By Kelsey Nelson
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Former Maryland men’s basketball star Drew Nicholas has returned to College Park as an instructor at head coach Mark Turgeon’s basketball day camp held at Comast center this week.
A member of the 2002 National Champion Terrapin squad and a two-time Euro League champion, Nicholas is assisting in officiating games, assisting in skill technique demonstrations and answering any questions from the campers ranging in ages eight to 18.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for me to come back, and reconnect with the program,” Nicholas said. “I love helping kids and teaching kids how to play, so I thought it was perfect time and situation to come back. I told them to just enjoy the game, don’t necessarily take it so seriously, and as you start to get older if you still have love for the game continue to play, and work at it day by day.”
It was almost 15 years ago that Nicolas arrived in College Park, Md. after an outstanding prep career at Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran. In high school the three-year varsity letterwinner, and two-year starter played on three teams which advanced to the state federation final four.
“It feels great [to be back] after being overseas for the past 10 years I never really got a chance to come back and be around the program as much as I had wanted to,” said Nicholas.
Nicholas played for the Terps from 1999 to 2003, when the Terps advanced to a pair of NCAA Final Fours.
Fans at Maryland will never forget Nicholas’ buzzer beating three point shot against the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, with just five seconds left, in the first round of the 2003 NCAA tournament.
Nor will any Terp supporters forget about Nicholas’ crucial role on the Terps’ 2002 national title team, after a heart breaking Final Four loss to ACC archrival Duke in 2001. In the Terps championship win over Indiana, Nicholas scored seven points and made five of six free throw attempts. Nicholas’ averaged 17 points per game his senior season.
“I’m excited for the program especially now to get back to that level of making sure they get back to the NCAA tournament every year, win some national championships,” Nicholas said.