|Terps launch hoop season with Maryland Madness|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 17 October 2008 19:09|
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.''
, and the brief scrimmage didn't stress the 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.
y and overseer of Maryland's only national champion. 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.''
- At Kansas, fans cheered the unveiling of the 2008 national championship banner, then began getting to know the new-look Jayhawks during the 24th annual Late Night in the Phog.
``Last year was one of the most storied years in all of Kansas basketball,'' sixth-year head coach Bill Self told the 16,300 fans who filled Allen Fieldhouse. ``Obviously, it ended on the highest of notes by us winning it all in San Antonio.''
Acknowledging the departure of eight players after last season, Self noted that the 2008-09 roster features seven newcomers - five freshmen and two junior college transfers. The banner unveiled in the south end of the fieldhouse is temporary. The permanent version will be raised Nov. 18, when the Jayhawks play Florida Gulf Coast.
- At Indiana, it was meet-the-new Hoosiers night.
his day for a long time without knowing whether it would come. But here it is!''
After enduring months of a major housecleaning project, questions and uncertainty, most of the Hoosiers made their home-court debut in front of about 8,000 fans.
- At Memphis, an estimated 14,000 fans at the FedExForum were on hand to welcome the program that lost to Kansas in the championship game.
``It was crazy,'' freshman Wesley Witherspoon said after his first public practice for the Tigers. ``I knew it was going to be a lot of people, but I had no idea.''
The celebration was highlighted by a video of the run to the title game and the hoisting of a banner acknowledging the accomplishment. Chris Douglas-Roberts, that team's leading scorer and a member of the New Jersey Nets, returned to help with the honors.
- At Oklahoma State, first-year coach Travis Ford had the Cowboys going full speed minutes into a brief scrimmage. The team made a grand entrance straight out of Hollywood with each player stepping out of a limousine onto an orange carpet before Ford pulled up in the bright orange sports car.
nd cheers as he attempted to lead a ``K-S-U, Wildcats'' chant.
- At Michigan State, coach Tom Izzo made his usual attention-grabbing entrance, always a secret with the theme of the event. He entered in a green Volkswagen bus, wearing hippie garb, a reference to the 30th anniversary of the Spartans' national championship with Magic Johnson.