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Maryland Ages Well

April 02, 2002|Paul Gutierrez, Chris Dufresne, Steve Henson | From Staff Reports

ATLANTA — In an age when more underclassmen are leaving school early for the draft, Maryland won its first national title with an almost unheard of three senior starters.

Shooting guard Juan Dixon and center Lonny Baxter both arrived in College Park in 1998, and small forward Byron Mouton showed up on the scene in 1999 as a transfer from Tulane.

All three said that while they enjoyed their respective college years, they also suggested that younger players should judge for themselves whether they stay in school or bolt for the allure of the NBA's riches.

"I developed as a basketball player and as a person each year," Dixon said. "I grew up in college."

Said Baxter: "Everybody has different situations, different things they have to face.... [College] was the best four years of my life. We just finished it off tonight the way it should be done."

Mouton had a different experience as a transfer who had to sit out a year at Maryland.

"It took me five years to understand what it takes to win," Mouton said. "And that's what we did tonight."

Paul Gutierrez


Maryland Coach Gary Williams became the ninth coach in NCAA history to lead his alma mater to a national title. The last coach to do it was Norm Sloan, who led North Carolina State to the national title in 1974.

Williams graduated from Maryland in 1968.

Why hasn't Maryland won a title before?

"Things have never worked out right," Williams said. "This year they did. I hope everybody feels a part of that because it's the result of a lot of hard work."

Chris Dufresne


In the days after Bob Knight was fired as Indiana coach 18 months ago, there was talk of assistants Mike Davis and John Treloar becoming co-coaches. Not only was Treloar, 45, more experienced, he had coached Davis as a player at Alabama and in the CBA.

But Treloar said Davis should replace Knight. Now he has full control over the Hoosier defense and makes some of the game decisions without having to deal with the pressure of following Knight's footsteps.

"He has the freedom to do anything he wants to do on this team," Davis said. "If he wants to make a sub, he'll tell me. He's a great coach."

Steve Henson

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