Forty-seven years ago, Lefty Driesell started Maryland basketball practice with a mile run just after midnight on Oct. 15, the first day his team was allowed to practice. To celebrate Driesell’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame and the program’s 100th season, the current Terrapins brought the Midnight Mile back.
Gates opened at 11:30 Monday night, and players and their fellow students took off for a mile run just after midnight. The half-hour of buildup featured Jalen Smith walking around with a megaphone, Aaron Wiggins operating a video camera and more. At one point, Bruno Fernando grabbed the megaphone and climbed the bleachers to take a selfie with the crowd.
Bruno Fernando just took a selfie with everyone on the track pic.twitter.com/MlVuGzkfeR— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) October 16, 2018
Head coach Mark Turgeon addressed the crowd before the race, delivering what was part inspirational speech and part sales pitch (he wants the student section filled for the Nov. 6 opener against Delaware). When the run began, Turgeon’s whistle didn’t work, so some of the players committed unofficial false starts, Fernando being by far the most egregious offender. The Terps then led the pack of hundreds out of the gate.
This run wasn’t timed, and most players didn’t finish four laps; Darryl Morsell said his goal was to sprint the first and walk the last three, saving energy for practice Tuesday afternoon. But when players stopped running, they hung around the finish line to high-five their fellow students.
“This is the first time we’ve really done this, I didn’t know how it was gonna turn out,” Turgeon told reporters after the event. “But that was awesome. The music, people had their stopwatches out and they were running hard, trying to finish, that was really cool.
“I think this can grow. We had about 750 kids this year, I think word of mouth, maybe we can double it next year. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
In other news
Five months ago, I talked to Maryland guards Darryl Morsell and Reese Mona about—among other things—the dynamic between basketball stars and regular students on campus. The takeaway that’s relevant now: players definitely enjoy events like this. Don’t be surprised if we see more of them going forward.
And we finally have another episode of ouTTakes! This one features Ludovica Farina, who played in the Women’s British Open as an amateur this summer.
Relive these highlights from this past weekend’s Homecoming victory over Rutgers.
The Terps’ 2019 Homecoming is on Nov. 2 against ... Michigan? Michigan.