taller guy
    Out with a whimper

44. Jay McMillen, small forward, 1965-1967

8 of 51

    Balanced scores and boards
    Even 1,300 points
    Tom’s older brother

43. Eric Hayes, point guard, 2006-2010

9 of 51

    Steady as she goes
    Deep shot opened up low post
    like lotus blossom

42. Duane Simpkins, point guard, 1992-1996

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    Natural leadership
    Suspended…for parking tix?
    Tear drop beat Georgetown

41. Byron Mouton, small forward, 2000-2002

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    Glue guy for champs
    Now runs an AAU team
    A box of chocolates

40. Evers Burns, power forward, 1989-1993

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    Rock-solid banger
    Played in untelevised year
    Releasing the hounds

    (Photo property of

39. James Gist, small forward/power forward, 2004-2008

13 of 51

    Athletic Eeyore
    When on, he was tough to stop
    Rangier Wilcox

38. D.J. Strawberry, shooting guard, 2003-2007

14 of 51

    Lockdown defender
    Good player on shaky teams
    Lost season to knee

37. Obinna Ekezie, power forward/center, 1995-1999

15 of 51

    Rigid as the oak
    Then got better every year
    Supple as the reed

36. Dutch Morley, point guard, 1979-1982

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    Set up King and Buck
    All-time lists need guy named “Dutch”
    Seventh Terp for dimes

35. Al Bunge, center, 1958-1960

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    Prototype big man
    Led Terps to first conference champ
    Grabbed 800 boards

34. Rodney Elliott, power forward, 1994-1998

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    Banger who could shoot
    Came on strong as a senior
    Made the Sweet 16

33. Drew Nicholas, shooting guard, 1999-2003

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    The Specialist lives
    March Madness buzzer beater
    Range like wild oxen

32. Tony Massenburg, power forward/center, 1989-1990

20 of 51

    A journeying man
    Played for like twenty pro teams
    Buckets, boards, baldness

31. John Gilchrist, point guard, 2002-2005

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    Real good, real selfish
    Famed ACC tourney run
    oddly squashed momentum

30. Bob Kessler, small forward, 1953-1956

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    Scored first points at Cole
    Career double-double guy
    Proud to sport short shorts

29. Laron Profit, small forward, 1995-1999

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    The alley-oop king
    Helped Terps to two Sweet Sixteens
    Needed strong jumper

28. Larry Gibson, center, 1976-1979

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    Defensive presence
    Your shot is not accepted
    Garbage man in post

27. Terence Morris, power forward, 1997-2001

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    Mind-bending athlete
    Top 20 Terp in five stats
    Peaked as a sophomore

26. Mo Howard, shooting guard, 1972-1976

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    Too bad no three arc
    He once shot wing off a fly
    A wispy mustache

25. Steve Sheppard, small forward, 1974-1977

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    They called him the Bear
    Shot 50 percent as Terp
    Won Olympic gold

    (Photo credit: USA Basketball. He's one of the guys in that photo...just not sure which one.)

24. Chris Wilcox, power forward, 2000-2002

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    Helped champs over hump
    Force of nature in the lane
    Left school too early

23. Keith Gatlin, point guard, 1983-1988

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    Smooth operator
    What ever happened to him?
    Third on assist list

22. Will Hetzel, shooting guard, 1967-1970

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    Fifth Terp in scoring
    Steeped in the counter-culture
    A double-threat guy

21. Brad Davis, point guard, 1974-1977

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    Led team thrice in dimes
    In the shadow of Lucas
    Fifteen pro seasons

20. Johnny Rhodes, shooting guard, 1992-1996

32 of 51

    He was like a glove
    Swiped nine steals in a game twice
    Helped Terps back to March

19. Steve Francis, shooting guard, 1998-1999

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    SportsCenter is next
    Rise up, and dunk upon you
    Sullied chemistry

18. Derrick Lewis, center, 1984-1988

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    Career blocks leader
    Led team once in freaking steals
    centers don’t do that

17. Ernest Graham, shooting guard, 1977-1981

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    Scoring in bunches
    Holds single-game points record
    which is forty-four

    (Photo credit: Chris Ammann/Washington Examiner. Ernest is the one of the right)

16. Greg Manning, shooting guard, 1977-1981

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    All he did was score
    He shot 64 percent
    Again, he’s a guard

15. Adrian Branch, small forward, 1981-1985

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    Bias running mate
    A stroke like virgin lagoon
    Very unsung guy

14. Buck Williams, center, 1978-1981

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    He leapt from the gym
    and owned that ninny Sampson
    Three-time pro all-star

13. Keith Booth, power forward, 1993-1997

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    Played larger than size
    Restarted B-more pipeline
    Steady leadership

12. Lonny Baxter, center, 1998-2002

40 of 51

    Top six points, boards, blocks
    Had crush on my wife in school
    Hands of crushed velvet

11. Steve Blake, point guard, 1999-2003

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    First Terp for assists
    Stirred the Final Four waters
    The J-Will steal, man

10. Gene Shue, shooting guard, 1952-1954

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    Best black-and-white Terp
    Still third in scoring average
    Works now as pro scout

    (Photo Credit: The Baltimore Sun)

9. Len Elmore, power forward, 1971-1974

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    Still top Terp for boards
    Lost all-time best college game
    Went to Harvard law

8. Albert King, small forward, 1977-1981

44 of 51

    The playground legend
    Cool, like flip side of pillow
    Two-time all-nation

7. Walt Williams, shooting guard/small forward, 1988-1992

45 of 51

    They called him Wizard
    Signed there when no one else would
    Lethal from the deep

6. Tom McMillen, center, 1971-1974

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    The crafty lefty
    Congressman and Rhodes Scholar
    Three-time all-nation

5. John Lucas, point guard, 1972-1976

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    Top six in points, dimes
    Led one of program’s best teams
    First pick in the draft

4. Greivis Vasquez, point/shooting guard, 2006-2010

48 of 51

    The Venezuelan
    Second in points and assists
    Best point guard in land

3. Joe Smith, center, 1993-1995

49 of 51

    Unsung to top pick
    40-18 in Durham
    Nation’s MVP

2. Len Bias, small forward, 1982-1986

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    Still resonating
    Total basketball package
    Just Say No to drugs

1. Juan Dixon, shooting guard, 1998-2002

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    The champ of the champs
    The little warrior that could
    Top Terp in scoring

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