By Kelsey Nelson
Former Maryland basketball standouts Adrian Branch and Len Elmore returned home to College Park Monday and Tuesday to help inspire young athletes achieve their basketball dreams.
Both Branch and Elmore spoke to more than 170 campers about making the right decisions on and off the basketball court at Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon’s overnight basketball camp.
“I love coming home,” Branch said. “I am so excited this new generation gets to experience playing in College Park. I love this program.”
Between drills, campers listened to Branch speak for half an hour as he inspired them to become leaders on the court and beyond in life. Branch was invited to come back and speak by Turgeon.
“Mark has done a great job embracing the former Terps,” Branch said.” He has an open door policy. He is a fantastic coach and we have a bright future under his direction and leadership.”
Currently a college basketball analyst for ESPN, Branch had a highly successful career as a Terrapin during his playing days from 1981-85.
In addition to leading the Terrapins to the 1984 ACC Tournament title, Branch became just the third player in Maryland history to score 2,000 career points. He currently ranks fifth all-time in scoring with 2,017.
“I had the opportunity to play under legendary head coach Lefty Driessell,” Branch said. “Maryland has a special place in my heart.”
Branch was also a second-round draft pick for the Chicago Bulls and played four seasons in the NBA, winning the NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1986-87.
“The Big Ten is a very physical conference,” Branch said. “It has excellent coaches who have an outstanding reputations nationally. I am excited for Maryland’s new opportunity as they begin a new era in athletics and in the Big Ten.”
Current ESPN college basketball analyst and all-time Maryland rebounding leader Len Elmore also visited Turgeon’s camp to speak with youngsters Tuesday. Elmore also gave the kids words of motivation to continue their playing careers and to use their skills to succeed in life.
"I'm here to encourage the kids along with the coaches that are at camp," Elmore said. "I want them to understand who they are and to understand their strengths and weaknesses both on and off the court. It's important to to understand your weaknesses."
A 1974 graduate, Elmore has been considered of the greatest basketball players in ACC history. Though Maryland lost the 1974 ACC tournament championship to NC State, the 1974 team featured six future NBA draft picks, including John Lucas, Tom McMillen, Elmore and Mo Howard.
Elmore was a three-time All-ACC performer and, in 2002, Elmore was voted one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Top 50 Greatest Basketball Players of all time. Elmore was a first-round draft pick of both the Washington Bullets for the NBA and Indiana Pacers for the ABA, and played 10 seasons professionally.
After playing in the professional leagues, Elmore received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1987. In 2001, Elmore was inducted into New York City’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Turgeon’s overnight basketball camp continues running this week until June 25th. The overnight camp resumes from June 26th to June 29th. Turgeon’s last camp this summer will run from June 30th to July2nd. The camp will be a day camp and the tuition cost covers meals, a camp t-shirt and tuition. Extended care is also available.