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Top Terp Tournament: #1 Juan Dixon vs. Play-in Winner #16 D.J. Strawberry


So, for those of you who have been wondering, Juan Dixon was our #1 seed. In terms of pure talent, we did toy around with one or two other players, but because of the records Juan holds and because he was the driving force that guided Maryland to their first final 4 and eventual National Title the following year, he got the final nod, which I'm sure almost everyone will agree with.

As Ben G. mentioned, D.J. Strawberry (41%) beat out Duane Simpkins (29%) and Nik Caner-Medley (28%) to win our play-in game. Here's the preview of each player:

#5/#2, D.J. Strawberry, G, 2003-2007

When I think of D.J. Strawberry, I’ll always remember his awesome defense. He’s #5 on Maryland’s all-time steals list with 202 and considering that he only played for half of his sophomore season due to a knee injury, that’s pretty impressive. He was also Maryland’s de facto point guard after the strange, early ending of John Gilchrist’s career left Maryland with no one to run the show. You could say D.J. did a little bit of everything in his time at Maryland and he did a pretty good job with each. He finished his career at Maryland with a great senior year, averaging 14.9 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game. In his career, D.J. averaged 10.1 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, and 2.9 assists per game.

Maryland went to the NCAA tournament twice in Strawberry’s career at Maryland, including D.J.’s senior year, which included a rare season sweep of Duke. His best game might have been against #5 UNC in 2007, when the Terps upset the Tar Heels at Comcast Center. D.J. scored a career-high 27 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

DJ Strawberry Mini-Mix (via BrazilOwnsYou)

Unfortunately for D.J., he has to go up against Juan Dixon.

#3, Juan Dixon, G, 1998- 2002

As the "video" board in Cole Field House use to say, following a made basket, he was Juaaaaaaaaan-derful" How wonderful? Well, aside from being the driving force and leader that propelled Maryland to their first and only national title, Dixon finished his career as Maryland's #1 leading scorer. In his career at Maryland, Dixon averaged 16.1 points per game, including 20.4 points per game his senior season to go along with 4.6 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game.

Dixon was the quintessential Gary Williams player; an unheralded recruit out of Calvert Hall College in Baltimore, most viewed Dixon as being too small go play in the ACC. Gary Williams disagreed and Dixon worked to show the world that Gary was right and the rest of them were wrong.

Dixon also carried his team when they needed it most and that was best seen in his performance against Kansas in the 2002 semi-final game. Dixon matched his career high in points with 33 in that game as he lead the Terps to victory over the Jayhawks and set them up for a finals match up against Indiana. Here's a nice highlight video of that game:

Maryland-Kansas 2002 Final Four Highlights (via MadDog2020Terp)

So there you have it. There are so many memories of both players that i can think of, so be sure to share them in the comments below. And don't forget to vote!