After going full-on crazy with some of the football uniforms in their Oregon of the East effort, we knew that it would only be a matter of time before Maryland and Under Armour broke out some special duds for basketball, too. And hey, here we are:
First off, the reasoning: Maryland's playing Kentucky in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, so these are an homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers - hence the faux-wool, off-center number, and goofy script. They'll try to tell you that the script is also a retro look for Maryland, which has indeed worn it in the past, but something tells me the goal with a retro uni is not to remind fans of their program's darkest days. This is all Dodgers, no Maryland.
Which is ... strange. I guess we all looked at the Maryland-Under Armour connection and thought it'd be one-way traffic, with us just soaking up all the benefits. Apparently not, at least not entirely. UA's been making a big push in NYC for basketball (one of the primary regions it's looked to infiltrate, along with Milwaukee and Baltimore and a few others) - a bunch of the public powerhouses are UA-sponsored, so they're building up recognition and brand loyalty. This, an obvious shout-out to BK, is meant to reinforce that, I guess. From a Maryland point of view, the Terrapins haven't seriously recruited NYC in years, even when it kinda makes sense to. At least with the current staff, it seems Mark Turgeon's focus will be on D.C., Baltimore, Texas, and northeastern preps. And aside from the standard Baltiflage - which apparently they're now calling Maryflage - there are no homages or nods to the state or University. So, outside of maybe picking up a few casual fans, there isn't a lot of Maryland-specific reasoning or inspiration.
(Not that I'm really complaining. A stronger Under Armour means a stronger Maryland. And I'll make this concession so long as they keep decking the team out in sweet Pride unis and the like.)
Anyway, aesthetically, I like it. Well, I guess I should rephrase that: aesthetically, it's ugly as sin, but I don't care. Wool basketball jerseys, with baseball style-fronts? Awful. But that's okay, because it's a retro one-off alternative with a clear, defined reason. Back when Nike did their "Platinum" (or whatever it was called) jersey line, they did it for no other reason except they wanted something new and so they made everything gray. Problem is, it was still ugly. So they made ugly jerseys, just for the sake of making jerseys. Kind of defeated the point.
Retro looks with defined logic behind them have a much wider berth from me - sometimes, the inspiration for them is ugly to begin with, especially with changing tastes between now and then. But the point is to be true to that inspiration, so the fact that it's ugly doesn't really register with me as much as the concept does. I actually kind of like the concept: playing in Brooklyn with a Dodgers-themed get-up. In an area that's assuredly full of UK bandwagoners, it should help win over some neutrals.
But I won't blame you if you hate them, since ... well, they kind of are ugly.
I'll tell you what's not ugly, though. This:
Yup, that'd be a black Pride jersey. And because Maryland apparently sucks at keeping retailers from selling things before they're unveiled, it's available to purchase at Barnes and Noble.
My first thought was that this is just refuse from last season, but you'd assume they'd have worn these once instead of going to the traditional Maryland Pride jerseys twice. And c'mon, look at the number. Were they really selling Tony Logan jerseys last season? Second thought: well, maybe they're like lacrosse jerseys, or something. But no, again: the single star indicates the one national championship Maryland won in football. (Lax has won two in the NCAA era, nine before then.)
So ... they're probably football jerseys, and probably current. Will we be seeing these sometime soon? Could be. I wouldn't be surprised to see them on Saturday against State, which is the homecoming game, except one thing: Maryland (almost) always wears all-red on homecoming. It's not a very well-known tradition, but it is a tradition. It'd make more sense (to me, at least) to break out a Red Ops look instead of walk back on one of the few things Maryland football can actually hang their hat on.
Florida State, then? Sure, especially since it's a blackout game. Except one thing: why have a White Ops jersey without the corresponding Black Ops jersey, since "White Ops" by itself means nothing? I think everyone assumed, as I did, that based on the name alone there was a Black Ops jersey forthcoming. I guess they could call this Black Ops, but that would be strange to me since "Pride" is a much stronger brand name.
Georgia Tech, then? Strange time to break out the big guns. I'd guess Florida State and that these get the Black Ops moniker, even though they don't look a thing like the White Ops ones.
And yes, I'm reading waaaaaay too much into this.
Talking too much about uniforms since 2008. Welcome the blog, everyone.