COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Members of the 2001 Final Four and the 2002 National Championship teams reconvened in College Park this weekend to celebrate the achievements of the two squads.
Maryland greats Chris Wilcox, Steve Blake and many others returned to the XFINITY Center on Saturday and participated in a Media Session and a ‘Chat with the Legends’ in the XFINITY Center Pavilion before being honored at halftime of Maryland’s game against Iowa.
“It feels good to be back and talk with the guys,” Chris Wilcox said. “We don’t get to see each other much and the last time we got together like this was at the White House. It’s great to be back and it’s great to see the guys. It’s good that we can pull it together and be here for each other.”
Former Maryland coach Gary Williams also participated in the weekend’s festivities, which celebrated the 15th anniversary of the National Championship team.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years,” Williams said. “This is the first time we’ve had a function here at the school where everybody has gotten a chance to get back together. I was their coach, and now I’m more of a friend than a coach.”
“It’s great to see some of my teammates,” former Terp Steve Blake said. “It’s been years since we’ve been together. It’s been too long. It’s been great to be back on campus.”
Even though the team hasn’t been together in quite some time, for some former Terps, their National Championship run feels like just yesterday.
“Sometimes it feels like I never left,” Lonny Baxter said. “It feels like we won the national championship just yesterday. It’s just great to see everybody here.”
On his NBA career:
“I had no idea I would play that long. Definitely feel blessed to have a long career, to stay healthy enough. I had a lot of people helping me succeed and I’m definitely thankful for that. I’m excited to be done playing, and have some time to come back to school and spend more time with my family.”
On how often he comes back:
“Well I come back in the summer time, I have a camp that I do in Germantown a week every year. During the summer if I can I’ll come back and play pick-up with the guys and at least say hi to coach. But I’ve never been back for a regular season game. I’ve always been in season and haven’t had a chance to really do this. So I’m excited about it, to actually watch a game instead of playing in it.”
On being a part of the championship team:
“In one word it was awesome. It’s something I wanted to do and I thank all these guys for accepting me in. As far as that year and as far as that run, we just had an awesome year. Everyone was so intent on making up for the year before, losing to Duke in the final four. The focus was remembering how we felt the year before and not having that happen again.”
On what the winning the national championship means now:
“It means a whole lot. There’s so many teams that could have won a national championship. You look at the team back in the late 70s where they played NC State, the number one and number three teams in the country and only one team got to go to the tournament from each conference. It’s one of the greatest collections of Maryland basketball talent and never even made it to the tournament. So to be a part of a team who just went out and got it done is really special.”