November 11, 2002
Year ACC Overall Postseason
|1994||8-8 (4)||18-12||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1995||12-4 (1)||26-8||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1996||8-8 (4)||17-13||NCAA 1st Round|
|1997||9-7 (4)||21-11||NCAA 1st Round|
|1998||10-6 (3)||21-11||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1999||13-3 (2)||28-6||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2000||11-5 (2)||25-10||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2001||10-6 (3)||25-11||NCAA Final Four|
|2002||15-1 (1)||32-4||NCAA Champion|
x won ACC title
- returning starter
Steve Blake was the undeniable floor leader of a team that featured three outstanding seniors and an NBA lottery pick. His role as catalyst becomes more pronounced this season, with four new starters and a bevy of unproven players. He must be the glue that holds the team together. Drew Nicholas, a versatile and invaluable substitute for three seasons, gets a chance to start and is anxious to prove he can be a consistent double-digit scorer. Tahj Holden has done all the little things off the bench the past two seasons. An above-average passer and shooter for a big man, he's also displayed toughness by setting picks and playing solid low post defense. Like Nicholas, Holden is a career complementary component who must become a key cog.
Other Key Returnees
Ryan Randle had a productive junior campaign, cramming 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds into 9.6 minutes a game. He projects to play at least twice as much this season. Will there be a corresponding increase in numbers? Calvin McCall, the former quarterback, is pushing to start at small forward. He's strong, tough and a solid rebounder and defender. Andre Collins, a 5-9 (maybe) dynamo, played well in the preseason and could earn time in the backcourt. A shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body, he must prove he won't be a defensive liability.
All four freshmen and juco transfer Jamar Smith may earn playing time. At least three of the five will have to play significant minutes. Smith has been alternately brilliant and horrid, struggling to grasp the system but also showing flashes of being a potent scorer and defender. John Gilchrist, a ball-handling wizard, had Gary Williams considering a three-guard lineup because of his strong preseason play. Nik Caner-Medley is a big-time leaper and dunker who loves to attack the basket. Travis Garrison, the McDonald's All-American, has proven a steady yet unspectacular performer with solid fundamentals and useful rebounding ability. Swingman Chris McCray reminds many of Nicholas, with his range and sweet shooting stroke.
Also Worth Noting
Blake is looking for his shot more and could see extended minutes at wing guard. He's added weight and muscle and looks better shooting off the dribble. Holden has bulked up and reportedly checked in at 270 pounds. He looks very muscular, flat-out huge even. Williams told Holden to develop a jump hook so he could become a more effective low post scorer, and the early returns are favorable. Randle, who arrived from junior college overweight, made huge strides in the offseason and looks like a different player, with more strength, quickness, athleticism and explosiveness. Opponents quickly will learn the most recognizable trait of the new arena. Seats behind the basket on one end of the court were built at a 30-degree angle, so the students there will appear to be right on top of the court. Already called the "Red Wall," the section will serve as an imposing backdrop for visitors shooting free throws.
CHART BY: THE MARYLAND INSIDER