COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland men’s basketball program teamed up with Special Olympics of Maryland for a third straight year with a day of hoops and camaraderie Saturday afternoon at the XFINITY Center.
A large contingent of athletes visited College Park to watch the Terps practice before being officially introduced to the players and coaching staff and participating in basketball drills.
"This is just an unbelievable opportunity for us to come out to the XFINITY Center and play on the same court with the team,” said President & CEO of Special Olympics Maryland Jim Schmutz. “The energy that Coach Turgeon has, jumping from station to station and participating with drills is an experience that they will always remember. We are always looking for ways to have our Special Olympians share in these type of meaningful experiences. We are very appreciative of everything the University, basketball program, Coach Turgeon, the coaching staff, and student-athletes have done to make this such a positive and influential experience for our Special Olympic athletes."
Head coach Mark Turgeon’s experience with the Special Olympics began as a student-athlete at Kansas and he looks forward to sharing the day with the athletes and his team.
"This day always means a great deal to our players, coaches and staff. We look forward to sharing this time with the Special Olympians. I've been affiliated with the Special Olympics for a long time and I know the positive impact it has had on my life. I'm happy that our team gets to have that meaningful experience as well. There were a lot of talented Special Olympic athletes on the court today and we were all excited to work with them."
After the clinic Maryland players took photos with the Special Olympics athletes, and gave each one a Maryland basketball and team poster.
"It feels really good to come out with my teammates and have fun with this great group of Special Olympic athletes,” said senior Jared Nickens. “They have so much energy and passion for basketball and it's a great thing for all of us to share."
Maryland (14-5) plays at Michigan in Big Ten Conference action on Monday, Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m.