COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Maryland men’s basketball program teamed up with Special Olympics of Maryland for a day of hoops, fun and smiles Saturday afternoon at the XFINITY Center.
A total of 40 athletes visited College Park to watch the Terps practice before being officially introduced to the players and coaching staff.
Justin Hunsinger attended the Maryland Basketball clinic last season and said he never dreamed that he would be playing with the Terps on their home court. He shared that his memorable highlight from last year’s clinic was throwing alley-oop passes to Jake Layman and Diamond Stone.
This year, Hunsinger elected to chronicle the clinic with the Terps on social media for the Special Olympics of Maryland at @SpOlympicsMD.
“It makes us very proud to know how much the Terps really care about making a difference in society and how much enthusiasm they give to Special Olympic athletes,” said Hunsinger.
The clinic began when the players hosted a coaching clinic featuring the Special Olympic athletes and No. 25-ranked Terrapins. Each Maryland player teamed up to lead specific on-court drills focusing on passing, dribbling, shooting and the very-popular dunk competition.
“It was even more fun for us,” said junior Melo Trimble, “because of all the great energy the Special Olympics athletes provided on the court. We all enjoyed ourselves.”
Head coach Mark Turgeon, whose work with the Special Olympics began as a student-athlete at Kansas, said today’s experience will have a positive impact on our team.
“I hope they get involved in their communities as their life goes on,” said Turgeon. “The Special Olympic athletes have a lot of great qualities to give to this world and I think that is what our guys are learning from this experience.”
The three-hour clinic concluded with a scrimmage and had each Maryland player coaching a team.
As the clinic conclude, James Schmutz, president and CEO of Special Olympics Maryland, presented Turgeon and his team a framed Special Olympics shirt, featuring each athlete’s signature. On the glass-case frame bore an important message:
“Thank you for Supporting Special Olympics Maryland for Engaging Your Players to Build a World Where Opportunity is Not Limited to Disability.”