|Terps launch hoop season with Maryland Madness|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 17 October 2008 16:25|
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -The spirit squad wore tank-tops with the No. 20 on both sides and the name ``Williams'' on the back. Maryland Madness began with a ``Gary Williams Look-Alike'' contest, and the highlight of the show was the arrival of the main man in an armored military vehicle.
The players, the starting time and even the name of the event has changed over the years. But for the past two decades, the coach has remained the same.
Gary Williams opened his 20th season at Maryland by unveiling the 2008-09 men's basketball team Friday night. Before the Terrapins got down to serious business with their first formal practice Saturday morning, they were given the opportunity to show off for students, alumni and season ticket-holders at the packed Comcast Center.
``I'm looking forward to just coming out in front of the fans and having a little bit of fun,'' freshman guard Sean Mosley said before the festivities. ``It's a different experience for me.''
tight defense that usually defines one of Williams' teams. That type of stuff will begin in earnest Saturday.
The Madness began at Maryland in the 1970s under coach Lefty Driesell. Back then, it was called Midnight Madness, and the Terrapins didn't take the court until the stroke of midnight - the first minute of the first official day of practice.
The NCAA relaxed the rules a few years ago, so Friday night's show began at the civil hour of 7:20 p.m.
After four guys paraded around the court doing their best impression of Maryland's fiery, gray-haired coach, there was an alumni game that ended in a tie. The biggest cheer during introductions was for Byron Mouton, a small forward on the 2002 national championship team.
Soon after the final buzzer, the women's team went through a dance routine dressed in camouflage pants, black shirts and white masks. The men's team also put on a choreographed show, displaying funky moves they definitely won't be displaying against Atlantic Coast Conference competition this winter.
Later, each player walked down the aisle from the concourse level onto the court. Many dunks ensued, some fancier than others.
Mosley, as planned, kept it elementary.
``I'm doing a simple dunk. A regular, basic dunk,'' he said.
hampion. The truck had flashing red and blue lights, and Williams popped out of a porthole at the top.
``This is my 20th year. It's been a great 20 years personally for me,'' he told the crowd. ``But the only thing that matters is this season. Our pledge to you is to come out every night and play as hard as we can, representing the University of Maryland and the student body.''